How Let it Grow spreads green ideas, projects and initiatives
As Communications Lead, Joline van Berkestijn ensures that Let it Grow harvests green initiatives from each corner of the globe to inspire city dwellers to embrace a greener lifestyle. As the digital community grows, Pjotr de Jong thinks it time to unite plant enthusiasts in real life to make them part of the world of Let it Grow.
From the start, we’ve said that in order to connect with people outside the sector we need to build an actual community of plant enthusiasts. We shouldn’t focus on online only.
True. There is no better way to connect people than by putting them in the same room. It’s essential for community building. Let it Grow is about the people who are working at the forefront of the green revolution, and about bringing their innovations to the everyday lives of city dwellers. So you have to make it tangible.
We had to bring people together physically in order to make the movement visible. On the Digital Platform, we documented those bringing about the urban green movement, a niche of people working with plants and flowers to green cities and homes. But we didn’t know whether we could mobilise a critical mass for Let it Grow’s ideas.
It was very interesting for us to find out. A public event also gives us an opportunity to do market research because you receive direct feedback and insights from your audience. We wanted to learn from the public whether or not we were on the right track. But first things first, we had to wait for the right moment. We deliberately built the brand by setting up the Lab and online platform before we organised our first public event.
The perfect moment was when we wrapped up the first Incubation Programme.
With the two-day Let it Grow Greenhouse Festival we wanted to approach the traditional demo day in a different way. Within the startup world, a demo day follows a very typical format. But by creating a festival we were able to invite a wide audience on the first day in addition to the professionals we invited on the second day. It was also a great opportunity and challenge for all the startups to introduce themselves to their target audience. The various innovations of the startups are really exciting to show.
The Greenhouse Festival was a two-day event held in Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek. Day one was targeted towards consumers and day two was structured like a B2B demo day.
A demo day is an event where the startups of an accelerator or incubator programme are given the stage to pitch to potential investors, industry experts and the media.
So there was an added dimension, as it were.
Yes! But the festival enabled us to show more than just that; we wanted to cover all facets of this new green world. So the innovations from the startups, but also the work of urban idealists working with plants and flowers who are not so much interested in setting up a profitable business but really want something good for the city. It’s fascinating how the world of Let it Grow is almost all-embracing: we brought together food, drinks, health, lifestyle, education, urban planning, work and leisure. We focused on the people who are shaping a greener world, on both a small and large scale.
For a first edition the turnout was incredible! Did you ever worry it would not be a success?
Sometimes things turn out even better than you could expect. That was certainly the case with the Greenhouse Festival. Everything came together, it was a great gesture, visually strong, engaging content, a very mixed audience, both entertaining and educational, activating, passionate and energetic. And we received twice as many visitors as we expected.
I thought it was really special to see people from different target groups communicating on different levels. For the sector, it was a wonderful opportunity to bring them together with the public so that they could meet and speak with potential clients in a nice environment. It was a marketplace and meeting place at the same time.
You have to think big. It really takes guts to turn a demo day into a festival, and that characterises Let it Grow as a brand. But visually you have to make a monumental statement too. For the festival we created this labyrinth of high, green panels and thousands of plants to enable unexpected moments. All the senses were touched; you could see things, smell things, taste, try, feel and buy things.
This is a story about starting an innovation platform within a corporate culture to inspire and cultivate a new generation of green entrepreneurs and city dwellers.
We envisioned a place where all typologies could come together. So, a shop, but also a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, a museum, an academy, a house; all created with our urban green ideal in mind.
It’s is really characteristic of this time and for a contemporary brand like Let it Grow. We’re versatile. We can take on different forms. I believe we succeeded in our aim to not work within an existing framework, but rather tilt and mix as many realities and worlds as possible.
Another good example of that was what we did with Let it Grow CS. I mean, we hosted workshops and lectures in a conceptual pop-up shop at the central train station of Amsterdam.
Let it Grow CS was a pop-up concept store located in Amsterdam’s central train station.
True, a nice variation on the Let it Grow body of thought, only targeted at a very different audience: commuters and tourists. It was an interesting challenge to pass on our ideals to such a wide audience, in an environment where people have very little time. So our message had to be simple, clear and effective.
Therefore we needed to educate our visitors on the positive effects that plants and flowers bring to us human beings, inspiring them and offering an option to consume at the same time. This came in the form of our product line.
Hope, Focus and Trust in a jar!
By selling people seeds, we sold them a simple product with a meaningful story behind it. They could let something grow. A flower. A plant. A movement. Not only digitally but in real life!
Because that’s what we’re all about in the end: empowering people to embrace the urban green lifestyle.
I believe we succeeded in our aim to not work within an existing framework, but rather tilt and mix as many realities and worlds as possible