Here, we speak with Désirée about how Instagram inspired her shop’s name, the supportive nature of the small business community in Peterborough, and how Square is helping her to achieve her Plant Goals.

Désirée Kretschmar grew up in a plant-filled home, but it was never her lifelong dream to enter the plant business. An entrepreneur who had recently owned an online marketing company, she stumbled across a tiny storefront and was struck with the idea of turning it into a plant shop. Here, we speak with Désirée about how Instagram inspired her shop’s name, the supportive nature of the small business community in Peterborough, and how Square is helping her to achieve her Plant Goals.

On the origin of Plant Goals

Growing up, my house was a jungle. I remember going to my friends’ houses and asking “Why don’t you have any plants?” To me, houses feel so empty and weird without plants.

I was the owner of an online marketing company when I saw a space for rent in downtown Peterborough, and I immediately thought: “That needs to be a plant shop.” I went to see the space the next day. It was 85 square feet, I could reach my hands out and touch both walls. It was like a closet, it was so small. I signed the lease and opened a plant store. We weren’t there long — within a couple of months we signed a lease to move to a bigger space, because our business was growing super fast. The pandemic hit the week after I signed that lease, and we’ve sort of been running head first ever since, offering in-person, online sales and deliveries. I happen to have super low overhead costs at our tiny store, and during COVID, we happened to hit the hobby that everyone fell into while they were stuck at home. Everyone wanted plants, and we were run off our feet.

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On the name Plant Goals and using Instagram as a promotional tool

Instagram inspired the name Plant Goals. Everyone’s always talking about working on their life goals, and I thought the name Plant Goals was funny and clever and silly enough that it would work as a name, but also lasting enough that it wasn’t just going to be some trendy thing that faded fast. Now we have buttons that say things like: “Ask me about my plant goals” or “Sorry I’m late, I was working on my plant goals.” The name just sort of works itself into conversations nicely.

In previous jobs, I managed people’s Instagram accounts for years and years, so now I get to take all of the skills that I used for other people’s businesses to promote my own. Instagram has always been my favourite way to share, and really, it’s where our people are. From students in our town, to older grandmas who are sharing photos of their plants on their Instagram accounts. By posting on our account, we are reaching a real breadth of people. A lot of our customers comment about how our Instagram brought them into the store. I’ve even had people tell me: “I had to mute your posts because I just can’t buy any more plants right now!”

On the small business community and clientele in Peterborough

The small business community in Peterborough is incredible. Everyone is so friendly. There’s a saying that the rising tide lifts all boats, and that’s very much the vibe here. Everyone in the community is like: “How can I share your stuff? How can I promote your business? Let’s collaborate!” The business owners around the main street downtown are some of my best friends. They are people that I see every day. I’ve helped some of them get started, and even created some of their websites. It’s such a cool community, and it’s just filled with badass business women.

On applying for Square Loans vs. bank loans

The first time I ever walked into a bank to ask about what kinds of loans they offered, an old white guy behind the counter put his hands on his hips and asked “Well, how old are you, anyway?” So, I turned around and walked out. People often assume that I’m younger than I am, and sometimes when they come into the store they don’t assume that I’m the owner of the business. I’ve found that unless you’re forceful about it, it’s harder as a young woman to be taken seriously. In a bank situation, they can make it really intimidating, and it’s less: “Hey, we want to help your business!” and more: “Here’s how much money you’re going to owe us. We don’t think you can do that.”

With Square Loans, the process wasn’t scary like the bank was. Everyone has been really wonderful, the application process was easy to understand and so quick — I don’t know that it took longer than 10 minutes! Square Loans is presented in an approachable way, as opposed to the rigamarole that another financial institution might put you through.

On using Square Loans

Using Square Loans is just a very pleasant experience. I like that I can open the app and see what’s coming up, and how much of the loan I have left to pay off. The repayment terms are so simple, with no surprises. For a small business that hasn’t even been opened for 2 years, having this funding available is ideal, and it has helped us manage our cash flow. It’s been really nice to bring in a couple of new vendors for hard goods (like pots and plant accessories), especially around the holiday season. It’s just good to know that we have a bit of backup if we need it.

Growing Plant Goals with Square

What Square offers has grown phenomenally throughout the pandemic. I love that I’m always getting updates about this new thing that is happening. Moving forward, there are a lot of tools I haven’t used before that I want to dive into, because our offerings at Plant Goals are growing. We are going to be doing things like in-office, in-home plant care and monthly contracts with clients. I’d also like to be able to better manage our team and our schedule, so I’ll be sure to test out some tools that will address those needs. Now that the world seems to be opening up again, we’ll be doing more pop-ups and events, and being able to easily accept payments with Square will be such a game-changer.