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Hidden Gems: Meet Brian Feretic of Blossm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Feretic.

Hi Brian, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
It all started with a local plant swap in our neighborhood of Ocean Beach, SD… In the fall of 2019, on our way to surf the OB pier, we stopped by a garage sale in an alley. After picking out a few items, we asked the seller (Her name is Sondra) if we could set aside our items until we returned from surfing. She agreed.

We came back to buy the items and offered her a plant as a thank you and neighborly gift; she was stoked! It turns out Sondra was a huge plant enthusiast that lived just a block away from us and we never knew! In return, she offered us a walk through her garden and a plant of our choice. We happily obliged! In that moment… We wondered if there was a better way to find more plant people in our community for swapping plants and cuttings.

After months of research, planning & debating if this was a crazy venture, my surf/climbing friend and business partner, Nick Mitchell, and I teamed up with the goal: To create a mobile platform to facilitate plant swapping, connect people locally, and bring together communities through a shared love of horticulture!

Once the pandemic hit, we hunkered down and dedicated our lives to making this dream a reality. Months of development, beta-testing, zoom meetings, and support from friends & family members drove us to create & release Blossm in July of 2020!

In less than a year since we launched, we now have a network of 5000+ community members who have been swapping, buying/selling, and gifting plants to friends, old & new. It’s this connection of people through a shared loved for something that is at the core of blossm. We recently launched a Kickstarter campaign which was successfully funded on April 30th, 2021. With the additional support, we plan to implement cool new features to the app and expand further across the country. Our main goal is to foster local community interactions while growing one big happy plant family that can connect globally!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
This has been a steep learning curve for us, leading to scary times during an even crazier year… but focusing on our passion project, making new plant friends and having a positive impact on peoples’ lives kept us motivated and constantly moving forward toward our mission. Our biggest challenge is it’s just the two of us. We’ve been learning on the go, and working as hard as we can to create the best plant app out there!

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
This is an interesting question for me. My whole career was in the science field. I moved to San Diego for a graduate degree in Neuroscience and ended up working at a few biotech firms after completing my Masters. Both the companies I worked for were acquired and I was laid off twice. I found the whole industry quite volatile and decided to take some time for myself to figure out what I truly valued the most. I realized the whole reason I dedicated my life to science was to help people, but I didn’t really feel like I was fulfilling that dream. Some of my personal passions the last few years has been botany and horticulture.

After a fortuitous plant swap with neighbor, I realized that there was a major need for a plant-dedicated platform for people to connect on a more personal level. This led me to create blossm with my friend, Nick Mitchell, in 2020, during the pandemic. We’ve both extremely proud that blossm has connected so many people together and has strengthened communities around a shared love of plants!

One of the most rewarding experiences is using Blossm ourselves and meeting so many awesome people! Blossm was born from a desire to meet like-minded folk who enjoy growing their own food, treating their plants like their babies, nerding out on optimal propagation techniques and just wanting to share the knowledge they’ve learned over the years. Our app is free and always will be to use! We hope we can spread the word and get more people on it! Blossm is only as strong as the community. 🙂

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
We care deeply about the community that has formed through blossm. It feels like a family and we treat all our members like it. We constantly take feedback and provide immediate fixes/support to any of our users. I think providing that experience, knowing we are here for them and well as the rest of the blossm community, will be the key to our success!

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