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Inspiring Conversations with Dhruvi Parekh of dirty.co

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dhruvi Parekh.

Hi Dhruvi, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Dirty.Co started as a mental health journey. I went through a rough patch in my life. When it was hard to get out of bed, hard to want to get out of the house, hard to do anything that required any effort. When I was encouraged to leave the house one day, we took a stroll through the nursery, I barely dressed myself but it did not matter. When I went in it was so quiet, so serene and made me kind of forget what was outside. The, not going to lie, terrible world we live in. World of judgment, rude comments, social media models, anything that makes you feel not enough in your own skin. But it doesn’t feel that way in the nursery. The sound of watering plants, a draft, and that’s it. I bought myself a plant that day, and everything changed, Don’t get me wrong it took me forever to get out again, but when I even considered it, it would be to a nursery and back. I took so much care of this plant, I took pictures of it, I watched it everyday, I would even sit up in bed on my laptop to figure out ways to make it grow more! Then I fell into a trap of, “if you like this plant, you might like this one too” and this is what got be back outside. I went out to find all these plants I kept adding to my wishlist. The collection grew and grew and so did I. I stopped laying in bed all the time, I started learning about plants, I started to care about something enough to feel a need to get up. After an even longer time, I started to realize how big of a difference this made on me and how I took my days, and plants flipped them around. Something made me just want to do this in the hopes that someone goes home with a dirty.co plant and it makes a similar difference in their life. Our grey sweatshirt sums this up pretty well in a small passage I wrote for plants helping mental health.

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?
Dirty.Co started as a plant Instagram account. I never posted myself, just my plants, plant growth, plant shopping, etc. And I loved it, I loved it when I was struggling because I was meeting all these incredible people from around that world, (some of which never posted themselves either) and we all were connecting on this other level. We wanted to always learn from one another about anything and everything. And I loved this about my plant Instagram, I ended up using it so much more than my personal. When it got to becoming a business, there was this whole other learning curve to increase into becoming a customer base, engaging, and seller account. Regular scheduled posts, responding to direct messages, comments, and Etsy requests, took a lot out of someone who never was a people person. As this is something I love the most about my job now, it was my least favorite when I first started. I even posted a picture of myself here and there, but I would look at it too long and end up hating the photo, as so many of us do. Doing all this now is so much fun, don’t get me wrong I still hate getting my picture taken, but I love responding to people, I love getting feedback, I love being helpful. That part of this journey is very fun to me now, that people want to reach out to me with questions and I can help them out, like I used to do with other accounts. Another big thing I struggled with was running the business in general. With working three part time jobs at one point, time management was not easy. Working almost everyday of the week just to suffice the finances of everything, getting Etsy orders out in time, and still trying to take time in my day to take care of myself and my pets was not easy. Lots of tears in never knowing if this was worth it, if the money I’m putting into all of this was worth it. It really takes a toll on your mental health, even if you’re a business advocating for it. You never know what is enough when you start. Do I buy 100 pieces of this item because I love it and assume it will all sell instantly or do I buy 10, see how it goes but run out and not have enough. It really is still impossible to find this happy medium, but I’m managing everything a little bit better and taking things slowly and day by day.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
At dirty.co, we are on a simple mission to make people smile and learn to prioritize their mental health. We strongly believe in the power of plants helping mental health, with a small purchase of a house plant, we believe this can help people develop and give them a reason to get up on those hard mornings and rough days. We began to sell plants, and merchandise to get the idea of using plants as a coping mechanism can also be a small way to help. Sometimes all you need to see is that the way you take care of something else, could shadow back on how you look after yourself and this idea can help struggling individuals see the light in things. We also donate 10% of our mental health merchandise to NAMI StL to give a little more on our behalf to help in other ways. Along with this, we also offer interior plant design, as we believe adding greenery to the home brings positivity, and of course pure air!

When it comes to selling plants, the reason we believe we are different is simply because of the love, attention and motive we have behind our product. Whether the plants are propagated from a personal mother plant, to picking up plants from wholesale, we are potting and repotting each plant into our own mixed soil and nutrients. Our mission to sell plants is also a big factor in why we believe we give our full attention, we want customers to buy plants from us for mental health, to smile and to see the excitement in their eyes when there is new growth!

I would have to say, I am most proud of myself. I truly do not believe I have ever felt this way about myself or anything I have achieved in the past. I am so proud of how quickly I have become a “businesswoman’. From not wanting to leave the house to taking every opportunity I get along the way just for people to see what dirty,co is. I want people to see what my goal and motive is and why it is so important. Why mental health is so important. I am so proud of how quickly I have learnt the social media tactics and how I am constantly wanting to learn more! I learnt how to make all our merchandise, quicker methods to propagate, better ways to ship orders, etc. I am always learning, every single minute I am running this business. It is incredible.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
Mental health, and making a difference. The reason being is I have seen how mental health can take over someone’s life, it can completely change an individual simply by not taking care of themselves when they need it the most. I think it is so important to check up on your friends, check up on yourself, as often as possible. Everyone’s problem is just as big as the other person’s. Everyone deals with problems differently, making no one’s problem smaller and no one bigger. I really just want everyone struggling to take a walk in a nursery, to take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be okay, not right now, not soon, but one day. And I want everyone to take mental health seriously, it is not okay to look past any struggling moment in your life. It is okay to not be okay, and it really matters to me to see people taking this seriously. Whether they use one of my plants to help them or something else that can get them out of bed.

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