New growth industry in fashionable plants

Phoebe Hutcheson, owner of Dahlia, 17 Roseneath Street, Marchmont.
Phoebe Hutcheson, owner of Dahlia, 17 Roseneath Street, Marchmont.
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Since opening her first shop earlier this year, young entrepreneur Phoebe Hutcheson has seen her business grow and grow – in more ways than one.

A new generation of Instagram shoppers have been beating a path to her door in Marchmont for the latest in must-have house plants.

A stylish new addition to the Capital’s independent scene, Dahlia isn’t a florist but offers a beautiful and extensive range of indoor plants, along with handmade pots, artwork cards, artisan jewellery and natural candles.

The new venture is a partnership between Phoebe and her mum Jenny Lockton, whose successful online business Bohemia Design previously occupied the shop.

A former pupil of the Edinburgh Steiner School, where nature and the environment are central to learning, Phoebe (22) combined her knowledge of retailing with her interest in botany and art when coming up with the her vision for Dahlia.

“I wanted something minimal and stylish; a beautiful place with lovely scents and music, where people would feel comfortable to browse,” she says. “It’s almost like creating an exhibition space and an experience for the shopper, where products are exhibited and you can imagine how they will look in your home.”

Acknowledging the part played by social media in the shop’s early success Phoebe adds: “People like to share pictures of plants, with tips on how to care for them and where they look good in the home. Customers will come in looking for a plant they have seen on Instagram and if I don’t have it I will order it. It’s very much how people shop for plants these days, like other fashion items. I never thought fashionable plants was a thing, but it is.”

The warmer-than-average summer and the shop’s sunny corner site have also played their part, creating a greenhouse effect.

“It’s almost as if some of the plants are on steroids. One minute they are 5cms tall and then suddenly they are 15cms and flowering! Everything is just super happy because of the weather and it’s lovely.

“People comment on how the place has progressed and I tell them it just did it by itself. The space is white and tiled, which allows the plants to speak for themselves.”

Dahlia, 17 Roseneath Street, www.instagram.com/dahliathestore, phbeb@outlook.com