Sow Your Own

Sow Your Own

Luis and Toby from Sow your Own are #getbritaingrowing

Lockdown was an odd time, completely unprecedented and alien to all of us. As a family, we kind of just kept our heads down, adapted to learning and working from home and started enjoying our local surroundings

I purposefully took advantage of the higher level of family time to teach the kids some new skills. You may remember the birdtable building, or the impromptu science lessons involving aquaponics and volcanic rock.

In general, I can’t say I did anything outstanding, other than survive.

However, two young lads from Bristol had different ideas. 

Friends Luis and Toby, both 21 used the lockdown summer of 2020 to start something quite amazing. 

Sow Your Own

Sharing a love for gardening and growing their own fruit and vegetables, the two lads decided to start their own business, Sow Your Own.

From business meetings in parks to having products on the shelves of the two biggest garden centre chains in the UK, during a global pandemic and national lockdown, is something that experienced and established entrepreneurs would be proud of. 

Sow Your Own, sell seed kits and growing accessories providing all of the tools needed to get you sowing and growing. From the Vibrant Veggie Box to the Kickin’ Chilli Box, with the Summer Fruit Box and Superb Herb Box thrown into their impressive kits. 

Seed Kits

Each kit comes with everything you need to get started in ten minutes including a propagator, pots and seeds. Should your

Sow Your Own
The Vibrant Veggie Box

seeds fail to germinate, they will replace them free of charge. 

Gardening is known to be good for you. Not only physically, but it is also known to be beneficial towards mental health. With a mission “to help people of all ages and abilities fall in love with growing their own plants”, these two lads have not only created a business, but they have also created something that can help us all. 

Having started with the grow kits, the boys have already expanded their product range, with bee loving wildflower seed bombs and an impressive range of seeds and accessories

Do you want to know more about these two lads? Well, I was fortunate enough to ask a few questions and find out a little bit about what makes these two tick. Without further ado, let me introduce Luis and Toby.

Oh, and Toby, if you send me your pasta sauce recipe, I will happily feature it on my recipe pages. 

How did you meet?

We met through school in 2014

What got you into gardening, to begin with?

The shared passion we got from gardening as children, we really enjoy growing our own organic food and this allowed us to escape from technology.

Who’s idea was it to go into business together and what prompted you to start to Sow Your Own?

The lockdown summer of 2020, like many others, gave us more time to be outside and connect with our garden. We really saw the need for a convenient solution to beginners gardening. With our combined knowledge of gardening and business, we launched our brand dedicated to getting Britain growing.

What challenges have you come up against setting up a business, especially during a pandemic?

Where to start? When Boris permitted, business meetings were conducted in parks in the morning before starting our full-time jobs – far from an ideal working environment. Another challenge was seed shortages. Believe it or not, seeds can get covid too… many shipments bound for our warehouse tested positive and were then destroyed.

You have done really well so far with two of the largest garden centre chains in the UK stocking your products. How did you manage that and are we likely to see you in any more, anytime soon?

It took us over 3 months to get through to the buyers for both chains; it was definitely a mixture of persistence and carefully crafted emails that got us there. When finally meeting the buyers in person we commonly came across the “How old are you?” question. Certainly a few other outlets in the pipeline… watch this space!

What advice would you give a budding young grower?

Gardening is far from easy, try not to get disheartened if things don’t go to plan. Trial and error is a big part of, it but what really increases your chances of success is providing the right conditions for your seedling to grow. This provided the basis for our grow your own kits, helping beginners avoid easy pitfalls when first starting out.

Tell me more about your kits?

Our first product was The Vibrant Veggies Box. Now we have expanded the range to include herbs, fruits and chillies. Each kit has been designed to contain everything a new gardener would need to get growing. We’ve chosen a selection of the world’s weirdest seeds, from purple carrots to yellow watermelon, in addition, you will discover peat-free coir pots and pellets (ground down coconut husks) and a reusable propagator, all in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

I can see from your website that you clearly enjoy gardening. What are your favourite things to grow?

Growing our own organic fruits and veggies has always been something we have enjoyed. Last summer we had some amazing success with the yellow pear tomatoes from The Vibrant Veggies Box, growing just under 5kg of fresh tomatoes.

What new products do you have planned or in the pipeline?

Our kits are designed to help with the hardest stage of growing, going from seed to shoot, however, this left one question ‘What do I do next?’. This prompted us to develop the ‘next steps kit’, a complete package containing the tools and guidance to grow a bumper organic harvest. This will be launched in time for spring.

 I love how the kits that you sell come with everything you need to start, can you briefly explain how it works and the set-up process?

It’s a simple 4-step process that takes 10 minutes and a splash of water. Each kit comes with a booklet outlining this step-by-step process.

 What is the best and worst piece of advice you have been given about gardening?

Sprinkling a packet of seeds outside and hoping for the best was something we were both guilty of, but once we were shown to sow fewer seeds in the safety and warmth of your home, our success rate nearly doubled.

The worst advice, plant mint in the garden… once it starts growing it’s nearly impossible to stop.

 What is the best and worst piece of advice you have been given about setting up or running a business?

We are big believers in achieving anything you put your mind to, with the right support most hurdles can be overcome.

We were told numerous times not to put our eggs all in one basket, however, we have stuck to what we know which has paid dividends in focusing our time and energy to perfect our grow your own kits.

Outside of gardening and running a business, what do you like to do to relax?

Toby – “I like to consider myself a bit of a foodie, you’ll usually catch me in the kitchen experimenting.”

Luis – “Long walks in the countryside is really something that clears my head.”

 The people who follow me on social media and here on the blog have seen me and the kids growing food from pringle boxes and from the top of a fish tank amongst other random items. What is the weirdest item that you have grown something from?

My cupboard was converted into a small veggies garden bursting with weird and whacky vegetable varieties. An LED grow light was used to grow the plants during winter while I was testing seed types for our new kits.

I really like the Blooming Bees range. What inspired you to create it and what are they so important?

We saw an alarming stat that 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since WW2. We wanted to do our bit by making wildflower growing fun through our bee shaped seed bombs. 

What are your future plans for the business?

We’ve seen first-hand the benefits gardening can bring to people’s overall wellness, something that surprised us. We want to continue our mission to #getbritaingrowing through teaming up with large corporations to support their staff to get them growing. Additionally, we are continually developing our range of products and looking to increase our list of stockists.

 Finally, what is your favourite meal to either eat or cook?

Luis “You CANNOT beat potato waffles”

Toby “My homemade pasta sauce is to die for”

[cooked-sharing]

 

I hope you have enjoyed finding out a little more about these two young men and their business Sow Your Own.  Make sure you head over to their website and check out their amazing kits. Make sure you follow them on Instagram too! 

Sow Your Own
Meet Sally!

 

 

You can also follow the funny me over on Twitter, or if you are on Facebook, don’t forget to give my page a like and if you want to see pictures of me having my nails painted, then Instagram is the place to be!


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