Entrepreneur continues family tradition – Grand Rapids Business Journal
The idea for beautiful and functional plant packaging came to Liz Pigorsh in a dream of her late aunt’s garden and she took it as a sign to invent a product and start a business.
Pigorsh’s aunt Ellamae Braun was a master gardener and long-term volunteer at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park until her death in 2010. Pigorsh (née Braun) had a dream about her in 2019, which was the starting point for her invention and later business. Button your plants.
“I had a dream about her bright orange poppies and perfect pink peonies falling into her driveway like every season,” said Pigorsh. “This dream inspired Button Up Your Plants, an invention for displaying and protecting delicate flowers.”
Button Up Your Plants sells small, medium, and large decorative wrappers for outdoor plants in the ground to provide support and give the illusion that they are potted, as well as wrappers that wrap around the base of outdoor potted, hanging, and indoor plants -Plants attached are plants. The wraps, which can be customized or taken from existing inventory, typically range from $ 7.99 to $ 30 depending on the size and design complexity.
Pigorsh was many things: a resident of Cedar Springs and now Rockford, a soccer mom of four, a health coach and a caterer at Applause Catering.
But one thing that has always been true is that entrepreneurship – and gardening – are deeply embedded in their family history. Her grandfather, Fred Braun Sr., founded Braun Machinery in Kentwood and three generations of Brauns have owned and operated the company since then. Her aunt, the daughter of Fred Braun and the aforementioned master gardener, taught her the concept of generation gardening and passed on her love for flowers and plants.
As the youngest of three boys and three girls, Pigorsh frequented her aunt Ellie’s house in East Grand Rapids and has fond memories of those days.
“It was just beautiful in her garden. She did the landscaping up front and she had a little corridor that her poppies and peonies would stand on. (It was) her driveway, the poppies and peonies, then her door. And I just remember that (the flowers) kept falling over. It had a detached garage and a really cool wooden gate that hooked them up and then you went into that beautiful garden in the back – it was just beautiful, ”said Pigorsh.
Ellie Braun had her nephews and nieces garden and plant flowers so new flowers could grow in their place, and she also shared plants with family members who transplanted them every time they moved to keep the heirlooms going.
Pigorsh describes her sister as a better gardener than she is, but when the Pigorsh family moved to their current home in Rockford, and lo and behold, seven nearly 30-year-old peony plants stood at about four and a half feet each.
So it’s no wonder that Pigorsh had the dream of her aunt’s peonies in 2019.
“She said, ‘wrap my poppies and peonies,’ and I was crazy enough to follow the dream,” said Pigorsh, laughing.
After inviting a friend, Becky, to help prototype the wraps one day, Pigorsh struggled to think of a way to secure the wraps when her friend suggested using buttons. Pigorsh turned to the refrigerator and saw on it her Aunt Ellie’s magnet adorned with buttons and said, “If friends were flowers, I would pick you.” Pigorsh took this as another sign and the name for their invention and business was born.
The company’s logo is also a family affair, as her niece patterned it from a floral greeting card that Fred Braun Sr. painted for Ellie Braun on her birthday in 1977.
GKW Business Solutions in Rockford and SCORE Grand Rapids offered Pigorsh management consulting services, Sightline Display in Walker helped develop the cases and now their in-house partner Design Manufacturing designs and manufactures the products.
Button Up Your Plants, which has been in operation for a little over two years, recently became a member of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and Pigorsh said she was excited to see what growth the future holds for her company.
“I never thought that a love of plants would create so many friendships and strengthen my family support,” said Pigorsh. “I love being around flowers, plants and people. I’m relationship oriented (and) love meeting people so luckily I enjoy knocking on business doors and sharing the wraps. The people were incredibly receptive and seem to love the idea. “
The wraps are available at buttonupyourplants.com/shop, as well as in the gift shop of Frederik Meijer Gardens, Countryside Greenhouse in Allendale, S&H Greenhouses in Belmont, Knapp Valley Gardens in Grand Rapids, Edgerton Giftery in Howard City and Bittersweet of Cheboygan in Cheboygan.