Mandy Bailey is a third generation gardening professional who grew up with home-grown fruit and veg.
“Dinner was invariably pulled out of the ground or picked from a plant and what wasn’t used straight away was preserved,” she said.
Following roles as a personnel officer at The Scotsman and then in corporate HR, she obtained an RHS certificate in horticulture with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh while “far too bored” on maternity leave.
She studied garden design at KLC Design School in London, worked for her family’s garden business and went on to set up her own garden design practice.
Then a few years ago, disheartened by how gardening and growing your own was seen only as a pastime for older generations, she came up with the idea of Plant-n-Grow.
Plant-n-Grow sell easy-to-use kits containing seeds, growing medium, propagator and bespoke recipe cards, everything needed to take first time gardeners through the whole process “from plot to plate.”
She pitched her business idea to Entrepreneurial Spark, which then led to a place on the five-day ESpark boot camp, six months of market research and launching a prototype which sold out at Christmas 2013.
But getting to launch, she says, “was the easy part - the most exciting time, getting to market and selling, comes down to a combination of perseverance, patience and building good relationships with relevant networks. I love it - every day brings something new and different.”
Plant-n-Grow is now stocked by 50 independents, sold over Amazon and has had its first listing with a national chain.
The company has since won and been shortlisted for a number of top prizes, including Start Success of the Year 2014 at notonthehighstreet.com’s Make Awards, and is one of this year’s Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100.