Startup container supplier business

cgcnstrNovember 9, 2007

I am considering a startup business in an affluent New England area to provide wholesale containers to landscape designers, architects, and interior designer etc. The plan is to have a display "yard" and storage at my own residence.(2 acres)

I currently live in a southern state and find there is a year-round demand for large pieces of quality clay and concrete, as well as statuary and fountains. I would also like to offer high end metalworks/wooden pergolas, arbors. It is not my intention to sell retail.

My concern is weatherizing containers-is it a problem and therefore cutting the demand? It seems like pieces that are "frost-proof"(limestone, granite, etc) are prohibitively expensive.

A friend in Connecticut who is a landscape designer says there is not a demand for containers. I looked around in her area and just didn't find any large pots/planters(36"H x 24"D or larger)Anyone out there have input?

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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

If your friend that lives in the area says there's not a demand, maybe you should rethink/get some more input.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 9:57PM
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There is a market, but the problem that I think you'll have is that the high end part of the market is designer driven. What I mean is that the end consumer is not the one doing the shopping.

It is the architect, interior designer, and landscape architect doing the selecting and marking up on the product. We all get an unbelievable amount of direct marketing materials sent to us and there is no shortage of high end container, pots, and planter manufacturers whooing us with catalogs and wholesale pricing. That takes away any incentive the designer has to go to or send a client to a residence to pay more for a limited choice of materials.

The retail customer is also going to expect to find these items at garden centers and other more familiar places. In fact, a lot of garden centers do offer a wide assortment of containers.

Garden centers have a greater volume of customers and their overhead is shared by all of the services and products sold. That means that they can most likely sell at lower prices than you can.

The first thing you have to ask yourself is "where is someone going to look for the service or product that I am trying to sell at the particular moment that they are likely to buy it?". If you honestly think that you can position your home business to be right where someone would look when needing these products, go ahead. "at the moment they are likey to buy" is an important thing to remember. They may not remember the lovely full color ad in the paper or direct mail you sent a month before when they had zero interest in these.

I just don't see any retail customer going to the yellow pages looking for pots, or containers, or planters. They will most likely start by going to a garden center and more and more to the internet. The architects, interior designers, and landscape architects are more likely going to go right around you and buy directly from your suppliers who spend more time looking for us than we do looking for them.

That is how I see it, but that is just my perception and not based on statistical evidence.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 9:45AM
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I would like to model after another company I know of..2 landscape architects couldn't find the pieces they needed for their own jobs so they decided to start up a wholesale distributorship, ordering containers from country of origin.

They sell wholesale to other designers and some smaller garden centers. I realize that most professionals can order direct, but find there is a 6-8 week delivery or a high minimum. They will also sell retail through referral, but they do not market to retail consumer.They have a web site and don't break up nested sets.

Thanks for the input, still doing a lot of research.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 10:22PM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

You might check to see if you need permits to do business out of your home. The large, wholesale pot places in my end are getting weekly shipments of cargo containers straight off the boat. Not to mention semi-trucks, that are noisy and could show up all hours of the night idling while they sleep off the drive and waiting till your ready for receiving. You never know, you wouldn't want to get started and then have one neighbor complain about the noise and shut you down. Just something to check into.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 4:50PM
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