I started this company 1.5 years ago, so it's about time I tell you what it's all about.
In this post you'll find out about Kivi as a concept, how it started, why it stalled, the products that have been developed, what's next and how you can help me.
In 2016 a mini IKEA grow box prototype was built. In 2021 a shop was opened in Helsinki and a new larger grow cabinet came to life. I burned out, found out I have ADHD and now I'm finally showing you what I've been building. You can most likely help me.
- What is Kivi?
- How it started
- The Silence
- Kivi Today
- How you can help
1. What Is Kivi?Kivi is an urban grow shop in Helsinki.
What's that? A shop that sells all you need to grow plants in your apartment/room/balcony, no matter how small. From soil and nutrients to keep your regular house plants alive, to specialized led grow lights and systems to grow food plants, microgreens, mushrooms, superfoods and other plants.
Something like grow shop meets gardening shop meets hobby store.
If growing at home is your thing, Kivi is a place for you to geek out and get a bit of that excitement you had as a kid when entering your favorite hobby store.
2. How It Started
In 2016, living in a tiny apartment in Helsinki with my wife, I still wanted to grow some plants. Window was a no go due to the lack of sunlight and a grow tent in the middle of the only room looked "slightly" out of place.
Some solutions were starting to come to market and looked great; full automation and cool looking sensors came at at a price though, with grow boxes starting at €3000 with monthly subscriptions just to be able to run it.
Absolutely certain I would never pay that kind of money for crowdfunded products (almost all bankrupt today) so complicated they were doomed from the start, the micro modular box prototype was born.
Chances are, many of you reading this still remember it. For those who weren't around yet, it was a mini grow box that would fit an IKEA Kallax bookshelf, and would blend in to make it unnoticeable. Modular and stackable like a lego block, with integrated grow lights and air filtering. The basics needed.
Life got in the way, and that project never moved beyond a few functional prototypes for myself.
3. The Silence
As the pandemic forced me to make some major career changes, I opened a small shop/workshop in Helsinki. I've been building and using all sorts of growing solutions for years, so it sounded like a great idea. A quiet start without any social gathering launch party, a few social media posts, and a new business was born.
A plan for the coming year was in place, with a clear product roadmap and marketing strategy, but you know what happens when you start a new business and you are still very much burned out? Things turn to shit.
You make mistakes, you get frustrated, and you start to shutdown without realizing it.
The shop continued to be open, with quite irregular and random hours, but other than some occasional website change of dubious strategic use, progress stalled in all areas.
Fast forward to April 2023. Turns out I have ADHD. After starting to deal with my brain's dopamine issues, things are looking incredibly clearer, and I feel like I have a backlog of updates to share.
Do keep in mind though that social media notifications in particular are a burnout trigger for me, so keep your initial expectations at a reasonable level :D
Also, if you are in Helsinki and suspect you may have ADHD, have been recently diagnosed, have been living with it forever and want to share some tips, consider joining the Helsinki Adult ADHD Support Group.
4. Kivi Today
The shop is open regularly from Monday to Friday from 13:00 to 18:00, Saturday by appointment. The website is working and I hope to start adding some useful content like tips and guides soon.
For the time being, it's a one man band. Yup, this is me.
You can find all the essentials you need to start growing plants in soil, hydroponics. I only keep a limited stock of tested parts that work and are durable. If there is something you need that I don't have, I can likely have it within a couple of days.
The main focus for Kivi products is currently on IKEA furniture conversions. A range of kits and accessories to transform popular IKEA cabinets, closets and bookcases into functional growing spaces.
My vision hasn't changed since the days of the Mini Grow Box. Simple, functional, affordable products with features that solve problems, not riddled with features that sound cool on paper, but end up being useless.
If you want to add features, you will be able to do so with a range of accessories, when YOU need them.
Without any further ado, here's what's been built so far.
IKEA Platsa Grow Cabinet (Conversion Kit)
This kit includes everything needed to make a grow cabinet out of an IKEA Platsa cabinet. It comes with a custom made grow tent that sits inside, a full spectrum 50w led light, total air filtration and odor removal, combined with the most silent extractor fan on the market.
If you are looking for a solution to grow up to 2 small-medium sized plants in a small room, don't want to be bothered by any sound or smell, this is for you. Comes with an extra card lock system in case you want to close it.
Some upcoming accessories include internal fans to improve air circulation, a micro humidifier, a ventilation/humidity controller and a scrog net.
If you are interested in buying a fully assembled version, they are currently available for pickup in store or can be delivered within the Helsinki metropolitan area.
You can find more details and get a unit here.
Kivi Valo Led Grow Lights
The grow box needed some high quality led lights that would fit the small cabinet, but I had so many other applications in mind that I ended up making a light module that can be used on a wide range of light layouts. The leds are Samsung's LM301, the most reliable diodes on the market, combined with MeanWell power supplies.
Currently the smallest light is 50w and the most powerful is 600w. These lights are great if you want to have a uniform light canopy and maximize the grow area. The light spectrum will work for the entire plant's life cycle, and especially well with any plant that will produce fruits, thanks to its color temperature of 3500°K.
These lights are assembled in the shop to order in 1-2 days.
You can find all available grow lights here.
Low Stress Training (LST) Clips
This was not planned and purely a by-product of me procrastinating on my accounting, nevertheless, it's a great accessory for the IKEA box, but works great in any setup, grow tent or any house plant.
Are your plants getting too tall and you don't want to cut them? LST clips are your solution as they allow you to delicately bend the plant so you can control the height. A more uniform height will result in fewer shadow areas and more overall output.
Get yourself a set here and start bending those plants :)
I've also been working on other 2 solutions that should be available in 2023. The best way to know when pre-orders open is to subscribe to the newsletter.
IKEA Greenhouse Cabinet
A kit to transform an IKEA Milsbo into a functional greenhouse. This will include grow lights, humidifier, hangers and custom made shelves, with optional humidity/temperature control.
Check out on Instagram the #ikeagreenhousecabinet hashtag to get a better idea of what they look like.
Kivi Torni: Modular Grow Tower
A modular vertical grow tower that allows you to grow small sized plants in a contained, automated solution that maximizes vertical space. If you want to expand it, you can add multiple more blocks and they just rotate into position.
Currently the modules are 3d printed in the store. There is already a working prototype, reach out if you are interested in buying a beta unit.
6. How you can help
Times have been quite rough, which means I need to generate sales. I have 20+ units of the IKEA Grow Cabinet Kit in stock and selling some of them would give me some much needed oxygen.
Chances are, if you are reading this, you yourself or somebody that you know could use some of my products.
- Know somebody who needs a grow cabinet for their apartment? Send them this link
- Need one for yourself? No time like the present :D
- Follow, like and share content on social media. My accounts have been unused for quite some time, I need to give those algorithms some love.
- Based in Helsinki? stop by the shop, it's at Hämeentie 34 LH 100 (opposite Siltanen).
- Based in Finland or Europe? Shipping is available.
- Like an upcoming product? Watch out for pre-orders.
- Feedback or random help? Fire away.
- Missing product you need? Message me.
ConclusionsThanks for making it this far, and especially thanks if you are a customer who's reading this, you have been keeping this business from going down during these turbulent times.
Do check out all the products on the website, come visit the store and don't forget to share the products and social media accounts with any friend who might be interested and needs grow solutions for their apartment.