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Artistic Inspiration

Pop Up Greens: Molly Rhymer and a Devotion to Plantscaping

Molly Rhymer, owner of Los Angeles-based business Pop Up Greens, finds pleasure in being surrounded by greenery and nature. And with an eye for design and assured of her preferred design aesthetic, she began creating a line of hand-painted pots with a variety of colors and designs to suit her tastes. Soon, the public took notice and Pop Up Greens was born.

Pop Up Greens and Dunn-Edwards have collaborated on a limited-edition line of hand painted planters inspired by our 2018 color+design trends. Dunn-Edwards recently approached Rhymer with the 2018 color + design trends stories to find out which one inspired her the most, and how she might best express this inspiration. Being a devotee to nature, her eye was drawn to the Trend 2 Natural Wonders story. And, she was already a fan of our ARISTOSHIELD® product before Dunn-Edwards approached her, so the partnership seemed a natural fit. We spoke to Rhymer about her company and inspiration for her new line of planters featuring Dunn-Edwards paint and color. Read on!

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When and where was Pop Up Greens started?
I started the business out of my apartment about 2½ years ago but it’s gone through some big changes this past year to become what it is today. Our operation is super small. Currently, it’s a one-woman show for all the day-to-day duties. I hand paint every single pot, as well as handle all administration, social media and shipping. I hire freelancers for specific jobs like building my website, PR and marketing or additional painters when orders get overwhelming. I’m planning on hiring a few people for part-time jobs in 2018 to help operations run more smoothly, which is exciting!

Where did you first start selling the Pop Up Greens planters? Where do you primarily sell them now?
I posted some of the planters on my personal Instagram, and people started to ask if they could purchase them. Starting a business was never the plan, but it grew in that direction in an organic way and just felt like the next creative outlet I’d been looking for. I started an Instagram for the pots and posted about 15 potted plants. They sold out right away! I then got the idea to paint on the pots so I could offer a more unique product, and it just escalated from there. In the beginning, I sold at some of my favorite local shops such as Hemingway & Pickett in Echo Park, Urbanic in Venice and Dinosaur Coffee in Silverlake. Once I switched to lightweight, fiberglass planters to broaden my market, I launched a shop on my website, www.popupgreens.co. Now, we ship all over the US and also sell on One Kings Lane and Houzz.

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What inspired you to start Pop Up Greens? Were you always into plants and gardening?
I had a ton of plants around my apartment and had such a hard time finding planters that matched my design aesthetic. I started painting on terra cotta pots, just simple shapes but at the time, nothing like that was being sold in stores. I was just happily doing it order by order, mostly for friends until I realized I had something pretty unique going and felt I had to just kind of dive in and start the company and hope it worked.

Growing up, my parents made a list of chores my siblings and I had to complete on Saturdays, and I always chose the gardening chores when they were listed. I have sweet memories of going to nurseries to pick out flowers with my dad. Later, a close friend got me into indoor plants. I love having greenery in my home — you just breathe better and everything feels a bit calmer. They have so many benefits and plants make people happy!

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How would you best describe Pop Up Greens?
Pop Up Greens is a Los Angeles-based brand specializing in hand-painted pots and interior and
exterior plant decor. In addition to the lightweight custom pots offered in our online shop, we also offer plantscaping services for retail and office décor.

Did you always want to have your own business?
I've owned two small businesses now, actually, which feels pretty crazy. The first was a headband/accessories line in 2008, which had a similar startup to Pop Up Greens in terms of organically growing from a hobby to a business based on demand.

Never would I have thought I'd start another business after the first, but here I am. Some days I question everything I'm doing and wonder what I'll do if it doesn't work out. It'd be so much easier to just work for someone else and have a guaranteed paycheck. But nothing in life is guaranteed, and the joy I get from trying to build something for myself and seeing my products and art out in the world is well worth it.

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Do you create the planter designs yourself? How do you choose the colors?
I do! I think the designs of the pots help shape our brand aesthetic. I’m drawn to simpler, geometric designs and neutral colors. I find inspiration everywhere and am constantly taking photos of something that could translate to a pot design. There’s a range of designs I stick to that take about the same amount of time to paint so I can base the price point off the planter size, not the complexity of the design. I’m always testing out new designs to paint though. Once I decide on a design, the next step is to see if that design will work on all planter sizes. I plan out each design on each pot size and write it down so I know the scale I’m working with when I get an order.

Everything is pretty simple and minimal and features neutrals or pops of colors that would work depending on the aesthetic of the home. I love the contrast the greenery gives to a neutral painted pot but a stark white home with a planter in a sunny yellow or pop of red is also very cool.

What did you think when Dunn-Edwards first approached you about a partnership?
I was so excited! I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to find paint that holds up to wear and tear and general handling of the product. A lot of times, I will set a plant in a corner and it doesn’t do well so I
have to move it around to find the best place for it. I want people to be able to handle my product
and move it around freely because the pots are so lightweight. That being said, they are hand-painted so finding a paint that wouldn’t chip or bubble was key for me. Finding ARISTOSHIELD® in eggshell was like finding the holy grail! It’s by far the best paint product I’ve used.

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What inspired the new design and color selections for the Pop Up Greens x Dunn-Edwards 2018 Trend Collection?
When I first saw the Dunn-Edwards 2018 color+design trends report, I was immediately drawn to the Natural Wonders Collection. I wanted the colors I chose to feel organic and subtle, a color you would normally see in nature that goes well with the green of a plant. The colors in the collection play off the pop of color and added texture from nature. A brown you would naturally find in leaves or the bark of a tree, a blue you would find in water or the sky. A deeper green hue and a contrasting blush and yellow tone round out the collection.

To learn more about Rhymer to purchase limited-edition planters from the Pop Up Greens x Dunn-Edwards 2018 Trends Collection, visit popupgreens.co and Pop Up Greens on Instagram.

All images used with permission of Bethany Nauert