Monday Mar 08, 2021

ATG Hidden Gems: Carrie Lynn's Plants

As a Las Vegas-born company, we find it important to highlight our community and bring attention to those that fuel our flame. The combination of music, art, and fashion is embedded within our DNA and without those who contribute those resources, we wouldn’t be where we are today. In the latest edition of our ATG Hidden Gems series, we sat down with Brooklyn, founder, and creator, of Carrie Lynn’s Plants, and truly delve into her business and how her brand became so successful within a short period of time. Wherever the wind takes you, sometimes you just have to follow; as for Brooklyn, the wind was calling her to Las Vegas for a new opportunity. 

Brooklyn made her start in the marketing and advertising industry, specializing in social media and events for the Air Force Reserves. When the opportunity arose to relocate from Hawaii to Vegas, she jumped on the opportunity, however, only finding herself wanting more of a creative outlet. Because of this desire of wanting to do more, the idea of a plant swap was born. It was a fun and creative channel for her, but little did she know that this small-time side hustle would become something even bigger. 

What initially started out as a creative outlet, eventually became her whole life. The plant swap idea grew like wildfire as others were also looking for the same kind of outlet. After creating a well-established group and event, the beginning of Carrie Lynn’s Plants was solidified. Brooklyn’s main purpose for Carrie Lynn’s Plants is to create a community and offer a space for consumers to be educated about sustainable products. The particular design of the shop really helped curate a following, therefore those who entered the shop have become lifelong dedicated consumers. 

Though they are known for their plants, Carrie Lynn’s also delves into an abyss of ethically sourced goods from clothing to interior pieces - making it a one-stop-shop. The groovy, eccentric, and natural aesthetics found within their Instagram and shop are truly embodied by everyone. You can’t help but feel whimsical and at peace when entering - eventually getting lost and enjoying the overall vibes within the brick-and-mortar. Carrie Lynn’s isn’t just a shop but instead, Brooklyn wants to help and build Las Vegas’ community and Carrie Lynn’s Plants is just the beginning. 

After seeing the impact of plant swap and the possibilities of Carrie Lynn’s Plants, she left her 9-5 and solely focused on retail where she can educate her consumers and follow her passions for plants and more. We sat with Brooklyn to get a deeper dive on her background and understand how her journey truly began. 

What inspired you to open up your own shop?

A perfect storm of events and timing. I had been hosting plant swaps for a while and slowly started plant styling & maintenance as a little side hustle while maintaining my 9-5 at an advertising agency. 

A local property management group downtown reached out in the summer of 2019 and asked me to open a location at their new center. Everyone in my circle warned me not to do it. They said, “retail is dead!” That didn’t matter much to me. I always have to learn & experience things for myself, I can’t learn from anyone else’s. 

You named your store after your mother, is she also into plants? And have you been interested in plants since an early age?

Oddly enough I got my mother into plants. I say this because I’ve always admired her and look up to her as this badass character- so it’s flattering to see that I influenced her into something! She does an amazing job too. She takes her plant parenting very seriously. When you enter her foyer it’s an absolute jungle. When I come to town to visit her she always takes me around the house on a tour to see how everyone is doing. I didn’t get into plants until my early 20’s. Living in Hawaii and being an adventure/hiking nerd was the inspiration. The plants you see growing wild at 3,000 ft on a ridge hike will blow your mind.

You focus on ethically and sustainably made goods - where do you source your products and how does this help tell the story of Carrie Lynn’s Plants?

I’ve been a supporter  & customer of many of the sustainable brands we carry for years! I carry brands I believe in. From Dazey LA & GF Collective (both based in LA) sugar high love stoned ( based in Hawai’i), Lenni the Label, SnrkLBR swim, Lack of Color, (all based in AUS).  

Before COVID I would attend local craft events like West Coast Craft in LA. To source products and meet makers & find groovy sustainable products. I love making relationships and getting to know the makers & the stories behind their products.

You talk about how you are “not just a plant shop” - what do you want your customers to feel or recognize when they are shopping with you?

I want customers to recognize we are also a hub for connecting the community & helping people discover other local/small businesses. For Valentine’s, we had a business based SLC pop-up to do a week of jewelry-making workshops. We have monthly boss babe meetups (where local business owners share their experience and expertise, and encouragement), and many more workshops, events & panels on the way! I want Vegas to feel like a small town. No matter how much it grows. I want people who visit the shop regularly- to all know each other. People don’t seem to know their neighbors here. I think we can make it to that place though. 

