COVID-19: Good news stories

Good News Story: Muddy Trowel

20 May 2020
3 minute read

Jhanvi Gudka

Today’s Good News Story comes from Steve Folwell at Muddy Trowel. Following a successful seven years running the storage company he co-founded, Lovespace, Steve recently became Chairman and started the year thinking about new opportunities. 

However, Steve’s story isn’t one without hardship – unfortunately, Steve contracted COVID-19 and was unwell for many days However, as he thankfully began to recover, he found himself passing the time listening to the radio and it was an interview with Alan Titchmarsh that would breathe new life into Steve’s passion for gardening and sow the seed for his new venture. 

Titchmarsh was talking about the fact that garden centres and nurseries are sitting on huge quantities of annual plant stock which cannot be sold to the public because of lockdown. With millions of plants and £600 million worth of stock going to waste, Steve put his entrepreneurial hat on to try and solve the problem. 

Steve discovered that very few garden centres and nurseries operate delivery models and those that do have been overwhelmed with demand and are now dealing with a backlog of orders with fewer staff, resulting in longer delivery times. Meanwhile, as nurseries do not provide products directly to consumers, they are also impacted and restricted by the capacity of garden centres. 

Muddy Trowel was launched to ease this burden by providing local deliveries from nurseries and garden centres of the stock they can’t sell. Steve managed to pull together a team within a couple of days, launch a website within a week and has now been trading for just under a month. Muddy Trowel prides itself on working closely with the three nurseries it has partnered with so far to provide specific bundles dependent on availability which is delivered safely to locals. 

Steve’s focus now is on growing Muddy Trowel’s suppliers and finding ways to keep the business sustainable – both economically and environmentally. However, he’s quietly confident that they have a unique proposition that will survive post COVID-19 as our social interactions and buying habits continue to change. 

For anyone thinking about setting up a new venture, Steve shares this advice: “Just do it – make a commitment to get a team together as other people escalate that level of commitment, be ambitious about your timeframes and be forgiving about the product’. 

We hope this Good News Story provides you with some inspiration and how you can blend your passion and business idea to create something that makes both you and others happy. And we wish Steve well with Muddy Trowel! 

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