After discovering the online plant store ‘Scandiscapes’ (website) on Facebook and being really happy with the quality of their plants and their excellent customer service, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview the founder, Merje Shaw. Here she is answering some questions about her business.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
I’m Merje – originally from Estonia. Back in 2006, I started work with a little startup called Skype in a university back room. Little did I know that startup would make it big and eventually lead me to live in London and advise giant companies on their customer experience! I’ve been living in London for about ten years now and share a beautiful home with a husband, two boys (6 and 3) and a fluffy cat. Despite living in the middle of London, we are keen gardeners and grow quite a bit of fruit, vegetables and flowers on our roof terrace.
What motivated you to start Scandiscapes and how did you come up with the name?
Scandiscapes started as a chat in one of the more popular Scandi interiors group. We felt that it would be nice to have a group purely for chatting about Scandi style gardens and in the following discussion on what to call it, the name emerged. I set up the group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/scandiscapes/) which has now grown to nearly 2000 members (all of whom are entitled to a discount in the store). When we started talking about nice Scandi things for the garden and nice houseplants, we discovered that they were really hard to find! Given that my background is in customer experience and online and a happy accident of this discussion falling into a quiet time with my primary company (Path59 – an innovation and service design consultancy), I set up a shop and got a few pretty things in. The rest, as they say, is history.
Is your background in horticulture or has it evolved?
Goodness no! Being Estonian, I have always grown stuff- it’s in our blood. I planted my first potato at 6 and I’ve been hooked ever since. Having said that, I’d never really been able to keep houseplants alive at all – only peace lilies which I have at least a dozen of in the house. Since starting the shop, I’ve been doing a lot of research into how you keep different plants alive and I won’t stock anything I can’t keep happy myself – Boston ferns will not ever be around, sorry! I keep killing them!
How do you source your plants or do you grow them?
I have a number of friendly plant suppliers that go an hunt out the most interesting plants for me. It’s really good fun! I am always on top of Instagram and my saved tab has many many interesting plants stored for us to try next. The only growing I do is making sure I can keep the plants alive before they get stocked properly so my home is turning into quite the jungle!
Do you showcase your plants in your own home?
Absolutely! In fact, most of my Instagram pictures are taken around my house!
How does it feel when you see your plants photographed in your customer’s homes?
Oh my god, I absolutely love it! The whole reason behind building this company is to bring people closer to nature so when I see that my plants are really becoming part of my customers’ lives, it makes me so happy. It’s quite funny but I think the plants can tell, too. When they’re in my care, most of them just kind of stay put (only the string of hearts plants grow wild anywhere, they are crazy), only once the plants arrive in their new homes do they truly come out of their shells and start properly living again!
What plans do you have for the future?
I’m hoping to do more tweaks to the subscription services to make them easier to understand (and manage!). I’m also just about done creating a set of plant care cards with stunning mid-century style illustrations that will accompany the plants as high-quality prints and complement the email instructions we send. Next year, I will take a more detailed look at outdoor plants to help my customers create their own Scandi oases whether they have a lot of space of just a balcony!
All photos courtesy of Scandiscapes.
This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.