NY NOW Podcast

Café Garden Inspirations with Onatah Seed Company

July 26, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 47
NY NOW Podcast
Café Garden Inspirations with Onatah Seed Company
Show Notes Transcript

"Whatever the issue, when you care about it then it will matter. And if you don’t, then it won’t." This philosophy helps us stay true to the things that matter the most; a connection with nature, quality goods and to be of service to ourselves and our community. These are the values that make Onatah Seed Co. tick and inspire us to work hard to bring our products and vision to you. This philosophy inspires their slogan; Seed.Sun.Shine. Whatever you care about plant it, nurture it and shine goodness onto the world.

RESOURCES   
| Guest
Website:   
https://www.onatahseedco.com/     

| NY NOW : 
https://nynow.com     

| NY NOW Podcast Page: 
https://nynow.com/podcast   

| NY NOW Digital Market: 
https://nynowdigitalmarket.com     

Dondrill Glover:

Welcome to the new york now podcast, a modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, gathering twice a year in America's design capital New York City. It's where buyers and designers on earth have refreshed and dedicated collection of eclectic lifestyle products. Hi, I'm Dr. Glover, podcast hosts, senior producer and marketing consultant for New York now, and today we're delighted to welcome Heidi Meka and Lauren Draus. founders of Oh nada Seaton co to our New York now podcast, co founder, Heidi Meka, open anata cafe in the mid 2000s, offering quality garden based food and retail products, partnering with Lauren drouth. In 2018, or not a cafe became the oh not a Seed Company, where they began to focus on making gardening accessible to everyone with their signature product garden in the box. Friends for over 15 years co workers and restaurants and retail businesses. They knew partnering and a company was their own recipe for success with Heidi's background in business operations and Lauren's background in events in public service, and deeply inspired and fueled most by their dedication to making accessible products or not a safe company was born. Their philosophy is whatever the issue is, when you care about it, it will matter. And if you don't, then it won't. But philosophy helps them to stay true to things that matter the most, a connection with nature, quality goods, and to be of service to themselves and the community at all nada. It's about seeds, sun and shine. Whatever you care about planet, nurture it and shine in the goodness into the world. Join me in welcoming Heidi and Lauren to New York now. Hi, Lauren. And Heidi. It is so good to welcome you guys to New York Now s. podcast. I'm so excited to talk about your brand on Onahta. How are you guys doing today?

Heidi Meka:

We're doing great. Thank you, Dondrill.

Lauren Draus:

Thanks for having us.

Dondrill Glover:

All. I'm so I mean, are you kidding? I was looking for a garden story. And as I mentioned to you, when I start when I emailed you, Heidi, I found your brand and our digital market and I thought look at this brand. It's so beautiful, it's fresh, it's vibrant. And of course I'm all into like gardening and farmers and things like that. So I thought it would be really great to inspire our audience with the story about your brand and hopefully get everybody shopping and gardening. Can you tell us how you started? What was the path to Onatah seeds? And where did the name come from? And how did you begin?

Heidi Meka:

Sure, well, I actually owned a small cafe in my town for a couple of years, and I was growing a lot of the food that we serve in the cafe in my own garden. And I had no idea that it would be such a big deal to people that I mean, I knew that food was good. I knew it's you know, vegetables are best friend out of the garden in our small rural community didn't really realize how much people would appreciate that. And I had always wanted to start a business like this and I've been thinking about ways to do it and what it would look like and the cafe kind of opened the door to what this business would be. I was not aware of how out of the realm of possibility gardening was to most people and

Lauren Draus:

I can second that she was very unaware she has such a green dumb and she's so amazing at it she just thought what everybody knows this kind of stuff. She's not special and I'm like that's special.

Dondrill Glover:

But so many people don't don't and they and they want you that's the thing about it. So you have this cafe you know can I ask you what were what were some of the things on the menu What were you serving as the food like? Sure well everything was really fresh and simple. So we didn't add a lot of things to the food it was it was just really good. Tomatoes are really nice food cucumbers and the salads were very fresh. Everything right? It was locals look seemingly a Green Goddess dressing. That is to die for. Yeah, and of course everything was fresh basil for my garden. Lauren the name alone on that I need to find out where this so I can get some.

Lauren Draus:

You can send her the recipe It is amazing. It people love them. They came into the cafe all of her food was just outstanding. I mean you had a carrot ginger soup.

Heidi Meka:

Yeah, it was just simple and clean and fresh. But the whole thing was ugly. The ingredients were so good that you didn't mean to throw cheese all over them. You know it was like it was just very simple. So very different for our area. is very rural

Lauren Draus:

where we live. Everything is like a chalian parmesan places and even if you go to a restaurant, the restaurant serving your chicken parmesan.

