THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Modern Mint has only been around for just over a year, and last month we took our first steps into the world of garden shows! We were delighted to be asked to be a keynote speaker at a number of shows for 2015 in Suffolk, Hampshire, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. We have a busy few weekends ahead of us!
So far we have gotten to know the people of Ipswich and Newbury, and what fun we have had! We’ve came armed with a canopy, enough products that we can fit in our car, lots of jumpers (Ipswich was wet and Newbury was windy!) and two flasks of tea.
Well, what can we say? … The talks have gone down well considering they have been outside and in the cold. Over the winter we have given a number of talks to Garden clubs and societies so we had an inkling of what to expect. We did find at the shows however there was more interaction, more discussions that lead off into random subject matters – which we enjoyed.
What was really intriguing was the reaction to our shop. Being online we have no real indication of how products are being received. We know what has been selling well (the Aztec Gem terrarium, a number of our copper gardening tools including the Mira Trowel and Seedballs if you must know), but the items that have not sold we were not sure about. We know we are at the early stage of development and still increasing the footfall of visitors to the website, so not ready to write off any products yet until we get some proper feedback. So what did the people of Newbury and Ipswich think?
The Nordeck Chair
Wee have not sold one of these online since setting up in November, but during the show we ended up selling A LOT of them, and grey pine was the most popular style chosen. We were warned by the distributor in the UK that as soon as people sit in them and realise how comfortable they are, they want one! The chairs are designed and made in Finland from European wood. You can read more about the story behind the Nordeck chair here.
Our products are unusual, take our Bird Box, have you ever seen such a beautiful bird box? This was show stopper and received lots of “ooohs”. What a beautiful edition to your garden!
Another item that went down well was our range of organic fertilisers. We have two main fertilisers selling; The Shropshire Seaweed Organic Growth Fertiliser and the full collection of the Old Mucker series.
We know what you are thinking – “but Shropshire is landlocked, where do you get the seaweed?”. Intrigued? Answer can be found here.
Interested to find out how the giant Old Mucker tea bag works? This blog article on NotCot explains all!
Now it wouldn’t be right to just give you all the good news, you need a balanced review. And yes we did get opinions from passers by that weren’t so positive. Our favourite,
“IT’S A POT BRUSH!!” But do you know what, it can be a loo brush if you really want it to be (though we don’t recommend it nor do we take any responsibility for damaged toilets!). Turns out a few of you did get that it was a pot brush (we sold out!). At least we hope they did and the brushes are sitting in said customers potting sheds and greenhouses and no where near their bathrooms!
We try to make sure where possible we know where our products are made, what the story is behind it, what the products are hoping to achieve and where the materials for production have been sourced. We have enjoyed meeting so many people at the shows from customers to other sellers and the organisers, and getting vital feedback on our products. One couple told us “your stuff is great, we want everything – there is nothing like this around”. This made us smile 🙂
Our costs are fair. Fair to the customer as they buy a product well-made, fair to the makers and fair to the environment. Its not cheap, that’s not what we do. Cheap we often find ends up being expensive. We believe buy once, buy well!
Visit our events page to see where we are next, pop over and say hello, we can’t wait to meet you!
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
I am an experienced teacher of topiary and pruning, running workshops in the topiary garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent, as well as for The English Gardening School and The European Boxwood And Topiary Society. So if you are a keen gardener, a garden club, a group of friends who want to know more or even an absolute beginner who has been bitten by the gardening bug, then do contact me about what you might like to learn. What a laugh we are having in this workshop session I ran for a group of friends in Essex… Many people employ …