We had the good fortune of connecting with Janet Shepherd and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janet, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand is having support from my community. Being a part of the retail cooperative at Rising Co. in Oceanside has made it possible for me to dedicate energy to my brand with the support of like-minded creative people who inspire me to do better every day. The structure we have in the cooperative model allows each small business to operate to their full potential while keeping overhead costs low and having access to the support of each brand and all their customers as well.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am the owner of Ornamental Plant Boutique, a small plant shop located in The Rising Co. retail cooperative in Oceanside. For as long as I can remember I have loved being around plants and was always interested in the plants my Mother kept around the house as I was growing up. Having the lush tropical landscape of Miami, Florida as a backdrop of my childhood certainly played a part in the joy I feel being surrounded by plants and greenery. I was also consistently in admiration of artists and photographers, so I chose to study Art History at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Being at a college with a community of amazingly talented artists and thinkers is something I will never forget. The creativity and freedom shared by artists supporting one another and helping each other grow is priceless. Finding my way in the world of galleries and museums was not as easy as I imagined however, and I longed again to be with plants and nature. I was able to get a part time job working in a greenhouse planting seedlings in Rhode Island, and also did volunteer work for WWOF USA. Working alongside people who dedicated their life to planting and farming showed me how much passion people have for plants and growing things. The path I took to get to be the owner of a plant shop was a meandering one exploring many different places and types of work. It is really only upon hindsight that I can see that all my experiences contributed to my eventual ownership of the shop. Certainly there were many times that I would have never believed that my love of plants could ever lead to a career or small business. Upon moving to California, I was extremely fortunate to get a job at the former Cedros Gardens of Solana Beach, whose owner supported my quest for knowledge and interest in plants. I worked my way up to Nursery Manager and learned a great deal about horticulture, design, and business. After my children were born I had several years at home where I tended to my own small but full garden and have always found peace in pulling the weeds or planting carrot seeds. Once my children were school age, I became inspired by other women who managed to run small businesses while still keeping up the house and all the other duties that Moms have. I set my sights on having a houseplant shop but soon found that long term leases and expensive renovations needed in the buildings of Oceanside might hamper my dream. It was then that I took a step back and decided to stop forcing it. After a few unnerving months of limbo, I was asked by Julie Ellis of Rais Case if I would be interested in having my shop at the new retail cooperative she was forming. I became part of the team immediately and never looked back. Ornamental is first a business formed out of a love for plants, but it is also an example of serendipitous timing and stepping back from things when they don’t flow easily to let things come at the right time.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first place I love to take a visitor to in Oceanside is the Pier. Walking that stretch above the water is such a unique and beautiful experience. It is even a treat on a rainy windy day! A walk along the strand to The Cup on Wisconsin Ave. for a coffee or beer on the patio is delightful. Of course, riding bikes along the rail trail is a favorite especially since kids can join on their bikes or scooters without having to worry about traffic. For lunch, a great spot is the MIller’s Table, where Stacey the owner is so knowledgeable about her craft it is seriously impressive! In South O, The Plot has become our favorite go-to for a nice vegan dinner. They have great outdoor seating and the owners are really friendly and supportive of other local businesses. Revolution Roasters is in my neighborhood and their seasonal drinks are fantastic. They have the best home made pastries I have ever had outside of Europe!! Seaborne Coffee at the RIsing Co is delicious as well and they brew Revolution beans. Seaborne has awesome outdoor seating and the friendliest baristas around.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without a doubt, I would not have been able to share my love and knowledge of plants through my business without the owners and other merchant members of The Rising Co. in Oceanside. As part of a retail cooperative, each brand involved dedicates time and energy to help run the shop and encourage each other’s creative direction. I feel inspired and grateful to be surrounded by other creative people who help me strive for more success in my business.
Photos by Allison McCulloch