As I write this, I look back at where my life was exactly a year ago and there is a remarkable difference.

Today, I am happily running my own pop-up plant shop that goes by the name of Eartha , which has been flourishing since it’s conception. In contrast to this, last February I found myself in one of the bleakest periods of my life; unemployed, suffering with depression and not entirely sure whether I’d be around to see my birthday in that coming April.

Depression and anxiety were nothing new to me and have been constant companions since losing both my parents in early adolescence. Up until that point I had never made much of an effort to address my grief and mental illness, I merely did what appeared normal to people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, like myself, and got on with it... It seems getting on with it can catch up with you sooner or later.

I find myself in a very fortunate position in that I have been blessed with an incredible support network of friends throughout my life; proving that though fate can severely take away with one hand, it can, in time, be equally giving with the other. It was these individuals who helped me find the help and comfort that I needed, who housed me during periods when it was necessary and showed me unconditional love, who were imperative to me eventually turning things around. To them I am eternally grateful.

It was also these friends who encouraged me to seek help from mental health charity, Cardiff Mind, whose incredible support and counselling services was also integral in me moving forward, continuing with my life and starting my business.

Now I feel the significance of sharing all of this with you is most importantly to emphasise that when you believe in yourself and your ambitions, it’s incredible the small ripple effect that it can have on others. That there is support out there for people in need and there should be no shame in seeking it. That lastly by following your dreams and listening to yourself, you can truly make a difference. You are important. You are worthwhile.

It had always been a fantasy mine to have small plant shop as I have always enjoyed working with, and learning about, different plant species. I find there is an honesty and enigma in the design of nature that has always helped me with my mental well-being. This paired with the satisfaction that comes from nurturing a plant and seeing it grow, made me want to create a business where I could share this experience with others. A business in which I could create a space where people could enjoy some of the amazing creations of the natural world and enjoy the calming sensation that comes from being surrounded by plants.

When I felt I was in a position to start working again, I approached another incredible charity, The Princes Trust, who helped me turn my dream of running a small plant shop into a reality after enrolling onto their Enterprise course. Only a few months after much business mentorship from the Trust and an incredibly successful Crowd Funder campaign, the Eartha pop-up plant shop was realised last June.

When I first started trading, my objective was quite simple in the fact that I just wanted to sell a few plants, learn, grow and hopefully be able to survive whilst doing so. I have since been humbled by the fact that I have been able to achieve this and much more. Since opening, the shop has allowed me to establish connections with the local council nurseries and sell plants literally grown in the heart of the city. I have also had the pleasure of working and collaborating with local artists and makers in order to provide customers with beautiful ceramics, jewellery and prints and support the talented creatives of Cardiff.

Additionally, I have been working with other charities such as Size of Wales, whom I have supported in their objective to plant more trees around the world in their fight to combat global climate change. Furthermore, by supporting local growers and selling a small selection of plants on a pay-as-you-feel basis, I have been able to help charity Refugee Community Kitchen provide thousands of meals to displaced persons in Calais.

Finally, with the help of charity UnLtd, this year I can look forward to working with mental health charities, such as Cardiff Mind, to share the joy of botanical life with other individuals struggling with their mental well-being.  

Yes, sometimes life does pile on the merdé and it of course stinks but it is also indeed fertile. So, you can either put up with the stench and let yourself be weighed down by the mass of it. Or, alternatively, you can use the opportunity to grow and to become a stronger, more resilient person.

Now I feel the significance of sharing all of this with you is most importantly to emphasise that when you believe in yourself and your ambitions, it’s incredible the small ripple effect that it can have on others. That there is support out there for people in need and there should be no shame in seeking it. That lastly by following your dreams and listening to yourself, you can truly make a difference. You are important. You are worthwhile.

Eartha Kitt, the talented, wonderful woman who was the inspiration for my business name once said, “I’ve had so much merde in my life I thought I’d use it as fertilizer.”

I always thought this to be a great approach to life. Because yes, sometimes life does pile on the merde and it of course stinks but it is also indeed fertile. So, you can either put up with the stench and let yourself be weighed down by the mass of it. Or, alternatively, you can use the opportunity to grow and to become a stronger, more resilient person. A significant person. A person who can make a difference, however big or small.

I recommend we try to do the latter.

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