Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Ashley Burnett. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Ashley, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to go back in time and hear the story of how you came up with the name of your brand?
The name Coastal Roots Greenery came to me really quickly actually. In the past 10 years, I’d moved 8 times, from NY to FL, to VA, and then finally back to FL. When we came across Nassau County, FL, we knew it was somewhere we could put down roots. The last town we lived in was very far from a coast, so we were very excited to move back towards the water, and I knew I needed to include that in the name. And finally, I wanted something that spoke of what I was going to be offering people, greenery. Hence, Coastal Roots Greenery was born!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
When my family and I relocated to Fernandina Beach, I found that there was not a local place to find decent houseplants. You needed to drive into Jacksonville for that. The larger box stores offered some variety, but no solid advice or help for those having questions. I wanted to bring healthy, beautiful plants into Nassau County, and be able to offer help to those that purchased. I also wanted to find something that would allow me to find myself again. I am a stay at home mom, and while I wouldn’t trade my time spent doing that for anything, it is very easy to lose yourself and your passions along the way. Coastal Roots has allowed me to connect with people in my community, offer a local service to those with the same interests, and most of all, grow, both as a business and a person.
Each month, I hand select every plant on the trailer myself, purchased from local Florida growers. Since starting the business, I’ve developed great relationships with suppliers, and am always on the lookout for new opportunities to expand to new greenhouses. I tend to stock mostly houseplants, uncommon and common. I also offer plant maintenance for local businesses, or those unsure of how to care or introduce plants to their home. I think of my myself as a down to earth, easy to talk to person, and I try to bring that attitude to my customers while working with them.
This fall, Coastal Roots will celebrate its first birthday, something I am very proud of. I am planning for a bright future with this little business I’ve started, hoping to offer some classes in 2023, bring more variety to my clients, and expand business further into Florida and Georgia.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
I think one of the biggest strengths my business has in my market is its unique presentation of the plants. Whether you have interest in plants or not, everyone passing by the trailer comments on how eye catching it is! It is a huge conversation piece, and even those that come to chat with me about the trailer, and not plants, takes time to get to know me, what I do, grabs a business card, and maybe will mention Coastal Roots down the road to a plant loving friend. I tried to design the trailer in an eye catching way, adding new, functional details to it, while still leaving a lot of its original attributes to be admired.
How did you build your audience on social media?
One of my largest struggles while owning a business that greatly requires a strong social media presence has been finding how to reach my audience. My business is a mobile one, which means people need to know where I’ll be, and in this day and age, you can only accomplish this with social media. It’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing to try to inform your large following base of your events, and then to see only about 5% have viewed those posts or stories, simply due to an algorithm you cannot control. With Facebook and Instagram being my main social media outlets, like so many small business owners, I’ve become a slave to stories and reels and posts to try to increase that percentage of people seeing my content.
Something that has helped me gain awareness and brought followers and traffic to my pages has been to find groups locally. I join multiple groups (usually community groups, rants/raves, event groups) that are local to the area I will be having an event. I post a few days prior to the event in those groups, and see a huge boost in traffic! It allows me to target which audience I think will benefit most from this information. As long as the group rules allow for self promotion, I go for it!