Thigpen’s succulent business takes root during pandemic

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 8/5/20

LAKE ASBURY – Taylor Thigpen, 14, is Clay County’s succulent plant king.

When school let out early this year for COVID-19 on March 13, thousands of students prepared for an extended vacation. …

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Thigpen’s succulent business takes root during pandemic

Posted

LAKE ASBURY – Taylor Thigpen, 14, is Clay County’s succulent plant king.

When school let out early this year for COVID-19 on March 13, thousands of students prepared for an extended vacation. Thigpen prepared for business. He merged his passion for entrepreneurship with his knowledge of horticulture to create Succulent King.

“I started business at a great time,” Thigpen said. “I was able to take advantage of COVID-19 to meet a demand. People had new time to learn about gardening, time they didn’t have when working full-time. Succulents are trendy and it’s where the market was so I started Succulent King.”

The idea came to Thigpen shortly after schools closed, but his business wasn’t up and running until May. He had to put hours of time into research. How does a 14-year-old start a business? What do I need? How should I go about creating a website? Social Media? Employees? These were all questions Thigpen wrestled with leading up to his May opening.

He had to acquire a small business license and a nursery license. He had to find a marketplace – he found Facebook’s local markets although Succulent King ships to 50 states – and he had to find the succulents. All of that is in the past now because Succulent King has been open for business for weeks now and Thigpen says it only grows to be more successful with each passing week.

“It has gone way better than I ever expected,” Thigpen said.

Thigpen’s history with horticulture goes way back. He’s been an active member in Clay County’s 4-H and a number of other horticulture-focused clubs for about seven years. He looks forward to the Clay County Agricultural Fair each year because he enters his own homegrown plants into competition there.

When it looked like his Clay County horticulture education would be suspended by the coronavirus, Thigpen decided to start Succulent King. It’s a licensed nursery that ships succulents, cacti and other house plants to 50 states. It also sells apparel and monthly succulent-subscription boxes that include a monthly shipment of two potted plants and some garden accessories to go with them.

As the start of the 2020-21 school year nears closer, Thigpen has no plans to slow down.

“School will make it a challenge but I’m fully ready to overcome that challenge and see even more success for Succulent King,” Thigpen said.

He’ll begin his ninth grade year at St. Johns Country Day. He has part-time employees, including fellow students and his grandmother.

His business is focused on Facebook right now, but Thigpen is working hard at getting a website and professional social media pages created.

“I’ve always been a go-getter,” Thigpen said. “I have really high goals. I don’t like to just talk about things – I want to do things and I did this on my own for that reason. I have high hopes for where Succulent King is heading.”

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