First, a Look Back at 2017
I’m on the executive team at Avalow and work side by side with founders Jeremy Nusser and Amanda Dunker, so I have a very unique perspective as Avalow continues to develop and find new ways to help people grow food. 2017 was a big year for us. We acquired a space to manufacture our raised beds and create a public garden showcase to help explain our business. We hit our internal goal of getting 100 raised beds in market and launched exciting partnerships with the Jimtown Store, Criminal Baking Company, and the Guerneville School District (more about that partnership coming soon!). In 2017 we were able to talk to so many people about what we do and demonstrate how amazing gardens can be every single day of the year. We hit all of our growth goals in a sustainable way, without a major marketing campaign and primarily through word of mouth.
2018, the Year We Grow
So, what’s in store for 2018? Plenty! This post is meant as an informal roadmap for our company that we’d like to share with our readers, customers, and fans. We might even use it to keep ourselves honest from time to time throughout the year (wink). Three themes that are the most important for our company in 2018 are: 1) marketing for meaningful growth in our client list, 2) development of key hardware product features, and 3) company financing.
Raising a Seed
I really should have listed financing first, as we must raise our seed round of capital in order to add real fuel to the other two priorities. We’re “bootstrapped”, meaning we have funded ourselves through cash flow from sales and founder personal investment through the life of the company. To hire our growth team, to finalize the development of our hardware system, and to build our marketing channels we will need external funding! For our seed round, we will be targeting $1M in funding and this will likely come from a combination of VC and angel sources. We’ll post again in the future when our round is open and have resources for potential investors including our pitch deck and company financials.
Why would anyone want to invest in Avalow? Well, because we are set to change the way people think about their food systems. We have big plans to make our product and educational service available nationally.
Shippable Garden Beds
Yes, you read that right, we will soon be able to ship our garden beds and embedded irrigation system anywhere in the US. We have a few hurdles to overcome, most notably the finalizing of our reservoir system into a format that can be shipped and set up by one of our customers in their own backyard. Below is a very short video demonstrating how our reservoir system works. We’ll perfect this hardware system and make it available anywhere in the US before the end of 2018. This is a key part of our growth plan.
Marketing for Growth
Our location in Santa Rosa’s SOFA district has given us a tremendous opportunity to talk to thousands of potential clients and hone on our in-person marketing. The next phase is to digital with these successful messages in order to show more people the experience that gardens provide. We have several different marketing programs that we’re excited to test both locally (Sonoma & Marin Counties) and nationwide as we get ready for launch. This will be timed with the launch of our shippable product described above and will be the dawn of a new e-commerce phase for Avalow. It takes significant resources to make such a marketing foray successful, so our funding round will be key to launch nationally in the right way. We’ll hire marketing team members, build partnerships with retail and content partners, and reach customers through digital marketing. Yes, all of this will happen in 2018!
I’m very excited to be party to all the developments planned at Avalow this year. We are committed to helping people grow food, a mission that leads to better physical and mental health, lower carbon emissions, and stronger communities. I invite you to keep an eye on the development of our company by following us on Medium, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.