We heard that foliage is the new flower so we caught up with Sophia Kaplan and Lauren Camilleri, the founders of Leaf Supply who are on a mission to deliver gifts of potted happiness to doorsteps around Sydney.
The two green-thumbed friends, introduced through a mutual friend, hatched the idea for Sydney’s first indoor plant delivery service together. The plan was to make plant ownership easy and accessible when access to green space can be limited for those living and working around the city.
Their service not only lets you cultivate your own urban jungle but contribute to a friend too! The perfect alternative to flowers as the gift that keeps growing. Each Leaf Supply plant is sourced from a local nursery and potted in a lovely little ceramic dish. Presently plant lovers have the option of a stylish bright pot plant cover from Leaf Supply’s current collaboration with socially responsible fashion label Yevu Clothing.
And if that wasn’t enough, the talented duo also have their own individual businesses – Kaplan owns plant and flower styling business Sophia Kaplan Plants & Flowers, and Camilleri runs Domus Botanica, an online plant and botanical homewares shop.
Join us as we find out what a typical day looks like for the talented green duo!
What is Leaf Supply?
Leaf Supply is an indoor plant delivery service in Sydney. Every month we come up with three new plant and pot combos, which are then hand delivered to you to help grow your own indoor jungle, or as a gift to someone else.
When did your love of all things green begin?
Lauren: I grew up with a beautiful garden and despite being a total city girl I have always loved spending time in parks. As an adult I’ve lived mainly in inner city apartments and was starting to really miss having that regular access to green space – a link to nature. A number of years ago having killed more succulents than I’d care to admit I bought a beautiful little Monstera deliciosa and loved seeing it thrive in the corner of my tiny living room. With each new leaf I got excited to grow my indoor jungle and now I live in a much bigger apartment that has more plants than furniture! Greening definitely gets addictive.
Sophia: I always looked forward to visiting my Nonno, as he would inevitably put us to work in his garden. He had a real passion for growing things he could eat, including a giant macadamia tree in the middle of the yard. I’ve always enjoyed getting in amongst the dirt and find gardening incredibly therapeutic. Watching things grow, and nature do it’s weird and wonderful thing is just so joyous. I also have a floristry business, and try to surround myself with nature as much as possible.
How did you come up with the Leaf Supply concept?
We both liked the idea of sharing the plant love around in a easily accessible, beautifully curated and simple way. We wanted people who didn’t necessarily understand a lot about plants to be able to jump online and know that without a whole lot of complicated decision making and know-how they could get themselves or someone else a lovely plant. We also wanted to open people’s eyes to more unusual varieties of indoor plants and provide some harder to track down beauties for those plant-freaks like ourselves.
How did you both meet?
A mutual friend who knew of our planty pursuits recommended we meet to see if there were any projects we could work on together. It was at our first catch up in a Redfern cafe that we talked about our similar plans for starting a pot plant delivery service that made sending plants really accessible for people and would be a lovely alternative to cut flowers. Rather than going it alone we decided to work on it together and thus the early days of Leaf Supply began!
What is the biggest lesson you learn when starting your own business?
Businesses are unpredictable, it’s a bit like jumping into the abyss. Even if you have total faith in your concept and business plan (as we do) you still never know exactly how things will pan out. We’ve been pretty lucky so far, but it still feels a bit like a rollercoaster of emotions at times, you just have to learn to go with the flow.
What does a typical day look like in your shoes?
No two days are the same around here, but here’s an example: rise early to go out to the nurseries. We often have a rough idea of what we’re after, but are always guided by what’s looking best and healthiest out there on the day. We usually visit a few extra nurseries while we’re there in the name of research. The nurserymen and women are all lovely, so it’s nice to catch up with them, have a tea, play with their dogs, etc. We both find it hard not to return home without a little something for our ever expanding personal collections as well! Once we’re back in town we’ll pot up the new plants and get them shot and edited ready to go up online. We spend time answering correspondence, working on our collaborations with ceramicists and our plant curators, and the less thrilling but still very important reporting and accounting.
What piece of advice would you give to someone dreaming of starting their own business?
Running your own business is hard work. It’s also super rewarding, but you need to be willing to give it lots of time and energy and love. We think it’s also important to have a strong moral code as a business, only partnering with like-minded suppliers and collaborators, and doing your best to be ethical and environmentally responsible.
How can greenery change a space?
It gives it life! We both feel that a room is naked without plants 🙂 Plants are calming, they detoxify the air, and make you happy. They’re also incredibly chic and we love the way plants can add another level of style to you space.
What is your favourite…
Way to spend your Saturday morning?
Lauren: Definitely a sleep in before brunch with friends.
Sophia: Sleep in -> yum cha -> beach!
Way to unwind?
Lauren: Potting up plants and tending to my indoor jungle is definitely relaxing but curling up on the couch in front of a good Netflix series is also good!
Sophia: tending to my little plot at the Paddington Community Garden at dusk is a good re-set for me after a big week.
Flower/plant and why?
Lauren: Monstera Delicosa (aka swiss cheese plant), those graphic glossy leaves are a designers dream. But it’s definitely not a case of style over substance with this beauty, they’re also robust and delightfully low maintenance.
Sophia: Begonia for it’s intricate leaves and flowers and great variety of specimens
Sydney coffee spot?
Lauren: Henry Lees in Chippendale is a fave, great coffee and delicious food plus it’s dog friendly so my pooch can join us for brunch.
Sophia: Artificer in Surry Hills. You’ll find a little rhipsalis we gave them in there!
Lauren: Redfern Continental is the perfect local. 5 mins from home and awesome unpretentious food with a great bar out the back
Sophia: 10 William St. Good wine, good pasta.
Quote to live by?
Lauren: Comparison is the thief of joy.
Sophia: No worries, be happy :p
Lauren: The Wendy Whiteley secret garden at Lavender Bay is incredible. Such a beautiful spot to sit and share a bottle of wine by the harbour too.
Sophia: Maybe it’s a cliche that we both choose gardens, but I love Centennial Park at dusk.
Potted plants delivered with love, starting from $39. At the moment, Leaf Supply delivers on Tuesday’s and Friday’s (only to suburbs within 20 kilometres of the city but they have plans to build on their business and extend to Monday – Friday in the near future!)
We are certainly looking forward to having a more green filled space here at Milray Park – thank you ladies!
Have a look at our latest articles.
by Amelia Barnes
feat. Milray Park Designer Belinda Nihill
by Scott Purcell
Sign-up to our Newsletter for regular updates