Welcome back to the Ecopotters series. This month, we speak to Andrew and Danii, owner and manager respectively of GREEN.MEADOWS, an Edinburgh-based tropical plant store with a contemporary twist. We discuss common mistakes novice plant parents make, the importance of design and how individual acts of conscious consumerism can make a difference.
We know how important community is. Through the simple act of storytelling, we aim to create an online space where like-minded individuals can connect and inspire one another. There are a million ways to live in a greener way, and this is just one story.
Welcome! Who exactly are GREEN.MEADOWS? Sum yourselves up in 3 words.
GREEN.MEADOWS is a modern take on a tropical plant shop, with social and environmental sustainability at its centre. With bright colours and hundreds of plants, we’ve created a thoroughly unique space where you can shop without a guilty conscious. We like to think of this as renewable consumerism. It’s not easy to sum us up in just 3 words, but I would say: sustainability, design and tropical.
What is the story of how your business came into being?
After finishing an architecture and design degree, Andrew wasn’t quite sure of what he wanted to do, but he knew that he wanted to make sure it was sustainable and gave back to the world. Throughout university, Andrew always took a green approach to his projects, focusing on what were the most socially and environmentally-friendly practices. Combining his love of plants with his interest in the planet, Andrew thought that opening a plant shop could best fulfil his ambitions - and so GREEN.MEADOWS was born.
How is design important to your business?
Design is important to our business in the same way it is important to all businesses, especially retail. Design and the look of the shop go hand-in-hand with overall customer experience, which is then reflected in how successful we are in terms of sales and exposure. When we designed our shop, we specifically designed it to be social media-ready, as social media sites now dominate marketing strategies. We made it so that customers would organically grow our market by taking photos within the shop, and sharing them to their audiences!
Your store looks very contemporary and cool! Who designed it and what inspired the style, colour palette and lighting?
Andrew designed the shop alongside an Edinburgh-based commercial interior design studio, Splintr. Andrew studied Architectural Design at university, so has always had a passion for design! When it came to designing the shop, he wanted to be heavily involved in the decisions made. Soft pink was the predicted colour of 2022, so it made sense to use it for the shop; as well as pink being a soothing colour, which helps the green of the plants to really pop! The lighting came about as the business was originally planned to be a tropical-themed bar - so creative, colour-changing lights were a must-have!
Tell us about the work you do with Trees for Life?
We work with Trees for Life in order to help them move forward with their goal of rewilding the Scottish Highlands. For every plant that we sell, we donate 25p to Trees for Life - so that means for every 24 plants sold, we plant a tree! Since we have opened, we have sold 17,272 plants, meaning 729 trees planted with Trees for Life… and this number grows each day!
What are some of the common mistakes novice plant parents make? Any tips?
The most common mistake that most plant parents make is overwatering - you would be surprised to learn that not every plant likes being watered every day, actually no plant I know of likes that to be honest! A key tip to stop overwatering is to always check the soil before you water your plant, to make sure it is the right level of dry for your plant. Also, don’t always listen to what the plant label says, listen to your plant and learn how it behaves in your home environment. If the label says water once a week but the plant isn’t getting warm enough to use up all of the water in time, you’ll end up drowning your new plant if you water it again. Owning plants teaches you new lessons everyday, so just keep learning!
We know you guys are doing great things such as reusing plastic plant trays and encouraging sustainable shopping with your soil refill station. How else do you incorporate sustainability into your business and why is it important to you?
We have looked at every level of our business and tried to make it as sustainable as possible, because we believe it is important that we all play a part in reducing the harm currently being caused to the environment. Even though we are just one small shop, our efforts to combat climate change will still make a difference. A few examples of how we as a shop are making steps to be more sustainable are as follows; we focus on stocking sustainable brands, ranging from pots made from waste materials to recycled paper pots made in women’s cooperatives. Our soil refill station is completely peat-free and we use rice husks in place of perlite, as it is a more environmentally-friendly product. We try to limit any paper use - our only paper being our business cards, although these are made using a seeded paper, so they are plantable! We are always learning and continuing to make sure we are doing as much as we can to play our part in the fight against climate change.
Do you have any favourite Design Instagram accounts that deserve a follow?
We currently follow a number of design-based Instagram accounts, which all help to inspire us in future designs; these include @designmilk, @designboom and @mimdesignstudio. It's also definitely worth following @splintrdesign for amazing commercial interiors and @mainlyphotography for the most beautifully designed websites.
Are there any cool brands you have discovered that you would like to give a shout out to?
So many! We love Piccolo Seeds (piccoloseeds.com) - the design that goes into their packaging is beautiful as well as being made from sustainable and completely recyclable materials. One of our newest additions to the shop is a line of tote bags by Tom’s Tote Bags (tomstotebags.com), fun and creative recycled tote bags which are not only sustainable, but also help to support young artists - they have been a huge hit with our customers so far. Another great and innovative product which again has sustainability at its core are Hydro-herb (hydro-herb.co.uk), vegan-friendly hydroponic herb-growing systems made from recycled wine bottles.
Have you got any weird plant facts?
I don’t know about weird facts, but I have a cool fact. Do you know where the holes in Monstera leaves come from? The holes allow the leaves to withstand heavy rainfall and winds, letting the plant grow big and strong without being damaged by the elements around them. Cool right? Plant evolution at its finest!
What’s next for Green Meadows?
More of what we are already doing I guess! We plan to continue bringing on board more sustainable brands, finding new and innovative ways of making what we do sustainable and providing Edinburgh with all the plants they could ever want. You can check out everything new on our social media pages, we have big plans for 2022 so come along on this mad GREEN. ride!
Thanks guys! Find GREEN.MEADOWS on greenplantshops.co.uk and follow them on Instagram @green.plantshops.