CULTURE // GOOD PEOPLE : KYLE CHOW
Since starting Camp Brand Goods back in late 2011, we have had the opportunity to meet some pretty special people. These people have laughed at our lame jokes, answered our stupid questions, and inspired us to be better people and build a better company. So to shine some light on these fine folks we have started GOOD PEOPLE.
Kicking things off we dropped in on Kyle Chow: The man, the myth, the legend behind Plant Terrariums. You may know him better as "The Terrarium Guy". Kyle started life like many other people do, as a small boy with dreams of one day becoming a plant. Actually I just made that up. Seriously though, over the years Kyle has transformed Plant from a small company that sold cool terrariums into a bustling botanical empire. Plant has grown to include terrariums, indoor gardening and landscaping supplies, natural artwork, functional vintage goods and much much more. With Plant's debut retail location opening its doors this weekend we figured this was a great time to get some "dirt" on the man behind the plants.
Do you find terrarium making to be a zen like process. It seems to me that you would have to be both relaxed and focused to make your creations?
I'm no master, but terrarium-making is pretty zen. I believe that it's all in the details, so focus really helps to create each environment. It also helps that I get to make each piece with natural materials that smell like a hike through the Rockies.
What’s your favorite type of plant to work with?
That's easy, airplants! Or tillandsia if you want to be formal about it. They are hardy, low-maintanence and don't need any soil to grow, which means they can be placed in any vessel or attached to any surface. To sum it up, they're rad.
What’s one component of your business that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of how, in a small way, the little environments I create make a positive impact on people. Whether it's an ear to ear grin or a subtle smirk, I never tire of the reaction.
What’s your favourite place to vacation?
Oregon. It feels like a second home for my fiancée and I. It checks all the boxes on our travel list: wander-ability, delicious eats, happy hours a plenty, beautiful scenery, adventure, and relaxation. If need a guide to Portland and the coast, I'll hook you up!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration is found in the most obvious of places: nature. There is nothing more unique and ever-changing as I stroll down the street, hike in the mountains or drive through the country.
Sometimes do you daydream about living in a terrarium?
Sometimes?! More like always. As a kid I was obsessed with miniature worlds and made up stories about life in them. I had a book about a family of squirrels that lived in a tree trunk and sold produce out of their windows and I thought, "That would be the life." I guess the next step is miniature fruits and vegetables. Any takers?
What can plants teach us?
Patience, and that a little neglect isn't so bad.
What are you most looking forward to about opening your store?
I can not wait to execute all the ideas that have been buzzing around my head since I was a kid, when the dream of having my own shop began. Also, running a small business can really take over your personal space, so I am very excited about having a dedicated spot to work in. I mean the dining table was good, but this is so much better!
Your vintage tool display looks amazing. Is there a tool you like most?
Did I mention I am obsessed with industrial objects? There is something about a well-worn object that just feels better, and it makes getting the job done that much more enjoyable. I believe everyday objects should be of good quality: well made, well designed. Why choose a plastic spoon for stirring that pot of chilli, when a hand-carved wooden one has a years of experience built right in?
And to answer the question… my favourite tool is a whittled chopstick my parents brought back from China for me when I was kid. It is perfect for terrarium building!
What are your thoughts on extra terrestrial life?
I think I've revealed too much already.
What are 3 things I should know before embarking on the life of a terrarium owner?
1. A little water goes a long way.
2. There's a terrarium for everyone, even black thumbs.
3. Oily fingers and glass don't mix.
When does your shop open?
It opens on Saturday, March 29th! It is one of those surreal moments when "someday" happens to be "today". Look for me discretely shedding a happy tear or two.
You’re teaching some classes here. What kind of classes?
It is great to have a space that is perfect for workshops! I will be teaching all types of classes on terrariums and unique indoor and outdoor gardening projects, as well as bringing in experts at their craft to teach workshops too.
And there you have it! Our very first GOOD PEOPLE. We would like to thank Kyle for letting us stop by his new shop and for answering our questions. The space looks amazing and if you are in Calgary make sure to stop by and check it out. The grand opening is this Saturday March 29th. They are located right in the heart of Inglewood (Unit C – 1335 9th Avenue SE) just a couple doors down from our pals at The Uncommons. If your not local check out Plant online here: