Since its opening, Latinx with Plants has been thriving, and Andi’s drive to better the community continues. “I want to open a plant conservatory for the neighborhood,” she explains. “Why do we have to wait for gentrification for our community to have these things? I want to create a conservatory of Latinx and native plants.”
Beyond plants, Andi is helping her community grow. Latinx with Plants has become an example of an inclusive, conscious, independent business that can succeed by staying rooted in its community.
“I didn’t choose the plants,” Andi laughs, “the plants chose me.”
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“Plants heal people,” Andi explains, sitting amongst hundreds of plants in her shop located in Boyle Heights. “Plants make you acknowledge the beautiful parts of yourself that you forgot about; the nurturing part of yourself.”
The idea of Latinx with Plants took shape last year, when Andi started an Instagram account with the same name. “I didn’t see representation in my community for plants, so I started the account to talk about plant connection,” she says. The idea grew when Andi’s father became sick and she needed to raise money to support his treatment. “A friend gave me some dying plants from their nursery,” she explains. “I brought them back to life, and sold them to raise money for my dad.”
The fundraiser worked, and the plant sales continued, eventually turning into a weekend popup-shop on Andi’s porch. “I asked myself, ‘How can I incorporate community healing and keep food on the table for my family?’… plants were the answer.”
As the Instagram account grew, so did Andi’s focus on creating a physical space for Latinx with Plants. A space not just to sell plants, but to create change within her community and neighborhood. “Me opening my store and wanting to own property is how we create change. Having more brown entrepreneurs decide what’s going on in our community— that’s change.”
The doors to the first Latinx with Plants opened in July of this year, and despite the hardships of Covid, Andi opened a second shop in November. “I just don’t have a fear of failure,” she says. “When I realized that I had to do this for my dad, all my fears, all my insecurities, they all went away. Because it would have been more shameful if I hadn’t done anything. And that’s what keeps me going. His resilience gives me the strength.”