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Hong Nguyen | Botaniful | Establishing a Plant Shop & Thriving Plant Parent | Wine Down the Week Ep6

Cover-Photo-for-website-Hong-Nguyen2

Hong Nguyen, co-owner of Botaniful. Botaniful started as a plant sanctuary in a neglected loft space in Edmonton, Canada. Hong and her husband tend to their plants and help them thrive before sending them to new owners pest free, successful, and well consulted. They also have a wonderful team that loves helping customers to ensure the plants they purchase will thrive in their space. All of their products are carefully picked and added to their collection of plants, and quality plant and home goods. Their goal is to make sure you succeed and thrive in your plant parenting.

 

Where you can find Hong:

Website: https://www.botaniful.ca/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/botanifulyeg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/botaniful/

Thank you to our drink sponsor Social Still Distillery, The LV’s first distillery producing spirits since prohibition. They source local corn, local wheat, local rye, barley, and other grains produced by small family farmers. Stone milled, mashed, and fermented right inside the distillery in Bethlehem. They make a product of Pennsylvania, grown here, produced here, blended here, and barreled here. This is the next great craft industry and they are the pioneers. You can find them at http://www.socialstill.com/.

Wine Down the Week is created in partnership with:

Soltech Solutions: https://soltechsolutions.com/
Steel City Plant Co: https://steelcityplantco.com
Domaci Home: https://domacihome.com
Lehigh Valley With Love: https://lehighvalleywithlovemedia.com

Transcription:

Angie  0:10  

Hey Plant Fam! Welcome to Wine Down The Week with Angie, I’m your host Angie, owner of Steel City Plant Company here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This podcast is brought to you by Soltech Solutions! Hong Ngyuen, co-owner of Botaniful – which started as a plant sanctuary and a neglected loft space in Edmonton, Canada. Hong and her husband tend to their plants and help them thrive before sending them to new owners pest-free, successful and well-consulted. They also have a wonderful team that loves helping customers to ensure the plants they purchase will thrive in their space. All of their products are carefully picked and added to their collection of plants, and quality plant and home goods. Their goal is to make you succeed and thrive in your plant parenting. Welcome home!

 

Hong  0:55  

Thank you for having me! 

 

Angie  0:57  

Of course. Thanks so much for being here today! So tell me a little bit about it! Where’s your shop located… just the basics of the shop before we get started.

 

Hong  1:12  

We’re located in Edmonton, Alberta, in the north part of Edmonton, is that actually a hidden gem! Right inside a Lucky Supermarket. Yeah, Lucky is actually an ethnic supermarket. There is a space on top of there that is 300 degrees window! So our plant shop is located right inside there. 

 

Angie  1:37  

Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing! Oh, well, I need to visit! 

 

Hong  1:41  

Yes, definitely do.

 

Angie  1:43  

Okay, well, we’re gonna kick it off with an icebreaker. It’s called Petal and Bud. So the Petal is something that happened recently that’s exciting, and then Bud is something that’s coming up that you’re looking forward to. So I’ll kick it off! So something that just happened recently, my fiance and I just went on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Love it there! So that was a really beautiful, nice fall beach trip. I love the beach offseason – it’s very relaxing and soothing. And then something coming up…. Is… I just love November in general! It’s coming off of Halloween, still fall-season though, we have Thanksgiving and football to look forward to and it’s also my birthday! So I’m turning 29…it will be my last year of my 20s! 

 

Hong  2:26  

Nice enjoy it while you can… 

 

Angie  2:28  

Yeah, I don’t know how exciting that is… but that’s what I got. How about you?

 

Hong  2:34  

Um, so what is this question again? 

 

Angie  2:37  

Yeah, the Petal is something that has happened recently, that was exciting. Okay, and then Bud is something coming up…

 

Hong  2:45  

Well, recently, you know, with the COVID everything, there’s not much that’s exciting. Um, well definitely….I am looking forward to – well recently exciting, I would say; we opened a pop up shop just on 124th Street here in Edmonton – it’s located at the Lot, just right central downtown. So we’re here ’till December of this year – So that’s exciting! Just getting more words out to show like, you know, we do have a Botaniful in the north side, many people still don’t know about us. Um, so yeah, that’s just keeping me busy! Aside from, you know, working my … managing my grocery store and managing Botaniful. 

