Today we’d like to introduce you to Graeme Fairlie.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Graeme. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started my business career as salesman for a small plastics company in New Zealand where I was born, and worked my way up to be the most successful packaging line salesperson in the country selling sophisticated meat and cheese packaging lines. I was interested in exporting experience and so took as position with a company in New Zealand who wanted to open branches in the UK and USA and so I developed an Air Courier envelope and began selling it in the USA and UK. Our biggest customer was UPS and their business was enough for me to move to the USA permanently in 1986 to open a sales office then set up a manufacturing facility to make the envelopes in Seattle. When my Visa ran out in 1989 I returned to New Zealand and started my own packaging company called Danaflex and sold to the confectionery and bakery industry. I developed a microwaveable meat pie wrap that could heat a pie in a microwavable oven and won DuPont’s Worldwide award for Packing Innovation in 1990. I moved back to the USA in 1991 and worked for a Metal Deposition company selling window films and was in Business Development. We grew the company from $23 to $90 million in sales and then sold out to a European company.
At that point, I wanted to travel less as I had a first child, my daughter Grace and so in 2006 I took over a small family operation in 2006 selling soils and landscape mulches and expanded the products and customer base to double the sales over the last years. I have always had an interest in plants and grow cycads for a hobby so this business lets me interact with all the growers. We sell to homeowners directly, landscapers, growers, and botanical gardens such as Quail Gardens, and amusements parks such as Legoland and the San Diego Zoo.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The recession in 2008 hurt us badly as about 1/3rd of our business was to new home owners and that just fell of the map. Additionally, growers were not selling any plants so they need less soil as well. So I expanded our product line to include more commercial items such as Certified Playground Mulch a Sands for use in public playgrounds and developed a turf topper for redoing sport fields by reseeding as opposed to re-sodding. With some temporary cutbacks in labor hours I was able to keep all my staff employed and we recovered in a little over a year.
Greatsoil – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are the premier supplier of soils, amendments barks and mulches. All raw materials are tested and have type of certification as to origin and quality. We do not take any unknown green waste and try to process it into good composted product. We buy the finest quality ingredients and mix them into specialty soil blends. We make over 65 different custom mixes for people.
We make sure our customers are satisfied. I personally guarantee that if you are dissatisfied you can have your money back. I have never had to refund a customer from poor product.
Customers come in an order truckloads of product to be delivered or simply pack up a small bucket for a pot to be filled to grow a plant at home. We welcome and value all customers.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Developing a Roof Top Mix for planting gardens on rooftops in place of a roof and getting an order to be shipped to Boston as the specifier only trusted our proven Mix.
- Soil Mixes ~ $40/yd3
- Barks and Mulches ~ $70/yd3
- Address: 641 Rock Springs Road
Escondido Ca 92025
- Website: www.greatsoil.com
- Phone: 760 740 9191
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Greatsoil
- Facebook: Greatsoil