Starting a new business from the ground up is intimidating and it takes a lot of courage. I sat down with Christy Ross, the founder of Planted Places to learn more about why and how she built her own business and more importantly, why she chose plants.
What got you interested in gardening?
I’ve always loved to be outdoors - whether it be running, hiking or just enjoying time with friends and family outside. Gardening was often my go to pastime, allowing me to relax and connect with nature. I’ve always realized that when I garden I am in my happy place. The self-satisfaction that comes when you look at a garden you’ve brought to life is very fulfilling. It is this feeling that has also helped me balance the stressors in my life - the constant motion of managing a family with 3 boys and juggling work are non-stop.
Why did you start Planted Places?
I wanted to start a new business that I was passionate about. I’ve started businesses before and there is nothing more satisfying than creating something from nothing and seeing it grow and thrive - just like a garden. I think it’s important to spend time doing things that make you happy and creating something you think is amazing and that you can be proud of. I wanted to bring this same feeling to other people. I believe everyone has an inner creative in them but sometimes our lives can get in the way of letting that side of us out.
Around the time that I came up with the idea for Planted Places, California was experiencing an extreme drought. In order to keep everything in my garden alive and healthy, I had to dramatically change the plants that I was growing. I had to fill my yard with plants that didn’t need as much water, so I brought in succulents, native plants and water wise leafy plants. I realized how much easier it was to take care of these plants - as well as easier on the water bill! I wanted to bring a turn-key solution to others in a unique way. That’s where the Living Wall and Frame Display kits come in. The kits give people a unique way to create a garden that is fast, easy, and something they can put on display and be proud of.
Why did you decide to build out Planted Places online and not in a brick and mortar store?
My business background got me thinking about ways I could bring plants to the e-commerce market, that was truly unique. I wanted to create an experience for people that was fun, but also easy and fast. Planted Places does the heavy lifting of pulling together materials needed; plant collections, designs, planters and care instructions so that customers can focus on the fun of creating and displaying their craft. I knew from the very start that in order to do all of this I would have to bring Planted Places to life online. There are so many successful brick and mortar flower and plant stores and people have always been delivering flowers, but people haven’t always delivered plants, especially entire collections, accompanied with the structures to build their gardens with. A lot of time has gone into testing different packaging and shipping to ensure that we can offer a solution that delivers what we are promising people - an easy and fast way to put your inner gardener on display.
How would you describe a vertical garden to someone who has no idea what it is?
I would say that it’s a garden that grows upwards in a confined space, yet gives the illusion of open space, with the help of a structural support system. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes but the important part about a vertical garden is that it is much more than just about placing a potted plant in a corner, it is about creating a living structure that is also a piece of art.
Why is Planted Places relevant in today’s market?
Gardens and plants have always been a great way to bring serenity into homes but in the last year they have filled urban homes more than ever. I think that in our technology filled world people need something in their lives that will give them a chance to slow down a bit. Plants give people a chance to get in touch with nature and take care of something. Also creating something with your hands and getting the opportunity to express yourself is so beneficial to a person’s mental health and well being. The best thing about Planted Places is that you don’t even need to have a backyard to create your own unique plant filled space, any blank wall will work.
What are some of the benefits of plants in your living environment?
Plants have been proven to improve mental health, they fill rooms with life and decrease pollutants in the air. They give people something to take care of which is an extremely fulfilling feeling. Not to mention the fact that they are an incredible and natural way to decorate homes, they bring vibrance and life into any dull room, courtyard, or patio.
Do you have any advice for people who feel like they don’t have a green thumb?
There is no such thing, keeping plants alive can be easy if you have the right resources and support to do it. People have to change their perspective and realize that anyone can be a gardener as long as they set themselves up for success. Identifying plants for the right space and climate is the first step. Planted Places takes the guessing out of this by creating collections that thrive in Vertical Planters.
Do you have a favorite plant?
I think I have a different answer to this question everyday. I am constantly visiting different growers and farms and finding new plants. Today my favorite plant is a bromeliad. It’s a very tropical looking plant that has a lot of the same characteristics of a succulent - believe it or not. It’s short root structure allows it to thrive in a Living Wall and the spectacular display of color and foliage fills in the space perfectly. It thrives in a wide temperature range which makes it adaptable to both indoors and outdoors in many climates.