I first stumbled upon Transplant LA on Instagram earlier this year, and since then had the opportunity to interview Grace Olguin, who is a local gardener who launched a contactless plant delivery service in the LA area. Grace and I talked about how she came up with the idea for Transplant LA, plant fashion, and aloe vera. While this isn’t a traditional field trip, I’m excited to share Transplant LA with y’all- please support a local business this holiday season! And dress up your indoor plant friends 🙂
Name of Org/IG – Transplant LA ; IG @transplant.l.a
Full Name: Grace Olguin
What inspired Transplant LA? When did you start gardening and sharing with others?
Grace: I was inspired to garden at a really young age. I remember growing up in Mexico with family members who always had lots of plants and grew edible gardens. My grandmother nurtured my curiosity and would always compliment my hands, which was one of the most empowering compliments I received as a child. My mother has always said I have my grandmother’s green thumb, as if my thriving plants are loving gifts from my grandmother— gifts that are innate, inherent, and blessed.
I have been sharing my love for plants for almost a decade now. In 2011, I started to make succulent terrariums in glass bowls. Because I couldn’t ship them, I would sell them at outdoor markets, as well as offer local pick up/delivery. “Transplant LA” is essentially a continuation of that, many years later. I named it “Transplant LA” because several of the plants are acquired through cuttings and transplants from my aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and I also have grown my plant collection through transplanting my own cuttings, then swapping plants with my neighbors and friends!
What is the short term and long-term goal for Transplant LA?
Grace: A goal that Transplant LA successfully achieved earlier this year was to launch the “$25 Plant Box” contactless plant delivery service. This was my way of bringing joy to people’s spaces during quarantine, which forced us all to spend a lot more time in one space. The Plant Box includes 3 easy-to-care-for plants in four-inch pots, plant-care instructions, and a postcard (to send a loving note to your socially distanced friend, and to support the USPS).
It seems a lot more people gained interest this year in learning how to care for and grow plants, which is wonderful! At the same time, we couldn’t exactly leave our homes to shop for plants. Shopping online for plants became a go-to for some, but that can get expensive due to expedited shipping fees. My solution to this problem was to help people source plants locally, without needing to leave their homes. I limited this service to two Saturdays per month and serviced up to 10 clients monthly. I sourced plants the morning of and made deliveries in the afternoon. I provided free delivery within a 15-mile radius of Downtown Los Angeles. Every purchase directly supported vendors from the Downtown Los Angeles Flower District.
My long-term goal for “Transplant LA” is to continue using it as a fun and resourceful platform where I can continue to share my plant care routine and knowledge, as well as bring awareness to learning resources such as the free gardening webinars for Los Angeles County residents via smartgardening.com. This free resource, provided by Los Angeles County Public Works, is how I learned to transform my household’s organic waste into compost! I hope that someday in the near future, Los Angeles County can provide a compost ordinance/service like San Francisco. Instead of creating more trash that goes into landfills and oceans, each household can learn how to compost and create nutrient-rich soil for local farmers.
Are there any big projects/events/giveaways coming up?
Grace: I have a small business called @bygracreates – a lot of my time and energy will go into rebranding and scaling this business in the new year. Earlier this year, I launched my “Plant Romper” collection. The “Plant Romper” is a handmade fabric planter which can be used to dress up any of your pots. I will be working on making and releasing a new batch of these planters just in time for Valentine’s Day <3
As for the “Plant Box,” it is currently on hiatus, but I hope to continue the service soon. For now, I offer a local pick-up option in Long Beach for individual plants. I am currently helping my wonderful stepmom sell her transplanted cuttings of aloe vera plants. She has 30 of them! They all grew from two aloe vera plants that her grandmother gifted her many years ago. They are very loved, and available for local pick up in Long Beach and Pomona.
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