I want to incorporate some of the magic from plant swap. Each event- although it grew exponentially each time- there were more and more people who all knew eachother and were continuing their relationships and staying in contact outside the event. Seeing these connections grow made me happy beyond words. I see some of it now. I’ll wear shop merch while running errands, and I’ll bump into someone who knows the shop, and boom- I have an instant friend, while out in the wild!

You have a very specific aesthetic, how would you describe it, and do you think that plays a role in the success of the shop? 

Our aesthetic is just a Motley Crue of everything I like - happy, whimsical, and bright.  My home at the time of opening the shop was in the Las Vegas country club. Think Lefty Rosenthal. A mid-century dream graced by the mobsters in their heyday. I styled it like a 70’s thrifted paradise… And I turned the shop into the same thing. Our now famous vintage orange velvet couch- was a gift from my boyfriend. When I brought it to the shop- we didn’t have a couch [at home] for a month! 

As for our logo, I was very specific about having some stardust in there because the brand was born in DTLV and I’m a sucker for all things neon & vintage Vegas.  Funkadelics, T-Rex, Bill Withers, that’s the vibe. Rainbows, cherries, mushrooms, and daisies. That’s. The. Vibe. 

What is the best advice you can give to someone who wants to become a plant parent?

I don’t believe in a green thumb. I think being a plant parent takes some trial and error, and it’s about not being discouraged when a plant dies on you. It’s a game of perseverance and learning from mistakes. 

I killed so many plants before I got “good” at this! So my best advice is to commit, and if you want it badly enough, stick with it and ask for help (we have a fantastic plant community here in Vegas). You’ll have the jungle (or modest windowsill) you want in no time. 

What is the number one tip for maintaining plants?

I’d say 70% of plant deaths are from overwatering. Buy a moisture meter and learn what moisture levels your plant wants to be at before being watered again. Counterintuitively- most tropical plants grown in a container want to be roughly 50-75% DRY between waterings. 

Do you have any advice for the younger generation who are also interested in starting a small business?

“There are people less qualified than you, doing things you want to do because they believe in themselves and take action” I read this somewhere once and it never left me. It’s dead on and I’ve witnessed it countless times. So many times I’ve seen innovators & entrepreneurs enter a field that they have no “legitimate” or formal background in-and just absolutely kill it. Look at Sarah Blakely from Spanx! She had no education in fashion, sewing, or business. She sold fax machines door to door when she created the prototype of the undergarment which went on to make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in the U.S.

So, whenever I’m tempted to stop myself from taking something on- because I feel like I don’t measure up enough or I’m not “qualified” enough, this quote sort of haunts me and propels me forward.

Being a small business, how has the pandemic affected the shop? 

It’s truly hard to say how the pandemic has affected the shop because this was my first year in business, so I have no previous record to look back on and compare. 

Retail, in general, has been hit hard, and we’ve seen so many iconic retailers go bankrupt this past year. However, with some of these titans going under, it almost seems to have benefited some smaller businesses- like me. 

I was invited to come to Downtown Summerlin as several shops closed here due to COVID. The space I’m in now belonged to Brooks Brothers. They are one of the behemoth retailers that went belly up and I was given this land grab opportunity to have 5,000 sq ft next to Apple. It’s an unbelievable and unprecedented opportunity.

What’s next for Carrie Lynn’s Plants?

Oh, man. Sky’s the limit. We have so much cookin’. 

I’m looking at manufacturing a line of jumpsuits because everyone is crazy about the shop uniform. Our own line of pots candles and incense. Furniture tailored for plants. A website maybe?! Can you believe we’ve gone a year, in COVID, with no online shopping? I’d love to land Carrie Lynn’s in a new city… All in good time.

For more information on Carrie Lynn’s Plants, you can click here to head to their Instagram page. 

We’d like to thank Brooklyn for speaking with us and helping us get a better understanding of her world and Carrie Lynn’s Plants! This Friday, we are excited to announce that we will be working closely with the brand in a collaborative capsule that embodies both of our aesthetics. Stay tuned for a psychedelic delivery that provides, ‘All Things Groovy.’ 

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