 

Angie  3:33  

Wow, you’re busy… 

 

Hong  3:34  

Yes, I am! Um – looking forward to? My space right now, as you can see, I have lots of lights in my face. Yeah, it’s actually – I have a chandelier light just on top of here – This is like the happy hour or, the golden hour right now… I have the chandelier reflecting it, it feels so good. So I’m looking forward right now to just stay at home and enjoy the winter time! Because it’s actually quite bright in my home during the winter! And during the summer, because of the trees around here, it’s more shady in here. So probably just doing some health stuff, yeah, nothing so exciting. But it is COVID time so – just probably going to change the house about a bit – moving some plants around, and just changing it up to make it different. 

 

Angie  4:25  

Oh, that sounds so much fun. I love all that stuff. Just home decor and investing in your space around you is so important. And I like to change it with every season. So looking forward to all the different decorations for winter! Well, what are you drinking today? I’ve got some Sasquatch Bourbon from Social Still Distillery, which is here in Bethlehem on the south side. They’re an awesome community partner. We thank them for being our alcohol partner sponsor for today! And it is Vanilla Maple Bourbon, so it’s amazing. It’s infused with real vanilla beans and maple syrup. So really good fall drink.. 

 

Hong  5:02  

Sound good… Yeah, I am having my favorite drink. It’s red wine, and I’ve been trying different wines lately, I drink wine on a daily basis or like, at least three times a week. So I’m trying to like different wines – this is the Mona Lisa. Yeah! So just trying different wine, I just bought a case with like 12 different varieties, just to get a different taste on my taste buds. So… 

 

Angie  5:28  

We love doing that! We get wine online delivered in cases, and our local winery here actually delivers too which has been fun. Yeah. Wow, exciting. And I have the same wine glasses at home! 

 

Hong  5:40  

Oh you do? 

 

Angie  5:41  

Did you watch scandal with Olivia Pope?

 

Hong  5:43  

No… 

 

Angie  5:45  

She has them in the show, and I was obsessed with them, and I found them at Crate and Barrel and I was very excited! 

 

Hong  5:50  

I like this because I’m actually a very clumsy person – I would break wine glasses, like on a bi-weekly basis, and what I find so hard is finding replacements! So that’s what I like about Crate and Barrel. Like, you can just buy two, three glasses to replace it and then you’ll have the same set. 

 

Angie  6:10  

Exactly. Ugh, I love them. That’s my fancy wine glass when I really want to feel like I’m celebrating something – I break out the long stem!

 

Angie  6:20  

Okay, so we are going to play a little drinking game now that we’ve got our drinks ready. So we are playing Plant-Related 20 Questions. Have you ever played 20 questions before? 

 

Hong  6:31  

No, I haven’t! 

 

Angie  6:32  

I have not either! So our team had to school me before we got started here today. So, I’m going to think of a common house plant, and you have 20 tries – you get to ask me questions – to try to narrow down what plant I’m thinking of. You can use up to 20 questions to get that done. But every time you ask a question, you have to take a sip of your drink. And then we’re going to flip, so you’re going to think of a plant and I’m going to try to guess it. 

 

Hong  7:01  

Okay!

 

Angie  7:02  

So we’re going to keep it “common houseplant” to keep it easy…. So we’ll see how this goes. I didn’t think of one yet… So give me one second…Hmm…..Okay, I’m ready!

 

Hong  7:20  

Alright, so you ask the question first, or should I? 

 

Angie  7:23  

You’re going to ask me questions to try to figure out what’s in my head. 

 

Hong  7:27  

All right. Um, so is this a vining plant?

 

Angie  7:32  

Kind of?

 

Hong  7:36  

Is it a low light plant? 

 

Angie  7:42  

Can be…

 

Hong  7:45  

Is it a bright light plant? 

 

Angie  7:47  

Can be!

 

Hong  7:49  

Okay…

 

Angie  7:51  

Hahaha

 

Hong  7:52  

This is not easy! 

 

Angie  7:53  

And you owe me like three sips! So get sippin’… 

 

Hong  7:57  

(Sips drink), Mmm – Is this plant in your space right now?

 

Angie  8:08  

No.

 

Hong  8:18  

Is this a beginners plant? 

 

Angie  8:20  

Yes.

 

Hong  8:26  

Is it a large plant?

 

Angie  8:33  

Eventually…but not like floor plant size…

 

Hong  8:38  

This is not easy!

 

Angie  8:40  

I know!

 

Hong  8:41  

Um…Is it… so you’re saying it’s not vining… right? It’s sort of vining? So…it’s an….hmm…

 

Angie  8:58  

If I had to pick if it was vining or not, I would say it’s not. 

 

Hong  9:04  

Okay. Yeah. Because there’s not many plant that’s “sort-of vining”. 

 

Angie  9:08  

Mm hmm!

 

Hong  9:11  

Would you? Ugh, let’s see here…. I have a few plants in my home here… and you say it’s low light, right? It’s bright as well. So it’s a plant that can handle any type of light I would say..

