How Desk Plants Pivoted and Found Success During COVID-19

by
July 28, 2020
laptop, keyboard, computer mouse, notebook and two small plants sitting on a desk

About Desk Plants

Before founding Desk Plants, Lawrence Hanley spent several years working in the tech industry and one thing he noticed was the overwhelming amount of bland desks, fluorescent fixtures, and the lack of natural light in many offices. He witnessed the burnout his co-workers faced in this environment. Lawrence knew the healing benefits that plants could bring to any space and the trend of decorating one’s workspace, and he immediately saw a niche in the market. He wanted to make it easier for people to incorporate live plants, that are low maintenance and hard to kill, into their workspace for people to feel better, be more productive, and experience the health benefits of having plants around. In 2018, Lawrence made the leap and started Desk Plants.

Business Pivots During COVID-19

In response to the global pandemic, Desk Plants incorporated a new product line for corporations. They pivoted from being strictly a consumer business to being a distributor in the corporate gifting space. Lawrence explains, “Companies are now spending large budgets that they normally would have spent on catering, events, or employee benefits. Now that freed budget is going into care packages and little gifts for employees working from home.” With companies pivoting and investing in office decor and gifts for home-bound employees, this was the perfect opportunity for Desk Plants. Companies such as Apple, Deloitte, and Pepsi-Co, have come to Lawrence’s company during this time for customized plants with engraved logos on the pots for their employees. This new market segment has been a very important stream of growth for Desk Plants.

With the influx of order volume, ShipStation has been able to aid Desk Plants by making their shipping processes smoother through the use of automation rules. Lawrence states, “Being able to hook up to our label printer and easily print off all our labels and put them on hundreds of orders at a time, helps tremendously. It’s literally a three-click process and we save tons of time.”

How ShipStation Has Helped 

Before Lawrence found ShipStation, he was having issues finding a software that could integrate well with his Shopify store. With his previous software, he couldn’t separate local area deliveries from big shipments. Orders were getting lost–it was a confusing mess. Lawrence decided to give ShipStation a try. “I’d heard so many good testimonials from other entrepreneurial friends I had worked with, nothing but words of affirmation saying that I needed to start working with you guys at ShipStation, and it’s been night and day since we started.” 

Desk Plants has saved a great deal of money on their shipping costs by using ShipStation’s discounted carrier rates. “We saved roughly 40% in our shipping costs alone that was reflected in our P&L (Profit and Loss). This has helped us be more efficient–and profitable–with our business.”

The help of ShipStation has streamlined their business processes, allowing Desk Plants to seamlessly scale their business. Lawrence states, “ShipStation is always putting out potential fires by eliminating friction with our continued growth. All of our systems are automated now, and we have a very streamlined, smooth-running system because of ShipSation. Shipping is a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to the distribution business, so the fact that our systems are able to handle all of our recent growth, allows us to focus on the actual product development, efficiency, partnerships, business development, and streamlining our fulfillment process. All this allows us to focus more on what matters, which is growing our business, and we don’t have to worry about shipping at all.”

Advice to Business Owners 

With Desk Plants success we asked Lawrence what advice he had for entrepreneurs and business owners navigating this difficult time. 

Lawrence: “You have to keep an open mind because what you think the interpretation of your idea is could end up being very different. For example, many alcohol companies were going out of business due to closure of bars but some have now turned to creating a line of hand sanitizer because they have all the materials to do it.” 

Lawrence encourages business owners to search for unique ways to pivot their business to continue on the pathway of growth. “It’s a matter of taking the materials and the idea that you have and shifting it slightly so that you can get in front of a more appropriate market. If you can find a way to make sure your margins are secure, maybe tweak your product and your verbiage slightly, switch up the marketing, then you can find that buyer and possibly make even more money. It’s all about being nimble, creative, open-minded, able to transition quickly–willing to pivot.”

Follow along with Desk Plants by checking out their Instagram or supporting them at deskplants.com

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