“COVID-19 has affected Verde Plant Design in both good and bad ways.
We love interacting with our customers and we weren’t able to do that once the shutdown happened. We like to have a connection and chat with them about what their needs are, that’s really important to us, so that part was gone which was unfortunate. The lockdown made us have a very different business, an online business, so there was quite a learning curve. We had to move all of our stock online and that was huge. We had to photograph everything and write descriptions – we have thousands of items on our website.
It took a little while for the staff to get used to all the changes and for us to figure things out, how to run things smoothly because we’re basically just packing orders. We still wanted to bring that customer service experience through someone unpacking their plants.
We had to adapt to not having that human contact with our customers, and that was a challenge because all the staff that work with us, we have seven staff, they all love people. They enjoy the interaction with the customers. One day you’re interacting with a customer and the next you’re packing hundreds of orders a day.
The positive was, people were at home and wanted things to do, so a lot of people have taken up caring for plants since COVID-19 started. We’ve done several polls across many months on our Instagram and it seems that plants have really helped people who are struggling with mental health or who live alone or who are dealing with hard things in their life on top of the pandemic. We felt grateful to be able to offer people plants and plant advice and to be a part of their day to day routine in that way.
Manitoban’s can support us by buying plants and pots from us. We offer both curbside pickup and delivery, delivery is $10 city-wide. They can also participate in a workshop, we have virtual workshops via Zoom. We’re doing a couple in partnership with Assiniboine Park, people can register through their website for that one. They can also send a plant as a gift to someone they haven’t seen and want to reach out to. A plant lasts a lot longer than flowers and people find a lot of joy in caring for something and then watching it grow.
We’re so grateful for our amazing customers and everyone who has supported us through this crazy time. I think that Winnipeggers have really come together and we are familiar with other small businesses and it seems that there has been a lot of support and that is really good news to hear. I hope that after the pandemic that continues because small businesses are the heartbeat of the city and they’re what gives Winnipeg that unique flair that you can’t find anywhere else.”
-Zoe Dratwa, Co-owner Verde Plant Design
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