With a penchant for backing successful things (like the Container Store and Tree House), Garrett Boone is someone we’re excited to have behind us. Read on to discover his views on sustainability, business, and the future of Gardenuity.
A note from Gardenuity CEO and co-founder, Donna Letier:
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received as an entrepreneur? Find extraordinary mentors. Find people you respect—who are smart and eager to guide you through the ups and downs of business.
I believe success comes to those who hustle, and to those who surround themselves with amazing mentors. Garrett Boone is not only a Gardenuity business advisor, but also a trusted personal mentor to me. He is always available at pivotal moments and has the proven ability to be truly present and help keep the brand on track. Today, I’m excited to introduce him to you!
Co-founder and then co-CEO of the Container Store for 35 years, Garrett Boone retired only to instantly get involved in other booming businesses. First, chairman of TreeHouse (an earth-conscious home upgrade service based in Austin), and now an investor and “avid supporter” of Gardenuity. Whatever specific business he’s in at the time, Garrett’s career has been centered around issues of sustainability—particularly, he’s passionate about where sustainability and business efficiency support each other.
Garrett says, “The businesses that are going to be successful in the future are the ones who understand that sustainability is the future.” With the inspiring mission of sustainability behind them, these businesses often have better morale amongst employees and better luck with investors—particularly foreign ones, who are especially concerned with earth consciousness.
When people think of business and sustainability, they usually understand them as totally incompatible endeavors. Businesses pollute, produce huge amounts of waste, and consume natural resources like no other. Meanwhile, sustainability is defined as having qualities that support long-term ecological health, including doing no harm to the environment and protecting natural resources.
In this way, Gardenuity is right on track for success. Nearly half of the food grown in the United States goes to waste. Partially, this is because the food will spoil from the time it is harvested to the time it gets to market, but it’s also due to unaware consumerism. People put too much on their plate and end up throwing it out. “Growing your own food, like you can with Gardenuity, is THE most energy-efficient thing for food,” Garret avers. Waste is less, and the growing process is also void of chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers that could pollute our air and water sources.
I ask if Garrett has ever grown his own food. He laughs and replies, “When I was first married, we had a three-acre lot, and I built this monster garden—nearly 15 feet by 40 feet.” He spent months replacing the ground with nutritious soil and then planted cantaloupe, watermelon, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. And, he tags on, he built a great compost pile, which was incredibly successful.
At the end of the day, he was simply too busy and didn’t have quite enough information from his books to carry on with his garden. Which is why Garrett believes so strongly in the Gardenuity product. “The founders have found a missed avenue,” he says. Every day, we read articles about people being concerned about the sources of their food or wanting more control over their food. People want to be more involved in a green lifestyle. “Donna and Gardenuity are making gardening easy, and that will appeal to a lot of people who think gardening is too hard or too complicated,” he says.
In Garrett’s opinion, if all you’re doing is “selling stuff”, you’re not going to be very successful, nor are you going to make a meaningful impact on the world. Gardenuity is selling an experience that’s loaded with various health, emotional, familial, and ecological benefits that can’t be replaced by sites like Amazon.
And if customers desire, they can use Gardenuity as a launching pad for greater gardening experiences. So, in a few years, our customers can graduate to ’foodscaping’ and market gardens. Then, these people will raise a generation of people who value the Earth, and Gardenuity has made a difference in the green fight.
Obviously, not all of us are CEOs of businesses, but Garrett maintains that we can make a difference. Personally, we don’t have the same economic criteria as a business, but pursuing sustainability and economic efficiency is still feasible.
Smart thermostats, for example, can sense when you’re gone, and they automatically heat up the house 30 minutes before you come home. You don’t have to sacrifice any comfort, but you’re saving money and reducing energy by 20-40% every night. Similarly, grow your own food. It’s a small step to take, and the difference is real.
He launches into an analogy for me. Although Garrett is based primarily in Dallas, he spends time in Austin regularly. Once, Austin went through a period of drought so devastating that Lake Travis, the lake in Austin, got down to 30% capacity. At the time, scientists were saying that the lake wouldn’t fill up again for 30 years. Then, four weeks later, rain falls heavily and the lake is back to full capacity in a flash.
The point is that if we all come together on sustainability issues, real differences can and will be made. Change won’t happen overnight, but if we understand that taking green steps are for everyone’s benefit—including your personal economic benefit—we’ll soon be taking bigger steps and making massive changes. “Besides,” Garrett says, “as a person, when you pursue sustainability, you’re more conscious and aware of what you do and of your impact on the world. You live a more harmonious life.”
With grandchildren growing up, Garrett is concerned about leaving a world for them that is increasingly aware of our actions and the consequences of those actions—a world that finds creative, cost-effective solutions to change things. Lest you think this goal only applies to the environment, Garrett is also heavily involved in the Boone Family Foundation, which focuses on gender equity issues and welfare, in addition to environmental issues.
At Gardenuity, we’re proud and excited to be at the head of sustainable business solutions, and grateful to have experts like Garrett behind us!