Heidi Meka:

It's actually how we we kind of rank restaurants is like chicken parm on the menu. There's chicken parm on the menu. And it's definitely against chicken parm, and that people make snide chicken ham. But when it's all you get whenever I

Lauren Draus:

saw her cafe was so great, because it was there was no there was no chicken parm, it was just really good. salads, you know, good, good, hearty foods that you just didn't find anywhere else she's getting, we're getting everything from Cisco and you know, big, you know, producers. Quick food. So, for us, it was like, yeah, breath of fresh air for a cafe like that, and a small town.

Dondrill Glover:

And it's just, you know, I mean, when I think about, I think that we sometimes overlook these wonderful like simple foods. And it kind of goes back to me for when you eat local, or closer to home, the fresher, you know, the source of where your food is coming from. And I think that we've had just culturally, for a very long time, the dousing of flavors with our food and coming from here and there. And sometimes you're like, you bite into a tomato, and it's just really good. But you'd be surprised that you know, that palate of that taste has just been ripped from our mouths, from not having a lot of really good, just clean, organic and fresh food. So that's a deal with that chicken parm and meet all those great vegetables on the side. So they'll be inspired, you know, it'll be a great combination. Well, anyway, nice to have a salad that wasn't just iceberg of water.

Heidi Meka:

Yeah. So that so that was where it started. And unfortunately, I had to close the cafe because our building was sold. And so it was really out of out of our hands. But as I was in the cafe, I was just getting the sense of to where I wanted this business to go. And it hopes the cafe would kind of be the anchor for that business. And then that didn't happen. And we all moved on. And then, you know, Lord and I have known each other for a very long time. I know that like we've, we have through the last 15 years. Or we have had dinner once a month at the same restaurant at the same table and like just went through life together. Oh my god, everything college kids marriage. Everything. Yeah. Power of sisterhood. And as I carry myself,

Lauren Draus:

that's where the name really comes from. So Oh, not a we live in upstate New York in the Mohawk Valley. And the indigenous you know, community that was originally here was the Mohawk tribe. And so Oh, nada is actually the word for the three sisters, the three sisters being the foundation of porns being a squash becoming together, you know, something that is where the beans grow up, and you know, shade for the squash. So they work together as the three sisters. And so that was really the inspiration for the name Oh, nada, was sisterhood. You know, we just we wanted to have a local connection, we wanted to recognize the indigenous community in the world with, you know, the food that is in our area that we grow that, you know, comes from the Mohawk Valley, and then to really lean into that sisterhood, that's a big piece of it for us is that promoting women and having that, you know, female driven voice totally. And

Dondrill Glover:

the fact that you, you know, would be so thoughtful and caring to honor you know, the ancestors of the indigenous communities that were there. That's really powerful. That's that's good heart stuff. was a you think about what that Trinity represents? We still need all of that, you know, and then also the grains, I think it's, I think it's fantastic. It's good to know that the story behind it, and you guys, you know, just spoke about being friends for over 15 years. And and of course, it would be a natural for you to start a business together. You know, knowing dreams and goals. And I know that Lauren, you're have a background in events and PR and Heidi, your business operations. Did you guys in starting the business? Did you decide to stay in those roles? Or were you up for challenging yourself and doing something new? And how you were going to handle? Yeah, I mean, I

Lauren Draus:

think for the most part, we stay in our roles, but also being a small business and being you know, a partnership. We're not afraid to say hey, you know, I need you to come and do photography with me today. You know, it needs to be an assistant today or you know, hey, Lauren, I need you to call the suppliers and, you know, we need to get, you know, work done this way. So I think we work very flexibly, but definitely we knew where our strengths were and we let each other sort of go in that lane.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. But I also just love the fact that you know, you leave You know, you pop over where you need it, and you learn that support. I mean that, you know, once again, you know, the bond of building a business, having passion and then knowing each other's strengths. And so you know, knowing your some Tell me where the pivots and the challenges and the learning and moving towards something new. What was that experience like?

Lauren Draus:

Well, I think you know, Heidi has a ton of experience in business operation. So she has this lingo, right? And she uses all these acronyms all the time. And I'm going like,

Unknown:

what, what's our ROI? Like? I don't I'm not sure what the band's What are we doing? What it means? Yeah, exactly.

Lauren Draus:

So for me, some of the pivots and challenges have been, you know, learning some of the business strategy and understanding from the operations point of view why we might, you know, choose this supplier or choose this product. Because I'm coming at it from a creative sort of perspective of, hey, this looks great, or it's gonna photograph well, or I, you know, I see an interest. I mean, we can get some flowers in November. Yeah. Right. I like so the florist don't have any sunflowers. And it's January, and I'm trying to? Of course they don't. And what do you mean, of course, they don't? You're?

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, I so understand that, that creative. One where you just think it's just possible. It goes back to I mean, drawing way back, it goes back to Diane and breelan on a set when she started, like, any tigers, we need this, we need that. Just get it. Find that I can make that happen. Yeah.

Lauren Draus:

You know, so that for me, were some of the the pivots and challenges of like, oh, I've got a, you know, kind of, even though I'm not in the operations lane, I'm in it with her, it affects what you know, what I do creatively and stuff. So that's been some of that for me.

Heidi Meka:

And I think just our supply chain during COVID, you know, it was it was constant surprise. So just having to you the best, the best laid plans were disrupted sometimes. And we just had to adjust. And thankfully, you know, the people that we're working with the retailers are buying their products are so understanding because they're in the same boat. You know, things don't ship because half of their warehouses shut down because they had an exposure that's out of everyone's hands. So there's anything we've learned this year, it's that these things are really big deals, right? We're all gonna live with the fact that

Dondrill Glover:

you're gonna survive. It's not I just heard of, I don't know, maybe she might be less use less than three. She said, it's not a crisis. I'm like, wow. crisis. crisis? Yeah, definitely. I

Lauren Draus:

think that's part of it, too, is learning, like, what's really important? And what are just things you can let go or change? And that's great.

Dondrill Glover:

I could see that. You know, before I go into my next question, I want to go back a little bit to the cafe, you know, you close the cafe. You know, of course, I would imagine you had a strong customer base, how did you bring those clients into? Oh, not at the Seed Company? Were you able to keep that the tie where they will to understand how you were expanding in a new direction, and be able to come along with you?

Heidi Meka:

Yeah, so um, yes, I did, I actually live in a very small community that is very passionate. So they're very supportive of anyone who's trying to do anything in the community, whether you're just painting your shutters, or you're opening a business, that community really comes behind, because behind your project, and so the cafe was called Oh, nada. When I when when we launched o nada, on social, analyse the company on social media, there was an immediate response from my community that, you know, this, this has got to be you like, this is your name, right? And so, it was like, Yes, of course. And then they were buying gifts for us. And they are, you're buying gifts from us for holidays and special occasions, and, and just buying them to give them away to people who they thought would enjoy them and enjoy the brand. And we had lots of support and feedback on, you know, what they thought, let's go look at or worked well, and what didn't? So, I mean, it's, yeah, it was a real joy to live in a community like that, you know, I, I always say like, you know, I'm a runner, and I go out and run and like that the high school principal and the retired Superintendent are out there like clapping and cheering you on is to go like that. It's just a great community. So

Dondrill Glover:

yeah, I mean, that, you know, just there's something about a community that understands what's important to them, and then really supporting a business and I think that's one of the advantages of small spaces where people know each other, but even in larger cities and even the communities that we have here in the city. People really galvanize around businesses and people and pushing you forward. So I think you're so fortunate to have had that. I'd love to talk about relationships with nature. What was it like for you Heidi growing up and Lauren, what was it like for you? You know, we're that this you know, because now we've got this company here. We had a restaurant, we've got gardening, we've got seeds, but I'd love to know growing up what was that relationship like for you?

Heidi Meka:

Sure. So I grew up in the country like swimming and ponds walking through the woods, you know, your you know, surrounding my my home growing up so I you know, quiet and peace and listening to the crickets or the the peepers at night. Like that was all very much a part of, of my existence growing up. So I think for me now, as an adult with a with a career and a family, I always yearn for those moments. And I look for those things, once they disappear from my life. So I still love the water I at times have to get to the water to get my head straight. Or, you know, just going for a walk at night, being in my yard at night and watching lightning bugs. I still live in a rural community, but I live in the village. So those moments aren't as always as available.

Lauren Draus:

For me, I have very little no connection to nature. My family were from Brooklyn from Queens. Yeah, how Yeah, when I was a kid, my backyard was concrete and I. And then my family moved upstate to a city. But for us, we thought the you know, corner yard that we had in this city was like, I thought I was Laura Ingalls Wilder on the prairie. And as I got older, I realized this giant five acre property I thought my parents had was like, a quarter of an acre on a city block. You know, for me, nature was new, it was different I Brittany, bras, I never walked on grass with shoes, right, exactly without shoes on. So like, I had to sort of adjust to all of that growing up. And then I married someone who was very in tune with nature, who is a fisher, he loves to be in the woods all the time. And really, through my husband, I learned so much about being connected to the things you eat the things that you you know, live around you listening to the birds identifying things, you know, I had never done that before. You and I would totally for me, which as you know, as we started Oh, nada, which was part of us, you know, starting the business was like, things that Heidi thought he knows that I was like, No, I don't think this is a weed or if this is a like, tropical flower, right? I don't know, to pick everything.

