Manchester's Plant Shop
Cultivating a business
For Emma Nosurak of Manchester’s Plant Shop, diversifying her retail space has been vital for growth.
COULD THE KEY to pulling customers through your door lie in an Insta-worthy pooch? For Emma Nosurak, founder of Plant Shop, a bright, leafy store selling pot plants, candles and eco-friendly products in Stockport, just outside Manchester, it hasn’t hurt. Her black poodle-Bichon Frise, Herbie Hancock, is a regular fixture of her social media accounts and has a starring role on Plant Shop’s website. “You know, it’s great he’s there front and centre – people really want to come into the shop to meet him,” says Nosurak. “But he’s a diva!”
The point here, of course, is the power of social media to drive foot traffic into a brick-and-mortar business. Nosurak, who started her business after being inspired by Fitzroy Nursery in Melbourne on a 2016 trip to Australia,credits social media platforms, Instagram in particular, with helping drive up to 70 per cent of her customers into her shop.
“For me, Instagram has been a fantastic way tobe creative and to speak my mind daily to my customers.” With a background in the music industry, Nosurak had previously spent a decade learning how to use Instagram and Twitter to connect with audiences and to promote gigs and music events. When she switched careers and started Plant Shop with just 100 cacti she’d bought online, the botanical trend was just taking off. Her instincts were good and her timing even better. “The business just snowballed from there,” she says.
In Melbourne, Nosurak had taken heed of the plant pop-ups and maker’s markets around the city, and wassoon incorporating similar community-building activities into her own business. “When I first opened the shop, I had to have a few little add-ons,” she says. “We’ve got beautiful independent businesses in Stockport, but when I first moved here, a few people were sceptical. I got an alcohol licence added to the lease and we have events with DJs where you can come and buy a plant and have a nice glass of natural wine or a decent beer and mingle with fellow customers.”
There are regular workshops in ceramics, pottery and wreath-making – including festive events in the lead up to Christmas – plus plants and an events space for hire, as well as a new outlet in a reinvigorated shopping centre in Sale. Nosurak has also expanded her product offering. Alongside the greenery, categorised online as ‘Pet Friendly, ‘Air Purifying’ or ‘Hard to Kill’, is the Everyday Range of eco- and vegan-friendly detergents, the result of a collaboration with Fill, a Northamptonshire company specialising in refillable cleaning products.
“I call it an ‘octopus business’,” says Nosurak. “You’ve always got to have different streams of income coming in to keep growing and developing.”