Gen Z-er grows her plantita start-up amid the pandemic
Chin up, girl. If 21-year-old Steph could do it, you absolutely can too.
This National Women’s Month, we salute Filipinas all over the globe for their strength and creativity in these tough times. Every woman who continues to rise above the difficulties and exerts herself to help make this country a better place to live in is worth all the sparkles emoji in emojipedia.
For instance, here’s the inspiring story of a young plantita who has sowed the seeds of her small business which was established in the midst of the pandemic. Twenty-one year old Stephanie Aquino, a senior Entrepreneurial Management major at the University of Asia & the Pacific, opted not to sit around during the lockdown and bring her start-up online gardening store into fruition.
Called Seed Starter MNL, Steph’s online store brings the outdoors in by encouraging people to grow a garden inside their own homes. Seed Starter encourages aspiring plant parents to grow salad, herb, and flower seeds in a box, packed in a single starter kit composed of coco pots, soil, seeding tray, plant box, label sticks, and some mini tools. Cool, right?
The sprouting love for plants
Even before the pandemic, Steph would fill her study area with decorative plants. “They are visually refreshing and can also magically clear my head whenever I am stressed-out,” Steph says.
But when the lockdown forced everyone to stay at home, she started experimenting to see if she could sprout seeds from leftover fruits and veggies in her kitchen like mangos, dragon fruit, lemon, and spring onion cuttings. To her surprise, this newfound activity was actually pretty easy!
“I shifted to planting edible plants that I could add in my meals, starting with herbs and vegetable seeds such as basil, parsley, tomato, arugula, lettuce, and sunflower,” she says. She tends to them every day and in return, they provide her with fresh, fragrant, and healthy harvests which she could just pick from her own garden without a hitch.
As nature buddy herself, this is exactly what Steph wants to share with everyone during this time when going out to markets and malls to get food supply has become risky—to practice urban gardening and simply watch your plants harvested from pots to your plates.
“I noticed that lots of plantitas were spending enormous amounts of money on ornamental and decorative plants. I 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. I thought of assembling a kit that would contain the basic necessities in growing a garden that is functional while still being aesthetically pleasing,” she adds.
Putting up her first official start-up while still in school, more so in the time of pandemic, did not sprout overnight. From the traditional way of managing a business, she had to innovate her way and set everything up virtually—from sourcing suppliers, setting client meetings, selling products, and managing financial transactions—all to ensure her and her customers’ health and safety. Venturing into an online business has made Steph realize the importance of fortifying a good seller-customer relationship. While being in-touch with the customers throughout the whole buying process is something that most sellers do, she has to step up her game and keep in touch with her customers even after they made their purchases to make them feel valued and their plants cared for.
“Sometimes, I get messages from my customers wherein they send me photos of their plant updates, their progress, or if they encounter plant sicknesses to which I tend to the best of my ability. This is what Seed Starter MNL wants to basically foster—an online community where plant parents can genuinely share their concerns and milestones with us and one another.”
Steph’s story from the ground up proves that everyone, including ladies her age (or younger, even), can prosper. With enough determination and diligence, girls like her can brave their very own start-ups too. So, for those already enticed to join the green bandwagon, here’s a pro tip from Steph herself: Start with simple and easy-to grow plants and from there, build your plant-caring habits.
Kick off your plantita journey now with Seed Starter MNL because there are lots of special deals and promos in store for you this summertime! This month alone, this new online gardening store will be launching its official website and will be joining giant e-commerce platform Lazada. Plant parents can now also directly purchase their aesthetic garden kits from Good Mood Grocer, a local healthy grocery store along Whiteplains.
For orders, click here. Visit @seedstartermnl also on Facebook and Instagram for more green updates and gardening tips. 🌱