Heidi Meka:

Just to you know, it's only your perspective. Or is only your perspective,

Dondrill Glover:

it's not what your perspective? Well, you know, it's it's interesting, because even when you say, you know, come from a city where you know, it's not green, it's buildings and concrete. It's, I find it isn't it so amazing how once you get in tune with nature, how easy it is to embrace it, how easy it is to realize just what you're missing and what you need of it in your life. But that's what I find it is, you know, you're looking at, wow, how did I notice this before? It's beautiful.

Lauren Draus:

It's funny, because you didn't know you were craving it, you know, and I think now back to my grandmother, you know, she had, you know, her apartment in Brooklyn, you know, she had all these house plans, of course, house plans is a big movement. Now, of course, you know, we had house plans, too. So I was very familiar with like a spider plan, or either something like that, or an aloe, but, you know, that was as much as we could do. And I never really connected it to being a garden or being part of something bigger. It was just, you know, these plants lived in these pots in our house. And, you know, starting this business and thinking about what is a garden and you know, really sort of thinking outside the box in terms of you know, you can live in the city, and you can have a garden of your own. It depends what you think. Right?

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, what you think a guard does? I mean, totally, it's kind of, I think, you know, particularly in the city, the out here in New York, people be ached for that so much and you'll find we have a lot of urban gardens, we've got gardens, as you know, Lauren on fire escapes, you know, on the fire escape. Exactly. You know, I have a garden on my balcony here. I mean, really, I think it just also kind of shows that we really are, you know, we're asking like nature's coming in and we need that part. And so I do get really inspired by even in small spaces that we are being you know, taught how to create garden says that we that we need this in our lives, it's really wonderful to see that, I'd love to ask, at what point if you remember, you know, kind of like an aha moment where you decided that I want to impact further, whether it's opening the cafe and opening and out of it, you felt that this is your path, and you want to take this path and you want to connect people more than nature food.

Lauren Draus:

Oh, boy, well, I remember because I would call her because now I live in a rural community and I, you know, I have I live in a village, but to me, our yard is, you know, ginormous. And I would say, hey, I want to plant this, or Hey, you know, how do I grow this? Or how do I plant this? And she would say, Oh, it's this or this. I said, You know what, I really wish, I wish you just put a garden together for me with directions. And I could just plant them as is that I don't have to go and imagine I mean, does this go with this one does exactly. You know, how much space does this need? that someone would just curate that. And I think you know, if you could just do like hellofresh. But for gardening, exactly. I don't call you with every idea that I have or plant that I have. And that was sort of the aha moment for like, garden in a box. You know, we knew we wanted to connect with food again, and connect with nature and connect with, you know, plants. And we'd been talking about seeds and the Seed Company and doing something like that. But it was really that, you know, my novice lack of, you know, gardening knowledge that I was like, hey, let's do that. And I remember Heidi looking at me and being like, that's it. That's what we're gonna do.

Dondrill Glover:

That's what we're gonna do.

Heidi Meka:

I'm thinking about it for, you know, a decade I had I made a business plan. At one point you probably seven or eight years before we launched nada. And it just wasn't right. It wasn't what I wanted to do. And I kept rereading it and thinking about it, because I wanted it to be something beautiful. I wanted it to be I like shareable giftable I because I love, I love all of those things. I didn't want it to be, you know, like a hardware store. I just couldn't quite get there. I didn't know what it looks like. And then when when Lauren and I had that conversation, I was like, Oh my God, that's it. That's the thing we're waiting for. But it wasn't until, you know, we we work together and you know, sort of talking about, hey, we can do this together. We don't we don't have to work for somebody else. That was when we decided to move forward?

Dondrill Glover:

Well, I have to say you've done it, you found it because this is it. Really, really special. You know, I I'd love to ask, you know, why should we the public consumers, you know, be inspired to you feel they should be inspired to participate in whether growing local food or sourcing it? You know, what is that thing for us that we that we need in that space that you feel that we do?

Heidi Meka:

Yeah, I think Well, I think that it's really important. And I know this has kind of something that's been talked about for a long time now. But you have to really be committed and really understand the impact of supporting the people in your own community, that your neighbors care about whether or not their food is healthy for you to eat. So, you know, being able to support a family that's great in your back door is, is just the most valuable thing. And like I said, the support that I've received from my community is invaluable. It just makes you feel very invested, it makes you feel like what you're doing is worthwhile. And so supporting those people, it's just so important, you know, take take 10 minutes and go to the farmers market rather than running into the grocery store. Because those 10 minutes matter a lot to a real family. They do yes. And it and it can't be lip service. Like we really have to do it now. And especially after COVID I think everyone is very aware of how important their communities are. Much so you know, you know, people knocking on people's doors and bringing them food or or bringing them you know, groceries so that elderly people didn't have to go out like it was ever a time that we are very aware of how important our community is. It's now and that it's now now support their businesses and we're going to agree or schools or or meat or you know, whatever it is that you are buying from a big chain grocery store. Just stop it and buy it from the people in your backyard. Yeah, and I think it makes a difference.

