The Plant Workshop - The Independent Tees Collective

26 Jun 2021

Source: The Plant Workshop

Hands up, who else loves a house plant? With spending lots of time around my mum and sister, I've found myself partial to a house plant in recent years (even though I'm pretty terrible at keeping them alive) and I love having a bit of greenery in the house. And I know that there are a lot of other plant fans out there, so I thought it was about time that I brought a little more greenery on to The Northernist with a much loved plant store in the Teesside area.

The Plant Workshop have made huge waves on social media ever since they launched, thanks to their beautiful range of plants, gorgeous pots, plant accessories, and the odd Winston the Spaniel photo or two. But they also capture people with their personality and energy, as the shops are owned by the most avid plant enthusiasts who are dedicated to providing the highest quality service to absolutely everyone. Not only do they have several locations and an online shop, they also managed to transform the business during lockdown, and have such a bright future ahead. So if you want to find out more about this brilliantly vibrant business, keep reading!

Hello! Let's start with a bit of an introduction. Who are you and what is your business all about?

Hi! My name’s Dave Morley and I’m the owner of The Plant Workshop. We’ve grown (pun-intended!) to a creative team of plant enthusiasts who love nothing more than helping our customers find the perfect plant for their space.

We source the very best indoor plants, pots and accessories to showcase in our stores and online. It sounds cliche but looking after our customers is really at the heart of what we do. Whether you’ve popped in to check out the latest plants, or buy a plant for yourself or a gift - I want you to come away having enjoyed The Plant Workshop experience.

Source: The Plant Workshop

Where did the inspiration for The Plant Workshop come from? What made you want to kickstart it?

I’ve always loved plants and interiors, and the difference they make to a space is incredible. It’s always the finishing touches that really make a space come alive! My husband Steve and I regularly visited independent shops with a flair for the creative, and it was exciting to see that creativity oozing out of the owners. We knew we could create something special to be enjoyed by others.

A lot of you will know we have stores in Billingham, Northallerton and Fenwick Newcastle, and offer an online delivery service throughout the UK. However, this was never the plan. Unhappy with my role in the NHS, I decided to take a leap of faith to leave my job and sign a lease for a beautiful shop in Northallerton - this was to be the only ‘The Plant Workshop’. Sadly, the dreaded pandemic took hold and scuppered the plans, but I knew it wasn’t going to stop me. I’m persistent!

I quickly developed an e-commerce website, stamped brown bags with a logo and the ‘door step delivery service’ was born from the garden shed. People got behind The Plant Workshop and loved having their plants delivered by us - the support was amazing, and later, I moved to what is now our Billingham store and warehouse. Meanwhile, the Northallerton store eventually opened and Fenwick in Newcastle approached us to open our concession.

It’s been an emotional journey of tears, tantrums, fear and a lot of uncertainty, but we’re thankful to have the support from our amazing customers and the dedicated team that The Plant Workshop has now become.

Source: The Plant Workshop

You stock a whole variety of plants, but which one is your favourite and why?

It’s such a difficult question! Can I please pick two?! The team will tell you I’m into large plants and prefer something with impact (even if it might be too large for our home!), but I’d have to say Kentia Palms and Hoya as they’re incredibly easy to care for. I also adore our 1.5m long Boliviana hanging on our landing - that’s three varieties! Sorry!

Which type of plant would you recommend to a house plant newbie?

Sansevieria and ZZ are our go-to favourites to help newbie plant parents. It’s really important for newbie plant parents to have a great experience first time round and gain the confidence to try something a little more challenging, so we’ll always offer plant-care advice and spend time with our wonderful customers.

What do you enjoy most about running The Plant Workshop?

That’s easy! The passion. Whether I’m in Fenwick, Northallerton, Billingham, Tynemouth Market or answering email queries, the people we meet and our entire team never cease to amaze me with their passion and dedication to The Plant Workshop. As a business owner, I also never get tired of reading the beautiful reviews and feedback we receive from our customers - it keeps you firmly on the ground and reinforces why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Source: The Plant Workshop

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

The diversity. We have a hugely diverse independent scene in Teesside with each one trying to keep their head above water and live their dream. I love how supportive we are in Teesside too, and how other businesses and key people will get involved to help with advice and promotion. A year ago, I was hesitant to speak with other people to ask for help or advice in growing The Plant Workshop, but the support I received was incredible. Never be afraid to ask for help!

We’re a friendly bunch of business owners in Teesside and it’s never been quite as important to stick together, support and cherish our beautiful independents.

What has been The Plant Workshop's biggest achievement so far?

The biggest achievement so far was being approached by Fenwick last year. Having grown-up in South Shields, Fenwick conjures up those nostalgic memories, from ‘Fenwick Window’ at Christmas to shopping with friends for the latest skincare and fragrances - it was an unbelievable opportunity. (And, not to forget the honour of creating our ‘Northumberland Street’ fragranced candle especially for Fenwick!)

Literally, the recognition on a daily basis from our customers who often travel a distance to see us, and seeing the enjoyment on their faces makes me pinch myself every day!

Source: The Plant Workshop

What's next for The Plant Workshop? What do you hope for the future?

We’re going to continue to grow and offer the same level of service, experience and advice you’ve come to love from The Plant Workshop. Lots of exciting changes and refinements are underway, including new outdoor events this summer, workshops and businesses that we’ll be working with. We’re so excited to move into this ‘new normality’ and take The Plant Workshop to the next level - keep in touch with us via our Instagram or Facebook accounts.

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

Lillian Daph in Saltburn is simply the best interior shop we know, and beautifully styled by Christina and her team. Go show them some love - you won’t regret it!

I think I speak for everyone here when I say that it's so clear to see Dave's passion for his business. It's obvious that both he and Steve live and breathe all things plants, which seeps into their stores and social media. If you haven't been along to The Plant Workshop yet, you absolutely have to, but you can also browse their online shop. If you want to keep up with all of their antics and future news, make sure you check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Make sure you check back next week for another incredible Teesside independent!

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