Grounded Plants Doubles Output While Using ShippingEasy
On Earth Day 2020, friends Danuelle Doswell and Mignon Hemsley turned their off-the-cuff idea of owning a plant shop into a reality and launched Grounded. The D.C. based online plant store sources mature houseplants and ships them out to customers across the nation all from their tiny studio space. While their operation may be small for now, their mission is massive.
Founders Mignon and Danuelle believe in the power of owning plants to effect change on a person’s mental health. For Grounded, plants are more than an aesthetic; they’re a catalyst to a healthy life, which can so often be hard to come by in the neighborhoods that surround their store.
As Grounded grows from a seedling of an idea into a flourishing business, Danuelle and Mignon trust ShippingEasy to keep their complex shipping processes running smoothly with less manual effort. Since adopting the shipping solution, the duo has doubled their output volume and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Planting the seed
“Danuelle and I met almost six years ago,” says Mignon. “We always bonded over plants, food, music. One day, she sent me a tweet on Twitter that said “33% of plant owners are millennials.” I wrote her back, “I’m going to open a plant shop.” I had no intentions in opening a plant shop, I was just talking.”
But Danuelle wasn’t joking around.
“She said, ‘well if you’re serious, let’s really do it.’ And so from there we just discussed what plants meant to us, to our families, how we grew up with houses full of plants. And we realized that owning a houseplant really enhanced our mental health. And so we thought that we have to spread this message to everyone, just encouraging other people to have house plants too. And we wanted to do it all online.”
A few months after that fateful tweet, Grounded launched. Since then, they have shipped over 20,000 houseplants.
Their mental health-focused mission couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Just as Grounded hit the internet, COVID-19 began its rampage around the world.
“When the pandemic happened, we were a little afraid. People were losing their jobs. People didn’t know what they were going to do next. We wondered, ‘are people going to want to spend money on plants?’ But we thought that our focus and our message really aligned with what was going on,” says Mignon.
And they were right. Houseplant sales skyrocketed during the pandemic, which was great for business, but tough on Mignon and Danuelle. These business owners were also the only employees at Grounded, which means that everything fell to them, including packing and shipping orders.
“When we first started, we were literally on the USPS website, inputting all of the orders because we didn’t use Shopify from the beginning either. We used another third-party website builder, so there was no way to connect the two,” says Mignon.
Without that integration, the pair had to manually enter and upload thousands of orders. By June 2020, Danuelle and Mignon knew that something had to change. And that’s when they found ShippingEasy.
An easier way to ship
Since then, their sales have doubled, and Grounded has had a much easier time of getting plants to their destinations. The company has even been able to branch out into different markets and expand their reach.
“Our main focus is shipping houseplants direct-to-consumer, but we also have a B2B sector where we do corporate gifting. We also do online corporate webinars where we teach people how to take care of their plants and make the most of them,” Mignon says.
While keeping a houseplant alive can be a hard task in the best of circumstances, it is even more difficult to send them out in the mail in the middle of the summer or dead of winter. Danuelle and Mignon take special precautions when packing the plants, including weather-proofing the packages and packing orders quickly and frequently.
“We try to pack orders at least twice a week and then take them to the post office. Once an order is placed, it’s processed within about two to three days. And then after that, we’ll try to ship it out by the next day.”
Now Mignon and Danuelle have more time to focus on providing excellent customer service and expanding their brand now that their shipping process requires less manual labor. Here’s how ShippingEasy helps Grounded get it done:
Automatic order integration
One way ShippingEasy saves time for Grounded is by allowing customers to input relevant information, which is then shown directly in ShippingEasy.
“ShippingEasy is super helpful when manually uploading orders that do not come directly to our online store, such as a Corporate Gifting order. We’re able to instruct our clients to enter their recipients’ information then upload and map it easily to begin processing, This saves so much time because otherwise, we would have to manually enter their orders.”
Keeping track of orders used to be overwhelming for Mignon and Danuelle. With ShippingEasy, they’re able to get a broad view of all orders.then apply filters to see only the orders that fit whatever criteria by which they want to sort.
“We love how easy ShippingEasy makes it easy for us to filter orders by delivered, in transit, etc. This allows our communication with customers to be even more seamless in the event of a delay or error,” says MIgnon.
Grounded uses Shopify to facilitate a majority of their orders. Thanks to ShippingEasy’s seamless integration with Shopify. Processing orders from that platform is quick and easy.
“Our Shopify orders go straight to ShippingEasy and we can automatically begin processing for shipment. It would be so hard to operate without this integration.”
Giving back to move forward
Danuelle and Mignon have big plans for the future of Grounded. The pair plan to start a non-profit to help D.C. residents in food deserts grow their own gardens as a community.
“There’s an area in Ward 8, which is predominantly black, and it’s been known to be a food desert,” Mignon says. “We want to focus our nonprofit on food equity because both of us are gardeners. We would love to plant a community garden and teach kids how to grow their own food.”
Grounded’s goal is to uplift their community through the power of plants, but this is a practice that anyone, anywhere can put to use. The only goal is happiness.
“Put your phone down, close your computer and talk to your plants, play music for your plants, water them. If you pay special attention to your plants, you’ll learn their needs. And sometimes those needs will align with your own.”