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, and eating seasonally and learning your area and what's available and learning the difference between eating, you know, a strawberry in January from the grocery store versus a strawberry that's grown in your community in our community. Exactly. Yeah, you can see a complete difference. So

Dondrill Glover:

tasted it just it's like it's so delicious.

Heidi Meka:

Well, you know, one thing that I tell people all the time is that you if you've never eaten a cantaloupe from a farm, you have no idea what cantaloupe tastes like it does not taste like anything you've ever gotten from the grocery store, and you know that and that's true of strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, all of these things, you think, you know, what they what they taste like, and you don't until you don't,

Dondrill Glover:

I mean, I've gotten it's so funny. And once you become conscious, and I've been in this space for a few years, now, you really start to look at labels, you start to when you are in the markets, particularly if you go to the supermarket, you know, these big cucumbers, and you bite into them, and there's no taste, there's no it just is filled with water and these seeds and, and then you start going for these smaller, go to a local farm, I love farmers markets, and you start to taste the difference. And I think that in community, you know, we start feeding each other better, being more conscious in that way, we're helping families, we're helping farmers, you know, we started to really kind of take back our food culture, you know, and take back our health in that way. Because we have been kind of polarized by no fast food and, you know, pass this, everything's quick. And there was a time, you know, not long ago, particularly with, say, our grandmothers and forefathers, and so with food was a more of a slow process, you know, healthier, and and you sort of appreciate it, the simplicity of it, it was kind of all you had, right? Yeah. And you weren't complaining about it was really good. So it's really good to see people get back. And just to know that you're in line with that, with that philosophy really says a lot about the brand. You know, on on that I'd love to talk about climate and brain conscious principles, you know, as we know that that's really important to consumers? And can you share with us some of the previous concerns that people had about growing food and gardens at home? Before more conscious brands like yours and others arrived?

Lauren Draus:

So I think, yeah, definitely, you know, for me, learning about the environment, learning about what impacts locally and globally, and how small changes in your life can lead to bigger changes for your community, but also for the global community. I think when you know, we were looking at packaging before or I know, when I was, you know, anything that was a lot of plastic, you didn't know where it was from a lot of things, you know, being sourced, you know, internationally, and you're just not aware, you know, and where are these materials, and then there's a lot of excess and packaging, you know, a lot of plastic shields and plastic with a lot of waste in it. And so when we were creating garden in a box, you know, it was really important to me that, you know, all the pieces of it be recyclable, be reusable, that we reduce that sort of carbon footprint and make sure that you know, we're leaving less and less and less waste with our products. So that was a big, big part of it for me. I know. And I think people have grown that way. I think 2030 years ago, you know, recycling was like, yeah, you know, maybe I'll get to it, maybe I won't, or who cares? I'll

Dondrill Glover:

do it.

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, you know, if it's a plastic bag or a paper bag, what does it matter? You know, and now I think, you know, we've started to really see a huge trend that people are aware, they're understanding and they want more eco conscious brands, and they want to know that, yes, I still want the convenience of, you know, buying my consumer good. But I want to know that when I buy it, I'm not doing a disservice to the environment that I'm leaving, you know, a smaller carbon footprint. So I think that's been a big change over the years. And I'm glad that we were able to sort of implement that as part of our bills, but

Dondrill Glover:

it makes it definitely makes a difference. And you know, people are, they care more, they're more concerned. And I love the fact that brands are already aligning themselves, because you're actually living that life yourself, as humans attach to your own value system. So implementing it just feels like a really natural thing. And it's coming from that intention. So I do think that that it's really great for customers to know, I'd love to talk about, you know, cuz she told us about the values and so much, and it's really great for consumers to know that. But I'd love to talk about what how important that messaging is for you, to relay that to buyers and retailers and consumers that you you're conscious that you care about these things and what your brand represents.

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, so with the retail buyers, you know, we we want them to understand and even if, even if they're not aware, I think it also helps us bring that awareness to them that, you know, our products are, you know, eco friendly, that we're really trying to, you know, as much as we can reduce, you know, the waste in our products, and I think it helps them, you know, open up to that market, whether they're looking for it or they're not. I think that you know, it kind of opens the door for those conversations, and maybe Just the way that they're their consumers are looking at products or the way that they are buying products when they hear about our story, and they hear about our products, and then also us using local supply suppliers. Yeah, yeah. Wherever possible, we always try to do that. So we want that messaging to be like, Listen, we are a local company. You know, we want to make sure that we're connected. And I think when buyers hear that, you know, it really resonates with them.

Dondrill Glover:

Oh, absolutely. And then also, you know, that question about supply chains, you're, it's right there, you're so transparent, that makes a difference. As I mentioned in the beginning, and on my emails, I was like, drooling over the bread. I'm like, it's so beautiful. It's fresh. It's such a happy place for me. So I'm so glad that we're sharing a garden story. I think that we all should be growing something and of course shopping with you guys. I'd love to talk about the collections, you know, you guys are featured in the digital market. And I'd love for you to go through the collections that we can, what can we buy? What should we know? just introduce this, give us an introduction to it, it would be great.

