From the August 2001 issue of Startups

Pamela Dorn has loved plants for years, ever since her mother, an interior decorator, started arranging the leafy greens in their backyard. "I just studied them and thought they were pretty," she says, "and I always wanted to know [more] about them."

At age 19, Dorn made her first move into the plant business. She opened a plant shop in Reno, Nevada, and stumbled into the concept of plant rentals. "All these casinos and hotels and restaurants wanted me to [provide] plants to them," Dorn explains. "Pretty soon, we had over 150 plant accounts, employees coming and going, and it was a very profitable little business."

Dorn later moved to San Diego and, in 1984, founded Green Concepts, a plant rental and maintenance business. "I wanted to figure out what made the most amount of money for the least amount of my time," she says, "and it was definitely a plant rental/maintenance business only, no more retail ever again."

With Dorn and her staff providing and caring for plants in homes, offices, banks, beauty shops and other buildings throughout San Diego County, the business (now based in San Luis Obispo, California) quickly grew. And when people started inquiring about how to start a small plant business, Dorn decided in 1993 to license the concept.

Licensees meet with customers to determine what plants they would like, how many, how they would like the plants arranged and what types of containers they want. The licensee then orders and installs the plants and provides weekly maintenance, watering and cleaning to keep them looking beautiful.

Make the Call
Green Concepts, (805) 782-0128, fax: (805) 782-0127; also see the Homebased BizOpp 400