Conner Hammond has started a lucrative summer business building raised garden beds. Photos courtesy of Facebook.com/growingupgardensfriscotx
June 16, 2016
Just a few months ago, 15-year-old Conner Hammond of Frisco was looking for a way to earn a little extra spending money. Little did he know that what started out as Mother’s Day present – a homemade raised bed to house his mom’s garden - would sprout into a booming, or should we say blooming, business.
“My mom came up with the four-by-eight-foot model. It was a little rough, but it was good for what she wanted. My dad and I built that first one. Then we thought, ‘They’re good quality and they look good, so why don’t we build them for other people,’” recalls Conner.
And so Growing Up Gardens was born.
After advertising his raised bed on a neighborhood website, Conner had his first order within a couple of hours, and the orders just kept coming. As of this writing, he has sold 100 beds, including a second design – a two-foot-by-four-foot bed that’s elevated high enough off the ground for those who cannot bend down to garden, and also keeps out pesky garden interlopers like rabbits.
The Growing Up Gardens crew, from left, Johnny Shaffer, Justin Cordischi, Conner Hammond and Carter Skeeters are working to keep up with orders this summer.
Offering sustainable products is important to Growing Up Gardens – the beds are made from untreated cedar, which is naturally rot-resistant and holds up well in all types of weather. And at the end of its lifespan (an average of 10 years), you can simply let your beds decompose in your garden or chip it for mulch.
As Growing Up Gardens has expanded, Conner’s friends Johnny Shaffer, Justin Cordischi and Carter Skeeters have joined him. An now the 15-year-olds all build and deliver the beds together. The business has truly become a family affair as Conner’s parents, Fred and Shannon Hammond, handle the sales and marketing. Johnny’s dad, John, is a carpenter by trade and has improved the original designs.
Building these beds has deepened Conner’s connection with his friends, his parents, and his community, but it has also taught him the value of money.
“I’m actually surprised at how much I like building the gardens. I love meeting all different kinds of people that want gardens from us and are supporting my friends and me. I’ve also learned not to expect something to be given to you, that you need to work for it and about business, which is what I want do when I go to college – a business major,” shares Conner.
Now that school is out, Growing Up Gardens is gearing up for a busy summer, while developing new designs and products, including a self-watering garden and a dual-purpose raised bed that can be planted with vegetables in the spring and with flowers in the fall. Right now, Growing up Gardens is only serving Frisco, although Conner hopes to expand delivery to other areas.
Both Conner and his dad are still surprised how quickly this unexpected business has grown.
“I’m thrilled that the community has really gotten behind us, and as a result, I’m able to transfer some of my leadership and business skills on to them [Conner and his friends]. And we’ve had some fun,” says Fred Hammond. Smiling, Conner agrees, “Yeah, it’s been fun!”
Growing Up Gardens sells three products: the four-foot-by-eight-foot raised bed for $199, the two-foot-by-four-foot elevated bed with legs for $149, and the four-foot-by-eight-foot elevated bed with legs for $499.
To order a raised or elevated bed, visit Growing Up Gardens Facebook page or call 469-525-2638.