Lively Root, under CEO Colin Barceloux’s leadership, is revolutionizing how we experience green spaces in our everyday lives. As a pioneering service delivering farm-fresh plants right to customers’ doorsteps, Lively Root stands at the forefront of blending horticulture with technology. This innovative approach to plant shopping online is not just about convenience; it’s about reshaping our interaction with nature. We reached out to Colin, who shares his insights into Lively Root’s journey, the challenges of integrating technology with traditional gardening, and his ambitious vision for the future in this founder profile.

Funding Round Details

Lively Root logo
Company: Lively Root
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $9,000,000
Min Investment: $100
Platform: Wefunder
Deadline: Apr 29, 2024
View Deal

Can you briefly describe Lively Root?

Lively Root is a service that delivers farm-fresh plants to your doorstep, creating personal green spaces for our customers. We aim to make plant shopping convenient by offering online ordering and delivery services, making it easy for our customers to incorporate greenery into their homes and outdoor spaces. We believe that the traditional garden center could be better for consumers and vendors and that there is a massive opportunity online to rebuild the D2C supply chain from the ground up. We aim to create a horticulture lifestyle brand and a loyal community to gain a significant market share of the $50 billion market. We are based in San Diego, and our growth has snowballed in our first several years.

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Plant sales have yet to be widely distributed through eCommerce, and it is one of the few vast consumer markets that remain untapped. This is because shipping plants and living products are challenging, significantly larger varieties. Cut flowers are easy to transport, but plants require special handling. However, with the improvement in ground shipping speeds, it is now possible to ship plants cost-effectively and timely. As a result, local and regional nurseries are now motivated to go directly to consumers and open alternative sales channels after years of being squeezed by big-box retailers. Moreover, customer behavior has changed, with the next generation of shoppers preferring to buy plants online, just like they do with other products. I am excited about the opportunity to offer personalization and search capabilities to help customers find their perfect plant based on their individual needs and preferences.

Who is on your team, and how did you come together?

One of the most significant challenges faced by our team is the need to blend technical and agricultural expertise. Introducing eCommerce to a traditional industry requires individuals with specialized skills who possess knowledge of horticulture and plants. Fortunately, we were established by a team of experienced green space veterans with a great passion for commercial growing, landscaping, technology, and retail. The current management team has previously worked together at my first startup, We all have more than 20 years of experience in startups, and it has been an enjoyable experience to reunite and manage Lively Root together. The comfort of working together in the past is a significant advantage for us!

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

The online market for plant sales has become increasingly competitive. Various companies offer various plant selections, services, and customer experiences to cater to the growing demand for greenery in homes and gardens. Lively Root competes with other companies through several strategies:

Diverse Selection: Lively Root offers various indoor and outdoor plants catering to customers’ preferences and needs. Our varied selection may include unique or hard-to-find plant varieties, which helps us stand out in the market.

Quality Assurance: Lively Root focuses on providing high-quality plants that are healthy and well-maintained. This commitment to quality ensures customer satisfaction and builds trust in the brand. We are the only retailer that directly drops ships from nurseries at scale.

Convenient Shopping: Lively Root’s online platform offers a user-friendly interface for browsing and purchasing plants. To enhance convenience, we offer features such as filters for plant type, size, and care requirements, as well as easy checkout and delivery options.

Sustainability: Sustainable and ethical practices in sourcing and packaging plants are core to our brand. This commitment to environmental responsibility resonates with environmentally conscious consumers.

You mentioned that at Lively Root, plant delivery is just the beginning of the customer journey. What resources do you have for new plant owners?

Customer education is our top priority. We have many resources and guides available to help our customers take care of our plants most effectively. By providing valuable information on plant care, we aim to enhance the overall customer experience and ensure the success of our plants in customers’ homes. Our team is always available to assist our customers throughout their plant parent journey, starting before, during, and even after purchase. This personalized approach sets us apart from our competitors, as it helps us build loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

What is the most important lesson you learned as an entrepreneur?

Be Irrationally Optimistic. Every successful startup needs one person who believes in the company no matter what happens, and that person is usually the Founder. Founders always drive the business and are its soul. Other team members will look at the Founder when times get tough or the company faces adversity. Also, invest some of your own money in your business. It will show confidence to other investors in later rounds. It will help you make smarter decisions since your money is at play. As you scale up your business consistently, always choose success over control. Starting a company is all about your business and NOT You. Ego will kill your company and is one of the fastest causes of a struggle.

If we talk again in 12 months, what milestones will you achieve?

We have many plans to expand our product offerings. We believe that the possibilities are endless in this space. One of our goals is to source new and unique “designer” plant varieties and provide additional cart add-on items such as plant care tools, soil, and fertilizers. We also have a strong focus on the following areas:

Enhanced Shopping: We invest in technology improvements to provide a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience. This includes augmented reality for visualizing plants in a customer’s home, personalized recommendations based on past purchases or browsing history, and interactive plant care guides. We are also excited to announce the upcoming launch of our mobile app.

New Suppliers: We are exploring opportunities to expand our reach into new geographic markets and demographic segments, such as Florida and Ohio. We hope to enhance the customer experience and improve unit economics by opening a distribution center in Florida through lower shipping and fulfillment costs.

Community Engagement: Our top priority is building a community of plant enthusiasts and providing educational resources. We plan to organize local workshops with partners at coffee shops or wine bars and expand our relationships with gardening and plant care experts for curated events.