Meet Jessica Schutz, the founder of Green Lady Gardens, a houseplant and artisan boutique in the Santa Fe Art District in Denver. Jessica graduated with a degree in Marketing from Leeds School of Business in 2007.
What did she enjoy most about Leeds?
Learning about and working with real businesses in class. It was useful when a business came into class, presented what they wanted, and then we, as students, would put together a business plan or marketing strategy. We would then present it to the business owner who would critique or praise us. Those experiences were valuable.
Real life is so much different than what you learn in textbooks.
From a hobby to a business
Jessica comes from a long line of inventors and entrepreneurs. You know the old school TV mounts you see in hospital rooms? Her grandfather invented the mount and owned the patent. Another family member developed a key motorcycle part. She also grew up alongside a family business during the dot com era, which inspired her to go to business school. “It’s what I knew growing up. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are in my blood.”
Jessica is self taught in every aspect of gardening. She started making floriculture art (think vertical gardens and moss walls) about three years ago when she moved back to Denver after graduate school. Things evolved, she saw a market for houseplants, and she noticed the lack of information available to consumers on how to purchase and care for plants. She focused her energy on creating a “houseplant matchmaking” system, which was a huge hit. Her dream was to open a houseplant shop in the next year or two, but a retail space came available and she jumped on it. Her plant shop is one-of-a-kind. With a Latin American flair, the walls are colorful, salsa music plays in the background, and she sells fair trade decor from Mexico and Guatemala, colorful pottery, and handmade goods from local artists. The best part? Her plants are rated by skill level, come with a care card, and she provides on the spot expert advice.
The hardest part of opening a business
“There’s so much to do! You’re every single person and play every role: advertiser, accountant, customer service, marketing, you name it. Until I’m ready to bring on employees, I have to fill those roles and fill them well. My business literally depends on my ability to be everything at once. If I need to do social media advertisements, I need to learn how to create them, what the best strategy is, and how to execute it. All that learning takes time, which is frustrating when I could be working on something easier and crossing things off my to-do list."
I make time to learn new skills in order to make my business successful.
Ultimately, Jessica wears a lot of hats, but enjoys it and is good at it. Looking toward the future, she has plans to expand and ideas for utilizing a larger space that allows her to host more events and have a community area for her non-profit.
Advice to current students
I would encourage current students to maintain the connections you make in school, because you never know where you will end up, who you will need, or what you can offer.
Giving back and having fun
Jessica is in the process of starting a small non-profit, Primary Plants, that teaches indoor gardening to primary school students. She is targeting low income immigrant neighborhoods in Denver in order to provide the students with the skills and resources to garden at home for leisure, creativity, and environmental therapy. What does she do for fun? Outdoor gardening! And when she’s not running her business she’s perfecting cocktails with her husband, listening to CPR, or trying her hand at a new craft.
733 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, 80204