Kevin Espiritu
Epic Gardening was founded in 2016 and is one of the top five gardening blogs worldwide. (Instagram: Epic Gardening)

Epic Gardening was on track to generate $30 million in revenues last year. The business owner, Kevin Espiritu, wants his online gardening company to bring in $100 million annually as it scales.

Kevin grew up as a regular suburban kid in California, and it took him several jobs and ventures before founding Epic Gardening in 2016, one of the top five gardening blogs worldwide.

He funded his college by playing online poker, completed several projects on web design, co-founded an AI-focused startup, and even worked at a media company. One of his ventures was growing and selling premium microgreens to the top restaurants in San Diego. Although he closed the business, his experience sparked an interest in plants and food systems.

Kevin decided to start a gardening blog, Epic Gardening, with $50 to monetize his new-found passion and help people at the same time. He would learn about gardening and write articles generating $200-$300 monthly in the initial days—from edible harvesting, ornamental gardening, seeds, and soil improvement to the fundamentals of plant problems, raised bed gardening, homesteading, and hydroponics.

Kevin's brother decided to join the initiative as the blog's quality educational content started attracting vast numbers of gardeners. Epic Gardening generated $17,000 in 2016, followed by $75,000 and $225,000 in consecutive years.

In 2019, Kevin levelled up his vision and entered the e-commerce space. He started by selling gardening products like seeds of various flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The range of products gradually increased to cover raised garden beds, seed starting trays, watering pots, and fabric grow bags.

Business revenue reached $2.8 million in 2020 and $7.3 million in 2021. Kevin said in an interview with UpFlip that the company was selling $20,000 of seed starting trays in 90 seconds at one point.

He sourced raised plant beds from Australia that were much more durable and long-lasting than the average metal and wood beds. While securing the import deal took a while, he finally closed it and bought a 20-foot container for $35,000 to support the logistics. Half of the payments were up front; he could pay the rest over 90 days.

Kevin's experience and intuition led him to pre-sell these raised beds in the pipeline as demand was high. He used the proceeds to clear the remaining bill and buy another container to expand capacity.

Kevin Spent $0 on Ads Until 2022

Kevin wants Epic Gardening to generate $100 million in annual revenues Epic Gardening/Instagram

Although importing products is costly, Kevin said he spent $0 on advertising until 2022, which somewhat offset operating costs. While most companies spend 20% of their revenue on paid advertising, Epic Gardening spends only a third of that, according to him.

The primary reason was steady internet traffic from solid blog content that matched the readers' intent. He said that when you reach people organically via your blog, you get to "re-target" those people or advertise at a cheaper rate. Kevin ensures that 120-150 articles are published monthly.

He also started a subred called r/hydro, which is about hydroponics (growing plants without soil). He went to a community with existing internet traffic, created a sub-community around it, and then linked it to his blog.

That's not all. Kevin's efforts on social media were also a key driver of business growth. He pivoted from blogging to creating a podcast and YouTube channels as a "preservation move" to avoid "hyper-concentration" on one thing and reach more people.

Over the years, he has amassed millions of subscribers on Instagram and other social media platforms. Kevin would identify the content people responded to and list corresponding products on the website for maximum impact.

Kevin Accepted $17.5 Million in Funding in 2022

As a hustler, Kevin appeared protective of his business, which is reaching new heights every month. He garnered massive interest from investment firms but dodged them for as long as possible. The main reason was that he wanted to refrain from offering control to an entity that would alter his vision for the company.

However, he soon understood that private equity becomes necessary after a certain point in scaling businesses. He negotiated a funding of $17.5 million from the investment group, The Chernin Group, in 2022 to grow the business further, enter new markets, improve warehousing and logistics, as well as develop or source new gardening products.

Kevin advised entrepreneurs to build a company where investors want to reach out to them. He has a 75-strong core team of producers, creators, marketing experts, and industry experts working with a shared vision.