We caught up with Eliza Blank, founder of The Sill, a New York plant shop that has cultivated community and has big plans to grow.
How did Kickstarter help your idea grow into a business? Did you feel a big responsibility after to get things moving fast?
Starting with a Kickstarter campaign allowed me and my original co-founder to validate my initial concept for The Sill. It was a platform that allowed us to communicate to our networks and a wider audience about The Sill in the early days. Creating the campaign forced me to think through what the problem was that we were solving, who we were solving it for, and how we would tell our story. Of course, the cash helped too! After the Kickstarter was over, it meant The Sill was real. I was now accountable for delivering on our promise to bring The Sill to life. It was an exciting time. The Kickstarter was launched in April of 2012 (two months after I quit my job), and TheSill.com was live by June of 2012.
What does living in New York mean to you and how has The Sill cultivated its own community?
New York is where I went to college. Where I met my husband. Where I started The Sill. Where my daughter was born. It’s everything to me. New York keeps me motivated and inspired. But it’s tough to live in a city, too. It’s why plants and The Sill are so important, here especially. I believe it’s the reason why we have such a strong community in New York. New Yorkers need plants and they need each other (more than they may want to admit). And The Sill really helps bring it all together.
Having a business of your own, how many hours of sleep a night do you find necessary?
I sleep a lot. I always have. The Sill needs me to be well rested! Right now, with a seven month old at home, I still manage at least 8 hours a night (she sleeps 12, thank goodness).
Are you a plant lady? What does your home style say about you?
I am most definitely. And I have The Sill to thank. My style at home is clean, simple, modern, but not overly minimal. Without our plants our apartment would feel cold. I like having a lot of neutrals - and our plants and planters add a pop of color and life throughout the space.
What are your favorite plants and why and how do plants affect the way we live?
My favorite plants are the ones that are easy to take care of. I’m a plant lady, — but a busy plant lady. I enjoy my Snake plants and my Rubber trees, and my Pothos plants. I have one windowsill where I keep an Aloe and a Haworthia. In my bedroom where we keep the shades drawn I have an Aglaonema that’s thriving with just a reading lamp and the diffused light from the windows. And in my bathroom without a window, I’ve managed to keep a small Bird’s Nest Fern going. She droops whenever she’s thirsty which is usually my cue to water her. My planters are all from The Sill (no surprise there). And I like to mix and match the colors - I have planters in mint, sage, pale grey, pale red and mustard. For floor plants I tend to opt for white. Besides making my space feel warm and inviting, they make me so happy! I love taking a little bit of time each week to tend to them. It’s a reminder to slow down and appreciate your surroundings.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Well, it’s changed quite a bit. Today, when I wake up in the morning, it’s to an alarm clock seven days a week. I check the baby monitor to see if my daughter is awake — surprise, she always is. No more hitting snooze. Honestly, having a reason to jump out of bed in the morning has been wonderful. Before I would roll over and reach for my phone and spend needless amounts of time checking all my apps before getting up. I thought it was productive, but it was really just a waste.
What do you hope to achieve with The Sill, what are your plans for the future?
I hope The Sill become synonymous with plants! We have big ambitions to be the destination for all plant people - whether you’re a novice or seasoned plant parent. I’ve always had big goals for the brand and we’re learning and growing with our customers each year to ensure we deliver on the best possible value and create the best possible experience.