Planthropy is bringing a little bit of the outdoors indoors through speciality succulent arrangements.
Jessie Laux is the green thumb behind the business. Plants are a new outlet to express the creativity she says she’s always had, taking a departure from an initial career in graphic design and digital marketing.
“Plants weren’t really part of that at all,” she says. But growing up in the country with a love of nature, “I just always felt that zen and that happiness when I was outside.”
A brief time spent living in California introduced Laux to her medium – succulents. The more she researched the plants, the more she fell in love. The self sufficiency and easy to care for nature was especially appealing. While she loved having living thing indoors, keeping other plants alive wasn’t always an easy task.
Laux wanted to share the joy and happiness that having living things indoors brought her with others through the beautifully varied shapes, sizes, colors and textures of succulents. It was an idea she couldn’t shake, and by summer of 2015 had decided to pursue, initially as a hobby.
“A big part of me launching was to just kind of do it because I needed to,” Laux says. “My brain would not give up the idea, but, two, I also wanted to test the theory out to see if people would like these types of plants.”
Thus far, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Planthropy made the list of The Metropreneur’s Best Small Business Success Stories of 2016.
A memorable quote from Nancy Kramer at Aspire 2015 also encouraged Laux to take the first steps towards entrepreneurship.
“She said, ‘There are no closed doors in Columbus,'” Laux recalls. “After that I set up meetings with all kinds of other local business owners.”
Laux says the advice, resources and connections made by continuously networking and meeting with other business owners have been invaluable. Over time it has taken Planthropy from hobby to full-time entrepreneurial venture in the last six months.
“It’s just a roller coaster every single day,” she says.
But working with plants, with her hands in the soil, provides her a kind of zen she channels to create living pieces of art.
From a home studio space, Laux propagates and grows some of the hundreds of varieties of succulents that make their way into Planthropy arrangements. She rounds out her varietals with a few plants she ships in from California.
“The great thing about succulents is that they change seasonally,” Laux adds.
What’s sage green today could be bright pink and blooming by the end of the summer.
Customers will find those succulents in primarily upcycled and repurposed containers. Working with living things, “I really wanted to keep a small ecological footprint,” Laux says.
She first introduced her arrangements at farmers markets. Laux recalls feeling both terrified and excited to put her creations out to the world. Now, there are a number of ways add some green with a Planthropy arrangement.
Planthropy offers ready to display decor pieces perfect for home or office. Retailers like Robert Mason and Wholly Craft also stock a selection of upcycled offerings.
For those looking to get their hands in the soil, “I just launched DIY kits which I’m very excited about,” Laux says.
Workshops – Laux’s favorite – offer another hands-on option.
“I love the educational component of getting to teach people about these plants,” she says.
While putting together their own artful arrangement to take home, participants learn all about succulents, from where they’re from, to how to care for the hearty plant. Workshops can be just for fun or even a unique spin on a team building exercise.
As is evident by the name, Laux wanted to create a way to give back to the community through her business.
“A pillar of Planthropy is working with local charities and nonprofits,” she says.
That work takes on many forms. It could be donating a portion of sales back to an organization or creating arrangements for silent auctions or as the centerpieces for events (something that’s normally a budget buster). Planthropy has worked with WELD, Columbus Speech & Hearing, The Wellington School and the Red Cross.
Planthropy is growing new ways to spread even more green in 2017. The business launched its online store just last month, with a number of new products headed for e-commerce. There will be more partnerships, and possibly even a one-for-one model, more than likely in benefit with local hospitals.
For more information, visit planthropy.co.