By Jemima Armfield •
Muddy Trowel is a sustainable company which delivers pre-designed plant kits, providing everything you need to create an instant outdoor plant display, however large or small the outdoor space.
Muddy Trowel is the brainchild of entrepreneur Steve Folwell, who unfortunately contracted COVID-19 and was seriously unwell for many weeks. However, as he began to recover, he found himself passing the time listening to the radio and it was an Alan Titchmarsh show that would breathe new life into Steve’s passion for gardening and sow the seed for his new venture.
The part of the radio show that caught Steve’s attention was Titchmarsh talking about the fact that garden centres and nurseries were sitting on huge quantities of plant stock which could not be sold to the public because of lockdown. With millions of plants and £687 million worth of stock going to waste, Steve put his entrepreneurial hat on to try and solve the problem. And so Muddy Trowel was born, delivering pre designed plant kits with everything needed to create an instant outdoor plant display, however large or small the outdoor space.
Sustainability was also crucial to the mix so the majority of the plants chosen are perennials, peat free compost is used and eco friendly pots and window boxes from recycled plastic made using 100% wind turbine energy are provided. Using UK grown plants and buying direct from nurseries also formed part of the buying strategy.
The aim was to reach the amateur gardener who needed help putting plants together and the gardener who for whatever reason, was unable to get all the component parts to make up a stunning plant display. A comprehensive planting guide and informative postcards outlining each plant are provided as well as regular emails with hints and tips on how to best look after the plants. In short Muddy Trowel's goal was to deliver plant joy and make it a hassle-free gardening experience.
Muddy Trowel started off delivering to customers in and around Sevenoaks and Croydon, but within weeks expanded rapidly to cover larger areas including the whole of London and the south east. The concept and offering also evolved with new iterations emerging in part from garden centres reopening but also from research and crucial feedback from customers. Gifting plant kits has become an integral part of the Muddy Trowel’s DNA with many customers finding it the perfect way to send a thoughtful and unique gift and to introduce loved ones to the wondrous world of gardening. A handwritten gift message adds the personal touch.
Today the Muddy Trowel customer can expect to receive stunning seasonal plant ranges, thoughtfully put together in colour themes as well as celebratory ranges, all lovingly delivered to the door. Muddy Trowel’s passion for nature and love of gardening provides the impetus to constantly look at ways of bringing easy gardening solutions to the most reluctant and wary would-be gardeners, by continuing to create inspirational and interesting plant collections, always adding a Muddy Towel twist to surprise and delight.
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Steve Folwell is the co-founder and Chairman of multi-award winning storage business, LOVESPACE, and also the founder of Muddy Trowel, a direct to consumer outdoor plants delivery business, formed and launched during Covid-19 lockdown. Prior to his leap into entrepreneurship with LOVESPACE, Steve spent six years at Guardian Media Group where he was director of strategy and new ventures and has also worked at ITV and the management consultancy, McKinsey.
Steve's most recent venture, Muddy Trowel, was founded initially to support growers and gardeners during the covid-19 crisis. Steve heard about the significant impact lockdown would have on the UK horticultural industry whilst recovering from covid-19 himself. As a keen amateur gardener and entrepreneur, Steve believed he could help the industry and fulfil the Muddy Trowel mission of delivering joy to customers whilst making gardening accessible. With help from old friends and colleagues, Muddy Trowel was born in April 2020, with a remarkable fourteen days from inception to launch. Muddy Trowel has been delivering beautiful, in-bloom, plant kits to customers in London and the South East ever since.
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