Mr Fothergill's Seeds targets young gardeners

Mr Fothergill's Seeds engages with next generation of gardeners through social media strategy.

Mr Fothergill's Seeds has launched a social media strategy as joint managing director John Fothergill expressed cautious optimism about the market.

The company, which has launched mini fruit trees developed by Will Sibley and a new chocolate flake sweetpea named after the late horse trainer Sir Henry Cecil, has contracted Paskett PR to run its social media as part of a one-year PR package.

Fothergill said: "It's a conscious effort to get Mr Fothergill's into the consciousness of the buyers. We're not looking to change our image but we want to engage with the next generation of gardeners."

Fothergill said that using Facebook had been helpful for the company's Australian subsidiary over the past two years as a means of developing retail distribution and driving traffic to its website.

In the UK, the company thinks it can tap into younger buyers and the grow-your-own generation who go to the internet for information.

Fothergill said in the past the firm was reluctant to use social media because it did not want to do it badly.

The company is also looking to expand its overseas sales with an emphasis on eastern Europe. Currently around 25 per cent of its sales are overseas, with 55 per cent of that in Australia.

In the UK, Fothergill said the company was preparing for a "more natural spring after the past two years" and predicting a bounceback.

Mr Fothergill's Seeds New plants and products added to its range

Mr Fothergill's has added new plants to its range, including Phlox drummondii 'Pomegranate Beauty', which retails at £2.05, and Trailing Verbena 'Italian Blue', which retails at £7.95 for five young plants.

The new Calendula officinalis 'Oopsy Daisy' (priced £2.05) was found down the side of a greenhouse by Mr Fothergill's Tracy Collacott.

Mr Fothergill's is undercutting Scotts and Westland in the 'seed shaker instant gardens' category with its colour-themed Seed Cube for 2014. Retailers can buy 80 cubes priced at £2.95.

The firm has also struck a deal with Will Sibley to launch three mini fruit trees - Sibley's Patio Gage, Plum and Almond - from this autumn, priced at £29.95.

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