I have been growing bonsai trees for 23 years now. I got my first one when I was 12. When I was young, I couldn’t find anywhere to buy good bonsai trees from. When I was a little older, I couldn’t afford to buy any of the trees that I found in professional bonsai centres. When I set up All Things Bonsai, I wanted to bring people good quality bonsai trees that people could actually afford to buy AND give them the confidence to have a go. So – What we Like – good quality bonsai trees at a good price
While we do have £1000 plus bonsai trees, I like to offer people nice trees for around a £100 or under. Not sticks in pots and not garden centre plants plonked into bonsai pots.
This is actually hard to do, since lots of bonsai trees are either very expensive or not proper bonsai. I think that if we can find nice quality trees which look like bonsai trees and don’t break the bank, then people will want to buy them.
We’ve had the shop for nearly 5 years now. I’m finding that customers who came in a few years go and maybe bought a bonsai for £25 are now more confident, and happy to spend a little more. Its been lovely to hear that their collections have expanded and they have created bonsai gardens of their own.
My mind is a little funny, I have for example, no facility with learning new languages and I am embarrassingly poor at maths. What I can do quite well though is to remember which trees people have bought from us, as well as the stories that our customers tell us. I’m not too bad at remembering peoples faces either!
I was looking back at some old pictures of the shop the other day from when we moved in. I remember thinking “how on earth are we going to fill this place?” Now we are pushed for space with thoughts turning to expansion. Funny how things change.
On a good day, I like to think that we are creating a space for art and creativity. People frequently call in to work on their trees, which I am happy to do. It doesn’t feel right to charge them any money, as I would happily work with them for free anyway. I try to spend time with every visitor and if I can inspire people to bring bonsai trees into their garden, then it is time well spent. The way I see it is that if you’re a regular customer who buys trees and / or tools, wire, feed etc then I’m happy do it. We certainly have some great customers with interesting lives, some real characters. It only makes good business sense to help people to get it right from the start, as if they can keep their first bonsai trees looking good, they then have the confidence to spend a little more…