By: Mia Watkins
REV Creative Content Coordinator
Mia here. If you’re anything like me, you’ve picked up or rediscovered your green thumb during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been slowly and steadily giving my living room jungalow vibes a la Pinterest, thanks to local plant shops such as House Plant Collective.
You might have spotted its old school bus parked outside your favorite Birmingham brewery. If so, I HIGHLY encourage you to step inside for a dreamy atmosphere filled with affordable plants and other goodies.
I asked owner Jessica Watts a few questions while doing some weekend shopping. Here’s what she had to say about opening during the lockdown and why people are so excited about plants these days.
Q. You started working on your bus during the pandemic? Is that right?
A. So, we bought it last September, and we started the buildout and actually worked with Steven Stewart (sp?) with Gatos and Beans. We were ready to roll in March with events and obviously the pandemic caused a shift for us.
We pivoted, we went online and started doing local pick-up and delivery. Then, we started with our bus events in July.
Q. How did the online experience go and how have in-person experiences been?
A. We were astonished by how much people in quarantine were wanting some plants for their house, so we did see an immediate response with that, but even more so when we brought the bus out. I think that’s kind of the experiential factor, the shopping experience that our customers are getting when they step into a greenhouse on wheels.
In-person, we’ve seen an immediate response from the Birmingham community. We’ve also started to venture to other cities. We’ve been to Huntsville and Jacksonville. We see more of a boom when we’re able to kind of pop into different cities —especially towns that can’t support a full plant store. It’s been something we’ve been able to tap into and give them the opportunity to build a plant collection outside of the standard plants they can get at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Q. Other than House Plant Collective being on wheels, what do you think the “it” factor is for customers?
A. I feel like because we are able to bring the plants to the customers —where people live, work and play—that pulls in another factor that typical brick and mortars can’t tap into.
Q. One thing I wanted to discuss was the house plan boom. I personally bought three plants during quarantine, but I’m about to buy more. Why do you think people are so keen to become plant parents during this time?
A: I think it has a lot to do with the fact that people want the opportunity to nurture something when everything else seems to be kind of falling apart. It really helps to see something grow and thrive while everyone’s been stuck in their home. This gives people an opportunity to invest in something.
Q. Where would you suggest that people start when it comes to house plants?
A: You’d be surprised at how often I get that question. I usually recommend low light, low care plants like pothos. ZZ-plants are also another low light plant that’s resilient. Snake plants can also be shareable and they can grow to be quite big.
Q. How has your involvement with REV helped you on your entrepreneurial journey?
A: It’s been huge. I do not have a business background, so I knew I needed that training to make sure that this was a viable and sustainable option. Working with REV helped me get my bearings straight and helped me figure out my break-even point and what my profit losses and gains. It helped me get my numbers crunching and moving before I got started.
Q. You’re also looking for warehouse space. Is there anything else coming up for House Plant Collective?
A; We’re going to continue popping up in new cities and building out our events schedule. The retail/warehouse space is going to be a big thing. Hopefully, we’ll get that rolling in the next few months.
Be sure to follow House Plant Collective on Facebook and Instagram to find out their pop-up schedule!
Your guide to a family-friendly day downtown
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Family Friendly, Front Page, Get Involved, Small Business, Yaysayers
With summer just around the corner, kids will soon be out of school and insisting on getting out of the house. Luckily, Downtown Birmingham has an abundance of family-friendly activities that will keep your kiddos entertained and create lifelong memories.
We know taking kids out for extended periods can be challenging; that’s why we have curated a list of experiences designed to be enjoyable within a manageable 3 – 4 hour timeframe. This way, both children and parents can make the most of their time without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. These four experiences include lunch options and are tailored to different ages and personalities.
Get to know your City Center District Manager, Michael Symes.
Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Front Page, Get Involved, REV Team, Yaysayers
Meet Michael Symes, the new City Center District Manager for the Business Improvement District (BID). As a long-time resident of Birmingham, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, having been an active member of the community since graduating from the University of Alabama. In this article, we will explore Michael’s journey and learn about his “accidental roots” in the city, as well as his passion for working with the Business Improvement District (BID) of the Magic City. Follow along as we get to know the person behind the job title and uncover the unique perspective he brings to the role.
Why your voice on historic preservation is essential
Filed Under: Front Page, Get Involved, Historic Preservation, Residential
President and CEO of REV Birmingham David Fleming writes about the importance of historic preservation and highlights the advocacy efforts that saved the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Forest Park neighborhood in Birmingham. The article concludes with a call to action, urging for new leaders and the implementation of various strategies to protect and celebrate Birmingham’s historic buildings and places.