 

Angie  9:35  

Mhmm..

 

Hong  9:35  

Sh-shhould I guess? Or? 

 

Angie  9:36  

You can! yeah, go for it.

 

Hong  9:39  

Okay, it is…. could it be, a…. Aglaonema?

 

Angie  9:49  

Nope. You wanna take one more guess and then I’ll tell you? 

 

Hong  9:53  

Okay! Could it be… 

 

Angie  9:57  

Think easier, like way easier – like more basic.

 

Hong  10:02  

More basic? Okay…um, Alocasia? 

 

Angie  10:10  

Nope. Spider Plant! 

 

Hong  10:12  

Spider Plant!? 

 

Angie  10:13  

Yes… So that’s why I said “kind-of vining”. Like it has those like – vines that shoot out and make babies – so you could technically put it up a wall if you wanted to… 

 

Hong  10:23  

Yeah, that’s true. That’s true! You’re right, it is sort of vining…

 

Angie  10:27  

Okay, your turn – you’re gonna think of one and then I’m gonna try to guess. 

 

Hong  10:30  

Okay, um, yeah, I have something right now! 

 

Angie  10:34  

Okay. Is it a low light plant? 

 

Hong  10:41  

No, it’s not. 

 

Angie  10:42  

Okay. Is it toxic to pets? 

 

Hong  10:46  

Yes, it is! 

 

Angie  10:48  

Okay – how often do you water it?

 

Hong  10:56  

Once a week.

 

Angie  11:01  

Is it a floor plant size? Or a smaller plant?

 

Hong  11:07  

In general, it’s more of a floor plant size.

 

Angie  11:13  

Alright – floor plant, toxic…ooh. Does it require a special type of soil?

 

Hong  11:30  

Pretty general soil would do… 

 

Angie  11:32  

General soil…? Is it easy or fussy?

 

Hong  11:41  

Easy! If you give it the right lighting…

 

Angie  11:52  

Is it in the succulent family? 

 

Hong  11:54  

No, it’s not…

 

Angie  11:57  

Hmm…I’m supposed to be drinking! 

 

Hong  11:59  

Yeah…

 

Angie  11:59  

(Chuckles, sips drink) – This is hard! You’re so right. 

 

Hong  12:04  

It’s really hard! Because “plants” is sooo big! The field is really big.

 

Angie  12:10  

Okay, do you see anything in its family in my space?

 

Hong  12:15  

No.

 

Angie  12:29  

Hmm. Where is it…like native… is it tropical?

 

Hong  12:39  

Yes, it is.

 

Angie  12:47  

Is it a type of palm? 

 

Hong  12:48  

…It’s not a type of palm. 

 

Angie  12:51  

Oh, yeah, there’s palm behind me. 

 

Hong  12:52  

It can get as big as palm. Bigger even.

 

Angie  13:01  

Fiddle Leaf Fig?

 

Hong  13:03  

No. 

 

Angie  13:04  

Oh, darn it. I really thought that was gonna be right! It checks all the boxes….

 

Hong  13:12  

Same type of lighting that it needs! 

 

Angie  13:14  

Okay… Elephant Ear? 

 

Hong  13:20  

Nope.

 

Angie  13:23  

All right, I’m stumped! What is it? 

 

Hong  13:26  

Bird of Paradise!

 

Angie  13:29  

That probably would have been my next guest if I kept thinking about it… Yeah, that’s a hard game! 

 

Hong  13:33  

Yeah, it’s a hard game! because it’s quite…big. 

 

Angie  13:37  

Well, we both lost so…yes! Cheers.

 

Hong  13:39  

Cheers to that!

 

Angie  13:44  

All right! So let’s get chatting about your plant shop. When did you open?

 

Hong  13:49  

We opened in December of 2018! 

 

Angie  13:54  

Oh, wow. Okay, like three years now. Same space always since you’ve opened? 

 

Hong  14:00  

Same space, we took over a – they used to rent it out to a massage business. And, they actually covered their space with like – blinds. And I always loved that space, because, you know, it’s very rare to get a space with like, all windows! So when that place became vacant, I actually brought it up and I’m like: “You know what, we should definitely open a plant shop here”.

 

Angie  14:30  

And then what sparked your interest in opening a plant shop in general? Was it the space that spoke to you and you loved plants? Or was there a backstory?

