Building a community
Now more than ever, human connection, support, and community are vital to our well-being. While we may be facing physical distancing, this doesn’t mean that we need to socially distance ourselves from the ones we love. If there is anyone who has taught us the value of building community with whatever we have at our own fingertips, it’s Friendship Plant Company.
Our relationship with Friendship Plant Co. started a little over a year ago. We were looking for a way to foster community internally and give back for Earth Day, so when we discovered Friendship Plant Co. through a local shop, we thought it might be a good fit.
When we called Friendship Plant Co., they were thrilled. “This is exactly why we created Friendship Plant Co.,” Heather Blackerby said. So, with soil, succulents, and the joy of working side-by-side to plant together, we created plants and new friendships. “It was a beautiful picture of how gardening and planting together creates new friendships and a new community. And that’s exactly why we got into this business,” Heather remembers.
Meet Friendship Plant Co
But really, Friendship Plant Co starts with the Blackerby family, Evan and Heather Blackerby, and their three children. Heather and Evan had taken a trip to San Diego, California, and as they were walking along the Tori Pines, Evan couldn’t help but notice the field of succulents growing on the ridge. He admired them so much that he had to pluck one to take home to High Point, North Carolina.
As the succulent began to propagate, they gifted pieces of the original succulent to friends. This is how the big moments of our lives often start, with something small and unsuspecting.
High Point, North Carolina is known for furniture. Twice a year, the city hosts Furniture Market, a tradeshow that has made the town famous for its furniture manufacturing and design capabilities.
“I always struggled with this perception that High Point was only good for the two weeks a year of Furniture Market. When energy began building with the installation of a new baseball stadium, food halls, bars, restaurants, and a brand new farmer's market, we wanted to highlight the change that was happening in High Point. It felt like there was new excitement about the growth in our city, each person saying I have something to offer and I’m going to be a part of it. We wanted to be a part of that, too," Heather explains.
So they started with what they had at their fingertips, the propagated succulent from San Diego, California, which by now had grown into 15 different plants. To support the new farmer's market, they set up their brand new plant shop with only these 15 plants.
“For us, it was never really about the plants. It was about taking a moment to say, ‘What do we have to offer this community?’ Our heart was to build community through the gifting of plants, just as we had done in our own lives.”
To build community, they slowly expanded their vision by inviting other families to join them at the farmer's market on Saturdays, just to spend time together exploring what their town had to offer.
Next, they began partnering with local businesses including (but not limited to) coffee shops, yoga studios, artists, graphic designers, and even musicians to host weekend concerts.
We finished our interview with Heather by asking, “How can we support you during this unique time?”
“We’re currently on pause because of everything going on, but honestly, the best way that you can support us is by sharing our vision. This isn’t something that just has to exist in High Point, and it’s not even really about the plants. It’s about inviting other people to be a part of something. Even in social distancing, there’s a place for people to be invited into something. The heart behind what we are doing is that we want to create friendship and community where there wasn’t any and that’s something everyone can do. So support us by carrying this vision to wherever you live.”
Video by: Isabelle Germino and Maddie Carreiro
Images from: Maria West Photography