Flowers maketh the woman
Each day she spends hours tending to her plants, ensuring that they are watered, their nutritional needs are met, and the mealy bugs, which pose a constant threat to their health, are kept at bay. It takes a lot of work, but the satisfaction from seeing her succulents grow into thriving floral arrangements, is reward enough for Shemoy Spencer.
What has morphed into Time and Season Home and Garden Collection grew out of the constant badgering from customers who would visit the family grocery shop in Patrick City, Kingston 20.
“I’ve always had plants and people would come to the shop and see them, and after begging me to give them a piece, they would say, ‘Just sell me piece, nuh?’ she recalled. “So that’s how it really came about, people kept asking and after a while I decided, okay, why not?”
Over the two years since making that decision, Spencer has learnt a lot about plants, the different varieties and how to care for them; but these have been expensive lessons. The fledgling florist would watch overseas videos, not recognising that the climate and soil in which those plants grew were vastly different. She would ardently follow their growing methods, which at first proved okay, but after a while, most of her plants died.
After losing an estimated $60,000 worth of succulents, Spencer decided to experiment, carefully keeping notes of what she did and the results, and, over time, this began to pay off.
During a recent visit by a Gleaner team, Spencer showed off a germination plot for herbs, planted with cilantro, rosemary and kale, explaining that she is trying to grow them out from the seedlings, admitting that she is learning about the germination process, but is not quite there yet.
As she prepares to go commercial, Spencer is moving to regularise her business and has made contact with Tax Administration Jamaica about getting her business properly registered and fully tax-compliant.
Now a regular at the monthly farmers’ market hosted by the Kingston and St Andrew Association of Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agricultural Society at the Ministery of Agriculture and Fisheries playfield at Hope Gardens, she uses the occasion to support and engage with other small business operators.
As she prepares for the Christmas season, when the demand for flowers and floral arrangements picks up, following on the Mother’s Day rush for orchids especially, the young entrepreneur is anticipating a strong demand for calatheas and philodendrons.
“Plants make people happy. I think that is the highlight for me. When someone comes and you sell them a plant and you see that smile, you get that instant gratification that at least I could make somebody happy.”
Very often, potential customers want a potted plant for a loved one but are unsure about what they need. Spencer takes the time to quiz them about the recipient, information she uses to guide them in making the right choice.
“I will try to get a feedback as to exactly what you want. Who do want the plant for? Is it for outside or inside the house? Is the person able to get up and move about? Will he/she be able to take care of the plant every day? Questions like that will guide me as to the right choice of plant for individuals,” she explained.
Between tending to the plants, caring for her two young children and husband Howard, Spencer is kept very busy. She is usually tired at the end of the day but truly happy, enjoying what she does.
So, if you are thinking about getting a house plant, a succulent or a floral arrangement for yourself or a loved one, give Shemoy and Howard Spencer a call at 876-875-5020/467-4090, or contact them by email at email@example.com, or on Instagram at time_season_garden_collection.