The Plant Desk, how working from home has this ‘plantpreneur’ growing
When the origin and meaning of your surname is composed of the words ‘home’ and ‘power’ and your first name and even nickname translates to God’s grace and peace, it may seem serendipitous to find yourself in the world bringing something into the homes of people that inspires a new sense of consciousness and relaxation. For Shauntelle ‘Shaunti’ Henry, it couldn’t be more true. Her business, The Plant Desk, was launched last year and has evolved from a simple social media ‘DM and delivery’ for one product she may post to a blooming e-commerce plant enterprise.
“Plants have always been a part of my life but since the pandemic, I developed a keen interest in learning about them - the origins, how to grow and take care of each type. Once a person enters a space, there is almost always a plant, because it boosts the mood of a space, makes it feel homey or welcoming,” Shaunti told The Gleaner.
She added, “It is such a huge part of who I am. There is a definite connection with plants for me, so it is not strange that this is my first business venture coming out of an aspiration I have for myself. I was working from home trying to figure it all out, had more time to myself, that’s when I started to grow and propagate plants on my work desk. Hence where the name The Plant Desk comes from. I always wanted to start something based on passion and the stars aligned that it worked out that way.”
In a storyline that is familiar to many, she started an Instagram page and was introduced to a large plant enthusiast community. She utilised the knowledge garnered from online and others within the community, to gradually expand her own plant collection.
“I recognised that so many people wanted to connect to something grounded, which plants are. The business is rewarding for me, as my brainchild, and I also say that even if I can no longer have it for whatever reason, it will evolve into something else,” Shaunti said.
“Right now it is a mixture of me purchasing from others for resale and for propagation. I also want to have a greenhouse by mid-year next year. It is a natural progression and the plan is to move from an online business to an in-person brick and mortar business.”
With her brand, Shaunti offers her customers a variety of houseplants, a lot of which are rare in Jamaica such as the Hoya Kerrii or ‘lucky heart’ plant, String of Hearts and the Pink Princess Philodendrons along with decorative pots to propagation stations and home accessories designed to add light and lots of style into a space and an opportunity to connect with nature.
She believes it is important to support local artisans as she adds products “to the desk” although another challenge is finding some items in Jamaica. Oftentimes she has to have them shipped from overseas. She is one of the vendors listed on the SugaLifestyle’s Christmas Connection Sip, Shop and Taste at The Jamaica Pegasus on December 11 where she hopes to introduce some of her rare plants as well as Christmas-themed accessories such as macramé plant hangers and decorative pots that persons can insert their potted plants.
The activities involved in bringing The Plant Desk to life bring Shaunti an abundance of joy. But they also have to coincide with the biology of the plants she grows, “as it’s not standardised”.
“We have to respect nature; in running the business, the challenge is the supply of plants, you get them when you get them and we want to give them at a certain grade where they’ve been given proper love. When I find the plants I have to propagate, or multiply them in a safe way that protects the integrity of the plant, so I appreciate everyone’s patience when they order from me,” Shaunti said.