Lauren Draus:

So we have a collection that really is our first collection that we did was more about that that food, right? So we were talking more about herbs and vegetables in our collections, things that you could grow and use. So we had an herbal tea garden. Huge tea drinker, she loves it. I love tea. I love tea, too. But it and I love the idea I had never known you know, what could I grow? I didn't know anything about that. And she's like, Oh, you could grow this and grow this and grow this and you can mix them and make your own teas. And that you know, that's such a great collection to have great collection, love tea and herbal tea and how good it is for you. And you know, the joy of growing something yourself. So we have an herbal tea collection,

Dondrill Glover:

we have a cocktail garden in a box. So I want you guys talk about that cocktail box too. When I read that, I was like, wow, this is you know, this has got to get people go here, sir. I love tea. But the fact that you can grow herbs for cocktails, I just think that's fantastic.

Heidi Meka:

Absolutely. Well, you know, the only thing that you could do at this time was have friends over for drinks outside herbs and share them with your friends. And then you know more people hear about anata and get to enjoy that what you grew. So it's a it was Yeah, do nothing but have cocktail parties. So why not? cocktail guard?

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, so we we have a cocktail garden. We also have a basic herb garden, which is really for anybody who's looking to just sort of introduce themselves to herbs and cooking with herbs or using them in drinks or whatever it is. That basic cocktail in a box is a great starting place to just be like hey, you know I want to be part of something fresh. I want to grow something but I'm you know, not sure what this basic box is for you. It kind of covers all of the classics that you would need it in any kind of dishes that you might be cooked goes

Dondrill Glover:

through. So in that box, so say you're in your tea box is or what are we growing camel or basil? What's in both?

Heidi Meka:

Yeah, there's holy basil. Kevin meal time and deeper. And feverfew? Yeah. Nice. So at a time this is all developed during COVID you know, that was a regular thing showing Yeah, just just pre COVID Yes. But yeah, it was we were curating those boxes. We were thinking about people being sick.

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, like what do you like? What makes you feel good? And and what could you mix with other things that you might already have? And you know, so we develop those, of course, you know, basil, thyme, parsley, you know, these are sort of the staples of of growing herbs and using them in coronary dishes so that they're part of our basic box. We have a patio garden, which is really our vegetable garden. But we say vegetable garden you know, that can kind of deter people thinking like why don't have an acre of space to play. So we thought you know, we'll call it patio garden in the box to make just reimagine, you know what it is you could do with those vegetables all of which could be grown in large patio pots, or can be grown you know, in the ground if you have that space. So we have you know, carrots and tomatoes, radishes,

Heidi Meka:

growing your own salad. Yeah. masculinize growing your own salad. I like that.

Lauren Draus:

And then this year, we moved into doing some florals. So we thought, you know, we've got a lot of herbs. We've got some vegetables for everybody. But you know, people needed some happiness. And I think it really inspired us like, Hey,

Heidi Meka:

I guess I didn't realize what a journey this really is through a pandemic. First, we need a medicine. And we need a cocktail. You get

Dondrill Glover:

a cocktail, you ladies have thought about it all that's what I love about it. You really, you know really leaned in that what do people need and you're You're so right. All of his activities are happening during this time. I mean, we're home. You know, we're trying to be creative. But also, I think one of the inspiring things that sort of happened during a really difficult time for all of us we know was, people get a chance to know themselves a little better, you know, it really sort of take a count of how do I care for myself, and slow down and slow down, we were forced to really slow down and evaluate and sometimes just to read, to take a moment.

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, and that gifting has changed. You know, I think with COVID, you know, it was so easy to meet people out for a restaurant or you know, go out to dinner and do these things. And then all of a sudden, all those things were taken away. And, you know, what am I going to give somebody and somebody who's stuck at home, you know, I can't give you a gift certificate to a spa, I can't go to the spa with you, right? But I could send you this herbal box, you could grow herbs, you know, to have this beautiful cup of tea and think about it or to have cocktails, or to just have like, we have our love box that has you know, flowers in it that are just inspired to make you you know, feel loved. They've been gleaming gloom and zinnias. And just, you know, a box that just says, Hey, you know, this is something you can do at home, you can enjoy at home you can enjoy with your family, and those that are close to you, without having to think, you know, I'm gifting something that maybe people can't use.

