During our January 2021 AmericasMart market we partnered with Katelynn Corley and her husband, Rex Holloway, from the popular Atlanta plant shop: Flora Fauna, on an elaborate plant installation accenting our Femme Wild trend story. Through the use of a variety of drop ins, succulents, herbs, and greenery – the Flora Fauna duo turned our collection into an elevated oasis. Once the project wrapped, we caught up with Katelynn to learn more about her business approach, her AD faves, and much more.
Introduce yourself + your business.
My name is Katelynn and I own Flora/Fauna – a houseplant shop in Cabbagetown (Atlanta, Georgia).
What lead you to starting Flora Fauna? / How did you get ‘here’?
My husband and I started Flora/Fauna in 2016 when we moved into a house we were renting at the time and wanted to spruce it up a bit with plants. I mean shopping for new plants is the best part about moving right?! When we weren’t able to source any of the plants or planters we wanted to use in our new home locally we realized Atlanta had a need for a houseplant shop. We began doing pop ups December 2016 and opened our brick and mortar September 2018.
What makes Flora Fauna unique?
What makes us unique is we are a very design focused houseplant shop. We believe plants truly make the space so we’ve put a lot of thought into curating the selection of plants and planters we carry at our shop. We also make a lot of what we call “living art” in house such as kokedama (the floating moss ball plants), wall mounted plants and other living arrangements. We spent the better part of a year perfecting the Japanese technique of kokedama which is one of the things we’re most known for. If made and maintained correctly, plants can spend their entire life inside of a kokedama ball. What sets us apart from big box stores is we are going to ensure you leave our shop with all the education you need to take care of your new plant and we are always here to answer any care questions along the way! The most rewarding part of what we do is helping people gain the confidence to care for plants; like when someone comes into the shop who thinks they kill everything and with a few pointers suddenly they’re back in a few weeks later showing us photos of all of their plants new growth!
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
I remember the day we made the decision to close the shop I thought “ugh I can’t believe we’re gonna have to close for two weeks”. Ha! Little did I know we would be closed for the next 6 months! We immediately pivoted from in person shopping to curbside pickup and deliveries. Changing our business model basically overnight was extremely challenging. We were not equipped to handle the volume of delivery orders we were receiving- but we were grateful for them! Despite having to close the shop temporarily, we have been crazy busy since the start of the pandemic. We were very fortunate to be able to continue working even though the shop was closed. Everyone who was stuck at home wanted to enhance their space with plants. Caring for plants is comforting and having them around makes you feel less stressed- which is something I think we all especially needed in the earlier days of the pandemic!
What are some common mistakes plant parents make?
The most common mistake new plant parents make is not placing their plants in enough light. You could be doing everything else correctly and if your plants are not receiving enough light they will not survive. We always ask our customers to observe the lighting in their space- what direction do your windows face, how does the lighting change throughout the day, is there anything blocking the light coming in from outside like trees, your porch or another building? All of this will determine what kind of plants will thrive in your home. Lighting is the most important factor in choosing plants for your space. I can’t tell you how many DMs we’ve received from people asking for advice on how to save their sad fiddle leaf fig they’re keeping in a dark corner of their living room. At our shop, we welcome customers to bring in photos of their space so we can help them select plants that will thrive there!
What are your tried and true Accent Decor products?
We love the concrete Newport line! Concrete goes with any decor and the Newports come in a variety of modern shapes. Also you can always find the Lifestyle and Revolution planters in the shop! Our newest go-tos are the Romey planters. We highly recommend plants always have drainage and these have a drainage hole and a saucer so they were really made with plant care in mind!
Tell us a little bit about your experience installing in our AmericasMart showroom. How was your approach different in this scenario than in your shop?
Styling plants is one of my favorite parts of my job so I was so excited when Accent Decor reached out to us to style “Femme Wild”! We did an initial walkthrough of the showroom but we styled it very much on the fly which was a fun creative challenge! This process caused us to discover so many new ways to style both new and “tried and true” Accent Decor products. We have since implemented these new ideas in our shop!
Our approach to complementing the products was to ensure the plants we chose did not overshadow the planters. We wanted the focus to be on the products. This is different from how we style our shop where we are more so highlighting the plants.
What were some of the plants you selected to use within the trend story?
-Pilea Peperomioides: this is the plant that first comes to mind when you think of “trendy plants” so we couldn’t leave these out!
-Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma: we chose this climbing plant to highlight some of the beautiful accent decor trellises on display.
-Monstera: always a classic!
-Fishtail Palm: we used a 7’ tall fishtail palm for some height and drama.
-Ficus burgundy: their deep red foliage added a pop of color.
-Bird of paradise: these guys are so lush and full so they helped us create a jungle vibe.
-Ric rac cactus: their fun zig zag shape added some interest without hiding the products.
What is your personal favorite plant?
This changes frequently but I feel like anthurium forgetii is my forever favorite plant! They are special among foliage anthurium because they have peltate leaves-the sinus is fused creating a sort of inverted tear drop shape. I can really nerd out here so I’ll just say that anthurium forgetii is worth a google!