Meet Cait Khosla, the 26-year-old gal behind Botany Box. Her NYC based business curates beautiful succulent assortments and delivers them right to your doorstep! She also offers workshops and events where participants learn plant care 101 and receive their very own succulent to pot and take home. She launched her business just a year ago and has already hosted workshops with the likes of West Elm, Thrillist and Buffy to name a few! Cait has also built an incredible community around her passion for plants, with 17.8k followers on her instagram (@botanybox).
I met Cait during her plant workshop with Moxxiemade this past Spring and we quickly became friends over our shared passion for entrepreneurship. Read on to learn more about her business, what keeps her head held high, and the advice she would give to her younger self in this week's Following her Bliss Friday Q&A!
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up outside of D.C., I had an incredible childhood home filled with tons of outdoor and indoor plants (hence Botany Box) and my mom was an avid gardener. I went to Roanoke College for psychology & communications (actually I have no background in business at all!) I'm definitely learning as I go. I moved to the city in 2017 and am absolutely in love with every piece of it. I think I've only grown personally & professionally since taking a leap of faith and moving here.
What inspired Botany Box? What were your first steps in getting started?
My mom was a big inspiration for Botany Box, she is so patient and creative, and growing up with plants and outdoor beds filled with different shrubs, flowers and more sparked my interest at a young age for loving plants. When I moved to NYC, I realized it was extremely pricey to buy ANY type of succulent or plant at a local store. I'm definitely big on "shopping small" but the prices were just outrageous. I thought there had to be a more affordable way to buy what you love. When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing, I created a *really lame* website and pulled photos I found of plants on google, and then I started testing different cardboard boxes from Amazon to see what plants could fit in them.
What's your long term vision for Botany Box?
My long term vision is to make Botany Box a long term income source and full-time job!
How did you grow your social media presence and community? What advice would you give to someone looking to grow theirs?
People actually ask me this all the time, I work in social media so I knew some of the tips and tricks to growing a following and getting people interested in talking to you. My best advice is to talk to EVERYONE on your platform, don't be shy in commenting or DMing cool companies you look up to, it could turn into a collaboration in the future, or someone you can go to for advice/help.
What's a day in the life like?
Ah, honestly it really depends. Some days I have 7+ orders to get out the door and some days I'm working on my content calendar for the month, and some days I forget to get on Instagram to post, it's definitely a wild mix, but I'm excited to see how holiday takes off (this will be my first one!)
What role models do you look up to / who inspires you the most?
My brother is a huge role model for me. He's taught me almost any street-smart skill you could need. He's quite frankly a genius. Love that guy.
What are some of the biggest challenges you've had in starting your business? And what have been the most rewarding?
Some of the biggest challenges have been resources. I didn't have a background in business, finance, tech, horticulture, web development, anything. I literally only knew how to talk to people, and talk to them well. I learned almost every skill along the way and had soooo much help from friends and family (including my kick-ass business partner Vonn).
In moments of self-doubt, how do you build yourself back up? What keeps you grounded?
Oh I'm honestly a work in progress with this, I get discouraged VERY easily and do that whole "the world might end" thing. I usually try to take everything one day at a time in business. Nothing is guaranteed and things will come up that seem like massive roadblocks. I think what keeps me level is knowing I can always try again, if a shipment gets messed up, if a customer is unhappy, if my website crashes, it's all "fixable".
What's a personal motto / quote you live by?
I just learned this one and it's really sticking: "heavy is the head that wears the crown". It's actually a Shakespeare quote, but super powerful. My coworker said it to me last week when I was overwhelmed with all my projects that I personally ASKED for.
What podcasts/books / or tv series are you loving lately?
Ok I'm still not on the podcast train but I'm working on it. My FAVORITE TV series right now is Jack Ryan, and I loveee reading self-help books. I just finished "You're Not That Great" and "Make Your Bed".
What are your favorite spots to eat, shop, explore in NYC?
I'm huge on breakfast, I'll sit down and eat a full breakfast meal any day of the week and be so satisfied. I love Dudley's in the LES (my roommates introduced me), I also love Irvington (in USQ) and ANY fancy donut shop can take all my money.
What's on your bucket list for 2020?
I really want to travel more (so cliche), but I actually didn't leave the country for the first time until 2017, and I have a MILLION places I want to see. I also want to launch 3 new products for Botany Box in 2020.
What does "following your bliss" mean to you?
Ah, I love the saying so much. For me as a female entrepreneur, it's less about listening to "what makes you happy" per say - and more about following that gut-wrenching passion that you always wanted to try.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Oh, god. I'd tell myself to calm DOWN. You can't predict the future, and you can't play the "what if" game.
What are your favorite pieces by f.y.b?
Connect with Cait!