Both sides of Justin’s family immigrated from the Netherlands, which is often considered the greenhouse and flower capital of the world. One of his grandfathers was appointed an Officer in the House of Orange by the Queen of Holland for his contribution in opening up the United States to the Dutch tulip industry. And, his parents met in a business meeting while negotiating the price of poinsettias. It’s no wonder he started Bloomscape, a company dedicated to making plants easy, because plants make life better!
Though many of his relatives spent their careers in the horticulture industry, Justin’s parents carved out a specific niche supplying young plants (trays of seedlings) to thousands of greenhouses all over the US. While most plants are shipped by the truckload to one or two locations at a time, these trays of seedlings had to be shipped in small packages around the country. To do this successfully, his family had to develop a deep understanding of horticultural supply chain management and plant health during shipment. This complicated process is crucial for ensuring plants receive the right amount of moisture, remain climate-controlled, have foliage and root protection, and can manage ethylene build-up during the shipping process.
From a young age, Justin enjoyed learning the family business but wanted to be closer to the customers who would actually be buying and enjoying his family’s plants. When he was eight years old, he and his cousin started selling plants on the street in front of the greenhouse for Mother’s Day. Over time, this little roadside stand grew into a major local phenomenon—selling thousands of plants over a few weekends each spring, when hundreds of people came to buy plants fresh from the greenhouse.
After college, Justin wanted to extend direct-to-consumer access to greenhouse-fresh plants beyond his hometown. He spent months translating the techniques his parents had developed for shipping young plants into a system that would allow him to ship plants to friends living in cities around the country. And, it worked! The timing wasn’t right then, but Justin was able to successfully ship over 300 plants using this method.
Ten years later, Justin has taken his passion for plants, supply chain knowledge and shipping experience learned from the family business, and his innovative packaging design to found Bloomscape, so he can once again bring healthy houseplants to customers directly from his family’s greenhouse.