In Partnership With
To celebrate Earth Day, we joined forces with The Sill
for a fun get-together blending fashion, foliage and more! The event served as a dual breakfast (featuring sweet treats from Ancolie NYC) and a plant-potting class to get our industry attendees excited about bringing the outdoors in. As city dwellers and style mavens, it’s sometimes easy to forget to look up and remember to appreciate the unique, natural beauty that is all around us – which often, is a huge source of inspiration for creative industries like fashion and art.
Today we’re sharing some beautiful moments from our morning (captured by Bridget Badore for The Style Line) and a follow-up interview with The Sill’s talented Director of Marketing Erin Marino. In our chat, we asked Erin how the shop plans to maintain sustainable and eco-friendly practices all year round, and along with this, Erin also shared some highlights from our class and insight as to what’s changed for this tiny yet budding (pun intended!) business.
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN APRIL 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE INTRODUCTION
The Sill is an NYC-based
Plant Design company. We have a retail store in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, along with an online store at TheSill.com. We offer our easy-care houseplants, potted in our designed in-house, and made locally ceramic pots and planters by on-foot delivery in NYC and shipping for nationwide. In addition to the retail side of The Sill, we offer plant design, installation, and maintenance for NYC commercial and residential spaces. Since we last spoke – we’ve expanded our workspace to include a 9,000 sq ft warehouse meets greenhouse headquarters in NJ, added some awesome new members to the team, and launched our first official Artist Collaboration, along with a few new designed in-house and locally-made products. Our focus now is really on expanding on Plant Design services regionally, along with continuing to produce awesome and informative content that emphasizes why houseplants are so damn great!
We had so much fun partnering with you on Earth Day last week! Tell us about some of your community/how you first connected with some of the guests who came by?
We’re pretty much a bootstrapped company, so I refer to much of our marketing efforts as “grassroots.” Thankfully my cold emailing has reached some really awesome individuals in the last year, which meaningful work relationships – along with some seriously wonderful content – have come out of. It’s always great to finally meet these people in person after months of emailing back and forth.
Walk us through a virtual plant-potting class. Why is it important to bring the outdoors in?
We usually kick off each potting session by emphasizing the benefits of indoor plants. They don’t just look good! In addition to naturally filtering our air of harmful toxins and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, the presence of plants indoors has been shown to boost moods, increase creativity and productivity, fight fatigue, and reduce stress, among other positive things. Once we have everyone’s attention – who wouldn’t want to lower their stress levels naturally?! – we explain why “having a green thumb” really just comes down to picking the best plant for your space and your schedule.
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As an NYC-based small business how has the evolution of The Sill inspired you to embrace all of nature/outdoors that the city has to offer? What is one thing that you think NYC could do a better job of in terms of getting city dwellers excited about being outside (and away from screens)?
I’ve always loved plants and the outdoors, but The Sill has definitely strengthened that love. Before I looked at houseplants as a fun design element, that also put a smile on my face by bringing back memories of my childhood home, but like some of our customers – I’d brush them off as being too challenging or time-consuming to care for. I didn’t realize how therapeutic the “chore” of caring for them would be. I now have a pretty big collection, and I make sure not to beat myself up when I forget to water or when leaves start to drop. I remind myself plants are to be enjoyed!
Overall, I think NYC actually does a great job at maintaining outdoor green spaces and creating initiatives for city dwellers to get themselves outside. I think we also have a job to do as New Yorkers, though. If we want to enjoy our green spaces, we need to respect them and keep them clean, too. I’m definitely being overly optimistic, but how nice would it be to walk a few blocks and see zero litter?!
Beyond just talking about sustainability and ethics on Earth Day, how do you plan to continue building upon these ideas and values all year round?
As a company, we’ll continue to strive to have a minimal negative impact on our environment. Our tabletop ceramics are made in the U.S., not far from our HQ; our NYC messenger deliveries by foot and public transportation; we’re avid recyclers… these are all small initiatives but they’re meaningful to our team and we aim to expand on them.
There’s a really big synergy generally fashion and interiors! Why do you think that is? Is there anything cool or specific that The Sill has learned from the fashion/design community?
Definitely! We’ve seen this synergy really pick up speed in recent years with the expansion of social media. Our hunch is the trend was sparked by aspirational image sharing on platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr, and the rise of home and design blogging. A little background – Pinterest soft-launched in 2010 or 2011?
But the platform really didn’t “take off” until around 2012. This seems to coincide nicely with the sudden appearance of currently trending houseplants like Fiddle Leaf Fig trees and miniature succulents and cacti on just about every design-focused blog. And we’re thrilled to embrace this. We really see the houseplant as a home and design essential, not an afterthought. It’s great to know everyone is craving a little greenery!
What is one question you hope our attendees will ask themselves, you, or others more often about nature and plant life in the city?
“What plant is right for me?” It’s time to banish the green thumb myth. We’re all capable of growing happy, healthy houseplants, and reaping the benefits they provide, so why not start today.