Raised in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, Eliza Blank didn’t really think twice about all the beautiful foliage that surrounded her. Sure, she thought it was nice and definitely great to play in, but… wasn’t it everywhere? It wasn’t until she moved to New York to study at NYU that she realized just how big of a role plants and greenery had actually played in her life. And she missed it.
So much of her time was being spent indoors, away from nature, and she was feeling the effects. Having grown up with a mother who had a strong affinity for houseplants she was accustomed to having multiple plants around. “In addition to cleaning the air and enhancing home decor, house plants provide companionship,” says Eliza. “You can really form a relationship with your plant—and they’re not that needy!”
She noticed that other people in her new city were missing the lack of flora too. She knew she needed to do something— but plants in NYC can be a problem. No one really has a yard, let alone a garden. And everyone is just so busy. Maybe her mother was on to something, she thought, maybe the answer was in indoor plants all along: easy to maintain, low-light, indoor houseplants. Bingo!
She launched a Kickstarter and raised $12,000 affording her the opportunity to start a small e-commerce site called The Sill. Her goal was to get plants into the homes (errr… closet-sized apartments) of New Yorkers… green thumb or not.
Now, four years in, The Sill sells their potted indoor plants on a national level, and Eliza’s little website has expanded into a brick and mortar store located on the verge of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
The Sill’s success comes because they’ve tapped into the minds of the typical New Yorker and have made their way into the living arrangements of their urban environments. “We’re focused on guiding our customers and clients towards easy-to-care for plants— those that will thrive under their care,” explains Eliza. Aware that there are so many different types of plants out there and that choosing the right one can get confusing, they are there to help. “We want to ensure that people start off on the right foot, with a plant that will suit the individual person.”
Also recognizing that not every person has that innate parenting urge inside them to care after a small green thing on their kitchen counter, The Sill offers easy-to-follow instructions on how to care for your plant. They also offer knowledgeable plant expertise to answer any questions available by phone, email, or in the shop, and they even have a “30-Day New Plant Owner Promise” warranty which ensures you’ll get a refund (or a new plant) if you do accidentally kill your new plant baby. Hey, accidents happen!
Monthly plant workshops and shopping parties are held, and they’ve even teamed up with brands like WeWork and Google to host plant related events. They carry their own line of ceramics and often feature collaborations with artists they admire selling exclusive products so that your new shrub can live in the dapper-ist of pots.
Their inventory comes from their nursery partners in Florida, where they are careful to choose suppliers who use only sustainable and organic practices. From $5 succulents to $35 airplants to that $500 Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree you’ve been eyeing, The Sill has a plant to bring a bit of sunshine to every soul, in every city, and every home (NY-closet-sized or not).
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. She has about five green thumbs. On each hand. Find Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.