A growing trend: Indoor plant stores are sprouting up around Clark County

A growing trend: Indoor plant stores are sprouting up around Clark County

Forget the red and blue waves of politics. A green wave is sweeping the country, bringing a plethora of indoor plants to homes near you (or perhaps your own). What may have started as a pandemic-era hobby appears to have turned into a serious obsession, generating $16.2 billion in 2022, according to Acumen Research and Consulting, revenue that is expected to double in the next decade.

Until recently, the only place to fuel the houseplant craze in Clark County was the nursery or grocery store. Many local retailers now cater specifically to “plant parents,” while other businesses like Pop-Local on the Vancouver waterfront and Acorn & the Oak in Camas (a florist by day and restaurant by night) offer a robust selection of indoor plants .

“I think this trend comes from wanting the home to feel lively,” said Matt Seifert, owner of Bright Indirect Light Social Club, a new indoor plant store in downtown Vancouver. “It’s a sacred space for a lot of people. You walk in and the air is fresh and there’s a vibrant green color and a feeling of peace.

From metal to monstera

Seifert, a former welder who changed careers to avoid the financial toll of the job, estimates that he and his wife have about 150 houseplants in their home. It’s difficult to give an exact number because they move plants between home and the store and “keep adding to the collection,” he said. Seifert, who said his green thumb stood out in his black-thumbed family, enjoys saving plants in part because of their mental health benefits. Plants promote mindfulness, he said, and caring for living things is an act of love.

His views are consistent with a host of studies suggesting that houseplants reduce stress, increase productivity, reduce sick days, purify the air and generally contribute to well-being (research that has been verified and debunked by more studies, confusingly).

Before opening his store in Uptown Village in December, he and his wife sold plants at street markets and at Kindred Homestead Supply. (Ridgefield Mercantile still offers a selection of Bright Indirect Light Social Club plants.) Seifert said he was inspired by Hilton Carter, an author, interior designer and “plant designer,” for example, an expert in decorating living spaces with plants. Carter, who has designed a line of plant-related products for Target, is a “plant influencer,” who posts on social media about his desire to nurture plants. He can relate, Seifert said.

“It’s the break of my day,” Seifert said. “I come home and check on them and talk to my plants.”

‘Lifestyle’

Adrienne Savelli, 34, started out selling succulents at the Salmon Creek Farmers Market before opening Suburban Succulents in 2018 in her garage in Orchards — or “the residential store,” as she calls it, which is open by appointment. She sells succulents, cacti, tillandsias (also known as air plants) and tropical plants through her store. She said 75 percent of her profits come from plant maintenance services for homes and offices, where she helps with leaf cleaning, regular fertilizing, pest control, pruning and pruning. She occasionally offers workshops or “plant parties,” teaching people how to create succulent terrariums and other potting arrangements, but she has cut back since the birth of her daughter in 2022.

Savelli’s horticultural prowess developed while studying business administration and entrepreneurship at San Jose State University in California. To make ends meet, she worked for a company that maintained factories for office space. She propagated plant cuttings to grow at home. Caring for plants has become a “way of life,” she said. She said that this now gives her the flexibility she needs as a new mother, noting that she used to maintain normal shopping hours, but this is more difficult with an infant. However, because they have been in the business for so long, they have many repeat customers and offer delivery through Door Dash. She enjoys finding the perfect fit between manufacturer and owner.

“It’s not about selling the plant,” Savelli said. “It’s ‘Are you satisfied?’ Is your plant doing well? If not, let us find you something that will make you happy.

Thrive and grow

Ratani Bloom opened in July on owner Ratani Oak’s 40th birthday. Before that, she worked as a fine jewelry consultant and ran her own floral design and delivery business part-time. Oak, a Vancouver native, sold her arrangements at a Maker’s Market in Sellwood, Oregon, but expanded into a brick-and-mortar store to accommodate more wedding clients. She said she’s always loved houseplants, so it made sense to include them in her store. Her store on Main Street in Uptown Village is a peaceful green oasis with succulents, tropical plants and large potted plants. For Oak, plants are a source of comfort as well as creative inspiration.

“There’s something about plants. They talk to me,” Oak said. “Every plant I bring in, I wipe off its leaves. I put the pebbles in the pot. I give it lots of love before I put it down.

Oak offers regular “Sip and Bloom” workshops in her store, combining instruction on plant arrangements and champagne glasses. She’s a fan of kokedama, or the Japanese art of encasing the roots of ornamental plants in a moss-covered ball of soil that can be hung or displayed on a plate. She said sharing her expertise is a rewarding way to develop relationships with repeat clients and she values ​​“growing with them” (pun intended).

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) may be driving the trend, posting TikTok videos and Instagram photos of lush, plant-filled interior spaces. Plants may occupy the emotional space previously reserved for pets, with an estimated 70 percent of millennials referring to themselves as “plant parents,” according to swns-research.medium.com. Perhaps that’s why it’s a surprise that Growertalks.com puts the average age of houseplant buyers in the United States at 51. If so, it would not be a surprise to Savelli.

“I work with a lot of older women,” Savelli said. “I have women who aren’t looking for plant trends. They just want a plant that will work well in their space.

This isn’t the first time houseplants have appeared in home decor, Seifert said. They were also popular in the 1970s, when spider plants in macrame plant hangers were very popular. Could some of today’s older plant lovers enjoy a little green nostalgia? Seifert said his weekend customers tend to be under 40 but on weekdays, he sees more retirees. However, he wondered whether botany (love of plants) might have less to do with age and more to do with a “personality type” that, in his words, is “a very expressive, more of an artistic type.”

Or maybe people have plants just because it’s nice to have plants around. Seifert said he’s surprised every day by the number of “people who just want to spend time in the space” to enjoy some green vibrancy. Oak said she has had the same experiences with visitors to her store.

“Plants give you good energy when they are in your space,” Oak said. “When someone starts with one plant, they see how good that makes them feel, and then they want to see how many different types of plants they can get.”

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