Their Blossoming Business
How the company began: A little more than a century ago, Brent Heath’s ancestors began a daffodil farm in a small Virginia town. Today, the farm is a rapidly growing company that sells flower bulbs and related merchandise and is run by Brent and his wife, Becky.
“I grew up in a business that I enjoyed, but didn’t like the dirty work,” Brent admits. Rather, he says he prefers teaching and sharing information.
Catalog: Brent and Becky’s Bulbs has produced a full-color catalog for just two years. Previously, the catalog was merely a price list with some product sketches. Now it contains photographs and solid copy, which they hope educate customers. “This opened the door to us having more novice gardeners [as customers], which we didn’t have before,” explains Becky.
Education: Becky has a degree in music education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Brent attended both Roanoke College and Old Dominion. “He studied business, which he hated,” says Becky.
Mentors: Brent says he learned a lot from J.C. Ralston, former director of North Carolina State University’s arboretum. Ralston shared his plant knowledge with anyone who stopped long enough to listen, says Brent. “He had enthusiasm that was hard to top.”
Catalog responsibilities: Since Becky has a knack for organization, Brent handed the reigns to her. This enables him to share his passion for hybrid daffodils by traveling around the country and lecturing about them.
Brent also shoots all product photography, while Becky assists with descriptions, growing instructions and merchandising.
Biggest business challenge: “Our passion for teaching and our products sometimes overshadows bottom lines and numbers,” Becky reveals. “We’re so willing to lose a little to teach a lot.”
Two key points to their catalog’s success:
• Personal testimony. The Heaths have tested their products by putting them in different gardening situations in order to provide a personal seal of approval.