Launching in July last year, Herbert Flores is on a mission to sell affordable indoor plants and homewares to the people of Sydney. After showcasing their ‘living homewares’, at a variety of markets and selling their goods through their online store, they’ve recently taken up a two-month store residency in Potts Point, allowing customers to see their carefully curated selection of plants, homewares and artworks in the flesh. We chat to owner Samantha Poulter about how Herbert Flores came to be, her favourite plants, and whether a permanent store is on the horizon.
Hi Samantha, congratulations on the opening of your Potts Point store! Can you tell us a little about how Herbert Flores began and what you do?
Hey Cait, thanks so much! Sure, I was actually at uni last year and wasn’t enjoying it all that much. I started the Herbert Flores online store because I wanted to sink my teeth into something I was passionate about. I was delivering indoor plants every Tuesday, in and around the Sydney city area, as well as doing the occasional Dear Pluto markets. Alongside the indoor plants, I sourced a range of homewares and artworks from local makers and artists. I ended up leaving my degree and here we are!
What made you want to move Herbert Flores into a physical space?
I found that my online customers who were ordering ‘living homewares’ were wanting to choose their own plants. It’s quite a personal thing. I also really enjoyed my time at the Dear Pluto markets, where I got a feel for retail and really loved chatting to my customers. A lot of my homewares are handmade, so like the plants, people want to see and feel them in the flesh. That’s why I thought I would snap up the opportunity to take on a short term lease…hopefully soon we’ll find something more permanent.
I love how you describe your plants as being ‘living homewares.’ How do you select which plants you want to stock and what’s your all-time favourite plant?
I would say the first thing I’m mindful of is their resilience. I look for indoor-only plants that need little attention, and are not too easy to kill. I also like to look for plants with personality. I think my all-time favourite plant is the Monstera Deliciosa.
It was the first plant I ever bought in my adult life and it has only brought me joy. It’s incredibly durable and I love the way it tumbles over my furniture at home. They’re so fun!
You feature artists both on your website and in store, what artists do you currently stock and what about their work appeals to you?
I currently stock works by painter Michaela Mitchell-Bishop and photographer Jarred Beeler. I’ve been watching Michaela’s work for a long time on social media and I’ve always wanted to buy one of her works for my home. I generally think – if I want this in my home, I want to feature it in my store. Same goes for Jarred. Also, I have known Jarred for so many years now – he’s a dear friend. I’ve watched him develop his aesthetic over the years, it made perfect sense to join forces and exhibit his crops.
Homewares and plants can sometimes be absurdly expensive, so it’s refreshing to see that one of Herbert Flore’s aims is to keep the items in your store at accessible price points. Did you feel that there was a gap in the market for affordable homeware and plants that didn’t compromise on quality?
Definitely. Before I started Herbert Flores, I was on a strict budget, but I wanted nice things for my home. I tried really hard to find affordable artists and makers who were doing interesting things, that also fit my aesthetic. So once I started the store, I made sure everything was affordable for people like me.
Would you consider a permanent store for Herbert Flores down the track?
That’s on the cards for sure. I’m constantly checking the commercial real estate sites for anything new that pops up. So stay tuned!