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Diversity: Creating a thriving female-owned business

October 22, 2019 -  By

“Getting work has never been an issue,” says Trina Julian, owner of Country Girl Gardens in Hayden, Idaho.

But embarking in the landscape industry as a woman wasn’t an easy road at first. When Julian started the business about 10 years ago, she struggled to be taken seriously by other landscape businesses when she needed some assistance hiring subcontractors for services like hardscapes. Since then her connections have become invaluable.

Her employee mix includes six women and one man. While the employee ratio may be the opposite of most landscape operations, her problem is that most men who work for her are temporary.

“I struggle to find men to come work for us long term,” Julian says. “It probably has to do with the fact that it’s a woman-owned business with mostly female employees and the culture is a bit soft for them — it’s like hanging out with a group of girls. Maybe they feel out of place.”

But Julian says she treats her employees the same.

“It’s never been a distinction,” she says. “When a guy works for me, he works right along with everybody else.”

She says she’s also noting more women entering the landscape industry than ever before.

“I see a good amount of women out there doing landscape work,” she says. “Obviously, there’s more men, but I’d say it’s almost 50-50. I have a lot of women apply for landscaping — I find that they’re able to do that work.”

While more women may feel comfortable applying for positions at her business than at male-owned businesses, Julian says there are ample opportunities for women in the landscape industry. She encourages any woman thinking of a career in the landscape industry to give it a go.

“I know talking to a lot of men in the industry, they are very open to hiring women and they want to hire more women,” she says.

Julian also says her clientele mix is about 70 percent female. She says women like working with her and with her employees, and they’re drawn to Julian’s ability to add color to designs.

“I think women are attracted to working with women because we are more able to understand what they’re wanting,” she says. “We tend to be more customer-service orientated. You’re dealing with the wife of the couple, and landscaping is kind of looked at as a women’s domain. Women want color, and this flower and that flower, that’s where you lose men’s interest.”

This article is tagged with and posted in 1019, Cover story
Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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