 

Hong  14:39  

Yeah, there’s a backstory… When I first moved in this home about four years ago, um, it was just like – white walls and furnitures and – just we felt that something was missing. So I actually bought a few plants. My first plant was a Fiddle Leaf Fig. Um, and I remember…

 

Angie  14:59  

Starter plant… 

 

Hong  15:00  

Yes, definitely! But it wasn’t an easy plant to get… Yeah. I remember when we first bought it, we weren’t told how it would survive in our home – what kind of lighting it would need – we just bought it because it was beautiful! But then eventually, we realized, like, you know; “there’s certain lighting that needs, certain requirements that it needs”. So one plant we got – that was the first one – led to five – five lead to like 20…. eventually, we topped up to about 100 plants in our house. 

 

Angie  15:42  

Wow! So addicting, it really is…

 

Hong  15:44  

It was addicting! Yeah, it was actually – not just addicting – but, I started to become passionate about it. So… reading about plants, like, plant care… then that’s when I found out that Fiddle Leaf Fig, you know, you shouldn’t be put in a corner! And that’s when I moved it to the window – not where I wanted to be, but where she wanted to be – exactly. And then eventually, it just was fulfilling. Yeah.

 

So from there, um, I was managing a grocery store – I still am, right now – and the vacant space became available upstairs! So, that’s when I brought it up with the owner, and I told him that I wanted to open up a plant shop! So, we made it happen, my husband was in full support of me, and then we decided to partner up, and then we opened up the store – in about a month time!

 

Angie  16:44  

I love your story, I feel like we have so much synergy here with our store here at our plant shop! So same thing, it really started as an aesthetic thing, right? Like the interest in the aesthetic of plants – which, some people think is so different than the others who are interested in the biology, and you know, the caretaking – it really can morph into all of that though. Like, my love of plants started as an aesthetic thing, like – fill up our apartment with plants – but then it became a love of it – the meditation piece of feeling like you have a ritual of taking care of things and learning about the plants. And we just – they weren’t that accessible to us. We had to… we live in an urban downtown area…. but we would have to get in our car and drive 20/25 minutes to the nearest plant shop. So I said you know: “I would just love to be able to go to one place for everything that I need! The soil, the pot, like it already comes potted, and a home decor pot”. Because, I would go to the nursery, pick out a plant, and then still need to go find a cute pot that matched our vibe at home. That took a couple trips to different stores… and somewhere else for the soil…. and it was a few days before I had the final product in our home. 

 

So I just really wanted a one-stop-shop for those items. And to your point – something that is more curated. So being able to speak to a human being that can tell you: “Hey, this is not going to work in your space, let’s just be honest with you and show you what will work.” I love being able to do that with our customers…and walking them through and hearing what they really need for their space. And on the weekends that we’re not here and my partners are working….they are our home-decor piece of the business. They don’t know too much about plants… but all of our plants are QR coded with their care instructions on our personal blog that we keep updated…. So that if I’m not here, people can just scan easily and see if it’ll work or not. But, I think, can you elaborate on why you think that’s important? So the curated factor… of, here’s what’s going to work for you! Rather than wandering around aimlessly in a nursery?

 

Hong  18:58  

Yes, um, well, part of our service at our shop is that: First thing, people come in, they’re looking for a plant, right? Our goal is to make sure that whatever that we’re going to sell to you, it’s going to be successful in your home. That’s very important. Because if one plant is successful, that’s going to lead to many other plants. And it’s not just that! They’re not going to feel overwhelmed, and they’re going to be happy with the results. Right? So part of coming to our shop – you’re getting that experience. So people are coming in and go: “I want a plant”. So first thing we ask them is: “How’s your space? How’s the lighting in your space?”. That’s the number one question – because if they say it’s low light, there’s only you know a little bit of… a few plants… that can handle low light. And if they say bright light – then there’s a bigger range of plants that we can choose for them.

 

Second question is usually….”Do you need a pet friendly plant”? So then that narrows down even more. And then, from the start to finish of their shopping experience, we would actually in the end, kind of be like: “Do you need help with the plant care?” And if they do, then we would give them some plant care. Nothing’s too technology… like your QR code yet! But you know, we would give them guidelines, or we’ll print out, you know, care instructions for them. So that way, they’re successful in their plant-parenting! 

 

Angie  20:39  

That’s amazing. I love it. And you also have a home decor piece to your business, right? 

 

Hong  20:45  

Yes, we do. 

 

Angie  20:47  

Oooh, tell us about that! Do you curate that? Do you make that? Do you have a partner on that? How does that work?

