Selling seeds online
Turn that green thumb into a golden business idea with 3dcart. Learning how to sell seeds online is a lot easier than you may realize. ItвЂ™s a great way to supplement your gardening habit with extra income while getting access to some of the best seeds around. But it can do more than supplementвЂ”it can become your main source of income.
DonвЂ™t quit your day job just yet. ThereвЂ™s a lot that goes into starting a business. Today, you can make a smaller financial investment, but youвЂ™ll still need to do your legwork and really understand how ecommerce works.
1. Find the right software for the job.
First thingвЂ™s first: You want fertile soil to in which to plant your store. That means a shopping cart software solution thatвЂ™s easy for you to use (but makes it easy to get help if you need it).
Choose a dependable solution that links with major shipping carriers so you can spread your seeds wherever theyвЂ™re desired.
2. Choose a name and secure your domain.
A catchy name is always a nice thing to have as you learn how to sell seeds online. But itвЂ™s also important to secure the domain that matches it. (A domain is your web address or URL.) Typically, you can do this through your eCommerce software or a domain registrar like GoDaddy.
Make sure you pick a unique name that also expresses the fact that you sell seeds.
3. Dig up a supplier with whom you can partner.
Wholesale distributors of seeds are actually pretty easy to come by. A simple Google search reveals stores like Mountain Valley Seeds and Park Seed Wholesale. DonвЂ™t stop with the top search results, though. Make sure you do the research to find a dependable partner with fair pricing. This is a crucial part of learning how to sell seeds online.
4. Register your business.
Secure an LLC or some other form of business registration in your state. ItвЂ™s always a good idea to work with an accountant for this part of the step. But youвЂ™ll need to make your business a legitimate legal entity.
5. Create a website that will help your store grow.
Using your ecommerce software, itвЂ™s time to create a website that shows off your seeds to potential buyers. You want a website design that exudes life. Either pay a designer to put it together for you or choose from one of hundreds of different layout templates that come with your shopping cart software suite.
Turn that green thumb into a golden business idea with 3dcart. Learning how to sell seeds online is a lot easier than you may realize. Visit Us Today!
Going to Seed with Dan Brisebois
Solid Farm Planning, Business Management, Spreadsheets & Seeds!
How I started Selling Seeds – Part 1
In the summer of 2003, while I was a farm manager on an organic vegetable operation on the Montreal West Island, a friend of mine set up a garden down the road. As I was letting a ragtag assortment of plants go to seed, she had an 1/8 th of an acre planted to a few dozen seed crops. She was growing these on contract for a number of different seed companies. Her agricultural entrepreneurship and the potential profitability of growing seed marked me. This kick-started the thought process that led to my part founding Tourne-Sol farm, and my desire to see seed crops as part of our marketing mix.
Six years down the road, seed production is a growing component of Tourne-Sol’s marketing plan. We do have a seed catalogue, but a significant volume of the seed we grow is distributed to other seed companies. This relationship with other seed vendors has evolved along two different paths:
- growing seed that is mainly destined to other seed companies
- growing seed for our own use that might also go to other seed companies
Today, we’ll discuss the first path.
January 2005. As the Tourne-Sol start-up business plan was evolving, I went to the Guelph Organic Conference. I wanted to catch the annual array of speakers but I also had ulterior motives – working the trade show to talk to seed companies about growing seed for them.
There were butterflies in my stomach as I thought about approaching the first seed vendor. My co-farmer Renée offered to accompany me as emotional support. So we stepped up to the first seed display and I addressed the owner … hi, I’m Dan, we’re starting a farm this summer and I was thinking about growing some seed to sell, do you contract growers to grow seed?
I received a great first answer: the company owner was always looking for people to grow out tomatoes, and would love for me to grow out 3 varieties, and gave me the starting seed, and told me she’d buy back a couple cups of each variety. She specified a volume rather than a weight because not all small farmers have accurate scales. She also committed to a price per ounce of tomato seed. I agreed on the spot and we went through her seed racks to select a mix of tomato types for me to grow. I approached the next seed company feeling more confident.
In the end, out of 5 seed companies I spoke to, only one other offered a similar arrangement (also for tomato seed). However, rather than provide starting seed, she would accept seed saved from heirloom varieties we were already planning on growing.
That summer, I planted 6 tomato varieties for seed. Initially, I had asked how many plants I would need for the quantities they required. The companies had suggested 2 dozen plants or so, but they admitted to not knowing exact yields. I grew out a hundred foot row of each variety – significantly more than 24 plants – but I figured we could distribute excess fruit through our CSA.
Through the season, I squished and fermented seed, stored it in well labelled paper bags. In the fall, I measured the seed in cups, packed it in plastic bags and recycled envelopeds, and mailed it off. A couple of weeks later, we received two checks in the mail!
For tomato and pepper seed, where most of the seed I grow is destined to other seed companies, this process hasn’t changed much from year one: in the spring we discuss varieties and agree to quantities and prices, then in the fall I send them the seed.
However, though our seed selling began with tomatoes, my seed growing started a number of years earlier and wound up with a second type of relationship with seed companies. Let’s save that story for the next post.
In the summer of 2003, while I was a farm manager on an organic vegetable operation on the Montreal West Island, a friend of mine set up a garden down the road. As I was letting a ragtag assortment of plants go to seed, she had an 1/8th of an acre planted to a few dozen…