By Amber Kong
Happy (American) Thanksgiving and more importantly, Happy Black Friday shopping everybody.
Usually around this time of the year people start their holiday shopping. This year is a little different, as Toronto and Peel Region enters Lockdown Vol.2 this Monday, Malls and “Non-essential” businesses are ordered to close for at least 4 weeks – although we can get almost everything off amazon these days, there’s never a better time to think about where we shop and what we should be gifting. Since we are always indoors now, why don’t we send gifts that can actually make a difference in the home space? Well you guessed it, I was talking about your local shops and houseplants.
Speaking of gifting plants, there are countless reasons to give plants as gifts this year – they’re good for our health both physically and mentally, especially when we are all forced to stay inside and may be dealing with extra stress; they’re decorative, they will make any space bright and lively with little to none effort; they are rewarding -- taking care of plants and nurturing something is a fulfilling journey anyone deserves to experience, not to mention we have plenty of low-maintenance and hearty plants for even the absolute “black thumb”.
It is also a good time to shop local as much as we can. More than ever, local small businesses need our support -- ditch Amazon, buy a planter pot or painting that's handmade by local talent; get groceries from local market rather than big chains; or even just go to your local businesses' website or Instagram page and follow them, there are so many ways to support local and small act makes a difference. Small business usually provides better support and adds a personal touch to their products. Plants for example, I was once among the plant shoppers who are ONLY after a good deal and would rather buy plants for cheap from big retailers, regardless of quality. I didn't understand there was a difference between big box store plants and local small plant business..until I changed my mind. Let me tell you a true story:
When I first grew interest in houseplants, I went on a plant shopping spree and my wallet was seriously hurting -- naturally I started looking for deals when purchasing new plants. Canadian Tire and Ikea were my go-to place for plants. One day I went into IKEA and got my first big floor plant – a beautiful Dracaena Marginata. I didn’t know what kind of plant it was because on the tag it says “tropical plant”, and there was no employee around to help me. It had elegant long, thin leaves with red edges and was a 5 feet plant, but guess how much it cost? $19.99 plus tax. I was overjoyed with the steal, but not for long – about a month after I brought the Dragon tree home, I found it covered by mealy bugs, to the point the entire plant looked white and fluffy. I had no choice but to toss the plant, and that wasn’t the worst, the worst part was finding mealy bugs in 4 other plants that were placed close to the Dracaena Marginata… it took me months to get rid of those fluffy stinkers, but I’m traumatized, I still jump when I see anything small and white.
That was a horrifying experience (at least for a plant lover), and that was my last time ever purchased any green babies from a big box store. I started looking at local nurseries and eventually smaller boutique shop. I grew from someone who knew nothing about plants to now working at a plant shop, and I finally understand – it’s not just selling plants, it’s building connection and spreading love. It’s the countless early morning drives to the suppliers and picking plants with flashlight on that ensures our customers get the healthiest and best quality plants; it’s the back and forth messages before and after the plant sale that provides our customers the best recommendation and care tips; it’s the endless learning about plants and decor that gives us confidence to ensure the best service for our community. All in all, this little plant shop started only because our founder's love for plants is so strong that he wanted to share his passion with his community, it started with love and a warm heart. More importantly, this little plant shop sprout and grew because of all the love it receives from you, the fellow plant lovers, so THANK YOU.
Having a plant business requires love and patience – not only to the customers and the community, but also to the plants. We treat each and every plant babies with the best care, we could never leave one plant in the dark for days like some big box stores would, we attend each plant with love -- that’s why we make the promise that we won’t send any plant out to you unless we are certain that it is healthy and pest free. We’re just like you – love plants, want more plants! Do we ever get attached to the plants we care for? Of course! But we love it even more when we see the plants bring joy to their new plant parents, and we cherish the relationships that's being built during this process, that’s why we do what we do -- plants are truly a gift that keeps on giving.
This holiday season, rather than spending hours looking through gift guides, why not visit our site and pick some nice plants, or send us your thoughts through Facebook, let's chat and get personal -- this is the charm of your local shops.