New Technology Helps Mom and Pop Businesses Grow and Innovate

As a child growing up in Southern California, Julie Davis-Farrow always wanted to be an actress and model - the fame and lifestyle of Hollywood was alluring. Then, something happened in high school that redirected her passion and career path.

She developed a green thumb.

It started during her senior year in high school in 1981. She began taking on jobs in Orange County, doing interior landscaping. The more jobs she completed, the more customers and referrals she earned. Soon, she owned a small business that began demanding more of her time during her college years. 

“It wasn’t my initial aspiration,” she said. “But the business kept growing and growing.”

Today, as the owner of Plantscapers Inc., Julie employs 18 full-time employees and serves more than 350 clients across Southern California. Small businesses like Plantscapers make up a substantial portion of the U.S. economy and are among the thousands being honored today as part of National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.

For many of them, advances in wireless technology, such as Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network, offer new ways to grow and innovate.

Julie says her field technicians use their smartphones to send her photos of everything from interior spaces to sick plants whenever they need her feedback. She uses a 4G LTE-powered tablet when she meets with prospective clients, quickly accessing her website to show pictures of plants, pots and other design elements that best fit her clients’ needs.

When she completes a job she’s proud of, she’ll snap photos of her team’s work and share them on her Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram networks. “It’s really powerful how you can do all of this in two seconds,” she said.

All of this connectivity drives a big boost in Plantscapers’ productivity - almost as much as Julie’s. She likes to inform clients of a NASA study showing that using interior plants in the workplace can increase employee productivity by as much as 12 percent.

As for making it big in Hollywood, Julie insists she would have had she put her mind to it. “I was on my way,” she said. “It’s funny how life works out.”