This Black-owned virtual shop specializes in easy-to-grow varieties snake plants, golden pothos, and aloe vera.

By Samantha Hunter
January 12, 2021
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man holding a potted snake plant
Credit: Courtesy of Grounded Plants

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At first glance, Grounded appears to be an online plant shop, but its co-founders, Danuelle Doswell and Mignon Hemsley, would argue that with this new venture they are not just focused on greenery but the greater vision. "Our main mission is to help our customers disconnect and decompress through the appreciation of plants," shares Hemsley. "We want people who are looking for plants as a therapeutic experience to feel confident that they can own a houseplant and keep it alive." Hemsley and Doswell, two friends who met in 2016, have grown their friendship into a partnership based on their mutual love for plants and the belief that everyone should have plants as part of their lives.

Here, we talk shop with the co-founders, their business, and why plants help all of us grow.

The Root of the Matter

Doswell and Hemsley are on a mission to spread the word to the masses: We should all take the time to "get grounded," and plants—which are scientifically proven to provide benefits such as reducing stress to purifying the air—can help you to accomplish just that. Says Doswell, "When you are grounded, you have a strong connection with who you are and the environment that you occupy, which brings you physical and emotional balance. Not only does the word 'grounded' mean to bring mental clarity but it is also an action. Doing this action helps to bring you more one with yourself and nature." In October 2019, Doswell recalls that she sent Hemsley a tweet highlighting the fact that millennials own 33 percent of the houseplant industry, a statistic that surprised and excited her, only to learn that her friend was equally inspired. "She responded that she was going to start a plant shop and I immediately texted her like, 'If you're serious, let's do it.' So we began the ideation, researching, and brainstorming process. We decided we wanted to highlight the wellness/mental health components of having plants, and Grounded was born."

Propelled by their mission, they provide the tools and resources to support its customers along their journey, something that sets them apart from other similar businesses. "In addition to sharing tips on how to maintain the health of your plants, we also share different tactics on uplifting one's mental health," says Hemsley. "We also make it our duty to be accessible to our customers by offering free Zoom calls to answer any of their questions or needs." This includes what she calls, "Planterior Design" services for corporate clients looking to bring greenery into their business spaces.

Hemsley says that she realized some time ago that there was a void in the market, which they wanted to fill in terms of the plant purchasing and owning experience. "We have realized that so many of our customers are often new 'plant parents' or have killed a few plants in the past and have since been intimidated to own another," she says, which informs their strategy in offering plant selections like the Jade plant ($15, grounded-plants.com) and the Fiddle Leaf Fig ($30, grounded-plants.com). "We also advise our audience that plants are like people, in regards to their needs, and the more that you see yourself in your plants the more you will have that second nature to care for them accordingly. There are many lessons that your plants can teach you that can translate into real life experiences."

Mignon Hemsley, co-founder of Grounded, the virtual plants shop
man holding a potted aloe vera plant
Danuelle Doswell, co-founder of Grounded, the virtual plants shop
Left: Credit: Courtesy of Grounded Plants
Center: Credit: Courtesy of Grounded Plants
Right: Credit: Courtesy of Grounded Plants

A Blooming Partnership

These two entrepreneurs make quite the duo: "With Mignon's expertise in photography and design and mine in brand and marketing strategy, we've been able to create a powerhouse of both of our talents," says Doswell. "We lean to each other's strengths and make a sort of synergetic magic."

Like Doswell, Hemsley reflects that Grounded is the culmination of a lifetime appreciation of plants and the dream of starting her own business. "My mom has always encouraged me to have my own garden in our backyard and that has since been instilled in me," she says, where she grows peppers, herbs, and other greens to this day. "Danuelle and I would always bond with stories of our plants, share recipes back and forth, and discuss how we truly felt a connection with all of the plants we owned," she further elaborates. "From there, Grounded was created. We wanted to connect like-minded people and give people that same joy that our house plants brought to us." 

Going Beyond the Greenery

Doswell knows that to get grounded is one of the best things one can do for oneself, and she also pointed out that when you embark on that journey with them, your path is paved with perks. "Along with owning plants to disconnect and decompress, people should explore more self-care, meditation, reading, journaling as an outlet, conscious plant-based eating (because what we consume shapes our mental), and just finding hobbies and outlets that will enable them to put their phones down more often."

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