Dondrill Glover:

Right, exactly. And I just love you know, the mindfulness in the selections that you have, and you've had to active ate them at a time where you had to think out of the box, you know, what do you give someone but it's been in for me, it just feels like such a gift of wellness and, and beauty. And you mentioned to about first time gardeners, but I'd love to for retailers and buyers to know if they're if you're have a shop and you know, you want to introduce a collection like this. And I think you guys have made it so easy. You know, you've got the assortment, you've got boxes, where's a great place to start or It sounds like you should start with all of them. Because they're in a box, you've got everything there the grow does this the box include the soil, or you're recommending certain soils are.

Lauren Draus:

So really all of the boxes are designed that anyone can start anywhere, wherever your interest lies, you know, we wanted the boxes to be inclusive so that anyone can garden anywhere. But you know, our boxes have everything you need in them. So you know you have soil, you have instructions, you have the pads to grow them in that can then be transplanted to bigger pots. Everything that you need seed markers, the seed packets, the curated collection, it's all there for you. Anyhow, outside sourcing, and that was something like with a lot of other grow kits that you know, they might have the seeds, they might have pieces of it, but they didn't really have all of it together. So when we designed the boxes, we wanted to make sure that yes, when you get this box, you can literally start growing in this box in the box itself turns into a window sell box, right? take the lid off, and everything fits inside of it. And you're able to just put all of your little BBC plants right in that box right on the window. So So again, everything's reusable, recyclable, and it's all there for the consumer. They don't have to do any other additional buying or sourcing of anything. Oh, it's perfect. It's such an such an easy such an easy buy.

Dondrill Glover:

So let's Can I I want to talk about I want to talk about seeds more, but let's talk about the shelf life. You know, is there a shelf life on on seeds and how should we think about that?

Heidi Meka:

There are it's you know, it's different depending on every seat and every variety so you know I think that they've actually grown beans that they found in other know Egyptian tombs. Maybe I might. But it's Yeah, I mean that it's very very different. But everything is that we purchased is fresh that year, just so that you have that germination rate and you we don't we don't buy in such bulk that we have all this leftover. So God everything that's leftover, it goes in my garden the next year so that I can grow things that Lauren can take pictures out of corporate season. Yes.

Lauren Draus:

And I'm not going to be able to grow, you're not going to grow. When you have you know, 2000 extra seeds like no, I don't have space for that

Dondrill Glover:

I don't have space for Well, you guys have that wonderful video tutorial. And then digital market where you can insert this it's fabulous, or you're destroying it that you'll never see. It makes it so easy because you can see how it happens. And, and obviously this is what people need. Because I think part of being intimidated by growing things is that once again, you don't know like whenever I started, we think people know and sometimes you just don't.

Heidi Meka:

Yeah, well, I mean, you know, there's a lot of varying opinions on that. And so my personal belief is that food is medicine. I think that that we don't eat well. And that's why we don't feel well. For instance, most people don't know what an actual tomato tastes like. And, and we, we put things all over food, whether it's salt or butter, cheese, to mess, the flavor, and we should all just be eating things that tastes so good, you don't want to put anything on them. Right. And I think that herbs are just such an important part of our diets, they help with the flavor of foods, they bring out flavors and foods, they, and they can certainly compliment foods beautifully, but they also have so many medicinal qualities that

Dondrill Glover:

people should really be exploring, right? They really,

Lauren Draus:

absolutely. Parsley was something I mean, I just think, you know, it's just a garnish on a dish, right, but

Dondrill Glover:

a cucumber skins in there, and I put them in water.

Lauren Draus:

Yeah, I mean, it's amazing what those little herbs can do for you that you had no idea tons of anti inflammatory properties, things like that, that you just you're unaware of, and you think I was just a little green on the plate, I don't need that. But when you really, you know, look at herbs, you're like, wow, this can change your diet, this can track like, how you feel and how you in Hades, right, you know, what you eat is how you're going to feel how you're going to feel.

Dondrill Glover:

So it's really I think, you know, we're saying that people should be inspired, you know, to do research and really find out the benefits, because, you know, there's a lot there. And once again, you have to, you know, do your research, and you realize kind of what you're missing. But I do think that very often in that we are not using them at their full capacity, I can't imagine cooking without curves, I go and I buy, I love the way they smell and they give you great flavor, but they also have these other benefits. So I definitely think that people should be you know, searching. And and of course, if they do an or not a garden, then they're gonna have all the urban,

Lauren Draus:

there's such a difference between, you know, when you've grown up cooking with just herbs from jars that you know, your mother had in the cabinet for, I don't know, 510 years you didn't you know, how often do you use a bay leaf? You know, why are you using? Why are you when you have a fresh herbs, and you add that to a dish and you taste the difference and you smell the difference? It makes a bigger difference in in your health as well. So, definitely, we're definitely

Dondrill Glover:

estimating them. And, you know, the other thing is that, I mean, we could just talk all day, this has just been so, you know, it's just been wonderful. I mean, I'm thinking about food, what I'm going to cook with my herbs tonight, and you know, a garden that I want to grow, I'd love to know, where Where do you see yourself going? What can we look forward to? in the future? What can we expect from the brand.

