What a Lucky Bamboo: Pixie gift idea turns into business opportunity
They say sometimes the best things in life are unexpected. Tiffanie Branden-Hind never saw herself starting a plant and home decor business. But that all changed when she had a Christmas gift idea for her pixie back in 2019.
“My pixie, Cheresse Riley, already had a desk plant, but it was dying. So I wanted to bring new life to her space,” Branden-Hind told The Gleaner. With that interest in mind, she began conducting extensive research into the plant life to see which one would thrive on her desk without needing a lot of care, and that’s when she came upon the lucky bamboo. This, she said, would make an ideal present for the occasion.
Each stalk of the lucky bamboo has different meanings, so the gifter chose three; happiness, wealth, and longevity, to bring new hope to her lucky recipient during the heart of the festive season. Not only was the giftee happy, others in the office marvelled at the innovative plant and began making requests. Thus Decor by Tiffanie was born and the compliance analyst at Victoria Mutual Money Transfer was happy to fulfill those demands and immediately started taking orders.
One thing led to another and business boomed from there. “For each request, someone would come up with a different idea. So I started researching succulents and other house plants.” She went from replacing a plant to creating personalised planters for others in her office, opening the door for even bigger opportunities.
Persons were so excited about the novelty item that word got out to other corporate offices. But she knew she was entering the big leagues when social media influencer Tanaania reached out to her about becoming a new plant mom. Her interests were in monsteras, snake plants, and palms.
Currently, the entrepreneur supplies plants at Liguanea Drug and Garden Centre as well as Fontana Pharmacy. “I mostly do inside plants because a lot of people order plants for home decor purposes,” she shared.
The original aim was to branch out into event decor. But, with the COVID-19 hit placing a halt on outdoor gatherings, customers sought plants as a form of therapy. And she was grateful to be able to pivot with the times.
Branden-Hind credits her mother, Donnette, who is an artist, for passing down her creativity. Both she and her father Andre have been the biggest support system in this journey. Equally encouraging and willing to jump in at a moment’s notice to help is her sister, Krystale.
The demand for customised items grew greater than she could manage, so her sister purchased a cricut machine and would assist with the personalisation printing. Before that, she was going to a printer that was both time-consuming and costly, so she was most grateful. “I could go to her in the middle of the night and I would get it back right away. This boosted my business and it helped to promote her business as well,” she added.
Branden-Hind would also like to recognise her co-worker, Jermaine Williamson, for his mentorship and help in providing ongoing coaching as it relates to business. “I am also thankful to my bearer Kashief Milne who helps me with deliveries, and my partner in life who fills in when my bearer isn’t able to.”
The creative has now developed a new interest in macrame after seeing the trend on social media overseas. At this point, Branden-Hind was seeking a new hobby, and, realising that it is not as prevalent in Jamaica, she decided to tap into that niche. It helped that the artistic component went hand-in-hand with her plant business.
“Macrame goes well with plants. I started with coasters that you can place the desk plants on. If you’re not a plant person, you can use it to hold your coffee or decorate your space. I wanted to push my creativity further by learning something new, and bring another artistic talent to the interior decorating space. Macrame is multifunctional,” she said, adding that she now does mirrors and she’s looking to go into wall hangs.
With the world getting back to normal, Branden-Hind does events only by request, maintaining a strong presence in plant life and home decor.
Outside of her nine-to-five job, the entrepreneur is also a mother. Balancing work with her personal life isn’t easy, but she presses on, taking simple pleasures in the joy exuded from a gift. “I am also a mentor through the Victoria Mutual Foundation. My mentee’s name is Jodelia Jackson; she is in high school. I’ve been coaching her, as she is a budding entrepreneur and hopes to have a jewellery business soon.”