In this edition of my Inspiration Interviews, I’ve had the pleasure of catching up with friend and fellow nature enthusiast Uli Schulz. Uli started her business, Secrets of Green, a little while after I met her on the London blogger circuit. Promising to bring the aesthetic and mental benefits of nature into your living space, I’ve watched her online shop bloom into a series of pop-ups, a collaborative ethical business platform, and a seriously pretty Instagram to boot.
Uli’s style, creativity, and honesty about starting her business have always been a positive influence on me. First off, her business supports independent creators, something I really believe in, and her curated line-up of products always look good and do good. She stocks everything from living plants to botanical body care – basically, I want it all!
I also read an interview with her after the first few months of running her business where she laughed about the trials and tribulations of starting her business, and how it makes her happy but there’s also the fear of not staying afloat. I share that same fear sometimes, and it was nice to hear someone else reveal they’re just as vulnerable. Thankfully, her business is doing amazingly well, and she’s still just as down to earth!
Have a read through our interview to find out why plants inspire Uli and her team so much, and the benefits you can get from inviting nature into your home too!
1. What was the spark that led you to create Secrets of Green?
There are two parts of why I founded Secrets of Green. The first one was an entrepreneurial itch which didn’t leave me. I wanted to create my own business and make things happen. The other part was more about a desire to make a (small) change in the world. I’ve been living in big cities my whole life (Berlin, Munich, Vienna, London, Singapore) but I always had a strong connection to nature. I wanted to bring this connection to nature to our urban life. Rather than creating something on my own I was convinced there are already so many amazing creators out there so I wanted to partner up with them. The ideal scenario was to use other individuals’ talent to create a unique platform where people can find nature-inspired, handmade and sustainable items for their city homes.
2. What are the benefits of inviting nature into our homes?
There are so many benefits:
– In multiple studies, it has been proven that houseplants generally increase wellbeing besides its many numerous mental benefits such as reducing anxiety and chronic stress
– The Agricultural University of Norway discovered that introducing houseplants into workplaces significantly reduced fatigue by 30%, headaches by 20% and coughing by 40%
– Creativity is boosted by 15% because the sight of greenery calms the human mind which entails a sense of peace then creativity stemming from a relaxed state of mind
– Flowers are scientifically proven to positively influence everyday emotional health like enhancing satisfaction and triggering happiness which is the key emotion to unlocking creativity and productivity
– Business Insider explains our brains are created to enjoy art so simply looking at art has been proven to fresh fatigued minds and trigger the desire to being open to learning. Artwork reflecting nature will instil a sense of peacefulness and quiet enjoyment
We wrote more extensively on the benefits in our blog posts ‘Benefits Of Houseplants‘ and ‘Nature-Inspired Tips To Boost Your Creativity‘. We focused on houseplants but also show how other products which either include natural ingredients/materials or showcase nature can also benefit us. Both have been proven to make us healthier and happier. And let’s be honest, looking at nature-inspired Instagram accounts totally makes us happy, too!
3. You showcase a number of beautiful, emerging brands and makers. How do you find the creatives you work with?
We find these gorgeous talents in many ways and sometimes they find Secrets of Green as well, which is brilliant. One amazing source is Instagram. Nowadays it’s almost a must to be on Instagram if you create something. That makes it easy for us to find great talent. The other social media channels, like Twitter, can be a good source, too, but Instagram is simply the best.
We also attend fairs or visit local markets, such as The London Artisan, where we meet creators personally and see the products in real life. Sometimes, we receive recommendations and as mentioned above, we also receive quite a few emails from small brands who want to join us. The majority gets the concept behind Secrets of Green immediately so we have no trouble to add new brands regularly.
4. Who inspires you, and why should we follow them?
I see inspiration almost everywhere! So many individuals on Instagram, the team I’m working with, the partners on Secrets of Green inspire me a lot and I’m very grateful that there is so much talent and so many great minds out there you can turn to for inspiration.
We’re trying to get some interviews on our website with very talented people we admire. Currently on our radar are Richard Reynolds with his ‘Guerilla Gardening’, Grace & Thorn with their plant styling inspirations and Elisabeth Bukanova with her botanical illustrations.
5. Finally, do you have any exciting plans that you can reveal to us?
It’s our 1st anniversary this year and we’re thinking of organising a nature-inspired picnic with all our friends and customers. Keep an eye out for when we release more information about it!