Love Local: Ethnobotany Shop Makes Debut During Pandemic Plant Boom
New shop at Colony Square features plants, planters, candles and more in minimalist environs.
Ethnobotany Shop owners Jeffrey Perkins (left) and Jonathan Andrews (right) at their Colony Square store.
BY ELLIE HENSLEY
Many of us picked up a new hobby during the pandemic. Some people perfected their sourdough starters, became amateur mixologists, or dedicated themselves anew to virtual fitness classes. Others decided to spruce up their living spaces and invite nature indoors by becoming plant parents.
To be sure, plants are having a moment.
“We experienced a plant boom during the pandemic,” said Jeffrey Perkins, who co-owns Ethnobotany with Jonathan Andrews. “It was one of the reasons we started the business, seeing the plant influencers and millennials jump into the plant world. Really what sparked our interest was being able to order plants online. Most millennials do participate in online shopping, and we wanted that to be an option.”
We spoke to Perkins and Andrews about their store opening this month in the heart of Midtown and their advice for new plant owners. Read more below.
Tying Everything Back to Plants
Ethnobotany opened at Colony Square on April 1.
This store currently has one other location — soon after starting as an online-only store, it opened a brick-and-mortar store at Westside Market and then hosted a holiday pop-up at Avalon in Alpharetta. It is there it first worked with North American Properties, the developer behind Colony Square’s redevelopment from an underutilized mixed-use complex into a thriving live-work-play destination.
“Colony Square is great,” Andrews said. “The reimagination of the property itself is just beautiful, and the ability for us to be on the plaza is even more appetizing. If you go out during the week, there’s people just hanging out.”
The design of the small 275-square-foot space was kept very minimalistic.
“We want the focus to be on the product itself, so we kept a very simple aesthetic, so you can see the beauty of the greenery and the concrete pots rather than the space itself,” Perkins said.
Ethnobotany is starting with a one-year lease, and during its time at Colony Square the owners want to get involved in all “Midtown’s Living Room” has to offer, such as its Yoga on the Square events, holiday events and “anything else that can be tied back to plants.”
Ethnobotany Shop is located on Colony Square's The Plaza, next to King of Pops.
Advice for New Plant Owners
“Ethnobotany” means “the plant lore of indigenous cultures, and the systematic study of such lore.” Both Andrews and Perkins were deeply interested in the subject even before they started the company — Andrews counts at least a dozen plants in his home.
“Spending time with plants is just a time to unplug and focus on something other than myself,” Perkins said. “They add a sense of calmness to my life, and allow me to focus on something other than the world.”
A close-up of a Fiddle Leaf Fig, Perkins' favorite houseplant.
Perkins’ favorite plant is a Fiddle Leaf Fig, because he “loves everything oversized that makes a huge statement.”
Andrews is a big fan of the Ficus Audrey, which is related to the Fiddle Leaf, with slightly larger, “more elegant” leaves.
Whether you’re interested in buying a plant for your home or your office, Ethnobotany’s owners have advice for where to start.
“Start with one plant, and if you can keep that one alive, add another one,” Perkins said. “Some plants live, some plants die. It’s a normal part of life. Don’t be discouraged if you kill a plant. Buy another and start again.”
“Don’t give up; don’t be afraid,” Andrews said.
Give Your Space a Refresh
Much like a clothing retailer, Ethnobotany will offer a seasonal selection. All of its plants come pre-styled in eco-friendly concrete planters, and it also offers other products such as sage, dry eucalyptus and lavender, botanical scented candles and plant elixirs.
Browse Ethnobotany’s online selection here and give it a follow on Instagram for some decor inspiration.
Midtown businesses like Ethnobotany Shop are here to welcome you back to the district. When you’re ready, please show your support to local restaurants and their hard-working owners and staffers. From posting a positive Yelp review to posting pics of your experience on social media, there are many ways you can show how you "Love Local." Head over to this page for a list of ideas and to read more profiles of Midtown business owners.