Ron and I started Léon & George two years ago with the mission to bring nature to your home, but not only that. We were both fortunate to go to college and to have the means, the skills and the time to build Léon & George into what it is today. We are the first to acknowledge that we’re part of the top five percent most fortunate in the world. (More than four billion people in the world are living with less than five dollars a day.) And we should never take that for granted.
We’re constantly looking for ways to check our privilege, improve our business, and be clear and honest with our customers every step of the way.
Even at our small scale, we try to make a difference. We establish long-term relationships with our plant growers, suppliers, and employees to build a sustainable ecosystem where work, quality, and service are justly rewarded.
Our prices are for most not accessible; many have complained that we overcharge for 'just a plant.' But do we? How come big-box retailers are selling their plants for so much cheaper?
Here's what happens when a grower works with those big-box retailers. They are required to put their plants on consignment, which means the grower pays a fee to rent shelf space for the plants and gets paid every 30 (and up to 90) days after a plant is sold.
So, while the customer pays right away, the grower is not compensated until much later; in the meantime, the big-box retailer can make a profit by reinvesting the money from that sale into financial products like stocks and bonds.
When it comes down to it, big box stores are less interested in the quality of individual items, like your future houseplant, and more interested in creating product pipelines for their own financial benefit. They manipulate timelines and rush suppliers to the point where they can sell plants at a discounted rate and still turn a profit.
But that’s not all. Have you ever noticed that the plants you see in those stores look sad? It’s because the grower has to come all the way to the store to take care of them. It’s part of a unilateral contract growers have to adopt, and they have no choice, even though most don’t have the capacity to send someone every week.
You can imagine that with all those constraints, the grower has to cut costs, which reduces the quality of service. The people that suffer the most from this are usually lower-skilled employees—the ones who did not have the chance to go to college, the means to create their own opportunities, or a family to help them build a brighter future.
Our point of difference: Everyone counts
At Léon & George, we pay our suppliers and growers within ten days; we pay our employees every two weeks. We train our staff to use technology, to understand the business, and we empower them to have a long-lasting contribution, while learning skills that they can apply to other industries or future business ventures of their own. Since we started Léon & George, two members of our team have gone on to start their own companies and are working with us as equal partners.
What if we could change the way people shop for the better? Help us spread opportunities for more people: Shop local, shop smarter, and put your money where you want to activate change. Giving is getting and giving is what makes humans happy.
Co-Founder, Léon & George