The Bright Idea: Instagram Story Tutorials

Long before retail got turned upside down in 2020, we were all discovering the power of social media. Instagram Stories are one of the newest ways to be your own, quirky, entrepreneurial selves online, while showcasing your products and services. An Instagram Tutorial is simply the use of the story feature to teach your followers something about your business.

Insta Tutorials are sort of like being face to face to give advice and tips. But different. Maybe better? Customers can access Instagram stories you choose to save at any time, and they’ll ask you questions in direct messages – giving you the opportunity to cultivate personal connections when responding.

Also, if you’re intimidated by the camera – don’t worry. We’ve been overcoming our own camera shyness at Anamese lately. Instagram makes posting videos so easy, the biggest hurdle might be you. Know that imperfections are part of the draw – you can talk like yourself, make mistakes, correct yourself on camera. It’s all part of the conversation. And all you really need is a smart phone and a plan.

First, study one of our favorite vendor’s tutorials: Sprout Home Chicago. They’re simple, approachable, completely doable, and make the world feel smaller in these socially-distanced times.

 

Here are a few Tutorial ideas for inspiration:

  • Container Showcase / Potting Demo
    • Describe container, soil choice, and how they suit the plant
    • Include short descriptive clips of important stages of planting
    • Cover the long term care of the plant and container
    • Name the featured products and where/how viewers can buy them
  • Succulent Arranging
  • Soil Info and Mixing Session
  • Floral Arranging
  • Choosing an Anamese Statement Piece for a Room/Garden
  • Plant Care Tips

 

 

Volume Discount Program

Volume Discount Program

Are you interested in receiving 25% off all of your orders for an entire year?

A minimum purchase of 12 pallets including mixed styles of your selection…. Italian, Lite Weight, Corten Steel, Glazed and more!

Warehouse packed containers are shipped from our warehouse in Louisiana. This is beneficial for several reasons.

  1. You are able to pick from all of our collections: Vietnamese, Italian, Lite Weight, Kor-Ten Steel…
  2. Minimums per style are very low, and mixed colors and styles can be packed on the pallet.
  3. Less breakages as we pack each pallet like a puzzle and we have shown to have practically no breakages. We guarantee your breakages will be under 2%. A forklift is required for unloading to receive the breakage guarantee.
  4. When you need to re-order a popular design, they can be reordered at the same discount from our warehouse.
  5. Want a container ASAP, we can make that happen based on current available inventory.
  6. If you order from our warehouse, we can usually save you money on freight.  Shipping from our warehouse is usually cheaper than ocean freight from Vietnam.
  7. If your container is packed at our warehouse, you have the flexibility to add to your order up until the week it is scheduled to ship.

We want to plan for a timely arrival of your container with the items you want, so we suggest that you place your order SOON!

 

 

Retailer Spotlight: Sprout Home Chicago

Sprout Home is an innovative urban garden center with two locations, Chicago and Brooklyn, that is noted for rare plants and design work. I spoke with Amy, who’s been with the company for 7 years and leads garden design and outdoor purchasing. A lot of our conversation revolved around the challenges of being a retailer during a pandemic and creative solutions to new and old problems.

I see a lot of video content coming from your social media? Has this been a response to the challenges of COVID-19? 

Yes we began posting tutorials from the beginning as a way to inspire customers and encourage DIY projects. We even did a floral arranging tutorial that began with foraging for flowers and plants in your own back yard. Now that people have some extra time on their hands, we’re encouraging them to get their hands dirty. For example, we offer potting services, but now we’re providing the tools, knowledge and supplies for customers to dive in themselves. We also give our number and email out freely. We get things like people sending us pictures of sick plants and we try to help diagnose and treat the problem.

Do you think video content is effective for a garden center?  

As much as we miss face to face interactions, videos have become the next best thing to stay engaged. Additionally, keeping an up-to-date website has been important. Whether in-person or on video, we strive to be personable, taking time to educate the buyer and keep them comfortable and successful with their plants. Education has been such an important part of Sprout, from the very basics to the nuances of rare plant care. For example, we offer design consultations so that customers know what plants would thrive in their space and what level of care they can expect.

What else has Sprout done to keep customers interested and engaged? 

People are more interested than ever in turning their homes into spaces they want to spend a lot of time in. Gardening is a great way to do that. So we started the Garden Grab Bag . It’s a flat of 10 plants (5 varieties) that are selected based on different needs like light, water and price point. Because of the difficulty of sourcing plants this year, Grab Bags are generally designed by us, so customers get a surprise (tailored to their needs) when they are delivered or picked up. And since we offer soil and containers too, people can really start from scratch. The response was tremendous. People were so excited to have plants and gardening projects as spring arrived while the virus was also making shopping so difficult.

What is unique about Sprout Home?

