Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Rhymer.
Molly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It started as a DIY project actually. I couldn’t find pot’s I liked for the plants at my apartment, so I bought a few white ceramic planters and painted on them. I posted one on Instagram and people immediately asked if I was selling them and generated a good amount of interest in orders. I discovered it was an untapped market and saw the potential and just went for it.
It took a lot of trial and error to nail down the product I have today. Originally I was painting terra cotta pots white, then painting the design on them but terra cotta is so fragile and heavy which eliminated the option to ship. I wanted to expand my customer base so it wasn’t just for LA locals so I had to find a planter in a material that I could ship. I found a fiberglass manufacturer, and that’s what I sell now.
We’re still a very small business but slowly growing. I’ve since branched out into adding pillows, throws, and baskets to the collection, so it’s moving in a more home decor direction, rather than just being plant-based. I studied interior design for a bit in college, so it sort of feels full circle for me.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not. I think bumps in the road are to be expected when starting a business. How else would you learn what works and what doesn’t?
The logistics behind production have been my biggest struggle. Sourcing manufacturers, suppliers, and finding the best materials takes time. Figuring out the best practices for shipping standards is a learning curve.
I really struggle with the amount of packaging my product requires and ideally I would like to use less plastic. So I’ve had to find a balance in ensuring my product gets to the customers safely and intact as well as consciously using packaging that are safe for the environment.
Please tell us about Pop Up Greens.
I started Pop Up Greens about 3.5 years ago. My business used to be geared more towards plant services rather than product based. Now I mostly focus on selling the pots and leave it up to the customer to pick out their plant, but I’m still a huge plant nerd.
What sets Pop Up Greens apart is we specialize in hand-painted pots. There are multiple variants to choose from when a customer picks out their pot. They select the size, color, and design so their items feel custom to them and they can tailor it to fit their home aesthetic. They are all made to order and all hand painted by me. Because they’re fiberglass, they are lightweight so you can easily move them around the house, they’re water resistant, and the paint is exterior house paint so it won’t scratch off.
I worked with some really great companies very early on in my business that I’m so proud to have collaborated with. I used to do more interior plant design services for offices and retail stores, and I made custom pots and installed the plants at the Buzzfeed offices here in LA. Not long after, Uber reached out to me to add plants to their exterior patios at their new Santa Monica office.
When I did the initial walk-through, they mentioned they wanted to change up the furniture and decor of the patios as well. I told them I dabbled in interior design, so they hired me to not only redecorate their patios but to then add plants that fit the new design aesthetic. That was definitely a really cool job to work on.
Some of my original pots I ever painted are on a display shelf at Dinosaur Coffee in Silverlake, which is my local coffee shop, so that’s always fun to see them when I stop by.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I think I would’ve come up with a business plan before launching, because I never did. Since Pop Up Greens just happened organically mostly through Instagram engagement, I treated it as a side hustle for a long time and just figured I’d figure things out along the way.
Within a year, I was working with companies like Buzzfeed and Uber and felt I was in a little over my head. I had to backtrack and really nail down marketing and sales strategies and pricing plans. It would have been less overwhelming if I had been armed with those from the beginning, but oh well.
I still am learning every day and often feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but I don’t think that’s specific to business owners, it’s just being a human.
- Pot Sizes: 7.5″-15.5″
- Pot Prices: $60-$160
- Website: www.popupgreens.co
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @popupgreens
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/popupgreens
- Twitter: @popupgreens