Updated: May 6
By combining her knowledge of technology with her passion for plants, Sonam Aditya has cultivated a plant nursery to create a community around San Antonio's plant lovers.
In the Midtown corridor of San Antonio, encapsulated by an energy of revitalization and renewal, you’ll find a charming spot dedicated to the wonderful world of plants. Touted as a “tiny jungle,” Plant Shoppe is a place you can visit and feel the immediate benefits of houseplants — from rare species to more common everyday favorites, the compact space teeming with lush greenery creates an urban oasis that melts away every care.
Plant Shoppe is the embodiment of passion. From the carefully curated variety of plants and plant supplies to the delightful and helpful team members that welcome you with a smile and knowledge, the charming shop brims with vitality. While it’s said passions evolve, for Plant Shoppe owner, Sonam Aditya, combining a background in tech with her penchant for plants proved to be the winning formula.
“I’ve worked in the tech space leading the creative and user experience side of things for startups for over a decade. Creating functional and usable products is my passion and simplifying and improving the quality of life through design motivates and excites me.”
Her desire to connect with people was another driving force behind the vision for Plant Shoppe, “As a lifelong student of human behavior always trying to create intuitive yet beautiful web and mobile apps, Plant Shoppe was the happy intersection of my love for houseplants and technology.”
A Plant Shop Designed for Plant Lovers
Texas Innovators caught up with Sonam to chat about lessons learned as a small business owner and the ways plants can offer a pathway to wellness for all.
What inspired you to start Plant Shoppe?
I firmly believe in the positive effects plants have on our emotional and mental wellbeing + the elevated energy they bring to a space. I wanted to share these amazing benefits with everyone in a magical shop filled with all things green, self-care, wellness + art products. I wanted to make houseplants accessible + educate non-horticulturists and the everyday human that taking care of plants is not only easy but therapeutic.
Launching a business is no easy task. What was the biggest hurdle you faced when you first opened your small business?
The biggest hurdle was overcoming mental blocks + accepting big changes in my life like leaving a high-profile tech job and starting over in a space with little experience. My passion for improving the human experience through plants guided me to keep going, take it day by day, and really helped transform my mindset and the shop to what it is today. we’re about to celebrate our one-year anniversary at the brick and mortar on St Mary's and I'm proud to say we’ve come a long way since last November.
How have you grown (no pun intended) your business amid challenges like the pandemic?
The pandemic actually helped our business since so many of us were stuck at home and needed something to tend to that brought us joy. Plants do just that. Every new growth, a leaf unfurling, its texture and color is an ode to our connection with these magical beings. We at the shop were able to encourage and help people find plants that worked for their lighting and lifestyle needs. After that, people started to visit regularly just to hang out and chat plants. It became more than buying/selling plants but a community of plant lovers which is exactly what I hoped for!
You offer workshops and pop-ups, which encourage community engagement. How important do you think it is for people to find a community of interest and become/stay connected?
It is very important to find a community of interest because we're social animals and when we see others engage in similar activities, it strengthens our own bonds to that subject. We also learn a great deal when we teach and learn from each other. Workshops + pop-ups are great ways for the community to come together, support one another, and make new friends! It's been so fun to witness new connections in our tiny jungle.
What insight can you give to someone who is thinking of taking that next step in starting their own business, but is hesitant for one reason or another?
Jump in, get your feet wet! Connect to folks with similar interests, figure out why your idea is unique + what you bring to the table that sets you apart. Don’t give up on an idea if someone or many people are already catering to that idea or industry. As long as your take on the idea is authentic, you’ll start to connect to people who feel the same way and start building a brand. Imagine if Spotify didn’t exist because they thought iTunes had the bases covered or TikTok didn’t get started because they figured Instagram checked all the boxes. Your passion + authenticity towards the subject is what’s going to draw people in otherwise it will just be another “fill in the blank here.” Don’t fake it, believe in it! If you aren’t fully invested in the idea, how can you expect others to believe + support your idea?
Looking for more information?
Pop in for a unique shopping experience amid plants like Hoya Krimson Queen and Swiss Cheese Vine, or visit @plant_shoppe on Instagram to learn more.