It's #MississippiMonday today and we are excited to share one of our favorite plant ladies, Jenni from The Prickly Hippie! We are HUGE fans of cacti + vintage goodies here at Thimblepress® and we are super excited to share Jenni's hopes and dreams for herself and her brand!
What/Who exactly is The Prickly Hippie?
The Prickly Hippie is not only a full-service florist, but a specialist in Mississippi grown Succulents & Cacti. Right now, The Prickly Hippie is most recognized for one-of-a-kind arrangements of Succulents & Cacti planted in vintage finds-turned-planters. I also teach classes on creating Succulent/Cacti wreaths and arrangements, rent out centerpieces for special events, and also create floral crowns, boutonnieres, and bouquets for weddings and other important life moments. How did you get started and what was the inspiration to take the small business leap?When I lived in an apartment in college, I had an itty-bitty balcony with minimal amount of gardening space. I started creating Succulent & Cacti arrangements because I realized how much beauty I could jam-pack into a tiny area. I also loved how easy the plants were to care for. I added a few lanterns and a rocking chair to my balcony and it quickly became my hideaway from the "real world". I loved to turn my rocker with my back to our apartment parking lot and imagine I was staring at my exposed brick wall and container garden on my super-chic apartment balcony situated in the heart of New York. These plants & the ease of propagating them turned into an addiction and the idea for The Prickly Hippie was born. I have always been a self-starter, running my own dance studio in high school, my own cake shop in college, and now The Prickly Hippie. I love the idea of controlling my destiny, and creating a brand and product that people look forward to collecting and being a part of. It felt natural and right to begin pursuing The Prickly Hippie as a small business.
How does Mississippi play a role in your business?
The best part about growing Succulents and Cacti in Mississippi is the fact that the climate is PERFECT for healthy growth! These plants are low maintenance and require a minimum amount of water. The humidity and climate in Mississippi keeps the plants healthy and happy year round. Fondren's First Thursday and The Mississippi Farmers Market on High Street in Jackson, Mississippi, have also become assets to The Prickly Hippie's growth. Both events have become a regular way to meet new customers, give helpful tips to old customers, and get inspired by other local Mississippi artists and farmers. I truly adore the great people I get to spend every Saturday with while at market and I have always had an absolute BLAST setting up for FFT!
I also love that I am bringing a new and exciting gardening idea to The South. Succulents and Cacti are huge in Australia, Japan, and California, but Mississippi also offers the perfect climate and humidity for these beauties-- I want to help Mississippians discover these diverse, air-purifying, interesting plants.What are your goals for your brand? I dream of opening a storefront! I would love a quirky little hippie shop where one could grab a coffee and healthy lunch, check out what unique Prickly Hippie arrangements are available, and just enjoy a cozy, relaxing, atmosphere. I would love a place to work on my floral arrangement orders, teach gardening classes & meet with special clients and other local artists & friends. I also would love to get involved in wholesale. When I dream, I dream BIG and I can definitely see my arrangements selling on chic websites and in unique storefronts.
What is your background?
I grew up training in music, theatre, and dance. I have always been drawn to artistic talents and tend to thrive and immerse myself in creative outlets. I have an English- Creative Writing degree, but in college, decided to teach myself the art of cake decorating. This skill changed my life forever and proved that if I put my mind to something and loved it enough, I could use that talent to not only make myself happy, but also to make money.
Currently, I work for a global bakery company as a Technical Sales Service Representative. I travel to an assigned region of bakeries and teach the employees at each store how to best use our product and how to properly decorate and design cupcakes, cakes, and wedding cakes. I never imagined a job so rewarding, challenging, and interesting and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I love my job, but still dream of being my own boss, representing my own brand and company through The Prickly Hippie.
Where all do you find inspiration?
Inspiration finds me everywhere! For The Prickly Hippie, many inspiring moments have come from the dusty, cluttered corners of antique & thrift stores. I ADORE digging for treasures in second-hand stores and find it so romantic and meaningful that I am bringing home items that once belonged to and inspired someone else. My favorite finds at these stores are pieces of artwork, unique furniture, and most importantly, eye-catching vases/containers/planters that I can turn into one-of-a-kind PH arrangements. Instagram also plays a large part in my inspiration. There is a gigantic community of Succulent & Cacti lovers posting daily, so I can always count on a quick scroll through IG to show me some beautifully colored Echeveria or a kooky shaped Cacti that immediately sparks my interest and gets me in the mindset to get my hands in the soil.What do you like to do when you aren't creating/building?
I love to travel with my husband. We always have the best time exploring, meeting local people, and trying new food and activities. Adventures kayaking, spending time outside with our pets, and attending music festivals are also some of my favorite things to do! I also love to cook and bar-tend, so one of the best ways I de-stress is by hosting parties with friends and family on a regular basis.
What are your favorite local places to shop and dine?
The Co-Op at The Rainbow Grocery is my go-to place for gifts for friends and family and I love wandering around Fondren and the shops there. My favorite local eatery is The Farmer's Table located on High Street where the Farmers Market takes place and I am OBSESSED with Deep South Pops. I seriously don't think there is anything more yummy than their popsicles! I also love to unwind and grab a drink with friends at the Library Lounge at the Historic Fairview Inn.
What are some of the reasons you call Mississippi home?
My husband is originally from Brandon, Mississippi, so after graduating college, it felt right to come to Jackson to live near friends and family. I love the funky vibe that comes from the Mississippi artists and feel like my art and The Prickly Hippie fit in well. I feel that Mississippi is a great place to plant roots and to raise a family-- I love the Southern traditions, foods, and hospitality that comes with the territory. There are kind, genuine people, creative, new artistry, good music, good food, good vibes, and good opportunities here. I feel inspired and welcome-- and I don't think there is anything more comforting when looking for a place to call 'home". I never imagined settling down in Mississippi. I dreamed of a loft in New York City, but now, I can't imagine living anywhere else. At this time in my life, I know this is where I was meant to be! How do you think what you are doing is helping to shape your local community as well as the image of Mississippi?
I think some people imagine Mississippi as "backwards" or full of close-minded individuals, but I believe it to be the opposite. Especially in our up-and-coming generation of small business owners and artists, I see inspiration, drive, and ingenuity. I am in awe of the brilliant ideas and creativity coming from Mississippians that are busting their butts to not only make a name for themselves, but to inspire and change the community and world for the better...And I want in on that! I think that The Prickly Hippie is not only a brand, but a vibe. I want to inspire people to take an interest in gardening, I want to inspire people to learn to nurture and care for a living thing. I want to create a storefront that locals like to come and relax, where they enjoy time with friends and family, learn new things, and also, hopefully, take home a unique arrangement that not only brightens up their living space, but purifies the air and reminds them to see beauty in nature. My drive comes from wanting to live a meaningful life. I am not satisfied with settling. It is important that The Prickly Hippie succeeds, not only because it is my creative outlet, but because I hope to use it as a platform to better the community and Mississippi, to educate individuals about gardening and nature, and to raise money for deserving charities.
Right now, every month, I choose a local charity and donate a percentage of The Prickly Hippie's sales. I look forward to the day when these donations grow and I am able to give more of my time and love to those that so deserve it.
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What a talented gal? We can't get over how beautiful her succulent arrangements are! It makes us giddy for summer! Want more updates and cacti pics? Find more updates and new arrangements here:
*NOTE: For all our local friends, The Prickly Hippie has a booth at the Farmers Market every Saturday, 8AM - 2PM!
929 High Street Jackson, MS 39202