How Two Childhood Friends Grew Their Online Plant Shop into a Thriving Multi-Million Dollar Business

Chris Link and Richard Anderson were childhood school friends in Omaha, who landed digital marketing jobs at the same company before moving on to pursue their entrepreneurial passion and co-founding Plant Addicts in 2017.

Chris Link, Richard Anderson, and family

It was while working together as digital marketers that the two started talking about creating an online plant shop that would meet all customer demands, from garden bushes and flowers to home décor. Like many small business owners, Chris and Richard kept their full-time jobs so they could maintain a steady income, and poured whatever remaining time they had into growing their own business.

“We ran it as a side business for two-and-a-half years at night and on weekends,” said Chris.

However, their circumstances quickly changed when the world shut down during the global pandemic and people began spending more time at home, reinvesting in their family space.

“Business just skyrocketed,” Chris said, explaining their decision to concentrate on the business full time. “That was three years ago. We went from making $50,000 a year to $3 million in revenue now.” 

Finding the right growth partner

Snake Plant

The duo run Plant Addicts by partnering with several large farms across the United States. Consumers in the U.S. order through the Plant Addicts website, and the plants are sent directly from the farms to their customers. The website and the customer care team provide plant recommendations and care information to ensure customers are getting the perfect plants for their space. By working with several different farms, Plant Addicts is able to offer a far bigger and more unique selection of plants than any local greenhouse could provide.

The challenges they faced as new business owners as opposed to the ones they face now as their business is expanding are decidedly different, but PayPal has helped support them along the way.

Today, the biggest obstacle the business partners face is juggling their desire to grow the business while ensuring they remain profitable, but when they first started out, the challenge was being seen as a reputable business to prospects and customers. What has helped them keep up with their growth plans is the same thing that helped them in those first trying months after the Plant Addicts website went live – a trusted payments partner.

Plant Addicts Plant

“Like many small businesses, when we first started out, offering PayPal as a payment option was important because it helped us build trust with our customers. Customers felt a sense of security because, even if they weren’t yet familiar with our brand, they trusted that PayPal would keep their financial information safe and would help protect their purchase if things went awry,” said Chris.

While PayPal remains their trusted checkout solution, PayPal’s complete payments platform (PPCP) plays an expanded role supporting the growing company.

“We now use PayPal for everything from credit card processing and the PayPal Checkout button to enabling our customers to pay with PayPal Pay Later options and even paying our suppliers – all through one platform. It’s much nicer having all of our money in one location versus across several platforms – is easier to manage and saves us a lot of time.”

Finding ways to save time

Plant Addicts Gift

As small business owners, time is a precious commodity. Chris and Richard often find themselves taking care of several responsibilities throughout the day. “As a small business owner, you really do everything. I go from doing HR, payroll and paying our suppliers, to managing our finances, interviewing potential candidates and working on marketing campaigns. As a small business owner, you can’t just focus on one topic – you’re constantly having to switch focus. So having a payment partner that can help save us time is really important,” Chris shared.

Despite the hustle and bustle that running a business demands, it’s a job that has given these friends an immense amount of opportunity and satisfaction. It’s also taught them valuable lessons that they now share with other small business owners.

“The best way to learn is to learn as you go – just go. Regardless of how long you plan, you will still come across things you never would have imagined or couldn’t plan for – so you just need to get started,” Chris advised. “If you can run your business on the side while continuing your day job at least as you’re getting started, that really helps to limit your risk.”

(Newsroom Ad tile) The Modern Enterprise
(Newsroom Ad tile) Small Business Spotlight
Stay up to date.

Sign up to receive the latest news to your email.