Every homeowner knows how vital plants are in living spaces. They brighten up the room and help circulate clean air, adding to the fact that they're a cool detail to have on your Instagram feed. But the reality of being a plant parent is not exactly an easy path to take because they require some TLC, too!
Here's where Moko Plants come in. Owners Samantha and Amanda Soliven are eager to make your plant parenthood a breeze! In fact, they've already done so for our fave celebs and influencers. Spot the Moko plants of Solenn Heussaff-Bolzico, Sarah Lahbati, Camille Co-Koro, and David Guison below.
Below, we get to know more about Moko Plants through its sibling-duo founders, Samantha and .Amanda Soliven
What is the concept behind by Moko Plants? Please describe your overall aesthetic.
"We're fun, innovative, and local.
"The aspect of fun is a constant element seen in all of our pieces and this is conveyed through the unusual and unique shapes of our designs. The goal is to show people that taking care of plants and maintaining dried flowers do not need to be so serious.
"We believe that we can create functional pieces without compromising design. We make it a point to design our pieces in a manner that we could integrate functional and creative solutions for the modern day plant lovers. This is why we made the Lulu planter, which features a seamless built-in catch plate unlike other planter designs. What makes this specific planter unique is the fact that it can use the bottom-up watering method. This feature helps with regulating the amount of water a plant receives; thus, making it easier to monitor the water consumption of the plant.
Lulu planter: P1350; Lulu planter with plant, starts at P1500
"We want to take part in supporting the local ceramic producers here in the Philippines, which is why all Moko planters are handcrafted by local artisans. Each piece is special and unique because of the subtle differences brought about by human hands. For us, these qualities are what give our planters their character."
How did you start your business? Could you tell us something about yourselves?
"We already had plans on starting our very own business but we were not sure which industry to delve into. We explored several ideas such as mushroom and herb grow kits, among others since we both love plants. The idea kept evolving and finally on the summer of 2018, we decided to design our own planters because we saw an opportunity in creating a more designed and functional planter. The process involved a lot of researching, experimenting, and prototyping. It took a lot of refining to accomplish the designs we envisioned. Starting a business in ceramic planters felt different from the ideas we had before because we were able to use our creativity to make a product that stemmed from our experience with our love for plants.
Lulu planter with dried flowers (6 bunches), P1750; Additional bunches, P75 each
"Moko plants was founded by two sisters namely Amanda and Samantha. Amanda is a Legal Management sophomore from the Ateneo de Manila University. Samantha is a fresh graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Architecture. Having a background in architecture greatly influenced the designs of the planters by applying the same concepts and principles that are used in designing structures, which is why function was an integral aspect of all of our designs as much as aesthetics. Meanwhile, Amanda complements the partnership by overseeing the operations and finance—from preparing the packages and dispatching them to procuring all the necessary materials.
"For us, it is exciting to work with each other because we finally get to turn our hobbies into something more concrete. Since we are sisters and we've known each other our whole lives, we have a deeper understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses. So it was easy to distribute the work and pinpoint which parts of Moko Plants should each take charge of. As business partners, we never forget to have fun with what we do because it's one of the primary reasons as to why we established Moko Plants."
What kind of materials do you use in producing your items? Where and how do you manufacture the pieces?
"Since our aesthetic highlights minimalistic yet quirky shapes, our material needed to be malleable in order to achieve such designs. Therefore, we chose ceramic. Apart from being malleable, the glaze used on our ceramics are food grade. This is important to us as well because we are passionate about growing our own food so the planter must also be safe for growing edible plants. Moreover, the labor/work placed into making the planter is of prime importance. We want to showcase Filipino handiwork and to support the local ceramic industry."
Cylindrical Glass vase with dried flowers (4 bunches), P750
What are your brand's greatest strengths? What sets you apart from other stores?
"The primary strength of Moko Plants is in its designs; melding both functionality and aesthetics. Looking at the Lulu planter, it acts as a pot for plants or a vase for dried flowers. With the planter, it allows bottom-up watering to be utilized. On the other hand, the Lulu planter as a vase makes it easier to make flower arrangements since the holes at the bottom of the planter stabilizes the stems.
"Furthermore, we release our products only if we ourselves would use and purchase it. As plant lovers, we wanted to create a planter that features all necessary components such as a built-in catch plate instead of selling these separately."
What about its weaknesses? How are you able to overcome these?
"Since all of our products are handmade, our line is not mass produced; therefore, we have limited stock for our designs. Additionally, handmade products like our planters take more time to create. As such, timing and planning plays a significant role in production."
Where do you see your brand in the coming years? What should we expect from your brand in the future?
"Definitely, we see Moko Plants growing into a business that will expand to more dried flower options, vases, and homegoods. Aside from plants, both of us are also interested in interior design and creating quality spaces for people to experience."
What's one myth about caring for plants would you like to debunk? How about some tips in caring for them?
"One myth about plants that we would like to correct is that they need to be watered every day.
"When we started taking care of plants most of them died because of overwatering. At first we were disheartened to not be able to keep them alive but after figuring out that it's as easy as letting the first inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Taking care of plants became not as daunting and difficult as we thought it would be. Over watering is harmful for the plant because it causes root rot and ultimately will make the plant die. This is why we created the Lulu planter with bottom up watering which helps with monitoring and controlling the amount of water the plant receives."
Could you give us some benefits of having plants at home?
"Studies have proven that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity (by up to 15 percent!), reduce stress levels and boost your mood—making them perfect for not just your home but your work space, too (NBC, 2017). Plants also have the ability to help with clearing congestion (Medium, 2017). Moreover, plants help purify the air in our homes, offices, among others."