Physical Product

Gecko Planters®: Roy's Green Revolution in Interior Design

Inspired during New Zealand's 2021 COVID-19 lockdown, Roy and Christian created Gecko Planters® for indoor plant enthusiasts

The inspiration for Gecko Planters® came during the second COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand in 2021. Roy and his co-founder Christian found themselves stuck within the same blank walls day after day, desperate to add some vibrancy without damaging their rental property.

"Our plant collection was growing out of control, and we needed new places to put them," Roy recalls. "Our walls became the next frontier. After an unsuccessful hunt for removable wall planters that fit our aesthetic, we wondered, 'Why not make it ourselves?'"

Gecko Planters® is designed for ‘plant parents’—those who collect and are passionate about indoor houseplants.

This segment overlaps with homeowners and young professionals with an eye for décor. "Our product solves a few problems at once," Roy explains.

To reach these customers, Gecko Planters® took a multi-pronged approach. Early success came from attending local plant markets, and a social media ad campaign helped build a list of email subscribers before their Kickstarter launched.

"Now that our Kickstarter is live and fully funded, we are looking to continue expanding our reach through Kickstarter-specific newsletters," Roy says.

Overcoming Challenges and Building a Co-Founder Framework

Starting a first business is full of challenges.

Testing product market fit was a significant hurdle for Gecko Planters®. "We knew that Gecko Planters® created value for us, but did this extend to a broader market?" Roy reflects.

They overcame this by testing the product’s value proposition with friends and family. "Only after we could start to articulate who our customer was did we proceed with further product development," Roy explains.

Another major challenge was learning to work together as co-founders. "Christian and I both have strong opinions and often had different ideas about strategy or actions," Roy admits.

They overcame this by creating a solid framework for decision-making early on and incorporating both of their personal values into their company values. "Having two founders debate critical decisions before making them has produced really good results for us," Roy notes.

Bootstrapping and the Kickstarter Success

Gecko Planters® started with bootstrapping.

"We purchased a pair of 3D printers and started the business in Christian’s garage," Roy says. This allowed them to iterate and develop the product at their own pace while maintaining their day jobs. Once they achieved their MVP, they started making sales at local markets, validating their concept.

This led them to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for scaling production. "Kickstarter is great because it confirms product market fit and raises funds while keeping total control over the business at this early stage," Roy explains.

Building for the Future

In the short term, Gecko Planters® aims to fulfil orders for their Kickstarter backers as soon as possible. "Our Kickstarter campaign started with a bang, hitting 100% funded in under 12 hours," Roy proudly notes.

They have partnered with a manufacturer in New Zealand and are now focusing on building out their logistics and fulfilment system.

Long term, Roy and Christian envisions getting Gecko Planters® into the retail market.

"We have done direct outreach with some garden centres and online retailers here in New Zealand and have been met with enthusiasm," Roy says. Recognising that selling to retailers is a different ball game than direct-to-consumer sales, they plan to visit trade shows later in the year to build their retail network.

Reflecting on the journey so far, Roy and Christian is optimistic about the future. "We want to get a foothold in the retail market and continue expanding our reach," he says.

With Gecko Planters®, Roy and Christian are not just adding vibrancy to their own walls but transforming spaces for plant lovers everywhere.

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