An Extension of the Store
You may want to give the mantra “leave work at work” a second thought. Annette Gutierrez is the owner of garden lifestyle store Potted in Los Angeles, California, and her home is the envy of any customer.
In the following interview, Gutierrez talks to Lawn & Garden Retailer about building credibility and knowing what trends compel your customers.
LGR: As the owner of Potted, do you feel like your home has to have a gorgeous garden?
Annette Gutierrez: Yes, absolutely. It’s like the old saying that “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” from many, many years ago. I think things like that are by the wayside. You have to be a reflection of what you’re selling.
We’re more of a lifestyle brand in the sense that we want to evoke an image, a feeling.
My garden is always changing because I want to work something out or try this or that. It’s a bit of a testing ground as well.
It’s been on The Garden Conservancy Tour and featured in Sunset magazine. It’s a calling card for sure.
Our professional life is an extension of what we enjoy so for me standing around saying, “Let’s try this,” and that I get paid for that, ultimately, is the best thing in the world. It’s a win-win for sure.
LGR: The tagline of Potted is “indoor style for outdoor living.” What do you think that means for today’s consumers?
Gutierrez: When you decorate the inside of the house you have textiles, you’re thinking about draperies, you’re thinking about art, you’re thinking about all that kind of stuff.
We really took the idea that your outdoor rooms are the same as your indoor rooms they’re rooms and that when you start thinking about it that way, the decorating becomes very similar to the interior.
Many people have outdoor living rooms like I have right outside my kitchen. There’s the outdoor kitchen, the outdoor dining room.
You can easily recreate the same ideas outside, but outside is so harsh. Our idea behind that was to try to curate choices that could support the outdoor conditions.
Anything that will hold up outdoors and is also beautiful is what we look for, and it’s not that easy to find. It’s getting better with the idea that people want choices and want the outside to be a reflection of their home, so that’s where that tagline came from.
LGR: When customers come into your store, what are they asking for that they weren’t aware of a few years ago? What trends have you been seeing?
Gutierrez: What’s so great about the air plants is that people can live in an apartment in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia or Timbuktu; it doesn’t matter.
Anybody can use them inside, and they’re fun and easy. Although, they’re not as easy as everyone seems to want them to be.
I laugh when people come into the store and say, “We don’t have to do anything to them.” I’m like, “Well, they’re a living plant; they need water.” There’s this misconception.
What’s great about them though is you can put them anywhere.
You know the Portlandia [sketch comedy television show] “Put a bird on it” joke? We always say, “Put an air plant on it!” We used that hashtag a lot on Instagram for a while.
They’re fun. I think I have 50 air plants in my house. People who normally couldn’t have a garden experiment with them and then they get braver.
I’ve been noticing more interior plants. People are really getting over this thing about not having a houseplant.
I think more and more people are really embracing them because there are so many more choices now, and people have really freed themselves from spider plants hanging or something like that.
On the Cover…
Annette Gutierrez decided to convert the garage of her 1908 Craftsman style home into a mini house. It is what she refers to as her “retirement plan” where they could rent out the main house, travel and stay in the former garage.
The 500-square-foot space gets a lot of natural light from multiple rectangular and square windows that fill in what used to be the garage door opening. The windows also offer a line of sight to the small garden.
“It kind of doubles the interior space as you look out at the greenery from the inside,” Gutierrez says.
Chartreuse is one color that she can’t get enough of, as seen on the trim of the home and throughout the garden.
“Chartreuse is such an amazing color for enhancing nature because most plants aren’t chartreuse, and yet every green looks really great with it,” Gutierrez says. “It just pops, and yet it’s harmonious.”
L.A. garden center owner Annette Gutierrez takes us behind the scenes of both her home and her shop.