 

Hong  20:52  

I’m not necessarily ‘make that’ – but in the future, that will be one of our goals! To do some of our own pot designs. Right, but currently, we’re curating from like – Canada, US, and some from overseas as well. So we’ll bring in different pots and planters – plant accessories. So basically, hopefully, like it’s a one-stop shop for all the customers…so they want to pick up their plants, we have planters and pots. If they want to accessorize their plants, we have some like animal brass, that you know, that can hook onto the leaves. Um…plant water meters, so then they can know when to water their plants! So those are more for plant newbies, right? Yeah.. and even soil, to substrates, and soil amendments. So, if you come there, you can buy a plant – you can dress up your plants with some pots and planters – all the amendments and soil and accessories for your plants. So we’re hoping that it’s a one-stop shop, but also something that is modern, stylish! So then they don’t have to go elsewhere. 

 

Angie  22:12  

I love it – very, very similar initiatives here. So I cannot wait to come visit you – I need to make a trip.

 

Hong  22:17  

Yeah, you do!

 

Angie  22:19  

So how did the pandemic affect your business? We opened in the middle of the pandemic. So, I don’t really have a comparison to before versus after. But how about you?

 

Hong  22:31  

During the pandemic, we have to say it was a big success. We got into the plant business at the right timing, actually, we got in 2018. So for a year, or year and a half, we were just building up our clientele.

 

You know, because we’re located up in the supermarket, and eventually, it became word-of-mouth. But during the pandemic, we actually hit it hard. I think everyone was stuck at home, you know, they couldn’t go out, we didn’t know what COVID… You know… what, what the future holds? So people started resorting to what makes them happy. So they’re like: “Okay, well, we start to renovate our home…. and we have to start filling up the home with decor”. So plants became a very big thing. And like – my addiction, one plant led to five and 10, and so forth – people were looking for plants to make them happy – because plants do make you happy! 

 

Angie  23:43  

Yeah…

 

Hong  23:44  

And something to take care of too! Right? So not just bringing home plants and putting it in the corner, but you know, learning about it. So it’s just more interests. So I think a lot more people that weren’t interested in plants before – now want plants! And they want to learn about them too. 

 

 

And the joy that it brought to me when I started  – you know – [when I first] was interested in plants  – everyone was feeling the same way as well [at that time]. So I would say like the pandemic was…. it was really successful. 

 

Angie  24:16  

Actually helpful! Yeah, silver lining! 

 

Hong  24:19  

Exactly. How was it for you like opening during the pandemic?

 

Angie  24:24  

I would say it was positive – because if it wasn’t for the pandemic – I probably wouldn’t have slowed down enough to sit down and make a business plan. So, I’m still at my full-time job. So, this is more of a side hustle, I guess, even though it’s super…. as you know, time consuming! But I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to slow down and even sit down and make the business [plan].

 

It had been something I was talking about before the pandemic! That: “Oh, this would be great, we really need this!”. It was more like I was just complaining about it to myself. So I was like: “I want to do something about it! I keep complaining that there’s not a plant shop. Why don’t I just do it?” …But I just didn’t have the time. So the pandemic gave me that time. To sit with it and really come up with a good strategy and – open it! 

 

And to your point – it was booming! People wanted to invest in their space that they had to be inside 24/7. People wanted something to nurture and take care of – and it also helps you feel happy. So it was all of those things really came together to make it, I think, the perfect time! So I think it was good…. silver lining again! You know, you don’t want to ever say, you know, “the pandemic was good”, because obviously, it was awful and heartbreaking for so many people! But, it carved out that space for us. 

 

Hong  25:39  

Yes. And I have to admit too – like, I wanted to start online, since we started opening our business. But you know, we were: “I’m busy with my full time job, managing the grocery store. And then just busy opening in the business” – but the pandemic really pushed us to like – take it to another level. And the other level is like; doing our online business. So online shopping, not just for the locals, but Canada-wide.

 

Angie  26:08  

Do you ship live plants? 

 

Hong  26:10  

Yeah, we do. Yeah, we started and now we’re slowly trying to perfect it. But you know, nothing’s perfect yet. So hopefully we’ll get better with time.

 

Angie  26:22  

I’ll have to pick your brain I’ve been holding off – just because, we did open in the pandemic, and as you know, the mail system has just been so slow… understandably so. But I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, because I don’t want to ship them and then have them wait in limbo for weeks and die in the mail! So – I haven’t figured it out yet. But we’ll have to chat. 

 

Hong  26:44  

Yeah, for sure.

 

Angie  26:46  

And how’s the plant scene in Canada? So here [in the US], we have: a ton of Facebook forums and groups where people are connecting all the time, we have plant-festivals now that are popping up all over the place, and in the Lehigh Valley, (which is the region that Bethlehem is located in – where our plant shop is), there’s a handful of other shops now across the region. So we have a plant-crawl coming up, where there’s a passport – and it takes you to all of the different plant shops! And if you go to each or something, you get entered to win a very rare large plant! So what’s the scene like in your area? 