As a boutique urban garden center, space has always been a limitation. Our Chicago location was once a mechanic’s shop. To make the most of it while staying true to our passion for rare plants, we’re highly discerning with inventory and aesthetics. Our focus has been on unique and unusual indoor and outdoor plants, with the addition of considering what’s possible with the local climate. We’ve done well with the millennial indoor plant craze, which has proven to be more than just a trend. And we think offering this new generation of plant lovers tools, education and inspiration, is the way to keep them engaged.

A little bit about Sprout Home…

Sprout Home is built upon the talent and knowledge of many gardeners and designers – the crew and community are led by founder Tara Heibel. Tara got her start with plants by designing and planting gardens in rehabbed homes throughout Chicago’s eclectic West Town neighborhood. Plant addition took hold and a business venture turned into a passion and a lifestyle. In 2003, she founded Sprout Home in that same neighborhood in Chicago which has since expanded to include multiple storefronts featuring plants and accessories for the home garden both interior and exterior, fresh floral for any occasion and special events as well as a curated inventory of useful objects for the home.

The Dig: June 2020

  1. Ollas: A History of Unglazed Pots for Garden Irrigation Remember when we talked about our Terracotta being porous? Turns out unglazed pots have been key in a highly efficient irrigation technique that’s over 4,000 years old. The more you know!
  2. Flying Wish Paper A whimsical kit to make wishes come true.
  3. Rooted In Design A stylish and full-color guide to creatively integrating indoor plants with home décor from the owners of the popular Sprout Home garden design boutiques.
  4. Small Garden Koi A trio of ceramic fish garden stakes makes a colorful splash in outdoor spaces.

Summer Cocktail Planters

Summer Cocktail Planters

As we all work to make the best of difficult times, retailers play an important role in helping people explore new and old passions from gardening to cooking. Hobbies keep us healthy and grounded. It’s nourishing to gain a new appreciation for the simple things. With this in mind, we can craft simple yet impactful ideas that’ll be as good for customers as for business.

My idea (which I encourage you to customize) came from a homemade mojito my husband crafted with mint from our garden. My girls had finally drifted to sleep and we sat on the patio sipping cocktails. It was the first really relaxing moment all week – made more rewarding with mint grown in our own Anamese container. It’s the kind of good feeling (and taste) you just want to share!

So, I put together a mini-marketing plan for retailers and it’s a win-win for garden centers with herbs: Summer Cocktail Planters. Cocktail growing kits can include our recipes, an herbal ingredient, soil, and Anamese container. There’s a PDF that includes a cocktail idea for each major US region and a container suggestion. We recommend displaying herbs in the container you decide suits it, and to offer at a discount when bought together.

Cheers!
P.S. We highly recommend taste testing on your own patio!
Click here to download and print our recipes.

 

Clean & Clever Displays

Clean and Clever Displays

Earlier this year I celebrated Nancy’s birthday with her in Louisiana. In the country, a few days can quickly turn into a few weeks. But we didn’t sit around sipping Mint Juleps the whole time (though there were some Mint Juleps involved). Nancy and I always get caught up in the staging and photographing of the inventory. It’s a lot of work, but a lot more fun. Here are our two go-to staging tips that are just as useful for retail displays as photo shoots (or the house plant shuffle).

Stage Before Planting. We can’t possibly plant all of our pots for shoots, so we stage with plants and bed risers. Once we’ve inserted the risers and plant flush with the rim, we fill with pine needles or Spanish moss. They look just like mature plantings. We recommend risers even if you prefer to pot your displays. They’ll allow you to test them out for a few weeks before committing. (see Dig article for the risers we use)

Clever Color Matches. Here are a few of our favorite glaze and finish combos. They’re all Anamese classics we think look pretty smart together.

 

Egg Planter in Heavy Metal
Brooklyn Planter in Coral Moss
Rimmed Jar in Etched Vietnamese Unglazed

Rimmed Jar in Etched Vietnamese Unglazed
Ball in Etched Vietnamese Unglazed
Samos Crucible in Helio
Dora Tall Pot in Anthracite.

Yumiko Crucible in Etched Vietnamese Unglazed
Ball in Vietnamese Unglazed
Yumiko Crucible in Vietnamese Unglazed (smooth)

Cercle Planter in Heavy Metal
Tall Starfruit in Copper
Crucible in Malachite

Crucible in Aqua
Tall Avignon is Coral Blue
Calla Bowl in Winter Sky
Arabella in Blue

Felix Square in Black
Chigo in Verdi
Dora Tall in Anthracite

Egg Planter in Vietnamese Unglazed
Kor-Ten Steel Trough
Oil Jar in Helio

U Planter in Aegean
Yuki Tall Planter in Chalk White
Ovo Egg in Aegean

Coiled Rim in Winter Sky
Shanghai Tall in Oyster White
Coiled Rim in Graphite

Cube in Riverstone
Tall Square Tapered in Riverstone
Simple Cylinder in Riverstone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Cocktail Planters & Recipes

Planters & Recipes by Region:

Recipes are made with herbs known to grow well in each region. Of course, these herbs grow in a wide variety of climates and regions – so don’t hesitate to use what works best for your business. The printable PDFs come with four recipes per page so as not to waste paper.

