There is an age-old phrase stating that money does not grow on trees, but for young entrepreneur Krish Shankar, it is starting to grow on houseplants. At only 16 years of age, Krish is at the helm of a botanic empire. His two Instagram accounts and website connect plant lovers with experts to help their plants thrive.
Like many of his generation, Krish started an Instagram account to share his passion: plants. Just like the plants shown on the page, its number of followers quickly grew.
Scrolling through the feed of @houseplantsofnyc page feels like stepping into a digital jungle. One image features towering monstera which fill the living room of a luxury apartment. Another shows a cat sitting on a sunny windowsill under long trails of ivy. Many of the posts show how plant lovers have turned their sometimes harsh urban environments into calming green spaces. However @houseplantsofnyc provides more than just aesthetic inspiration: scattered throughout the photos of thriving plants are tips and tricks for helping them reach that healthy state. Krish includes posts providing information about lighting, pruning and caring for those ‘hard to keep alive’ species.
Houseplant lovers from around the world send in lush videos and photos of their home jungles and the page also features care tips and profiles of various plant species. As the page quickly reached 100, 000 followers, Krish started receiving Instagram messages from followers asking for help with their plant problems. Having a flourishing indoor garden means ensuring that pH levels, watering, light and disease prevention are all managed effectively. Krish had the knowledge but as the account’s popularity grew, he became unable to keep up with the enquiries.
A keen business-minded student of British International School in Phuket, Krish quickly formulated an idea: he couldn’t answer all these enquiries himself, but @houseplantsofnyc proved that the internet was home to a multitude of plant lovers. Krish decided to launch www.helpyourplant.com, a platform where beginning botanists can be connected with experts to answer their questions. With the motto ‘never kill a plant’ splashed across its homepage, Help Your Plant is free to join. It grants users access to a community of fellow plant lovers and a wealth of knowledge.
Krish uses his two Instagram accounts to market the site, with the combined followers of @houseplantsofnyc and @helpyourplant.io totalling over 165, 000. This strategy has proven to be a success, with the startup signing over 2500 users and working with 13 partners so far.
So what is next for Krish? His overarching goal is for the Help Your Plant platform to grow just like the houseplants on his Instagram page. He is seeking seed investment to help develop the website and allow it to offer more features to members. Krish is also looking into the implementation of artificial intelligence software which would assist customers with indoor farming.
Since the platform itself sprung from social media, it comes as no surprise that Krish is confident in using the internet to leverage his growing team. He is investigating how to hire an online team that could be spread across the globe, helping plant lovers far and wide.
Watch this space – this driven young entrepreneur seems to be flourishing as quickly as his houseplants!