(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final article in a five-part series spotlighting the first cohort of the 100Knoxville initiative. Cohort 2 of 100Knoxville begins July 14.)
By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA
When the pandemic hit, Jade Adams was left with nothing on her books as a wedding photographer. With “all the time in the world” on her hands, she turned to the plants in her house.
“While everyone during COVID was spring cleaning their homes, I had 300 plants in my house,” Adams said. “I don’t really have to spring clean my home, but I can spring clean these plants.”
She began to sell her plants on Facebook, but with a twist. Every plant had a name and backstory that would relate to its needs and care instructions.” It was a hit,” Adams said, adding, “They started selling within minutes.” Eventually, coffee shops began asking her to do pop-up events with them. Adams said she didn’t realize there was such a large plant-loving community in Knoxville and decided to turn it into a business.
She opened Oglewood Avenue at 3524 North Broadway shortly after. The plant store specialized in house plants, which is a niche in the market, Adams said. In addition to selling potted plants in the brick and mortar space, Adams does consulting for offices and homes on styling spaces with plants.
Another branch of her business is to educate people on the plants they buy. Before starting her plant hobby, Adams said she would frequently buy a plant and then not know how to take care of it. House plants die frequently due to too much or too little watering, or not having the right light conditions to grow in. Plants, she added, have their own personalities.
“People love plants, and people want them in their houses, but they don’t necessarily know where they’re going to thrive or what plants do well in certain places,” Adams said.
Starting her business from scratch in the middle of the pandemic, Adams said she went in blind. The 100Knoxville program has helped her to build much of the foundation of her business and prepared her for next steps. She said she’s happy to have built a relationship with the mentors that will continue to last even now that the program is over.
“I call this my pandemic project that turned into a career,” she said. “There’s a lot of unknowns since I started in a pandemic.”
With the $5,000 grant from 100Knoxville, Adams was able to hire her first full-time staff member. She has also updated her website, incorporated her business, and set up software programs for Oglewood like QuickBooks and Gusto for payroll. Continuing with her start on social media, Adams has also signed a deal with Discovery to post on outlets like Instagram. Learn more about the 5x5x5x5 program in this teknovation.biz article.
Adams said she sees herself as a plant collector. Part of her goal for Oglewood is to “make all people, plant people.” Learning to care for plants was a process, but one’s she’s grateful for, adding it helped her learn to better care for herself as well.
“It made me appreciate my mornings a little bit more,” she added.