Today we’d like to introduce you to Hammy Sorkin.
Hi Hammy, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was one of the many dorky science kids — while on family vacations I’d draw birds in my sketchbook and fill my pockets with rocks. At 18 I moved, on my own, to Windhoek, Namibia. I really fell in love with the desert, and brought that love back with me when I moved back to St. Louis to attend Washington University. I started at the WashU greenhouse as a work study student, and although I’ve grown plants all my life, that’s where my love of plants really took off! Through the years I’d get frustrated with ill-cared for and mislabeled (or often, not labeled at all) plants for sale.
I wanted to take things into my own hands. After all, I was already growing too many plants to fit in my apartment. It also allowed me to have a great outlet for my art, mostly drawings and digital illustrations of succulents and cacti. This is how Widmer Botanicals started: as a creative, educated, and accessible space for plants. Each month I have a pay what you want section that 100% benefits charity to fundraise, but also to allow plants to thrive in everyone’s home.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Overall, I am very lucky to have been able to start this and keep it going. The bumps, like any other small business, are mostly financial. I have big ideas. And, like any other plant lover, I often run out of space for all the plants. I have nine grow light shelves plus a greenhouse, cared for by my mom! And yet I find myself always looking for more space…
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Widmer Botanicals?
I am mostly a succulent and cacti grower. I have professional horticulture setups at two locations in St. Louis, neither of which are public at this time. I am diving into houseplants a little, but I would say 75% of my plants are succulents. What I provide as a business is support. I am not a reseller — I’m a grower. I don’t buy succulents from a farm in California then mark them up. I spend months and sometimes longer growing my plants for sale. I like to make sure the plants are healthy and stable before putting them out. In addition, all plants come with a species label and a care sheet. I like to tell people that no, they can’t kill them! I always offer up my advice and help for anyone, whether they bought a plant from me or not. I genuinely want to see plants thrive in others’ care!
I also collaborate with my mom a lot. She’s a lifelong, multi-skilled artist who creates beautiful pots (with drainage) and stunning, handwoven plant hangers.
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I think the social aspect of my business is huge: I try to actively support marginalized communities in St. Louis by doing fundraisers and commissioning local artists. I love being a business in St. Louis that also INVOVLES St. Louis. In addition, my favorite part so far is making friends with regulars and other plant people!
- 4″ potted succulent/cacti: $10 (tax included in all prices)
- 6″ potted succulent/cacti: $20
- Handmade 5″ pot: $30
- Houseplants/tropicals: $10-$80
- Rare plants, starting at $25
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: widmerbotanicals.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/widmerbotanicals
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/widmerbotanicals
- Other: https://www.patreon.com/widmerbotanicals