Lauren Draus:

So we're, you know, we're thinking about expanding into a couple different directions. Um, initially, here, we're thinking about doing some smaller gift doubles. So you know, we do have like these bigger garden collections, but we're also thinking, you know, sometimes, you know, maybe there's someone who just wants one herb. And so we're thinking about doing some smaller giftable, like stocking stuffer sort of ideas where, you know, it's everything you need to grow just just this one plant or this one, or that you're looking for, but we're also going to be going into more custom gardens as well. So we have a lot of ideas, I know, you know, we've got the cocktail garden, we've got the sunflower garden, we've got all these other florals, but we have so many other custom gardens up our sleeve that we just can't wait to launch and and share with everybody. And really, you know, you can be inspired in so many different directions, whether it's, you know, food or drink or you know, visuals, it can be storytelling, you know, so we have, we have some really interesting collections coming up in the future.

Dondrill Glover:

It's I mean, I'm excited to hear about this, I want to ask, you know, with with customers connecting with you, you know, we'll get to your social channels. I mean, but are you? Are you doing anything locally? Are there pop ups? Your course in the digital marketing? We're so happy. But are you at farmer's markets? How are people connecting with you outside of the other channels?

Lauren Draus:

So this year was challenging, of course with COVID. So I we had plans to do so many festivals and and shows and things like that, that unfortunately, we had to pivot was pretty good. So we did end up doing a lot more digital marketing. And then I did just have a baby. ago, so that sort of has made using sort of changed some of our plans for this summer season. Of course, we didn't know whether it's open or not and how much we could we could extend and do. So we have some local connections that we work with. We have some local wholesalers, things like that, but we're looking forward to as things have opened now and change next year really being out in sort of these marketplaces in person and live right now. Things are just small for us in our

Dondrill Glover:

course and you're building Yeah, we're, I think it I think it would be so great. You know, I mean, we Oh my god. We love having you In the digital market, it makes such a difference. And of course, hopefully we'd love to have you at this show. But I can also imagine you guys doing farmers markets and people getting a chance to smell those herbs and flowers and really kind of connect with you, particularly in the communities that are upstate as well. I mean, I, I'm going to come see you in both places, either way. We'd love to have you done.

Heidi Meka:

Digital market has been fantastic. It was a great way for us to be be visible to retailers that we got a tremendous response from it. So thank you so much for Are you kidding,

Dondrill Glover:

we're so proud of our digital market, being able to connect brands and retailers together and you know, in just going forward, it's going to be it's a 365 day platform 24 seven, and there'll be a companion to our live show, you know that we in August, we head back to the Javits Center, live August 8, through the 12th. And what our digital market will still be happening. And so, you know, out of COVID, where people are figuring out Oh, my God, what do we do? What do we do, and, you know, launching this digital market was just, you know, a passion for us. And we, you know, it was important to keep our community connected.

Lauren Draus:

I think business has changed so much through COVID, I'm so on things that we didn't think were possible, you know, we've, we've now changed, and I think New York now is a great example of that, that they were able to pivot and, and come up with this new idea. And it turned out to be such a life force for us, and for so many other businesses. And I think it's just wonderful that you're going to continue that because it makes accessibility, you know, it just brings accessibility to businesses that may not be able to travel or that you know, backway have knocked out. And it's changed the way we all do business. So it's been awesome. We really,

Dondrill Glover:

I'm, I am, I'm just so happy to hear that. And, you know, once again, you know, it's, it's brands like yours and many other partnerships that inspire us forward. And it's really important to us, so to hear that, that it has been wonderful for you, and connected, and we really take that to heart So, and I'm not on that note, I'd love for you to share how our audience can connect with you and follow you socially. You know, where are you and where can they find you.

Lauren Draus:

So our website is O nada seed co.com. But we are also on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube at odonata seedco. So just add us and we love to talk with you love to chat. I'm on social I took a little social break right now with the baby but I'm going to be back on this summer. So anytime message us we have, you can shop with us on Instagram. You can shop with us on Facebook, you can check the website. All of its available.

Dondrill Glover:

Oh, it's fantastic. I can't tell you how much Lauren and Heidi, how wonderful it's been talking food and oh not and just you know, just this whole culture that we're talking about and growing food and wellness and being connected. It's just really been a pleasure having you ladies here with us today. Thank you so much, Andrew. It's been a pleasure in New York now. Thank you for having us. Thank you very much. To learn more about or not a seed visit Oh, not a seed co.com and follow us on Instagram at oh not a seed co Thank you for listening to the New York now podcast. Make sure to tune in weekly for engaging and insightful conversations touching on the most relevant topics facing our community today. Is it through your mouth comm to learn more about our market, and how you can join in on the conversation