This 35-year-old makes six figures gardening and teaching others about plants – NBC 7 San Diego

Kevin Espiritu doesn’t believe in having a green thumb. He believes that anyone can learn to garden with the right tips and tools.

Espiritu is the founder and CEO of Epic gardening. It is a one stop shop for a wide range of plant lovers, from those looking for it perfect their tomatoes for others who just want to keep their latest houseplant alive.

The company is responsible for creating video content for a variety of platforms including YouTube and Instagram, as well as selling retail products to its viewers. Epic Gardening has almost two million subscribers on YouTube alone.

But Espiritu’s love of plants didn’t start as a business plan. In fact, it wasn’t even something he grew up with.

“I grew up like a suburban skater kid, kind of a nerd in San Diego,” said Espiritu, who said his urban garden didn’t compare to the space he works with now.

Espiritu grew up in San Diego and then went to college at UC Santa Barbara. He eventually graduated with a degree in accounting, but went unregistered. Seeing his peers struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance as an accountant, he began thinking of ways he could start his own business.

That’s where his entrepreneurial spirit came into play.

“To my mother’s great dismay, I played online poker to pay for school or to fund school,” Espiritu said.

After that, Espiritu began a series of “odd jobs,” as he calls them, including giving medical surveys in bars and building websites, among other things.

“I also tried to raise money for my own startup, which didn’t really work out, and then I worked for a publishing company. I was the second employee there,” said Espiritu. “I was like, look, I need to learn how to build a business because clearly I’ve only gotten to a certain level on my own. I will humble myself and go to work somewhere.”

“I need to learn how to build a business because clearly I’ve only made it to a certain level on my own.”

– Kevin Espiritu, Founder and CEO of Epic Gardening, on his early career years

After college, Espiritu and his brother began gardening together to get outside (and to stop playing video games). He said he’s always been fascinated by science, but it wasn’t until around 2013 that he started a hobby blog to share what he and his brother were learning.

“I grew hydroponically, so without soil, I didn’t even have space to grow outdoors, the fact is that depending on the light, water, nutrients and care you get a different result,” Espiritu said. “So it was a way of merging the scientific part of my brain with the natural world, which I just really enjoyed.”

Fast forward to 2016, after a year and a half at the publishing house, Espiritu decided to take a chance and turn his hobby blog about gardening into his full-time job.

Kevin Espiritu, Founder and CEO of Epic Gardening, picks peppers from one of the plants in his garden in National City, CA. August 14, 2022.

Epic Gardening now has 22 employees, millions of followers around the world, retail products and an expansion plan focused on collaborating with content creators from different fields.

“Last year in 2021, Epic Gardening had $7.4 million in sales as a company,” Espiritu said. “Well, that’s not a win, to be clear. Everyone always says, ‘I made so much sales.’ That’s not a prize, you don’t take it home with you. We sell products and we have salaries and such.”

For guidance, he said his blog made around $17,000 in 2016 when he started it as a business. Espiritu added that they’ve increased investment this year, which changes the equation.

Epic Gardening is on track to hit eight figures by 2022, which equates to at least $10 million.

Kevin Espiritu, Founder and CEO of Epic Gardening, talks about the future of the company. August 14, 2022.

If you’re thinking about which of your hobbies to turn into San Diego’s next multi-million dollar venture, there are a few things to consider, according to Espiritu.

“The time for this has never been better as the opportunity is wide open. Anyone with a phone can jump in and create content. Nowadays, that takes a certain level of skill. It’s not like the early days where if I was talking about gardening on YouTube, I was one of the four people doing it, so everyone will see,” Espiritu said. “There is a lot of competition. You really have to be good at it. You need to develop skills to speak, structure content, create content, be entertaining and educational. It’s not enough to say, ‘This is how basil grows.’”

While Epic Gardening has and continues to expand as the dominant platform in the gardening world, Espiritu added their mission is the same as the day it all started: teaching people how to grow.

“It’s more than a comfortable life for someone like me who basically just wants to fool around and garden all the time. I don’t need that much money,” laughed Espiritu.

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