Buy from Tasmania thanks local Tasmanian Bonnie Tuttle for her research and writing of this article on Growing Tasmanian Business.
In 2020, Australians increased their purchases of plants by around $200 million, buying more than 2 billion plants that year.
This trend came at the perfect time for local indoor, rare and hard-to-find plant hobbyist Emma Kelt (Howrah). Emma had been selling small numbers of propagated plants to friends and family for some time; then Covid-19 put her return-to-work plans after long service leave in jeopardy.
With the tourism industry at an extreme low, and strict limitations on numbers of people indoors, Emma wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to go back to her job in a local art gallery.
The silver lining for Emma was that Tasmanians were turning in droves to indoor plants to meet their need for nature, and we saw the effect of ‘biophilia’ in our homes in a big way.
Biophilia: a desire or tendency to commune with nature.
As enquiries increased and the future remained uncertain, Emma decided to commit to turning her hobby into a business. She launched Chalet Boutique, where she sells plants along with eco-friendly homewares selected with her discerning eye. Emma propagates many of the plants in her greenhouse.
Emma also feels very strongly about the longevity of the plants she sells. Gone are the days where people joke about killing their potted plants. Emma sees to it that the plant babies she sends off to new homes have the best chance at a long and luscious life through plant care products, education and follow-up support.
“We need to push back on the disposable culture of ‘Oh ok, it died – let’s just throw it out’ and instead nurture the plants we bring into our homes,” Emma said.
“That’s one of the wonderful things about local independent businesses like ours – you get ongoing specialist support. As the owner you can build a relationship with the person buying from you and it’s an ongoing thing – people don’t just walk into a big empty shed with no-one to give them knowledgeable advice,” she said.
“You can spend a lot of money putting plants in your home, but what happens if things start to go wrong?” she said.
Ploy from Passionary Plants in Sorell also turned her hobby into a business in the middle of 2020. Her collection of hand propagated succulents covers her deck at home, and she and her husband and business partner, Yo, recently started selling at local markets. Yo has also built the deck, shelves and tables for the business himself.
Ploy and Yo get great joy from running their home business, and they are proud of the success they have found with support from their customers.
“It feels very meaningful to speak with someone who says that they were going to go to a large company, but instead came to us. We feel very connected to our community, and we love meeting everyone,” said Ploy.
Other indoor plant stores which are locally and independently owned are:
Do you know of more? Give them a plug below so we can all Buy from Tasmania!