TWO Penarth women have started a business selling a sustainable alternative to greeting cards, an idea that came about during the first coronavirus lockdown.
Jude Cook and Carolyn Davies – who have been friends for over eight years – set up Shroot in January after Mrs Cook started growing a variety of microgreens on her windowsill during lockdown and came up with this unique way to share her hobby with her friends.
“[Jude] posted the soil and seeds in a watertight pouch that the recipients could then use to grow the greens in – all they had to do was add water,” said Mrs Davies.
“Using one envelope to serve a number of purposes reduces waste, so ideal for the environmentally conscious too.”
They are called ‘Growing Greetings’ and include a greeting card, envelope, and plant pot in one, as well as a soil disc and a different variety of edible microgreen seeds to grow within the pouch.
“Growing Greetings are a great way of letting friends and family know that you’re thinking of them, particularly at the moment when travel and socialising are limited”, added Mrs Davies.
“The recipient gets to sow and grow their own microgreens which are ready to eat in less than 2 weeks, taste good, and are packed with nutrients.”
The soil is made from ground up and compressed coconut husks known as coconut coir, the paper instructions that come with the pouches are recycled paper and the seed packages are biodegradable.
Due to their similar interest in the environment and both having science degrees, they decided to work together and develop this idea.
“I want to be self-employed and run my own business,” said Mrs Cook.
“I’m a creative person and have always enjoyed coming up with new product and business ideas. With Growing Greeting, I felt I’d come up with something that would appeal to lots of people and feedback from friends and family encouraged me to pursue the idea.”
Mrs Davies added: “She told me about her idea for Growing Greetings and I loved the concept.
“We have similar backgrounds and interests, plus complimentary skills – Jude has business experience and I have a background in content writing and research – so we decided to work together.”
The duo spent a few months testing and perfecting the products and coming up with their three initial designs – Mum in a Million, Happy Birthday, and Just to Say Hello.
Both say the reaction so far has been “fantastic” and are thrilled to have exceeded their sales targets.
“It’s still really early days, but already some of our customers are finding us because they’ve actually received a Growing Greeting from a friend and liked them so wanted to order them for their other friends and family,” said Mrs Davies.
“That’s the ultimate recommendation. We’ve had some lovely comments and feedback.
“I think because we’re living in strange times at the moment and you can’t see friends and family or go to the shops, people are looking online for unique ways of reaching out to people.
“I think people like the option of sending something a little different that is also reasonably priced.
“People have commented on how they’ve found it really satisfying watching the seeds grow – and they grow quickly so you can see the change on a daily basis once they’ve germinated.
“Others have said they’ve enjoyed snacking on the microgreens or adding them to salads.
“Our Mum in a Million Growing Greetings are proving popular for Mother’s Day, and we have orders packed and ready to send out next week so that they arrive in time – but not too soon – for Mother’s Day.
“We are already looking at how we’re going to grow and expand the business, and are product testing some new ideas too.
Last day for ordering in time for Mother’s Day is Tuesday, March 9, however for local delivery within Penarth the last ordering date for Mother’s Day delivery is Friday, March 12.