What It's About
A government employee finds harmony selling houseplants through Facebook.
Words of Wisdom
“When dealing with customers, don't take it personally and don't let your emotions cloud your judgment. Always remember that each customer has their own challenges in their own daily lives, so they may come off as a bit rude or unhappy.”
Clara sometimes set up a booth at Washington, D.C.’s Eastern Market and she counts well-known politicians and others among her customers there. One actress even drove all the way from New York City for Clara’s houseplant sets!
Notes from Chris
Episode 1716Clara Leung works as an accountant for the U.S. Department of Justice. She’s lived in Washington, D.C. for twenty years—but she was born and raised in Hong Kong. There, she learned ancient Chinese Feng Shui from her mother. For those who don’t know, Feng Shui is an ancient practice to help energy flow in and out within the home to improve people's lives. Having houseplants helps promote more positive energy around the house. In February 2018, Clara bought a huge plant from Facebook Marketplace for $50 and the baby stem fell off. She put it in a modern planter she had in storage and posted it on Facebook Marketplace, purely for fun because she didn’t have the space for it herself. She heard from a buyer within five minutes and sold the plant for $25: effectively a 50% savings on her own purchase. Clara’s second customer bought a houseplant for her dying mother after hearing about the benefits of Feng Shui. That customer contacted her after a year with thanks and the news that her mother was living longer than expected. Was it the plant? Maybe, maybe not, but the point was that it made the customer feel better … and that matters. Those positive selling experiences planted the seed of a new side hustle idea. Clara decided to combine her mother's teachings of Feng Shui with houseplants. The money earned from those first sales went to buy more planters, so she didn’t have to spend any of her own money on startup costs. In the beginning, she marketed the business entirely through Facebook Marketplace. It’s a popular platform for local buying and selling. Plus, she doesn’t have to pay fees on adding a shopping cart to her website. Most of Clara’s plants sell for between $25 and $50. In the past several months, her side hustle generated around $4,000 in gross monthly income. Going forward, Clara is exploring different ways of creating an online platform to share her passion for Feng Shui houseplants and add another income stream. She’s also considering a mobile shop that she can set up at farmers markets. She’s done farmer’s markets with a tent and a table but she’d love to have a mobile trailer or even a Volkswagen bus bursting with plants for sale.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Learn more about Clara at her website, ClarasGreenHouse.com.
- Financial Analyst Unearths Organic Plant Shop: After growing up with a green thumb, this full-time analyst digs her way to fun, part-time foliage profits.
- Product Manager Profits From Carnivorous Plants: When a PayPal employee turns his childhood obsession with carnivorous plants into an online resource, he earns an income with a marketplace that doesn’t leaf anyone out.
- Plant Lover’s Tiny Terrariums Take Root on Instagram: When one man’s love for terrarium building blooms, he uses his marketing skills to make $10,000 and become a “plant influencer.”
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