It’s been an unprecedented year for PlantX Life (CSE:VEGA, OTCQB:PLTXF, Forum)
, which is aptly called “the digital face of the plant-based community,” as the e-commerce platform, as the company continues cementing itself as the one-stop-shop for all things plant based.
At the company’s core, PlantX’s mission is to raise awareness to simplify plant-based living and deliver high-quality products. Since its official launch in February 2020, PlantX Life’s database has grown to serve consumers across North America and Europe, which includes the opening of its flagship brick-and-mortar store in Squamish, BC.
Stockhouse Editorial’s Jocelyn Aspa recently caught up with company CEO Julia Frank to discuss some of the company’s recent milestones, collaborations and what investors can look forward to as PlantX marches forward with its digital footprint.
SH: I last spoke with Sean [Dollinger, PlantX founder] a few weeks ago, but for the audience who is new to PlantX, can you describe PlantX’s mission to be the one-stop-shop for everything plant-based?
Just like Amazon is out there, conquering the world with offering everything, our focus at PlantX is really all about plant-based products and services. From meal deliveries to groceries and even indoor plants, we are offering everything plant-based and really strive to be the one-stop-shop for everything plant-based. As of now, we offer more than ten thousand products from all kinds of different verticals and we add new products basically on a daily basis.
We have continuously been working on our expansion, but it's also about bringing a community together that believes in something so great. I'm also plant-based and I really want to bring out the message down, educate people about the plant-based lifestyle. So many people have no idea how to live a plant-based lifestyle and how they can improve their life and we really want to be the educational tool on how it's done. We are on a big mission and there are many things happening on a daily basis
SH: I know the company has been super busy, even in just the last few weeks. Speaking of all those new things happening, the company just announced the acquisition of US-based Little West. What was the decision behind the acquisition and how will it benefit PlantX?
Little West is a California-based cold press juice company. And as I said they offer a wide range of juices and health and wellness products, locally sourced, high quality and super fresh ingredients. It was founded in 2013 and the founders had the aim to make the world a better and greener place and bring fresh products out there. That's basically the same vision as PlantX and some of the best products are already distributed to 500 companies — corporate headquarters, coffee shops, restaurants, and even Whole Foods features Little West products in 64 stores. So our idea and strategy is to link our e-commerce presence with these brick and mortar channels. So that's why this acquisition makes total sense to us.
SH: PlantX also just announced the opening of its flagship store in Squamish, BC. How significant is this for the company, and what was the reason behind opening a store in Squamish?
Well, this is actually a very significant step for PlantX and I'm super excited that we now have our first flagship location opened up. Our location features 1,700 square feet of retail space with our amazing PlantX design. Our team did an amazing job here. We showcase groceries items by amazing Canadian and US plant-based brands. What we aim is to increase public engagement. But also, as I mentioned in the introduction of our company, we want to educate people and show them how it's done to have a plant-based lifestyle. And we also use this place as a retail space. So it makes totally sense to have that store opened up and use it as a warehouse. But like I said, also give people the chance to physically go to a store and see our products.
SH: Speaking of the warehouse,how about the launch of the new plant warehouse in Squamish? How will this new facility help advance the company’s mission?
The new warehouse is important to us in terms of our expansion plans and will be used to support the company supply chain for the distribution of like indoor plants across Canada. And for us the indoor plant vertical, I think I've talked about that in previous interviews, is super important to us and we see a lot of potential here. And believe it or not, but actually the global indoor plant market grew by six sizes significantly also with the pandemic and people stay a lot at home. They realize, “Hey, we want to make our home much more beautiful.” Plants also have health benefits. And for us, a plant-based lifestyle, it's not just about what you put into your body. It's also what you surround yourself with. When we were talking about numbers, in the US the house plant sales have increased by 50% in the last three years to 1.7 billion. So you can imagine there's a big potential and we want to be part of that.
SH: Although the company is an e-commerce platform, does PlantX have plans to open other brick-and-mortar stores?
Well, our goal is to roll out brick-and-mortar locations, and also as a franchise model all over North America. But we will still have our strong focus and see ourselves as an e-commerce business. We mainly see these brick-and-mortar locations as education centres, but also as warehouses. It makes totally sense to have these locations, especially for same day deliveries, but it is also a great marketing tool we want to be seen out there, right?
When you have physical locations, you're seeing it's a great marketing tool and you give people that chance to go somewhere and have a look at products. And also, you can ask questions, you can walk to these stores, you can ask questions to our team members, get a better idea about a plant-based life. You will get the answers there. Basically these are seen as our education centers. It's a similar business model as Apple, you know? So this makes all the sense for us.
SH: PlantX also recently announced it will acquire MKC’s Plant-Based Deli. Can you walk us through this acquisition and what it means for PlantX moving forward?
I'm extremely excited about that acquisition with Matthew Kenny Cuisine. So to give you just a little bit more background information, Chef Matthew Kenny is the founder of the company. He's basically the godfather of vegan cuisine. He has worked over I think 30 years in the plant-based space. He's a chef, entrepreneur, and culinary educator. He also wrote 10 books and he's our new PlantX Chief Culinary Officer. And with this, with his experience and mission for plant-based cuisine, he's developing the culinary department at PlantX and he's a great partner for us. So for us it made absolute sense to acquire MKC’s Plant-Based Deli, because like I said, we follow the same mission and we want to educate people and bring, you know, our mission in the world. The New Deli is MKC’s retail location in Venice, California as a sustainable and plant-based neighborhood bodega. Again, the New Deli’s mission is to bring sustainable and healthy products to their community in Venice, which aligns, like I said with PlantX, and also our brick-and-mortar locations that are also currently under development.
So we have for the brick-and-mortar locations, which are not opened up yet. So with this acquisition, our aim is to launch up to 100 new locations of New Deli by PlantX within a year, which will be actually operated by MKC.
SH: It would also be great to talk about PlantX’s amazing revenue growth in the last few months — what can you tell us about April’s revenue and what can we expect, revenue-wise, in the next few months for PlantX?
We achieved another new and for me mind-blowing record monthly revenue of $2.04 million for the month of April. And just to give you a little bit more idea, our revenue increased from March, by 30% and 87% from January to April. So that's mind blowing. Those numbers basically reflect all of our marketing activities, our branding efforts, but also our new amazing partnerships such as just to name one the partnership with tennis champion, Venus Williams, but also, to be honest, the plant-based industry itself is so young and it's growth is so explosive. So even if you would stop adding new products and stuff, you know to stop these partnerships, we would actually grow organic. I'm convinced that we will have a record month in gross revenues on a regular basis, for sure.
SH: The company has certainly been busy in the last couple of weeks. What else can we expect from PlantX moving forward?
I mean we are looking into further interesting acquisitions, amazing new partnerships that I can't really talk about yet. That's happening in the next couple of weeks and months. So stay tuned for sure.
SH: Is there anything else you’d like to touch on that I might have missed?
: Yeah, I mentioned it briefly. I'm extremely excited about our new, amazing partnership with tennis star Venus Williams. She acts as our new brand ambassador, but also as an investor. Her goal is also really to educate about plant-based living, and she follows the same mission as PlantX. She's actually fully vegan since around 10 years. And I mean, she has an amazing, amazing personality. I have been a fan of hers since I was very young. I started playing tennis as a little child. So for me, this is really like a dream come true to partner right now with her. So yeah, it is actually really, really great that this will be happening with her as well.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.