Lanette Akerson founded Plant Doctor, LLC, in 1983, in her Warrensburg, NY apartment. Lanette graduated from TCU in English, Art and Philosophy. Shortly thereafter, she worked with Eugene Frazier interior design studios in Dallas, Texas, who taught her accessorizing. She began taking courses from the NY School of Interior Design in 1969, upon recommendation.
Anxious to get to NYC, her life took amazing twists and turns, taking her through a few years as a Flight Attendant for American Airlines. She married Lee Bowman there, having their son, Dustin. She headed for the Adirondacks and this is where she thought of creating Plant Doctor.
Some points in her life
SM: When did you start your business?
Lanette Akerson: I began my business in the fall of 1983, in my Warrensburg apartment.
SM: What did you do prior to becoming an entrepreneur?
LA: Well, there are many priors. I graduated from Texas Christian University with a BA in English and a double minor in Art and Philosophy. After that I worked for an interior designer in Dallas while taking courses at the New York School of Interior Design. I flew for American Airlines and got based in New York. I married and had a baby, becoming a full time mom and enjoying my life. It was at this point that I began studying and collecting plants. I became a widow early on and went to work with a friend taking care of plants in homes and offices. Seeking an easier lifestyle for raising a young son alone, I moved to the Adirondacks. I worked in the greenhouses at Sutton’s while concocting a plan for a business with plants. I took a short course from Chandler Atkins at Adirondack Community College called Entrepreneurism and Marketing. It was there that I first heard the word “entrepreneur.”
SM: What services do you provide?
LA: Sales, design, installation and maintenance of plants and flowers, both live and silk, using artful containers that fit with the details of interior spaces. My slogan is “Enhancing our Environment Artfully with Plants and Flowers.”
SM: Why are you called Plant Doctor?
LA: I am called Plant Doctor because that is the name that I felt would bring me business. In fact, Glens Falls Hospital was one of my clients! The name works.
SM: Who is your target market? Do you work in homes as well as large corporations?
LA: My primary market is the business environment. I work with building and office managers, interior designers, and architects. I also do high-end residential spaces, hotels and restaurants. I am committed to helping plant lovers both locally and online everywhere. I help the volunteer gardeners at The Hyde Collection as well as students who work in the greenhouse at Adirondack Community College.
SM: Is most of your work with indoor plants? Do you do landscaping as well?
LA: Half of my work is with indoor plants. I also do annual plantings, container gardens for decks and entryways for all four seasons. Holiday design has become 10% of my business. Lastly, I do fresh floral arrangements for select weddings and in the homes of a few of my plant clients.
SM: You offer a free consultation. What does this entail?
LA: Yes, the first consultation is free! I come to the site and create a plan for my client taking into consideration light and architectural details to either hide or enhance style and budget.
SM: Why do you enjoy working in this industry?
LA: It’s what I do. Plants are good. Nicely maintained plants reduce toxins and stress. Learning about plants is rewarding; teaching about plants is rewarding; teaching about using and caring for plants just spreads the good.
SM: What is your goal for the future of Plant Doctor, LLC? Do you have any plans for expansion?
LA: My goal is to expand, of course, and I have a few ideas.