Donning a red Santa hat, Scott “Scotty Claus” Martin, founder of The Living Christmas Company, stood before five of America’s most famous investors inside ABC’s “Shark Tank” to pitch his business plan. Martin’s mission to “change the way California celebrates Christmas” actually began many years before when he spent his Christmas vacation delivering Christmas trees for a Manhattan Beach nursery. Upset by the fact most Christmas trees ultimately end up curbside, Martin decided to build a company that allows individuals to rent a Christmas tree and return it, alive, to his nursery.
Although the idea of rentable Christmas trees has been tried in Oregon and other parts of the country over the years, Martin felt Los Angeles would be the perfect spot to launch his venture. “You can try anything here, and no one will tell you it’s a bad idea,” Martin told the New York Times. “California is more attached to the green movement, so they are more willing to try this service here.”
To rent a Christmas tree, a customer visits the company’s website – www.livingchristmas.com – and selects a tree. The price of a tree starts at $45 and delivery days are determined by geography to help the company save on time and gas. Once delivered by “Scotty Claus” or one of his elves, the tree remains under the care of the host family for two to three weeks. At the end of its stay, the tree is picked up and returned to the nursery where it continues growing until the next year.
Seeking an investment of $150,000 for a 30% share in The Living Christmas Company, Martin was able to secure a deal with Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, who wanted to help “Scotty Claus” scale the business. In addition to rental trees, the company also sells environmentally-friendly ornaments, wrapping paper, and gift boxes.