Introducing Catherine and Kevin, the owners of Prickly Subjects, who have a passion for plants and vintage design!
The idea for Prickly Subjects came from seeing the designs on the craft beer cans that their son was selling in his bar – they were too good to put in the recycling bin, so they began reusing them to plant cacti and succulents which were used as table decorations in the bar. It wasn’t long before people were asking if they were for sale! From there they started selling cacti in cans at local fairs, which led to the vintage containers that they now sell.
What sorts of things do they consider to ensure their business is sustainable?
They source containers at car boot sales, auctions, charity shops and vintage fairs, that they repurpose into stylish containers for their plants. Everything is second hand and potentially saved from land fill, and in instead will be enjoyed for years to come!
Most of the plants they stock are low maintenance and easy to care for (such as crassula and tradescantia), as they recognise that not everyone is green-fingered, so there will hopefully be fewer plant casualties and less waste. They use peat-free compost with high levels of sand and grit to help with drainage, and non-animal derived plant food. They also recycle their pots when propagating, display prices on bamboo sticks, and only use recycled brown paper bags. The crates they use for transporting goods are vegetable crates from a local café and their wooden crates are ex-display.
What do you love about running your business?
“We have been lucky enough to develop relationships with many loyal customers who let us know how their plants are getting on and we love seeing people leaving the stall with something that makes them smile or connects with them. The most memorable was a lovely customer who bought a pot from us for her mother who was suffering with Dementia because she knew it was something that would connect her to her earlier life. This is an example something that means a lot to us. We are committed to sustainability, and we hope that by choosing a pot with a past and a plant with a future, there will be less impact on the planet.”
What do you love about Birmingham?
“We have met many lovely traders, particularly in the markets we do around Birmingham and the Black Country. There are a lot of talented people producing their works with an eye to sustainability around the city and it is great to be part of that community. For a large city, the trading scene in Birmingham is welcoming and supportive.”
Find Prickly Subjects on Instagram (@prickly_subjects) and at local markets.