On Sept. 26, Prissylily Co. swung open its garden gate and launched a botanical garden-like shop in Warrenton. The timing could not have been better.
Sales of house and office plants have soared during COVID-19 and for a good reason. There is ample scientific evidence that such plants reduce stress. The therapeutic effects of caring for plants can even lower blood pressure.
The “plant doctor” overseeing these benefits is a young entrepreneur whose passion for plants dates to three years ago. Priscilla Aviles, 27, and her hard-to-contain joy in growing and gifting plants to family and friends led to the shop’s opening; it’s located at 30 S. Third St.
Initially, the company was created in 2013 as an online retailer of apparel and sunglasses. But soon, Aviles’ passion for plants took root and gave birth to a shift from the hyper-competitive field of apparel sales to a niche business where her expertise could be brought to bear.
Aviles’ joy in growing plants became the center of her life. “I began propagating them and creating more and more. I started giving them away to friends and family. Some might say I overdid it because I was getting comments like, ‘OK Priscilla, we have enough plants!’” said Aviles, laughing.
That’s when her entrepreneurial streak struck green. In 2018, she launched plant sales on both Etsy and her apparel website. From the initial choice of six plants, the business evolved and broadened to include even rare and collector plants.
Aviles quickly recognized the strategy shift had opened up a new customer base. A lot of her buyers were from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. An increasing number began asking if she had a shop or a greenhouse to come to and buy the plants.
The move to a brick and mortar business was driven by listening to her customers. She found the location in Old Town and “jumped at the opportunity to open a store.”
Her successful life in plants is paralleling her personal life. She was engaged to be married in July, but COVID-19 postponed the ceremony. She and her fiancé, Joseph Rose, independently own townhouses that are now on the market because they have jointly purchased a home in Warrenton. As a future married woman, the surname Rose will be fitting for a purveyor of plants.
Her assistant in the shop is Molly, who is also Aviles’ future sister-in-law.
In addition to the shop, Aviles still sells online and through Esty. The product line for all three venues includes plants, apparel, sunglasses and more. But the heart of the business is indoor plants.
Stock in trade
As you enter the Prissylily Co., your eye will sweep across a landscape of more than 100 plants. Asked what a shopper might typically find, Aviles’ immediate response is, “Beautiful plants!” Of course.
That beauty includes plants with intriguing names such as the Burle Marx Philodendron, Staghorn Fern, Starfish, Snake, Dwarf Fiddle Leaf, Africa Mask Peacock, Corkscrew, Black Jade Birds Nest, Samurai Draft, various cactuses, and more. Rare and collector plants come from Thailand and other points worldwide.
Prices range from $20 for the common variety plants up to $1,500 for collectibles like the Monstera Albo Variegated. Exotics and collectibles may not always be in stock.
In addition to in-store sales, the company also sells office plants with maintenance contracts for those who have “black thumbs.” Office plants bring the beauty of nature indoors, increase productivity, boost creativity and provide a wow factor to what otherwise could be a dreary office environment.
Aviles takes a holistic approach in creating an interior plant office plan that meets space and budgetary needs. The process begins with a free on-site consultation; she then develops a customized proposal to ensure the plants' survival.
The service includes fast and clean installation as well as maintenance packages if desired.
All shop plant sales come with care instructions. Consideration is being given to conducting classes on plant care, repotting, and more, so customers can better care for their purchases.
Aviles’ advice to anyone considering striking out on their own is, “If it’s something you are passionate about and love, then you should go for it. Because then it doesn’t feel like work. I get excited to come in every day and see how my plants are doing,” said Aviles.
For a digital tour through the world of one of the newest and most unique shops in Warrenton, visit https://prissylilyco.com.