 

Hong  27:22  

Well, we have a really big plant group in Edmonton here. It’s the Edmonton Plant Group, with lots of followers! So basically, in that group, everybody talks plants – where to get certain plants, and source them out. I would say Edmonton…. it’s quite quite a big group. So they’ll be like: “Hey, I’m looking for… something rare, like, pink princess, right? philodendron pink princess”. So they’ll be looking for that. And then the group would tell them where to get it from. 

 

So my strategy at my business, is that we try to carry every kind of plant available! So our name would then come up quite often! So not just for our plant varieties, but also for our plant services as well. So some people that are new to the group – They’re like: “Hey, where can I go and buy plants?” And so our name would come up quite often. So, people are very….I would say, not aggressive….but, they want plants! They want a certain type of plant. They’ll go into a group and they’ll ask and then they’ll get the plants. So, our plant groups here in Edmonton, they also have groups where they would try to get stuff from overseas as well. 

 

So… it’s mostly those who are buying… nothing like pub-crawl, or “plant-crawl” like you guys right yet! Yeah! A few handful of plant shops, boutique-like  – like ourselves here in Edmonton as well. And, basically, you know, right now, you just have to be unique to stand out. 

 

Angie  29:10  

Yeah. And speaking of that, we’re both in a situation where we’re on the second level of something, so we’re not street-facing right? So how has that been for you? Do you find a lot of people find you by wandering down the street? Or is it mostly word of mouth – social media – plant community – networking that way? 

 

Hong  29:30  

Well, I have to say, social media is a BIG thing right now. So it’s very important to brand yourself. You know, so – all of our images are taken by Tracy Jasmine here in Edmonton – she’s a branding photographer – amazing! So she takes most of our photos. Because to me – having beautiful photos is just more attractive, right? 

 

Angie  29:56  

You need to paint the picture for people!

 

Hong  29:58  

Exactly! Right? and that will draw people into your shop. So being on the second floor, yes, there is a disadvantage. We’re in a supermarket.. a really busy supermarket! But to this day – even our shoppers – they don’t realize like: “Hey, I didn’t know you guys have a plant shop up here!”. So everything is word of mouth right now. 

 

Angie  29:58  

Yeah. Same. I think we get some traffic for sure from walking – we’re on located on Main Street in our downtown – but I would say social media is probably the number one factor of how people come intentionally to find us. So… and we started as a pop up shop! And now you’re getting into pop-up shops, right? Were you always doing pop-ups? Is this your first time?

 

Hong  30:43  

Um, this is my first time. So it’s something different – definitely, for sure. Yeah, a lot of work initially! And then now – just basically – we just want to get our name out! Because even though we go under a different name, (our pop up shop is under Bohovi), we have business cards for our business [Botaniful] – so we would say: “Hey, have you been to our plant shop here? Botaniful – up in the north side?”. And I would say at least like 50% of our customers coming [to Bohovi] have never heard of us before. So it’s a really good advertisement, for long term, I guess!

 

Angie  31:22  

Yeah, for sure. So our plant company is called Steel City Plant Company. But our storefront is called Plants Plus Vintage. So same thing! We still, as Steel City Plant Company, like to go out and meet people in the community and say: “Hey, did you know we have a storefront? It’s called Plants Plus Vintage, where we’re partnered with a home decor, vintage brand – Domaci Flea!”. So it’s definitely fun to get out and about and meet different people that might not have found you through any of your other channels. 

 

Hong  31:52  

And do you refer people to your business in the gap? 

 

Angie  31:56  

Yep, I’m like: “Yeah, come find us all year round! Here is our permanent location, here’s where to find us!”. To the point where we, like I said, we started as a pop up shop, and where we live in Bethlehem is actually called Christmas City, USA. So it is one of the top Christmas destinations in America – our town! So the very first pop up I did was in a ‘Christmas Hut’ on our downtown’s Main Street. And – thank God it was a warm November – because I had all these plants outside! But there was a heatwave here – and it was the middle of the pandemic – so, a great opportunity to be outdoors – safely, masked, all of the things. And, at that point, I was saying: “Yeah, I hope one day we have a plant shop here!”. And it was just how we started. And now this year, we’re located right upstairs from that festival – and do have our storefront, but we still think it’s important to be down on street level – as a pop up in the Christmas Hut. So we’re doing it again this year! Even though we have our permanent location. So we’ll have a Hut right outside, on the first level, and be able to point people right upstairs! But there’s so many tourists that probably wouldn’t have thought to look on social media to find us, or even know about us from word of mouth. So – I think a lot of the times, plants can be an impulse buy as you’re walking by… and you see something that catches your eyes – So we still wanted to have that street-level attention and then point people up. So we’re gonna try to be cloning ourselves and be two places at once all Christmas long!

