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Introducing C&J Gardening Center!

Sunday, May 09, 2021 1:38 PM | Evelyn Lin

Support AAPI-owned Businesses!

Introducing C&J Gardening Center

Origin Story of C&J Gardening Center:

"The company was started in July 2018 with my father, my partner Jason and myself, Calvin. The first challenge was learning the different types of plants and how to care for them. Also, as a small business, having to know all components of how to run a business- from logistics to creating an online business, updating coding, optimizing search engine optimization, filing business and tax documents, and so much more! Everything had to be built from the ground up.

It was really hard the first year to not only learn about the business side, but how to get people to view our site and have customers. To be putting in so much work and not see a profit for a year, you really have to believe in your company and yourself. There were a lot of trial, errors, and correcting how to provide a great customer experience. It's important to analyze the company and see how it can be improved as well as taking (reasonable) customer feedback.

The most difficult is that customers expect deliveries to be next day like Amazon prime. We would explain to the customer, because it is a live plant and not a small product, it would take 2-10 business days for delivery. It cannot be shipped via USPS or FedEx since it would most likely damage the plant. We have to route and personally deliver each plant. Also some customers are not knowledgeable about plants and may expect plants to be luscious, green and fruiting when it might be deciduous. Some customers want homogeneous looking plants, but no two plants will look or be the same because it is a live plant! Patience in helping and teaching customers is an area we focus on so we can provide the best customer care.”

Personal Story:

“Similar to many Asian American families, my family also immigrated to the United States with barely anything. My parents worked hard, oftentimes working three jobs to support us. My family started a business. I grew up seeing how a small business is run and understood the value of the dollar at a very young age. My parents put us through college in hopes of a better future. However, life had different plans. I graduated during the 2008 Great Recession. With jobs limited, I tried my first business as a T-Shirt company. However, the market was very crowded and soon cornered by larger companies with more capital. I thought about what I can do and what I've learned. My dad does plant nursery with a brick and mortar store but didn't have an online presence. Researching this field, I found that there weren't many nursery in Southern California that had a user friendly digital presence. Realizing this potential, I decided to try reaching a younger market who are environmentally conscious. It was perfect as I was also concerned about environmental impact. We hope to make a greener, better planet one home at a time! The biggest life lesson is adaptability, having grit, having the bravery to take the first step into the unknown, and taking what you've learned and creating something you believe in.” -- Calvin Wong

As part of a local community initiative for the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are calling for submissions from AAPI business owners in Southern California! Several AAPI community organizations are committed to promote local businesses throughout May. Taiwanese American Professionals Los Angeles would love to feature your story and promote your business! Please fill out the application today:

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