 

Northwest: Rhubarb Bourbon Sour

Suggested Planter: Cube
Rhubarb Bourbon Sour PDF

 

Southwest: Spicy Basil Margarita

Suggested Planter: Italian Window Box
Basil Margarita PDF

 

Midwest: Rosemary Gin Cocktail

Suggested Planter: Calla Bowl in Rustic Blue
Rosemary Gin PDF

 

South: Mint Julep

Suggested Planter: Step Planter in Graphite
Mint Julep PDF

 

Northeast: Lavender Martini

Suggested Planter: Sonora Tall Planter
Lavendar Martini PDF

 

 

 

The Dig: May 2020

Herb Gardening for the Ground Up

Speaking of rhubarb, basil, rosemary, and lavender – here is an essential and lauded book by Sal Gilbertie, contributor to Martha Stewart Living.

Veggie Basket

This gardener’s basket is the kind of well designed product I love to share. Its materials are smart and thought out, and the basket s ideal for carrying fresh picked produce and tools.

Bed Risers (for staging pottery)

Now I know what you’re thinking – you sell pottery not bedroom furniture. But trust us – bed risers are the niftiest way to stage pottery with plants. No potting or actual beds required.

Copper Rain Gauge

A clever, beautiful, and easy to read rain gauge.

Social Media for Retailers

Social media could’ve been a conspiracy cooked up by garden centers and home goods brands around the world. We traffic in the beautiful and the fun, in people’s hobbies, passions and aspirations. Your customers will look to your accounts for inspiration, for ideas on that new DIY project in the backyard, for reminders that spring is coming and they want to plant primrose for the first time because you’ve posted a beautiful picture along with some tips on its care.

But a great social media presence takes some planning and strategizing. I’ve broken down the basics by order of importance and potential difficulty (if your not familiar with the technology).

Level 1:

  • Define your brand as a lifestyle not just a product. Chic and contemporary? Antique and eclectic? Organic and eco friendly? Some mix of all this? Understand what you offer and what your customer’s aspirations are. You’ll focus your content and generate ideas for creative posts.
  • Plan for consistency. From the filter you use on Instagram, to the color palate of your Pinterest page, or the voice (fun and flirty or wise and studied) of Facebook posts, a consistent approach promotes recognition and trust.
  • Strategize. The visual element of home and garden is a no brainer for Instagram and Pinterest. But don’t discount Facebook (more adults than any other platform are users) or Twitter (more people follow brands on it). Decide on which platform you want to start, where you want to expand, who will be crafting and posting your content, and stick to a schedule so that your account appears lively and active.

Level 2:

  • Provide valuable content. This is as easy as sharing other people’s content if it’s helpful for your customers. If you have a new shipment of plants and you want to share a blogger’s high quality video on planting, you’ll be promoting your product and supporting your followers. As you become more invested in your social media, you can put more effort into creating tailor made content. We use programs like Canva, Lightroom, Adobe Spark Post and Unfold to create content.
  • Listen and engage. Use the popular features like Stories on Instagram and Facebook. Branch out into videos, narration, interactive polls, contests, and reposting of your followers content. Strive to keep your content dynamic, diverse and responsive. Don’t be afraid to recycle content on different platforms – everything can be recycled!
  • Find a face for your brand. You don’t have to hire an actor. You just need a friendly face to humanize your accounts. This will bring your brand to life for followers. This can be challenge if you’re camera shy. If you have employees who are up for being your online persona – recruit them. But take it from me, after a couple months of putting yourself out there, you start to enjoy the process and all the positive feedback!

 

Beloved Blue

As far back as ancient Egypt, blue has been a most prized color. The pigment of sky and ocean has a long history of infusing the beautiful objects it’s adorned with inspiration and harmony. This tradition is unbroken today – our blue glazes are top sellers, second only to Malachite. Blue is relatively rare in the natural landscape, so it’s always a beautiful and striking addition to yards and gardens.

The first glaze Anamese carried was blue and many we still carry today. They include classic Blue, Celadon, Aqua, Rustic Blue, Malachite, Winter Sky and a variety of unglazed options with blue elements, like Coral Aqua, Verdi, and Artesian Reef.

 

Blue

 

Rustic Blue

Celadon

Aqua

Winter Sky

Malachite

Artesian Reef

Coral Aqua

Verdi