 

Hong  33:29  

Nice! And how big is the pop-up gonna be?

 

Angie  33:31  

It’s like… they’re old German-style Christmas Huts. So it mimics a Christmas Village in Germany. So they’re probably like….it can comfortably fit two to four people inside of it sitting down… and then the display is outside all around it. But it is looking like it’s gonna be colder this year. So we’re gonna have to stick to just some cacti…and some plant-accessories and send people upstairs for the other goodies.

 

So!What is your favorite plant?

 

Hong  34:03  

Mine? I would say… Aglaonemas. Yeah. Yeah, I looove Aglaonemas because of thier variety. And they come in so many different colors, and are not drama queens! I’m a plant person – but I’m a lazy owner. I love plants that are just easy to care for. I can ignore it for like 10 days at a time…if I can! And I tend to it. I love Aglaonemas – like, it can go anywhere. And this is actually the one plant I would recommend to any kind of plant owner out there! I’m like: “Do you have any plants?” They’re like: “No..” 

 

And I’m like: “Okay, well, I LOVE the Aglaonemas…”.  I always sell it because I have a passion for it, and I will always say good things about it. 

 

Angie  34:50  

Yeah! That! And I’m on a Hoya kick right now. The Hoyas have been my thing. I love them because they are pretty simple to take care of….to your point… they can trail or climb, they’re pet friendly, they even flower – which is amazing and so rewarding! So, the Hoya that I’ve had at home, I’ve had for seven years now, and it just bloomed for the first time! Well, it’s about to bloom….it has the little…. thing that came out! – I don’t know how to describe it other than that – and I see all the little buds that are about to bloom! So I can’t wait, but I heard they smell amazing. So it’ll be my first time. 

 

Hong  35:32  

Nice! I have a 30-year-old right over here! 

 

Angie  35:35  

Oh my god!

 

Hong  35:36  

It’s on the stairs right now – 30-years-old. It’s actually from my aunt!

 

Angie  35:41  

I wonder if that’s… is it ever gonna bloom?

 

Hong  35:44  

Hmm. Not. Not yet, because it’s actually – it’s not so bright in this area – But, still thriving! So, yes. Hoya is definitely one of my top five plants as well!

 

Angie  35:59  

Just so much fun and so rewarding to see it happen! And same as you! – I mean, we have a plant shop to take care of, and those plants unfortunately.. well, I guess good for them! But bad for the ones at home. The plants at the shop, get first priority, attention and care, and that takes a very long time! I mean – to go through our shop to water them probably takes four hours once a week. And then we come a second time a week to do the high maintenance ones that need watering more than once a week. So that’s probably eight hours a week just spent watering the plants! 

 

Hong  36:30  

Wow. Four times a week? Wow. 

 

Angie  36:33  

Eight hours a week. We come twice a week. Yeah. And then so my ones at home get neglected. Like: “Sorry, you guys are the bottom of the totem pole. You’re gonna have to be hardy for me!”. 

 

Hong  36:44  

I actually hate watering. I’ll be like: “When did I last water? Okay, Sunday, I think I can push to Thursday. So like 11 days. And I usually, I usually push it – and actually they do better! Most plants they do better with neglect, right? You just might look a little bit sad by the time you get to it, but it’s okay!

 

Angie  37:05  

Let them be plants!

 

Hong  37:06  

Yes. Right.

 

Angie  37:09  

All right. Well, what other hobbies do you have outside of plants?

 

Hong  37:13  

Um, I’m actually quite a workaholic – got to say. I don’t have many hobbies… but I’m starting to…. actually I took a two-hour walk right before our interview here! 

 

Angie  37:26  

Wow. Two hours. That’s impressive. 

 

Hong  37:28  

Yeah! So I’m actually trying to start walking. So, I have a walking partner, one of my friends. So we started last week – we did it like an hour and a half – walked the river valley here! And then today, we did a two hour walk. And it’s just nice to get out – get some fresh air, right? So I’m going to try to get more physical activity into my life. I feel like the pandemic really made me out of shape! Haha.

 

So I think this is like something that not just feel good…but, for your health, right? You don’t want to — I think right now, I’ve changed my train of thought; I’d rather workout for my health now than pay for my illnesses later. So, someone told me that phrase, and it actually really woke me up! 

