Who is Generation Y? We are those born between 1977 and 2000 and children of the baby boomers. Generation Y—also known as “Millennials”— will make up 47% of the workforce in the United States by 2014. My generation is defined by its stereotypes—we want instant gratification and low maintenance, we are driven by technology yet easily distracted, and we crave product variety and personalization, all while trying to be socially responsible and creating sustainable solutions. Millennials want to live in urban areas, close to the action and heart of cities, where places are walkable and hip but lacking in personal green space. What does this have to do with the Green Industry? As I have been told, we are changing things; from the desire to have eco-friendly packaging to fair-trade products. More than ever, my generation is personalizing the way we garden. And when it comes to choosing products, like seeds, wholesale plants, and garden accessories, they have to speak to us and fit our personalities.
For those of us lucky to have a yard big enough to start a garden, there are some new trends. My generation is known for its “hipster” ways; while we are all so focused on being individuals, we’re all choosing the same things. Of those things, we are choosing to repurpose the old, from using old window panes and railroad ties for raised beds, and limit what new things are being brought in, to use heirloom seeds in eco-friendly packaging or purchasing mass-produced plants from a wholesaler. Some of us don’t have the luxury of a yard, but we do have patios and balconies; areas perfect for small, low-maintenance vegetation. And of the plants we’re growing, we are focusing on plants that will actually benefit our personal sustainability like herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Not only are they pretty to look at but they actually serve a purpose.
So what can be done to attract more Millennials to spark their green thumbs? Tell them how they are not only benefitting from the product, but how they are contributing to the greater good by using it. Personalize the product by using an alternative plant tag made from different kinds of recycled materials. Our generation is more connected to the world than our ancestors—using the Internet and social media for tips, advice, ideas, and new products is an effective way of reaching us. By choosing to focus on the experience of gardening and products used in creating one, Millennials won’t be distracted or put-off that they have to wait to see their hard work come to life. So go, speak to the generation missing out on your product—tell them how they can use Grandma’s old dresser on their balcony for a year-round, low-maintenance garden.
Zinnecker, Claire. Transformed: Mason Jar Herb Garden. 2011. Photograph. Camille StylesWeb. 26 June 2012. <http://camillestyles.com/2011/transformed-mason-jar-herb-garden/>.
The "That's so Potted" Contest. 2011. Photograph. PottedStore.com, Los Angeles, CA. Web. 26 June 2012. <http://www.pottedstore.com/post/the-thats-so-potted-contest/>.
Small-Space Container Gardens. 2012. Photograph. My Home Ideas, California. Web. 26 June 2012. <http://www.myhomeideas.com/outdoor-living/gardening/small-space-container-gardens-10000001724758/unexpected-containers-10001391553791/>.