In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.

At a glance

Founders: Jack Johnson and Anastasiya Duyko

Business: Little Gem Seeds NZ

Founded: 2020

HQ: Manawatu

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Little Gem Seeds NZ is your gateway to accessible and sustainable gardening. We offer monthly seed subscriptions, curated for New Zealanders who embrace gardening as a way of life, especially young families. Our mission is to make gardening from seed easier, more affordable, and eco-conscious.

Each subscription envelope not only contains handpicked seeds but also includes a recipe card and engaging kids’ activities, fostering a love for gardening in the next generation. What sets us apart is our commitment to sustainability; our fully compostable packaging plants a tree for each envelope we deliver.

Our “Grow More, Pay Less” philosophy resonates with budget-conscious gardeners. We aim to inspire and enable more people to experience the joy of growing their own food, fostering a sense of community among our subscribers.

In a nutshell, Little Gem Seeds NZ is about promoting sustainable, budget-friendly gardening that brings families together and nurtures a love for nature. Join us in sowing the seeds of a greener, more connected future.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

Little Gem Seeds NZ was born from the passions of Jack and Anastasiya. Jack’s culinary journey in New York sparked a quest for vibrant produce upon his return to New Zealand. Unsatisfied with bland supermarket options, he embarked on growing his own from seeds.

The concept blossomed during the COVID-19 pandemic when Jack sought purpose amidst job uncertainty. Gardening became his refuge. Anastasiya, an interior designer in New York and New Zealand, joined, adding design finesse to the venture.

Their shared commitment to sustainability defines Little Gem Seeds NZ. From market choice to eco-friendly execution, it minimizes the ecological footprint. It blends culinary nostalgia, purpose, design sensibility, and a profound love for the planet.

In essence, Little Gem Seeds NZ is a fusion of passion, purpose, and sustainability, sowing the seeds of a creative gardening venture.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

Little Gem Seeds NZ has been nurtured not only by our dedication but also by a willingness to learn and grow continuously. While our journey hasn’t solely been about monetary success, it’s been a profound personal and professional development experience.

One of the most invaluable resources on this path has been our partnership from the outset. Jack and Anastasiya have been constant mentors to each other, each bringing unique skills and perspectives to the table. This dynamic has created an environment of true collaboration, constant learning, and high execution standards. It’s a workplace we aspire to have, one where creativity flourishes, and ideas evolve into reality.

Our journey underscores that entrepreneurship is a perpetual learning experience. Even if financial success isn’t immediate, the skills honed, the connections made, and the personal growth achieved are invaluable. We would encourage other founders to embrace this journey, seeking not only financial success but also the opportunity to become better versions of themselves while creating a workplace that embodies their aspirations for true collaboration, learning, and high execution standards.


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