From Pot to Plate and Growing Up Urban Gardening
Following in the footsteps of Mother Ricky Reyes, Steph proves that his imparted wisdom has beautifully blossomed as she now cultivates her very first start-up.
She grew up surrounded with lush gardens in their home and in the resort that her parents own. She would see how early in the wee hours of the morning, her parent, iconic Filipino hairdresser Mother Ricky Reyes, would be pattering around the garden, oftentimes even on all fours planting here, pruning there, giving instructions to the gardener, constantly rearranging pots and planters.
This is the daily scenario that 21-year-old budding entrepreneur/ plantita played in her mind when she came up with online gardening store—Seed Starter MNL. She lives, breathes, and now thinks plants!
In her senior year studying Entrepreneurial Management at the University of Asia & the Pacific, Stephanie “Steph” Aquino delves into the relevance and practicality of being surrounded by plants and brings the outdoors in by growing your own garden.
“I do not remember a day in my life not being amid plants. My childhood memories was always filled with them because of my parent’s love for plants. All the important occasions in our family had been celebrated in the garden, when we move homes, the garden is always a priority,’’ recalls Steph.
Today, in the context of the present situation that world has found itself in, plants not only beautify spaces, but also help alleviate pandemic anxiety and improve overall mental health.
“To top that, urban gardening allows you to grow organic edible herbs and vegetables that can aid your physical health as well,” Steph said. “This way, I am also able to contribute to teaching people how to grow their own food, even in a basic way, and be an advocate for sustainability, self-sustenance, and self-care.”
Seed Starter MNL allows you to sprout plants of your choice may it be Salad (basil, tomato, kale, and lettuce), Herb (basil, chives, parsley, and arugula), or Sunflower. And the most exciting part is that everything you need to cultivate them is already packed in a single starter kit composed of coco pots, soil, seeding tray, plant box, label sticks, and some mini tools.
This idea sparked when Steph saw that while the country was put on lockdown, many Filipinos have been looking for relief and calm to plants when grown on backyards, balconies, and even inside the house. She saw this as an opportunity to make urban gardening more accessible to people all around the metro especially since space is a luxury that not everyone has. By assembling an aesthetically pleasing and functional kit that would contain the basic necessities in growing a garden, she braved her initial start-up.
Plowing the path to her dreams
This business acumen has always been innate for Steph. As a young girl, she would sell homemade chocolate truffles in school during lunch breaks to earn some extra pocket money. She was also active in school activities where she would help organize bazaars and sell some local products.
“It was always very fun and engaging for me—working behind the scenes to develop the perfect product to sell, sourcing, organizing, then talking to people face to face, trying to sell the product. It never seemed like work for me at all,” she explained.
Steph’s business-mindedness was honed as she grew up watching one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs run his own successful hair salon chain. This, Steph shared, taught her two valuable things:
“First is that the employees are the business’ best assets. My parent passed onto me the notion that the creativity, problem solving abilities, and social capabilities of the people who work for and with him are essential in the day to day operations of the business. This is the very reason why they needed to be valued within the company and be given the resources to further develop their talents,’’ Steph said.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, Steph also learned to keep all her business ventures under her nose. By knowing everything that is going on within the business, one determines how it could be managed well. This lesson goes beyond words as Mother Ricky puts it into practice by personally visiting his different salons, cutting his clients’ hair, and even having meals with his salon staff—all after decades in the beauty industry.
“He is able to find the perfect balance between authority, leadership, and friendship between him and the people who represent him in the Ricky Reyes salons. Honestly, that is something that I hope to achieve in my own business ventures someday.”
These parental advices taught Steph that there are opportunities everywhere both for budding business owners and employees for there will always be problem points to solve to make the lives of the consumers better.
“Hone your opportunity-spotting skills. Join me in creating products or services which are innovative, genuinely useful, and will promote the well-being of our customers. Together, let us find ways to prosper during these trying times,” she encouraged them.
This 2021, expect a more fruitful Seed Starter MNL as Steph continues to amplify her new online gardening store. Summertime promos will also be rolled out to give plant parents the chance to maximize this year’s summer season that will be mostly spent indoors.
This month alone, you gotta watch out for some exciting special deals and new products as Seed Starter MNL launches its official website and joins giant e-commerce platform Lazada. Plantitas can now also directly purchase their aesthetic garden kits from Good Mood Grocer, a local healthy grocery store along Whiteplains.
So, what are you waiting for? Start growing your very first lush garden in a box today with Seed Starter MNL! For orders, click here.
Visit @seedstartermnl on Facebook and Instagram for more green updates and gardening tips. 🌱