Beginning the Business

Posted on May 18th, 2018

2018 is Greenjean’s 21st year in business. Let’s take a walk down memory lane with Peter to find out how Greenjeans came to be. 

“Greenjeans was started by my wife Jill, after a family tragedy, she decided to work on her own business rather than working for the man, and determine her own future.”  Peter started with Greenjeans a year after Jill began, having some Horticultural experience of his own.

Before Greenjeans, Peter believed he was a company man. Unlike Jill, he was averse to taking risks and enjoyed the safety of a paycheque. However, following Jill’s lead, and together creating the company from the ground up, his self-confidence shot right up. “By becoming an entrepreneur I determined whether I had a job or not, and I reaped the benefits of a job well done- either monetarily or emotionally.”

From the very beginning, the intention was to create a sustainable business, making a decent living, and paying staff a living wage, providing benefits and creating a healthy working environment.

People in our company are hired for more then just taking care of plants, we are looking for care givers. People that love living things, people that care about other people

-Peter Harleman

Together Jill and Peter grew the company by simply doing good work and providing a good service.  “We never solicited a lot, people got to know us and people hired us.”

Our First Contract

The general manager of Oxford Properties brought a poinsettia into the shop that Jill was working at and asked for advice on how to care for the plant. Finding out that the company providing the Poinsettia was called Rent-to-Kill she said “well that’s appropriate, you rent them, they kill them.” and then she offered her small companies services. She gave them a quote and started with a small part of the mall. Within 2 years Greenjeans had the entire mall.

“We knew we had to outwork and outperform our competition, so what we did was contacted a company in Calgary who was doing fantastic work, Joanne Young with the Greenery in Calgary. She became a mentor to us in the beginning and put us in contact with some American companies.”

The Plantscape market at the time in Edmonton was dominated by an older generation not keen to keep up with the times. Peter and Jill were lucky to both have an interest in Horticulture, and experience with sales. A genuine interest in the industry made staying ahead of the competition easy. Getting excited about and braving new ventures. A big believer in education, when they knew better, they did better. They saw the trends and took chances. Exterior plants, Christmas decor, and Living Walls were brought to Edmonton from Greenjeans first. Thus Greenjeans grew into the prosperous 30 person team it is today.

Have living things in your life. Life is for the living, not for objects, life is for caring, educating, and for loving. 

-Peter Harleman

Check out our Portfolio to see how we have been planting Edmonton Green!

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