Social Studies

How a Downtown Plant Shop is Inspiring Green Thumbs Everywhere via Instagram

The Sill wants to bring keeping plants alive to everyone (plus clients like Google, Twitter, and Warby Parker).

By: Meagan Wilson
Photography:

Welcome to Social Studies, a new Coveteur series where we investigate our favorite social media finds IRL.

Even the most pitch-black of thumbs could be tempted to change their ways by The Sill. The plant brand, with a storefront in downtown Manhattan, is nothing short of immaculate, and so flush with greenery you could almost forget you’re in Chinatown. Consider the operation one part genius branding (best name ever, or best name ever?), and one part harnessing the lifestyle-envy powers of social media to get the aforementioned black thumbs on board. Here, founder Eliza Blank and partner Andrew Erdle tell us all about it.

 

Where did The Sill begin?

“The brand was first created back in 2012, in response to the need for a plant brand that never really existed before. We opened our first store in 2014, meant to reflect what we built online. Filling that gap for those who are shopping at big-box retailers or IKEA, and taking home these plants that they really don’t know anything about. We’re responding to that need with something that’s way more experiential.” —Eliza Blank

 

What inspired you to launch a plant brand?

“The struggle I personally faced was I lived in an apartment with one window that faced a brick wall—a sixth-floor walk-up with no space. How was I ever going to get plants back to my apartment and up the stairs? What about potting soil? Where was I going to pot it? Even if I was going to get through all of that, how do I take care of this when my conditions are sub-par?” —EB

 

What pushed you to start your own business?

“We lived through the recession, which was right after college. Going into that, everyone’s like, this is the darkest time ever, but then you live through it and you’re like, ‘that wasn’t so bad. We’re not quite as fearless as we might’ve been had that not happened. It kind of changes your perspective, something like going independentlyrather than some big companyseems a lot more doable. Maybe we just don’t know any better!” —Andrew Erdle

“I worked for Living Proof, the hair-care company. That had given me a whole new perspective on building not only a company, but a brand out of nothing, growing from the ground up, and trying to disrupt big brands and big businesses. That was what gave me tools and experience to feel confident that I could start something.” —EB

What’s The Sill’s mission?

“We wanted to approach the problem from the perspective of convenience, demystifying plant care for novices. We continue to be a plant company for all people, but its really part of the mission to help those who are plant-curious but don’t really know what they’re doing.” —EB

What are some of the actual benefits of having plants around?

“It’s tremendous how inherently good plants are. They clean the air, which is a huge deal for anyone who spends their time indoors, which is everyone—Americans spend 90 percent of their life inside! It’s also good in increasing everything from productivity, creativity, your attention span... They’ve been able to study that patients even have faster recovery time if there’s plants in their room.” —EB

 

Why do clients like Google, Twitter, & Warby Parker hit The Sill up for design services?

“I think our clients choose us because, similar to us, they’re very design and employee-focused. Our best clients tend to be companies with the same mentality as us. They’re focused on trying to create a better experience for their employees, and they want to express that through incorporating plants in their space. I think we really keep the brand spirit of the client and their aesthetic in line with the plants that we offer them, so that it doesn’t feel like this afterthought. It actually feels more connected to whatever work they’ve already put in.” —AE

Why are plants having their moment right now?

“Plants make people happy, and I think people are trying to fill their homes with things that make them happy. It certainly is a more accessible thing as far as interior design—you can get a plant for under a hundred bucks, and put it next to a lamp that costs a thousand, and they both look amazing. The plant holds its own, no matter what.” —AE

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