I can't quite remember how I first came across Holly and her Wellington business, Lush Lane. I do recall that I was struggling to find great houseplants for my home and for styling my interior projects. Since I've found Lush Lane, Holly has become my go-to for anything plant related. I have sourced several indoor plants from her for my projects, much to the pleasure of my very happy clients. The temptation is, however, that every time I decide on one plant for a client, another one invariably comes home with me! With houseplants making a welcome comeback, Holly has the range of plants to meet the growing demand. Ever the modern businesswoman, she uses her social media platforms to showcase her wares - check out her Instagram and Facebook. Away from the digital market place, she also makes an appearance at The Neighbourhood Studio's popular Plant and Ceramic Pop-Up, which is where you can find her this Sunday in Newtown. This will be the last event for the year, so make sure you visit, say hi to Holly and satisfy your green thumb by stocking up on beautiful lush plants for your home.
How did Lush Lane come about?
I've always had an interest in plants but was finding it hard to source good quality indoor plants that the garden centres just didn't seem to supply. I really wanted to create my own business from home and I could see there really wasn't anything like it in Wellington. My parents don't live far from one of the bigger indoor plant nurseries in NZ so after making a visit out to the nursery, having a good chat with the staff there and coming up with the name Lush Lane, it all started to come together.
How hard was it to develop the business you have created?
My biggest challenge was definitely my own self doubt. At first I wasn't really sure if it was something that would take off or if I had the expertise to do it, and I really started to overthink things and feel like I had to have everything perfectly sorted to start out. It wasn't until I spoke with friends and family, did some more research, called a few nurseries to see if I could source various plants, that I thought I just needed to stick with it - start out small and work from there.
What is it about Lush Lane that sets it apart from other plant businesses?
I think the Plant & Ceramic Pop up sales I've been involved with at The Neighbourhood Studio in Newtown have been a great way of getting my plants out there and providing the plants that people cannot source themselves. I physically go and hand pick the majority of my plants from the nurseries in order to maintain the quality of plants as well as making sure I get a good variety for my customers. I think it's important to have a good eye for both.
In terms of plants - where do you draw inspiration from? In terms of running a business - where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw a lot of my inspiration about plants from interior magazines, blogs and a variety of Instagram accounts. What I love about plants is that whatever your design taste - whether you're into minimalism, boho, mid century or just a bit of everything - they suit any interior. In running Lush Lane, using Instagram has been an amazing inspiration and a great way to start a business. It enables me to connect with other small businesses and find out what has worked for them. It's a great community and a lot of the buzz with Lush Lane has been generated through meeting new clients and being able to collaborate with other businesses, for which I'm extremely grateful.
What is a typical Lush Lane day for you?
There is no typical day. Each new day can involve from ordering and delivering plants, unpacking, watering, prepping plants and sourcing plants among other things. One thing is constant, however, I'm always on the look out for new plants.
Houseplants are so popular again after some time of being rather uncool. Why do you think that is?
I think it has a lot to do with the popularity of different interior styles, and also the way plants can really complete and indeed transform a space. I feel like a room can be somewhat lacking without plants. They literally add life to a room.
What are five tips that you would pass on when someone is thinking about getting house plants?
1. Some people feel like they have a black thumb and can't keep anything alive. But always remember there are plants that don't need a lot of attention to survive and thrive. So if you're starting out, go with something really hardy like a Ficus, ZZ plant or Mother in Laws Tongue.
2. The biggest mistake, I believe, people make is over watering their plants. In most cases it is better to under water than over water. Scheduling a time to water your plants is a good idea. That way you can keep track of your watering levels and adjust accordingly if required.
3. Be careful with plants and pets. Certain plants are actually poisonous if consumed by pets. Make sure you do some research or keep your plants well away from your hungry pets.
4. Natural light is important for your plants to thrive. I get a lot of people wanting plants for rooms that don't get a lot of light. Certain plants can tolerate lower light like ZZ plants, or Mother in Laws tongue but not in a room that has no source of natural light. So for most plants, natural indirect light will keep them happy - even if you move the plant to get some better exposure for a few days can help too.
5. A good planter, pot or stand can really transform a plant. You don't have to spend much, just get creative in what you use - it could be as simple as painting a terracotta pot in a colour that suits your interior or using a storage basket or stool. TradeMe and second-hand stores are great sources for one off finds.
What are your favourite plants?
My favourite plants at the moment would have to be my large Bird of Paradise, which has the most broad, lush green leaves. I love the tropical look. I've always had a thing for Boston Ferns as well. They have the perfect mix of being super lush and trailing. I can't go past a good Hoya either, a gorgeous trailing plant with the prettiest blooms.
Thank you Holly!
All photographs by Holly McDowell for Lush Lane.