VALLEY CENTER, Calif. — The coronavirus and stay at home order have been huge adjustments for families across the country and that includes a Valley Center family that owns their own business and home schools their children. In this Zevely Zone, I met the Irwin family to see what it takes to grow a family and business in challenging times.
If any family would be insulated from the health crisis you'd think it would be the Irwin family, but even from the hills of Valley Center when your own business and home school your kids, the coronavirus is taking a toll. "A couple of big conferences that were coming to the United States from Europe actually cancelled, " said Lora Irwin.
Nine years ago, Lora and Darren Irwin walked away from their jobs and took a huge gamble on tiny plants. "That was a scary leap of faith," said Darren. He was a school teacher, who noticed when he sold succulents online people bought them. "Fast, really fast," said Darren.
The Irwins aren't just growing plants in Valley Center, they're growing a family. "James is 15, Blaise is 13, Jude is 11, Beau is 9 and Justus is 7," said Lora "The boys all have their own page on our website and so they found a plant that they enjoy and they propagate, they cut, they put the orders together."
These may be little plants but the big boys have taken notice Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and 99 cent stores are all buying from the Succulent Source. Their plants have appeared in a Kelly Clarkson video and were special ordered by Dennis Quaid's sister as a gift to their mom.
"Why do you think my wife loves succulents?" I asked. Lora replied, "I think because they are cute beautiful and eccentric." "And why do you think I love succulents," I asked. Darren told me, "Because you can't kill them, they just grow and they grow and they grow. You don't have to water them and they look great."
Along with little buckets of love The Succulent Source sells wedding bouquets and jewelry. Lora showed me a succulent plant growing on a bracelet. "A live succulent cuff, this will live for weeks and weeks and then after your wedding. You can take this apart and make your own succulent garden."
What started off as a gamble leaving their jobs has paid off with the sale of millions of plants. "Live the dream, the American dream right," said Darren. Yes, but not without risk, on the day of this shoot the coronavirus was to blame for six cancellations. From baby showers, to corporate events, clients are cancelling orders.
The Irwins are a family of faith armed with the ability to beat the economic challenge by cutting costs and rug while their at it. This story ended with smiles as the boys stood on top of the planters performing the dance known as "The Floss."
If you'd like to learn more about the Irwin family or buy a plant from The Succulent Source go to thesucculentsource.com.