Soon you won’t need to reach to the internet to acquire seeds of a cacao tree or a baobab. Former student Sander Onsman opens a shop in the Bergstraat next week.
In 2007, during his bachelor’s in biology at the WUR, Onsman set up a web shop for peculiar seeds right from his own student room. ‘Onszaden’ sells seeds of rare plants from around the world. Tea and coffee, but also very special flowers, such as the red kangaroo paw from Australia or the Persian silk tree from China. As soon as he had received his bachelor’s diploma, Onsman started working full-time for his company. Through sales to private individuals, botanical gardens and zoos, the start-up expanded to an office on campus.
Business is booming so much, Onsman can now afford a shop in the centre of Wageningen. Obviously, the shop is also meant to make sales, but it is mainly meant as a place to make direct contact with his clients. The largest revenues are from the online market. ‘To me, the stories behind the plants are what it’s about, and I want to share that with the clients.’ In the shop, people can feel, see and admire the seeds and plants. ‘It’s already satisfying whenever people walk in to thumb through a book on plants or to rummage through the bags with seeds.’
The new shop has a very large window on the street. Onsman wants to use the display to have some of his seeds bud in plain view. On top of that, the plants are doing well in the layout of the shop. Onsman wants to grow some creeping plants along the window and on the ceiling. Another detail of the shop design is a world map on the wall on which you can see where various plant seeds originate from.
Onsman currently employs two biology students from Wageningen. ‘Students are enthusiastic about plants, like to think along and lay a connection with WUR’, he says. That connection is also given shape in his wish to set up a corner of the shop with current scientific plant research. Onsman is happy with his new spot in Wageningen. ‘It is a favourable location, as there are many people here who like nature and plants. In Wageningen, everyone knows someone who likes plants.’
Onszaden will open its doors on Saturday 15 October at Bergstraat 9a.