For Emily and Brian Kellett, founders of Stump plants, turning homes into green oases is “a dedication.” They believe that adding ornamental foliage, a statement cactus, tropical succulent, or cascading fern to your living space doesn’t just look good, it can really lift the spirits. And as spending more time at home remains on our horizons, that is one mighty bonus.
Stump, their curated plants company, opened its doors in Columbus, Ohio, in September 2015, but the seed of the operation was planted six years earlier when Emily was hired to do some market research on garden centers.
“I’d travel across the country talking to customers, owners, and employers, and my interest in plants was ignited,” she says. “I’d talk about it when I got home, how garden centers are big, bewildering places, and the choice is overwhelming. That’s when we hit upon the idea of Stump. Our premise was to make it easy for people to buy plants.”
They began selling at a farmers’ market before coming across the “perfect” shop that was up for lease. There are now five standalone stores—two in Columbus and one each in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Savannah, Georgia—that bear the Stump moniker. “Our stores are a reflection of the hospitality industry,” Brian says. “They have a real neighborhood feel, and are a place where people stop by to chat, and every location has a bar vibe. We do all the design and build-outs ourselves.”
And the name, Stump? “We both had a background in design, loved furniture, and Stump linked this to plants. It shows the life cycle of a tree and at the same time, over years, people gain experience and growth. Knowing how we wanted Stump to be, it seemed a perfect fit.”
Garden centers can be bewildering places. Stump’s premise is to make it easy for people to buy plants—Emily Kellett
It is clear that Stump is more than an enterprise to the husband-and-wife duo and is all-encompassing. They have a team of nine employees across the stores—“people who want to stay a while”—and they support local artists and small independent suppliers making pottery, including a namesake range, Stump Wares.
But what about their customers, how does Stump help make their lives better with a house plant? “We have fantastic interactions with all sorts of folks,” Brian says. “Those who have never had a plant before, those who bring in photographs of their homes and offices asking for advice, those who just stop by and leave with something.
“We often say, ‘this one’s on us,’ and they’ll come back a year later to show us the difference the plant has made to their home. When a customer buys from us, we give them a care card along with their plant. It’s personal and they leave with something tangible.”
With Atlanta possibly the next location, Stump looks set to thrive. Do the duo have any tips for the not-so-green-thumbed among us? “Be patient and don’t freak out if a leaf drops!”
Banner image: Fernando Decillis