Drake Kurlander, 25, graduated from Florida International University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies.
“I graduated and it was like, ‘What are we going to do?’ ” Kurlander said.
He decided to partner with classmate Ian Wogan, now 27, to create GOI — short for Garden of Ian. The company started as a landscaping business, but the pair started planting gardens around town, building irrigation systems and more recently, Kurlander has become a certified arborist. With each incarnation of the business, he has learned something new, like filing taxes, dealing with lawyers, and building a website.
“There’s been a tremendous learning curve along the way,” Kurlander said.
The biggest thing these young entrepreneurs have learned along the way? Nothing is more important than building relationships with customers and giving them a quality product or service.
It’s what Poore calls “guerrilla marketing,” and it’s more important than even having a Facebook page for your business.
Poore and Rick, along with their employees, attend community events, pass out flyers by hand and take coupons to local stores. Similarly, Galea and O’Sullivan have showed their toys at local farmers markets and Fairchild Garden’s Ramble. Kurlander makes sure to mention his business to everyone he meets, even when he’s at a social event.
After building that strong customer base, the young entrepreneurs figure success is only a matter of time and perseverance.
“In the last two years my perspective has changed on how the world works and how business is driven,” Kurlander said. “I have a much more real understanding than when I started.”