Interview: Botanica Studio

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Alice Dobie runs Botanica Studio. Botanica Studio sells various plants, as well as designing interiors and installations. I was lucky enough to interview Alice about her business and her love for plants. 

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I'm very well thank you. Very much looking forward to answering the questions!

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?

I like to think of Botanica Studio as a hobby that has got out of hand. Essentially I'm a huge houseplant enthusiast and through trial and erorr and lots of tender loving care. I have found plants that are suitable for all house-plant-abilities. I then pot them ready for someone to enjoy in their own home. 

Have you always been into plants and terrariums? 

I occasionally sell terrariums, but I've made plants the main hussle. 

Funnily enough, I have a very sparse but plucky ficus that I'm pretty sure I’ve had since 18, therefore its had as many addresses as I have! So sub-consciously I have always liked living in a plant positive environment. They can really make a home no matter how large or small. 

If there were no resource restraints, what would be your dream project?

My dream project would a beautiful well lit studio full of Bird of Paradise plants, Monestera and Calatheas - essentially creating a mini Kew Gardens Palm house for people to come visit, throw events in and photograph.  

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What equipment do you use for your work?

Planting can get pretty messy so I have developed an area as cornered off as possible for when the potting begins. My equipment is essentially everything you would find in a potting shed, racks of forged pots, buckets of soil and compost, potting trays and the ever essential potting gloves. 

What tools or materials could you not live without?

All of the above!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Social media has been key to my business, especially Instagram. As a platform it has helped me advertise, engage and find my customers and followers. I upload picture of my plants in my own flat, to demonstrate how you can life with plants in a realistic way, a simpler version of the staged pintrest images you usually see. I also enjoy promoting my markets online as posting stories can be a great way to engage with people a couple of days before each one. 

Who inspires your work?

I like both plants and interiors, and my Instagram tries to combine the two. I do love a good colour palette and when I painted my kitchen and hallway, I painted one pink and the latter green (they now make up the colours of my branding), and I try to keep this consistent within my work. I recently visited the beautiful 'Sketch' in London, their David Shrigley gallery was designed by India Mahdavi and is a dream of velvet and blush pink and feels like a movie set - well worth a visit! 

Do you have any favourite pieces of work that you adore at the moment?

Whenever I get a new or favourite plant in, I get very excited to have them in the flat -each is then photographed and very missed when its sold!

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What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and your work?

Most of my images are taken in my own flat, so this year I have some D.I.Y projects up my sleeve that will inspire my next set of photographs. I also hope that my markets will get bigger and better to those will be on Instagram also. 

What are you currently working on?

I'm currently prepping for the next Frome Independent Market on June 3rd!

What’s your typical working day?

A great day is often collecting the plants from the distributor. I go early and bring them home, they are then all inspected and watered and put around the flat ahead of potting for the next market. 

What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?

Working alone! It's the best and worse experience. You can take ages to commit to an idea because you have nobody to bounce things off. Oh and spreadsheets, anyone who says setting up the admin to your business isn't a struggle - is a liar.  

Do you have any exciting plans for this year?

To keep growing the business, and to keep meeting customers and keep selling beautiful plants!

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Do you have any advice for anyone doing craft fairs?

Be approachable! Oh and the display - I love setting up at the markets- it's your shop window! 

What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?

Key training your eye - I come from a design background, and adored being taught art history and art critique. I gather images from as many sources as possible, pintrest, magazines, instagram and as you collect and compare, you will begin to see what you have curated. Back during my art foundation we were each given a wall to cover with our inspirational images and materials, since then I have continued going this in books and above my desk - surround yourself with images you enjoy and they will help develop your own style. 

Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to do terrariums?

Practice! Each will take time and care, and you will learn what plant suit which environments (open or closed terrariums). 

What’s next?

More markets!

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

To keep going and to make sure you value your own work!

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If you would like to take a look at Botanica Studios, you can find them on Instagram 'https://www.instagram.com/botanica_studios/'. Botanica Studios also sells at the Bath Market in Green Park Station and Frome Independent Market.