Kalgoorlie supported employee James blossoms as gardening entrepreneur

If you’re a Kalgoorlie local, you may have heard of James’ Rustic Nursery, a small business started by Activ supported employee James.

“I’ve been working at Activ for just over 10 years. I work in property care and in the business services. I’ve had my nursery for about three to four years,” said James.

James’ Rustic Nursery sells easy-to-maintain plants in the funkiest of pots to the general public in Kalgoorlie. Selling at both Activ Business Services Kalgoorlie and at local markets, James’ small business is a true demonstration of his passion for gardening.

“I’ve always loved gardening, I did it as a kid. I just like getting my hands dirty!” said James.

James is always on the quest to find rustic and quirky objects to use as pots for his variety of plants, most of which are popular succulents.

“We’re located near the bush so I go out bush a lot to find things to use as pots. I’ve used hard hats, boots, a fire extinguisher, old tea pots, and even a zombie doll,” said James.

James’ creativity ensures that his nursery stands out from the competition. He’s always searching for new ideas, going online to seek inspiration and helping to make his vision a reality through illustrations in his book.

Along with the creative side of the business, James has learnt new skills with the support of his support workers and supervisors to ensure that his nursery is successful.

“I’ve learnt more about the business side of things – things like budgeting and creating business cards,” said James.

“I’ve made a Facebook page to help promote the nursery too.”

James has also been able to apply the practical horticultural skills he’s learnt from working at Activ, to his nursery.

“There’s been a lot of times where I’ve learnt things at property care that I can apply to my nursery, like learning how to setup the retic system, and using an aquaponic system that was donated from one of our clients,” said James.

One of James’ supervisors at Activ Employment Services Kalgoorlie, Raelene Kroemer, said it’s been a delight watching James pursue his dreams.

“The best part has been seeing how James has developed his own quirky style,” said Raelene.

“We support James to do the planting at our Activ site, and during community services James is supported to buy all of his supplies, use the computers to complete any planning and to attend the town markets to sell his plants.”

“James will plant a plant in anything. We have to tie everything down otherwise he will try to put a plant in it!”

“James has come a long way with his nursery, he’s really enthusiastic now that he can see that it’s going somewhere.”

With Raelene’s and Activ’s encouragement, James dreams of expanding his small business.

“I really want it to grow bigger and have more variety. For anyone who wants to start gardening, I say ‘just give it a go and get your hands dirty’,” said James.