Well, what a whirlwind the last few months have been. Right now it’s a Saturday, late September 2023. My toddler is with her dad, my partner is doing an extra shift at work and the house is quiet. I’ve sat down to try and get some of my mammoth list of website updates done, and realised the first thing I need to do is update our ‘About Us’ page.
This page was last updated when we finalised the move to Bristol, when I was full of motivation and excitement. I couldn’t believe how perfect everything had gone, from finding the most incredible red vintage IKEA coat hooks for the walls, to sourcing the most perfect artwork, to painting the floor an insane bright orange.
Everything about our Bristol shop appealed to my emotions. The street number, which was the same date as my birthday, the Victorian frontage, the BS5 postcode and the amount of space we had to run events, workshops, supper clubs and whatever else I could dream of. How could it not work out? It just wouldn’t. Not ever.
Fast forward 18 months and surprise surprise, it didn’t work out. But that’s ok. We could never have anticipated that the lockdown-fuelled boom in houseplants would start retracting, a war would begin on European soil and an economic meltdown would be triggered causing all of our costs to go through the roof and our sales to go through the floor, all at the exact same time.
Not only that, the choice of location was based solely on emotions, which has been a hard but invaluable lesson to learn. The footfall was not high enough to be able to prop up a shop that big, with rents and costs so huge. I ended up spending all my time trying to make money elsewhere to pay the rent and burning myself out in the process.
So, as of Summer 2023 we are running an online operation from a shipping container in Brislington Retail Park. We have decked it out in salmon pink (I still had to fill some emotional needs after all), put a few of our vintage fixings up on the walls and installed our ‘That’s f**king Mint’ neon sign at the back. It’s a tiny version of what we had in our Bristol shop, and I couldn’t be happier that we are keeping the dream alive, in whatever form we can get it!
We have also been given access to some greenhouse space at Elm Tree Care Farm in Stapleton after forging a very special relationship with the farm from our days at the Bristol shop. Gardens manager Mark (aka Bash, as you’ll have no doubt seen on our socials) lives round the corner from our old shop in Easton and asked us if we wanted to work together.
It started with selling their beautiful flower bunches in our shop, and now we’re rescuing entire cacti collections together. The adults that the farm supports repot a lot of these rescued plants for us, which we then buy back by the tray load, benefiting all of us in the process.
Elm Tree Farm is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm, where alongside their huge range of cut flowers and plants there is a farm shop, livestock and beautiful market garden to explore. You can drop off plants to repot, plants for us to rescue, or just come and see what we are up to.
In terms of future plans, we are doing more rescue jobs than ever which is currently keeping us very busy. Following our appearance on BBC Gardeners World (Episode 13, watch it here!) we are getting calls about new collections every few days.
We are taking part in as many markets as our schedule will allow, including the new Bristol Thrift Market and multiple Christmas markets coming up. We have recently started supplying Prior Shop in Cabot Circus with our rescued plants, as well as running concessions at Crafters in Wotton under Edge, Bocabar in Paintworks Bristol and Poquito Coffee on Gloucester Road, Bristol.
We may have another shop one day, but for now we are rushed off our feet and feeling incredibly grateful for it. As always you can shop online for delivery to the whole of the UK, or pop down and see our rescue collections at Elm Tree Farm. Just give us a shout so we can make sure we are there to show you around.