Urban Agriculture - Startup of the Year

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Company: Urban Agriculture, Los Angeles, CA
Entry Submitted By: Transatlantic
Company Description: Founded in 2016, Urban Agriculture Company creates all-in-one organic gardening grow kits and outdoor living products. On a mission to help a new generation realize the benefits of gardening, the company makes innovative, no-mess products that allow anyone with a patch of wall space or windowsill experience the joy of gardening. Oprah named the grow kits as one of her products of 2016.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Startup of the Year - Consumer Products Industries

Nomination Title: Urban Agriculture Company - Seed of an Idea to Thriving Consumer Company in a Year

Tell the story about what this nominated organization has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Begin this section with the date since January 1, 2014 on which this organization began operations. 

Founding date: January 1, 2016

The Urban Agriculture Company story starts out with a very exhausted, unhealthy and generally burned out man by the name of Chad Corzine. Having worked as the director of business development for his father’s company (Archipelago Botanicals) for several years, Chad decided his life and health needed a serious overhaul. He started eating healthier, exercising often and spending more time outside. Realizing quickly how expensive local, organic produce can be, Chad decided he would start his own organic garden on his apartment balcony in Los Angeles to cut costs.

As a first-time gardener, Chad felt confident he would be able to find a product that would help make his urban gardening project simple. No such luck. From the local garden center to the depths of the Internet, Chad was shocked to discover there was no one-stop solution that made small space gardening easy, affordable, and most of all, no-mess. Upon this realization, Chad started making his own organic gardening “grow kits” at home with his girlfriend, and selling them at farmers markets across LA on the weekends. The kits were a hit - after selling more than 400 kits last November at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Chad stepped away from his job at Archipelago Botanicals to officially launch Urban Agriculture Company as his full-time career. Since this time, the company has skyrocketed to success.

Urban Agriculture came up with a unique solution to a messy annoyance most first-time gardeners experience: transplanting the store-bought plant into another pot for healthy growth. Chad tapped his network from his product development days to create a container made of 100% recycled tea bags that would properly aerate and drain the soil, allowing his plants to thrive without needing transplantation.

Because of this unique approach and the kits’ modern design, Chad opened 75 product SKUs in 2016, and hit an entire year’s sales projections in a month.. In true startup fashion, Chad started the company in a 6’x6’ closet in January 2016, and today operates in a 4,000 square-foot warehouse with 25 full-time employees. In under a year, Urban Agriculture has built a distribution system that takes most companies in the industry 3-5 years to accomplish.

Chad hit the road for trade show season last spring, attending home and gift shows at key cities across the country, including Atlanta, New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Urban Agriculture’s kits were the talk of every show he attended, and Chad was able to secure his kits to be sold at independent boutiques across the country, as well as top retailers like Target, Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and more. Urban Agriculture even caught the eye of Oprah - who named the kits to her Favorite Things List for 2016.

In 2016, Urban Agriculture went from being a seed of an idea to a full-fledged outdoor living company that retails at more than 3,500 storefronts, in every state in America.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this organization since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

-Created a one-stop, no-mess solution to organic gardening that is unique to the market using an innovation that allows for no transplanting.
-Opened 75 SKUs in 2016 Did an entire year’s sales projections in a month – Retails at 3,500+ storefronts in all 50 states and got onto the shelves of Target, Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and more.
-Attended Atlanta Gift, NY Home & Gift, Dallas Gift Show, Las Vegas Gift Show, Seattle Gift Show, IGC Chicago, National Lawn and Garden, Los Angeles Gift Show, Seattle Gift Show.
-Started the company in a 6x6 closet in Jan. 2016 and is now in a 4,000 sq. ft. warehouse with 25 full-time employees.

Of the following measures of success, which ONE do you want the judges to most appreciate about your organization's story of achievement since the beginning of 2016?

Fast Growth