Meet Our Founder - Lucy's Story
Gardening transforms lives
I’m really not exaggerating when I say that gardening has changed my life. To one extent or another, I’ve always been around gardening (thank you mum) but it wasn’t until my husband John and I started a family that I really started to discover the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature.
I’d spent much of my twenties living in London but when Isaac was born we moved back to our home county of West Yorkshire. We love Yorkshire and I adored being surrounded by beautiful countryside - but the move also came with a new, more stressful job and before long I found myself desperately unhappy and in a very dark place.
During this time, I started to seek sanctuary in the outdoors. Our new (ish) build home had a very modest garden (I mean VERY modest – just a badly growing patch of grass!) and I set about transforming it into a space that we could spend more time as a family.
Mental health is a journey
I didn’t realise straight away, but my gardening project slowly started to make me feel… happy.
Gardening for me is not just good for the soul, it’s medicine. It’s the thing that helps me in my mental health journey and, despite there being lots of research out there supporting this, I needed to experience it for myself to really understand its power.
I know my mental health will never be ‘fixed’ – it’s something I have to work on every day – but being outside and connecting with nature genuinely brings me joy.
Starting Sow Clever
Fast forward a few years and despite gardening helping me to better manage my mental health, I knew it was time for a change. I wanted to share my positive experience of gardening with the world, and that meant starting my own business.
This might seem like a strange choice given that I was looking for less stress in my life, but I knew that helping others to discover the transformative power of gardening would more than make up for it. There were three key ’non-negotiables’ for me when I first began developing my business idea:
- Our kits needed to be inclusive for everyone, simple, easy to use, with lots of help along the sowing and growing journey.
- Sustainability was key when we were developing our products - we did not want to be contributing to landfill, use any plastics in our kits, or have a huge carbon footprint.
- It was important to me that if we were building a business, we also did some good in the world, outside of the kits bringing joy and wellbeing to our customers! Making a charitable donation to Mind the mental health charity was the perfect fit for us.
And just like that Sow Clever came into bloom!
Its a family thing
Sow Clever really is a family business.
I started out largely running the company on my own but after a period of growth during lockdown in 2020, I quickly drafted in my husband John as Head of Operations and chief tea maker.
Having such happy memories of time spent in the garden during my childhood, I wanted to make sure that Isaac had the chance to have the same experiences. He’s been involved in the business from day one, helping us to test out products, tend to our allotment and give us the brutal feedback only a pre-teen can get away with!
Our cat Lois and rabbit Bilbo, along with our extended family and friends, provide moral support and love – which can sometimes feel much needed when the stresses of running your own business surface!
Finally, I wanted to say that I really do believe that anyone can get growing.
I’m certainly no gardening expert but I want to share my knowledge and experience to help more people use gardening to transform their lives for the better.
Whether you’re considering gardening for enjoyment, wellness or something else entirely, my advice for you would be to give it a go. You’ll never look back.
Happy growing and grow happy!