THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Apr25

Modern Mint – Garden Shows 2015

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.

ModernMint Garden Show

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

Grey_chairs_table_on_a_terrace_800x400

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! Posh Bird Box with names
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.Seaweed fertiliser

We know what you are thinking – “but Shropshire is landlocked, where do you get the seaweed?”. Intrigued? Answer can be found here.

Old Mucker Triple M resized2

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,

“Why are you selling a loo brush at a Garden show?”Pot-Brush 1

“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!

 

 

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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