Unique Plant Retailer ‘Plantsie’ Launches 1st Store Concept with Plans for National Expansion [Interview/Photos]

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Calgary-based Plantsie is launching its new retail concept, bringing plants with personality to shoppers at the Southcentre Mall in the city.

The pandemic start-up, with the idea of inviting customers to embrace the individual personas of their plants, began in May 2021 by local entrepreneurs Jeff Bradshaw and Jaime Starchuk, who also operate V Strategies, a video production company Bradshaw started about 25 years ago.

Jeff Bradshaw

“When we first had the idea for Plantsie, we were looking for a way to bring a little joy into daily life, and we thought, what better way to do that than with a cheerful little plant with a big personality,” said Bradshaw.

“Each of our plants has its own name and persona, and customers can even create their own custom plant personality by choosing a plant, a pot and a name for their new green friend. We’ve heard it said that pets are the new kids, but we like to think that plants are the new pets. Something that will bring a smile to your face, but is also easy to care for.

“We want to get established and work the kinks out at Southcentre but then for us we’re hoping we have great success and definitely plan to open in different locations in different markets. Our goal with the business is to move right across the country over the next couple of years and really grow and be aggressive with it.”

Plantsie at Southcentre Mall (Image: Jeff Bradshaw)

The first brick and mortar storefront opens November 1 on the second level of the shopping centre. 

Jaime Starchuk

“When COVID hit, like many businesses the video side kind of slowed down a bit. Jaime Starchuk who has been my VP of Operations on the V side for the past 18 years was getting into plants. She was looking for her pots but they weren’ really modern looking pots. So we were actually on a hike on Sulphur Mountain one day and she goes ‘we should start selling pots’. We started chatting and thought you can’t really just sell pots,” said Bradshaw.

“And we started thinking about Build A Bear and the old pet rock. And that’s how we kind of came up with the concept for Plantsie . . . Giving plants a name and a personality we just thought would be a unique approach to house plants.”

People can buy plants either in-store at the upcoming new storefront at Southcentre Mall or on the company’s website. 

Plantsie at Southcentre Mall (Image: Jeff Bradshaw)

The brand believes houseplants are more than just décor. They are living things that can enhance everyday life in countless ways, including bolstering mental wellbeing, improving performance and focus while working, boosting creativity, and absorbing airborne toxins, to name a few.

Plantsie offers a variety of easy to care for plants with the perfect personality for any of life’s moments or milestones. Plants are also fully customizable, from the name all the way down to the pot.

There are about 30 different personality cards people can pick. 

With a wide variety of low maintenance ‘starter’ plants, like the ‘Good Vibes’ Ponytail Palm, the ‘Feel Better’ Peace Lily, and the ‘McDreamy’ Dracaena Janet Craig, Plantsie aims to make taking home a new plant simple and stress-free. Each potted Plantsie also comes with its own laser-cut name stick, personality card, and care instructions.

New ideas for seasonal Plantsie personalities include ‘Frosty’, ‘Cindy Lou’ ‘The Grinch’ and ‘Buddy the Elf’.

“We wanted to make owning plants accessible to everyone by inventing a fun way to make them part of the family. All of our plants are easy to maintain and we hope that they open the door for people to get excited about having a little more green in their lives,” said Bradshaw.

He said the company has had great success online.

“But because it’s a new concept, we’re super excited about Southcentre because we’re going to be able to interact with more people face to face. And we think people are really going to get excited about this. There’s nothing like this anywhere that we’ve found – anywhere in the world we’ve not seen anybody doing what we’re doing with the plant. It’s a real unique concept,” said Bradshaw.

Alexandra Velosa

“We don’t have a big store. It’s a pretty small little store. But it’s going to be jam-packed and we think it’s going to create a lot of excitement for customers but also for us to give us that additional exposure to the marketplace.”

“We are delighted to welcome Plantsie to the Southcentre family,” said Alexandra Velosa, Marketing Manager, Southcentre Mall. “Plants offer so many wonderful benefits, from brightening up a home to improving mental health, and we know that Plantsie will be bringing something new and exciting for shoppers to enjoy. With the holidays on the horizon, Plantsie will put a fun new twist on gift giving for those looking to shake up their Christmas lists.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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