POTWIN, Kan. (KSNW) — What do you get with an old school bus and a passion for gardening? Introducing the Plant Bus, a mobile gardening business.
“Just everything horticultural under the sun. That is what the plant bus is about,” said Renata’s Garden and Plant Bus owner Renata Goossen. “A big mission of Renata’s Garden is to spread the love of growing things no matter what it is.”
Goossen, a recent K-State graduate, is the brains and brown behind Renata’s Garden. Her horticulture production degree, mixed with her emphasis on marketing, makes her a blooming CEO. Her business smarts date back to when she was in middle school.
Renata’s Garden blossoms into a business
“I grew up in a very rural area, and I actually didn’t have access to an easy job when I was there. I didn’t have a car in high school, so I started Renata’s Garden as a junior high, 8th-grade student. I started growing tomatoes and peppers for our community members, and just as I would go to school or church or whatever, I would take these plants to my customers,” she explained.
Goossen’s passion for plants grew from there. On a college study abroad trip to Europe, she was introduced to many mobile businesses.
“I really loved that mobile concept because you can take your product to the people wherever they may be,” Goossen said.
Shortly after returning to the United States, the Potwin, Kan. native bought an old school bus from a couple in Burrton, Kan.
“[They] were hoping to flip it into an RV for travel. Life changed for them, and I was happy to take the bus off their hands!” she said.
From school bus to plant bus
Introducing a skoolie: a used bus converted for something KOOL. In Goossen’s case, her KOOL is the plants she sells while teaching people about horticulture.
Getting the skoolie where it is today was a process Goossen is proud to have taken the lead on. She not only coated the yellow bus with a tintable Raptor Liner, but she wrapped and hand-painted a botanical theme on its exterior, making it a one-of-a-kind skoolie.
Why a school bus? Goossen told KSN there are two main reasons.
“First, we live in Kansas, making it a necessity to have a protected area for shoppers from weather conditions. It allows me to have a bit more flexibility in our crazy spring weather,” she explained.
The second reason goes hand-in-hand with the mission behind Renata’s Garden, which is to educate others about horticulture.
“What more appropriate than a renovated school bus to do the trick? I love seeing the joy of people and kids, especially when they come aboard and see a transformed interior!” she said.
What’s inside the bus?
“I have everything from greens, pansies, cucumbers, tomatoes, I have got a lot of herbs, and these edible flowers have been a big hit,” said Goossen.
The bus also features interior plants for those who may not have an outdoor growing space, some durable goods, pots, tools, and some unique fabric containers.
“Right now, I am doing spring garden plants, but eventually, this summer, I will have the cut flowers. In the fall, I can probably throw some pumpkins on here,” she said.
Goossen grows each plant she sells.
“They are synthetic, chemical-free because I have beehives outside my greenhouse. I am big into pollinators, so I really love that I know exactly where these plants came from, from seed to where they are on the bus,” she said.
When you buy from Goossen, you also get a detailed “how-to” care for each plant.
“All of my plants have tags on them with my brand on it, but then they also have little QR codes on the back that take you to my website with that plant’s plant care. It doesn’t matter what plant you buy on the bus, whether it’s an edible plant or a house plant, every plant has that so that customers are not lost when they get into it,” Goossen explained.
If the website isn’t detailed enough, Goossen will walk her customers through the plant care while they check out. She will even respond to direct messages or emails to make sure her customers are satisfied.
She is hopeful her plant bus adventure will inspire others to chase their dreams.
“I think the fear of getting started is a big deal for everybody no matter who you are, but once you are started, it’s all about the perseverance it really is,” she said.
The Plant Bus does pop-ups in different cities throughout the week. Click here for the schedule.