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Staying True to Your North Star with Back to the Roots

Staying True to Your North Star with Back to the Roots


In this episode, Chuck Templeton is joined by Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, co-founders of Back to the Roots, a company that's redefining what it means to be a home gardener. 

Starting from an unconventional college experiment using coffee grounds to grow mushrooms, their venture has grown into the only end-to-end organic gardening brand, helping to ignite a new generation of sustainability-minded gardeners who are looking for a more rooted relationship with their food. The duo discusses the significance of deep customer understanding, the art of pivoting in response to challenges, and the non-negotiable commitment to sustainability and transparency that has defined their brand. This discussion offers a realistic look at building a mission-driven business, the challenges encountered, and the perseverance required to stay true to one's values in the competitive retail landscape.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sustainable Innovation as a Market Differentiator: Back to the Roots exemplifies how sustainability can be a viable market strategy that resonates deeply with consumers. Their commitment to peat-free soil and packaging from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic not only sets new industry standards but also appeals to a new generation of gardeners, showcasing the potential for similar innovation-driven growth across various sectors.

  2. Compounding Relationships Fuel Growth: The episode highlights how the strategic nurturing of relationships—with suppliers, retailers, and team members—can serve as a catalyst for rapid growth and market penetration.

  3. The Power of Simplified Consumer Offerings: By focusing on simplicity in their product line, Back to the Roots has successfully created an end-to-end gardening solution that removes barriers to entry for new gardeners. This lesson in product development stresses the value of consumer-centric design and simplification in fostering user engagement and loyalty.

  4. Navigating Entrepreneurial Challenges with a Strong Foundational Partnership: The enduring co-founder relationship at the heart of Back to the Roots provides a blueprint for entrepreneurial resilience. A shared vision and complementary skill sets are critical when facing challenges, making strategic pivots, and achieving sustained profitability.

  5. Aligning Business Goals with Broader Missions: Staying true to their North Star has enabled Back to the Roots to weather challenges and continuously adapt to get to where they are today. A clear and compelling mission can guide decision-making, inspire innovation, and attract like-minded customers and partners.


Where to find Back to the Roots products and seed packets

Back to the Roots on How I Built This with Guy Roz

Staying True to Your North Star with Back to the Roots
00:00 / 01:04


Josie Lane

Art Director


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This content is for informational purposes only, should not be taken as legal, business, tax or investment advice, or be used to evaluate any investment or security, and is not directed at any investor or potential investor in any investment vehicle sponsored by S2G Investments, LLC or its affiliates (“S2G Ventures”). Investing involves risk, including the risk of loss. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of S2G Ventures. Specific companies are mentioned herein solely for educational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement of any particular company or investment. Please note that S2G Ventures may maintain investments in the companies mentioned herein.

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