 

Angie  38:24  

I love that. And it can be simple! It can be…walking! Just get outside, get some fresh air, get some vitamin D. And I think the pandemic really made us appreciate that, right? When we would be stuck in our houses…. So being able to get out and just go outside is such a blessing… now that we had a minute to think what the flip side could be! So I love that reminder. It’s very important. 

 

Hong  38:49  

Yeah!

 

Angie  38:50  

Well, we are getting to the point in the evening where we are going to wind down now, and we’re going to talk some trivia riddles! So we do a trivia question or a riddle each week. 

 

Angie  39:01  

And last week’s riddle question was: ‘I have hundreds of ears, but I can’t hear a thing. What am I?’ Do you want to take a stab before I announce the answer?

 

Hong  39:12  

Is it plant related? 

 

Angie  39:14  

Yes. So: ‘I have hundreds of ears, but I can’t hear a thing. What am I?’

 

Hong  39:21  

Huh? Okay, I have no idea! 

 

Angie  39:24  

It’s: A Cornfield!

 

Angie  39:27  

So for anyone who guessed correctly, keep an eye on our social media channels. We’ll pick a random winner for a prize! And now we have this week’s riddle! So you’re going to comment in the reviews or the comment section below with what you think is the correct answer! So today’s trivia: “Which country has the most plant species?” What do you think? I don’t have the answer in front of me. So I honestly don’t know. So we’re gonna have to see next week. So tune in next week. If you want the answer to that. “Which country has the most different plant species?” So comment your best guesses in the box below and let us know what you think we’ll pick a random winner each week that answers correctly to win a prize.

 

What that, we would like to thank Soltech Solutions, Steel City Plant Company, Domaci Home, and Lehigh Valley with Love for being our sponsors of this podcast, and for bringing this to you each week. Tune in every Friday for Wine Down The Week with me, your host, Angie, and thank you to Hong for being here! Any closing remarks or plugs as to where we can find out more about your brand?

 

Hong 40:34

No! You can just check us on our website Botaniful.ca. You can follow us on social media – our Instagram handle is @Botanifulyeg, and we are also on Facebook so you can find us there! All of our products are online – and you can shop us locally or online! And Angie I have to say thank you so much for having me here! I was a little nervous because I’m not usually a television person or a podcast person – but thank you for having me!

 

Angie 41:11

You did amazing! It felt therapeutic to me to be able to connect one on one with another plant shop owner when we have so many similarities in what we are trying to do!

 

Hong 41:15

Yeah! So I’m actually pretty surprised!

 

Angie 41:20

I know! There was a lot in line there!

 

Hong: 41:24

We should definitely keep in touch…

 

Angie: 41:25

We should….we can share best practices and uh…some therapy on what we go through. And we can understand each other. So thank you so much! And we’ll see all of you next week!

 

Hong 41:36

You’re welcome, take care!

 

Angie 41:38

Bye Plant Fam!

 

Partners

  • Soltech Solutions

    Soltech Solutions

  • Steel City Plant Co

    Steel City Plant Co.

  • Lehigh Valley With Love

    Lehigh Valley with Love

  • Domaci Plants and Vintage

    Domaci Plants + Vintage

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

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A
12/01/2021
Anonymous
CA CA
I recommend this product

Outdoors, we're approaching the darkest days of winter, but my indoor plants are thriving under their Aspect lamp. I've even been able to add to my collection now that I'm no longer confined to the limited selection that would tolerate my home's paltry supply of natural light. Great product!

VH
12/01/2021
valerie H.
US US
I recommend this product

Large Aspect grow light

I purchased the large white pendant grow light during an awesome black Friday deal. I've had my eye on this particular light for awhile, but patiently waited until they were on sale. I purchased one with ease and it was shipped immediately. Because I live close to where these are made, my package arrived pretty quickly. Everything in the box was well organized and the instructions on how to install it were super clear. I will say that my plants are now super happy and are thriving because of the light they are getting. The lighting itself is not too harsh and so I can sit and work on my couch while the light is on during the day. The pendant is simple and yet chic and isn't a distraction from the decor in my house. Thank you all so much for this lovely product and for saving my plants from the darkness of Buffalo, NY :)

A
11/30/2021
Anonymous
CA CA
I recommend this product

Would highly recommend

The design is elegant and my plants are growing well. Shipping and customer service was great.

EJ
11/29/2021
Eileen J.
US US
I recommend this product

Highland system

The product arrived fast. I puchased the system specifically for 3 large citrus trees I purchased this year and moved inside for the winter. They seem to love it. The trees did not drop leaves and are currently flowering. I will be ordering more lights for other areas in my home. I would love some floor lamp models.

Soltech Solutions  Review

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