When things began to shift, I was almost immediately thankful for the fact that my home was full of three things: kids, pets, and plants. I knew that a few weeks in (oh, how naive!) had nothing on how alive our apartment felt. Of course, a week turned into months. And a year later, I find myself picking up more plants to help usher in spring.
Around the same time that I was sheltering in place with my plants, Kat Hernandez lost her job and spent weeks connecting the dots between plants, comfort in a place people had spent months in, access and income. From that, Juanita’s Plants was born. Here’s more…
Can you share a little bit more about yourself?
I’m 26-years-old. I’m from NYC. Prior to starting Juanita’s, I was a podcast editor. I grew up in a home where there were plants everywhere. My mom is the reason why I love plants so much. Every time I moved, I just had to have indoor plants so that my space felt like home.
Juanita sounds familiar, sort of like your neighbor with all of the plants in the apartment building next door, or a local nursery that is always open and insanely reliable.
Juanita is my grandmother, who, unfortunately, passed last year. I wanted to pay homage to her. She was an amazing woman, wife, mother—all the goods. She didn’t have any plants but I wanted my business to represent my family, and make sure it’s something that grows into a business where my whole family gets involved in.
You said you started Juanita’s Plants during the pandemic. Can you share a little bit more about what made you start it?
I was really struggling financially at the beginning of the pandemic. So, I was desperately looking for other ways to sustain myself. These tend to be the moments when we get most creative so I thought to myself, I’ve always loved plants and always had a bunch of plants in my home. I have also always wanted to have my own business. It all just felt right to start. So, I decided to start selling plants on social media, and I got a good response. So many people started working from home and starting to notice that your space really needs to be comfortable and easy to be in. I think people realized that plants help with that.
Everything just kind of took off from that point on though. So I put all my energy into this and here we are!
So you saw the pandemic as a time when plants could really mean something to people? Are there any quotes, feelings, or general anecdotes to why people should have plants in their home?
I always knew that plants did something different for my space and my mood, and I knew that they were important to have in my home. They just made me feel good. I feel so much more connected to nature when I’m around my plants. Since I grew up in New York City, I always longed to be around nature and always dreamt of living in the woods. It’s like that feeling of peace and clarity when you are at a park, or go for a hike, except now it’s now in your home. I also love taking care of plants. I wake up every day and check on my plants, check for new growth, troubleshoot if I see any yellow leaves. So I find it very fulfilling to watch something grow and be a part of that growth.
Thanks Kat! My favorite plants are the Prickly Pear Cactus and the Peacock Plant! Yours?
You can shop and receive a local delivery of plants from Kat on her website. All photographs courtesy of Kat Hernandez.
Seeing all those plants is like instant coziness for me. I grew up bouncing from my mom’s to my grandma’s, both of whom surrounded themselves with plants. I always felt protected and comforted by their lusciousness, their greenness, and their quiet resilience.
I love that Katherine! I was thinking about how much comfort they bring, especially now. Just as a reminder of other living things. But also how important it is to bring the outside in in the city.