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If you interact with the houseplant community online at all, you've definitely felt the impact of The Sill on our plant niche. I honestly can't believe that it took me a whopping 230 episodes to finally have Eliza Blank, founder of The Sill, grace the Growing Joy with Plants podcast! Her female founder story of recognizing a need for a houseplant brand and building it into a million-dollar company would make you feel empowered, as it did me.

In case you didn’t know, The Sill was one of the OG plant brands that helped start the houseplant craze before the pandemic. And when I first started my podcast, they were also the first to reach out and show their support! So I want to take this opportunity to show you the story behind the success of The Sill live on stage at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [00:30] The Sill and its impact on the houseplant community
  • [05:23] How did Eliza get into houseplants?
  • [07:28] How exciting/challenging is it to launch a houseplant brand early on?
  • [11:20] How did The Sill come about?
  • [13:13] How Eliza built a multimillion-dollar brand
  • [14:25] Why “fake it till you make it” mindset works WONDERS!
  • [15:47] Create the perfect Danish hygge atmosphere with Wind River Chimes
  • [18:57] What was the struggle for The Sill during COVID? 
  • [20:34] Navigating challenges in the plant industry
  • [22:23] What’s the process of sourcing and acquiring plants?
  • [24:14] What’s Eliza’s definition of success (and has it changed over the years?)
  • [25:10] What it feels like being a woman in a male-dominated industry
  • [26:56] Trends and customer preferences in 2024
  • [29:01] What’s next for The Sill? 
  • [30:01] Eliza’s personal life and hobbies beyond plants
  • [32:30] Eliza’s favorite client story!



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Eliza's Plant Parent Beginnings

Like most of our podcast guests, Eliza also grew up with plants as the backdrop of her childhood, and it wasn't until she left for college in New York City that she felt disconnected from nature. Living in that “concrete jungle” on the 11th floor, she knew she needed to grow her own plant collection.

But without her mom's guidance, it was one dead plant after another, and she soon realized there was no centralized resource to learn proper plant care. The situation was far from ideal, but that’s also when the seed (pun intended) for The Sill was planted in 2012 when she was just 26.

Can you even imagine? She was out there with her self-made business cards, convincing a male-dominated industry that houseplants were the next big thing.


Start of The Sill as the Houseplant Hub

In the early days, The Sill was just Eliza running a bare-bones operation. She bought plants from wholesalers, potted them in her apartment, and hand-delivered orders on the subway to local customers. And what’s crazy is that it took her two years before she could start shipping plants nationwide.

At the time, houseplants were such an afterthought in the gardening world that most people associated plants only with outdoor and vegetable gardens. So convincing both consumers and the industry itself that houseplants deserved their own dedicated space was quite a challenge for Eliza.


Surviving the “Seasons” of Entrepreneurship

Eliza described her story in seasons—spring represented the early days of planting seeds (both literally and figuratively with her business idea!). Summer was the wonderful period from 2016 to 2020 when she was able to bootstrap The Sill to over $1 million in revenue. It means she didn't take on any outside financing in the early days.

Then COVID came along and brought a harsh winter that almost stopped Eliza's business from growing. You might think that a business that sells houseplants would do very well during a pandemic because it became a trend, but they, unfortunately, could not keep up with demand. 

They experienced major plant shortages and supply chain nightmares for about 18 months straight!

But despite it all, Eliza remained strong because she knew plants have such a huge positive impact on people's lives. She shared that she reads from her “love folder” on her computer touching customer stories—including one woman who shared that her houseplant inspired her to get better after some serious health problems.

It was very inspiring to hear Eliza's story as a pioneering woman of color in the male-dominated field of gardening. At every stage, she's faced doubt and hardship head-on with grace and determination.


The Bright Future of The Sill

Now, Eliza feels The Sill has entered a new spring season. Bigger. Than. Ever. 

They are thinking about expanding their business beyond just houseplants and into outdoor gardening as well. She's excited about developing trends like olive trees and fruit trees taking over from the fiddle-leaf fig craze.

More than anything, I'm in awe of the legacy Eliza has created—for her employees, for representation, and for this community. My hope is that Eliza's story touches and inspires you as much as it did me.

I'm forever grateful to Eliza for paving the way and tirelessly supporting my work right from the beginning. The Sill's blogs and care guides were my lifeline when I was just a beginner plant parent. Eliza's generosity and the heart behind her brand is what this community is all about. And I can't wait to see what The Sill blossoms into next under Eliza's guidance.



Mentioned in our conversation:



Thank you to our episode sponsor:

Wind River Chimes

Turn your home into a relaxation oasis with chimes! Wind River is a Virginia-based company creating premium handcrafted and hand-tuned wind chimes for over 35 years. They are launching a new collection of chimes called Eclipse, which are Corinthian bells uniquely tuned to the Lydian mode, a scale that creates an ethereal atmosphere of enchantment that matches the mystery and wonder of the solar eclipse and of outer space. Plus, these chimes make for amazing personal gifts to your loved ones!

Visit and use code GROWINGJOY to receive free engraving on all engraveable wind chimes.



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