Budding entrepreneur’s succulent business blooms

Fourteen-year-old Abbie Wood is saying aloe to success thanks to one of her favourite hobbies. Taranaki Community News caught up with her to find out what Grow Easy is, and why she started it.

Hi Abbie! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? 
Hi, I’m 14 years old and am in Year 10 at Sacred Heart Girls’ College. In my spare time I love spending time doing anything related to art, including sketching, water colour painting, and photography. Art is my favourite subject at school too! Besides art, I really enjoy working on my other main hobby, Grow Easy.

Can you tell us what Grow Easy is?
I grow miniature and outdoor succulents that I use to make terrariums or mini gardens. Grow Easy started out of a school project. Our project was to produce something low cost that we could sell at our school carnival to contribute to the annual fundraising.

One of the things my group made was succulents in jars. They sold out in the first half an hour! From there I went on to complete the Moneytree Business School for Kids, run by Helen Griffiths of Rumpus Room. I loved the course and it spurred on my desire to start Grow Easy.

What are some of the things you make, and where do you get all of the beautiful plants from?
I create mini gardens in glass and ceramic containers for indoors or outdoors. I grow most of the succulents and have recently started growing other varieties of leafy plants. I also have a few great plant-loving friends in the Taranaki community who I get plants from too. If someone has had a bit of bad luck with a plant but love the container they have, I can help them out with a plant of their choice from my selection. I can take the hard work out of the repotting for them!

When did you start becoming interested in plants?
My interest in miniature succulents has developed as I’ve learnt what grows well, how it grows best and how you can grow something from a leaf if you know how to. I love finding pots of all different designs that make plants look great.

Do you have a favourite plant?
I have lots of favourite plants. I love harworthia for their form, string of pearls and chain of hearts for the lengths they grow to, and calathea for their leaf pattern and the many variations in this family of plants.

Running Grow Easy at such a young age must have taught you a lot. What are some of the best things you have learnt?
One of the things I have learnt is that even if you are young, you can still have a go at being an entrepreneur.

It’s important to find people who can support you, who you can learn from and make sure that you give back to them too. I have had a lot of support from Helen Griffiths who has helped me to set up and use social media and has given me confidence to believe in myself.

It has also been great to have people to connect with who have a lot of knowledge about plants, especially my Dad who has also taught me a lot! I have killed a few plants along the way, but that has taught me how to look after them!

What do you want to do when you leave school? 
Truly, I don’t know yet, just making the most of opportunities as they come along.

Who (or what) inspires you?
I have met some very creative and talented business people in the Taranaki community through being part of The Collaboration. They are an inspiring group of entrepreneurs and artists who have been really supportive, especially Philippa Gray and Anna Scott, the brains behind bringing people together to showcase what they are creating locally.

Alexia Hilbertidou, founder of Girlboss NZ, who is doing amazing things for young women in the areas of STEM, leadership and business, is a great role model also.

You can follow Grow Easy on Instagram and Facebook.

  • Grow Easy terrariums are at The Collaboration pop-up shop until 30 June 2019, 12-14 Devon Street East, New Plymouth, opposite Footloose and BNZ. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm.