Starting the journey: From tragic to Green Magic

Larry and Carita Koen
Owners of Green Magic Landscape, Larry and Carita Koen.
Photo: Green Magic Landscape

This is part one in a two-part series. The sequel article will publish on TLC tomorrow.When it comes to transforming landscapes into something a customer can be proud of, Carita Koen, chief marketing officer of Green Magic Landscape LLC in Mobile, Alabama, says she and her husband Larry consider themselves magicians.

In 2016, the couple began their entrepreneurial journey by opening their landscaping company with a slogan that declared they would “take your property from tragic to green magic.”

“The slogan has everything to do with the wow factor our crews create,” says Koen. “When we come to an ‘ugly’ property, it won’t stay that way for long. We will turn it into a prideful property where clients will either be proud to live on it or will be proud to sell it.”

Finding their niche

As the couple started out, Koen says their biggest hurdle was deciding who their clients were going to be, what their niche market was and how they would then connect to those customers.

Koen says at Green Magic, they pride themselves on offering stellar customer service by treating customers with the utmost respect, making sure they are actively engaging with clients and maintaining a high quality of work at each jobsite.

After consideration, Koen says they agreed that the mission of Green Magic would be to preserve the environment for their communities while preserving the neighborhood with the utmost respect for the environment.

Koen says they specialize in area beautification first then follow with curb appeal enhancement. This, she says, is how they engage their clients. They share their mission and what they can do, and then they provide the best service possible.

As a faith-driven person, Koen says she also looks at landscaping from a biblical perspective.

“The land was made before man, and we should use God’s grace and love He shows for others on being prideful in where you live, work and play,” she says. “Take pride in what you’ve developed. We all have to depend on each other in this thing called life, whether it’s an object, a plant, an animal or a person, we’re all dependent and connected to one another.”

Koen says that a good portion of their business comes from word-of-mouth referrals, as well as by posting before and after videos on the company’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Koen says she’s noticed a fair amount of anticipation from clients following these video transformations, and on more than one occasion, they’ve received inquiries because of their video content.

Before and after of landscaping overgrown yardBefore and after project photos.Photo: Green Magic LandscapeKoen adds that their partnership with networking groups and the Mobile Chamber of Commerce has also proven extremely beneficial to the business. By partnering with the Chamber, Koen says the trajectory of their business drastically changed.

Koen serves as a board of directors with the Chamber and through these networking and mentorship opportunities, she says they have really been able to showcase just what the green industry is capable of and how engaging it can be.

“Every entrepreneur and business owner wants clients that are intentional and that they feel they can grow with,” she says. “We wanted to work with growing our bottom line with our referral base and retention, and we also wanted to make sure we were shaving off the clients that weren’t a good fit for us. The longer you’re in business, you have to figure out those things in order to expand.”

Today, Koen says the full-service company does 55 percent residential work and 45 percent commercial. In 2020, Koen says they were able to add tree services to their roster after experiencing two hurricanes.

“It was unfortunate, but the hurricanes and the pandemic really blessed us because we had the opportunity to pivot into a new revenue stream,” says Koen. “It could always be worse, so we just always think of our glass as half full instead of half empty.”

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this series, where we’ll take a closer look at how this company rose above the struggles of starting a business to become what it is today.

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