Already masters of their own successful businesses – the art retail space Signed & Numbered for Jacqui Vidal and online boutique Hunt & Bow for interiors stylist Alana Langan – long-time friends Jacqui and Alana have turned their green thumbs to designing striking botanical wares with IVY MUSE.
What pulled you in the way of a botanical wares business?
Alana: Jacqui and I are both a little ‘green-thumbed’ and were keen on the idea of getting creative with bringing greenery indoors. At the time, Jacqui was living in an apartment with no outside space and I was living in a rental property, so we both had to deal with restrictions on how ‘green’ we were able to live.
How was the idea of your first product, a stylish pot plant stand, conceived?
Jacqui: Alana and I were struggling to find high-quality plant stands without compromising on the design. We got our heads down, did some rough sketches and the rest is history as they say. Alana and I both design IVY MUSE stands, it’s a real collaborative process. Our first collection, GEOSCAPES, which launched in the spring of 2014, includes a collection of four timeless powder-coated steel stands.
How did you know ti would be a good partnership?
Jacqui: Being friends for so long (over 10 years), we knew we could work well together; we both have different strengths that we could play to… and we could cover each other’s weaknesses. We’re both pretty flexible and open to suggestions (and honest enough to know when we’re in the wrong) so we’ve not really had to deal with any heated discussions yet!
How was the transition from ‘one-woman-show’ to ‘double-act’?
Alana: Pretty easy. When working for myself I always missed the camaraderie you have with colleagues, it’s so helpful to be able to share the highs and lows with someone who just gets it.
What’s your pick of the best indoor plants?
Devil’s Ivy is one of our favourites; a beautiful romantic-looking vine that’s very hardy and easy to care for. As well as looking amazing and evergreen, it’s known for its air-purifying qualities. It’s a great communicator too – its leaves begin to curl when it needs water so it’s a great choice for those with a black thumb!
Chain of Hearts is an evergreen trailing succulent vine. Simple, cute and they look amazing hanging down on shelves. They can also handle a week or two of neglect, so good for the forgetful gardener amongst us.
Sansevieria (AKA mother-in-laws-tongue), with its sleek and minimalistic appearance, is a slow-growing plant that can last for years and requires little care. They’re also perfect for offices as they can tolerate shade well.
What plants are perfect for city-dwellers?
Jacqui: Herbs are the obvious choice for inner-city living; they’re beautiful but also functional, doubling up as a useful ingredient when we’ve got our chef’s hat on. Rosemary, parsley and chives are our favourites – they’re among the easiest herbs to grow indoors, they smell great and can be used across a load of dishes.