Why we love being a plant pop up shop in Norfolk, VA

Often times we get asked, “where are you located?” The short answer is everywhere! We don't actually have a brick-and-mortar store. We are a pop-up shop, which means our physical location is temporary, and we love this!

John R. Wharton at Crafted Indie Arts and Crafts Show O'connor Brewing Company Norfolk vA. Photo credit JW Landmark Photography

John R. Wharton at Crafted Indie Arts and Crafts Show O'connor Brewing Company Norfolk vA. Photo credit JW Landmark Photography

Curiosity killed the cactus

The pop up concept has been around since the late 90’s, according to Wikipedia, but if you think about it, a yard sale is a form of a pop up shop, and who knows how long people have been having yard, garage, and estate sales.

“Pop up retail”, and the way we imagine it today, started around 1997 when a small group in Los Angeles decided to hold “weekly club-like fashion and music expos to provide a place for people to buy streetwear from independent-minded California labels.”

Eventually they went on to be branded the “one-day "ultimate hipster mall.” Guess the term “hipster” isn’t such a new thing after all.

Dreaming of a Glass Gardens Store in Norfolk

Now, we have entertained the idea of setting up a physical brick-and-mortar store. We'd have our very own space where we’d host our terrarium workshops, sell our succulents, air plants, and other plant hustler goodies. In reality, we’re not ready to make that leap, and we believe there’s a rich interactivity and experience that comes from being solely a pop up.

We can be everywhere and nowhere

If John doesn’t feel like running the shop, he doesn’t have to, because our shop is only open when we’ve got a pop up event. Well...John will make deliveries at odd hours, when someone is in need of some plant therapy. It’s his passion so his shop is almost never closed.

Glass gardens flower cart at o'connor brewing company norfolk, va Photo credit JW Landmark Photography

Glass gardens flower cart at o'connor brewing company norfolk, va Photo credit JW Landmark Photography

The point is, a pop up allows us to be seen when we want to be seen. We don't have to worry about the commitment of employees, opening and closing times, keeping a certain number of items stocked, and all the other complexities of running a retail store.

"Pop ups give our streets and city some spice and vibrant space!"

-The Plant Hustler

We’re building a culture

There’s a certain thrill to being able to visit us on a day when the tents are popped up, the randomly acquired shelves are stocked with potted succulents, the flower cart is adorned with Flutterby Soaps, plant journals, and tiny plant collages, or being able to walk up and create your own terrarium on the spot. These one day events are exciting for us and exciting for our long time and newfound friends. We’re here, and then POOF! We’re gone! So get it while it’s hot.

Glass gardens flower cart at Fred Huette Center norfolk, va

Glass gardens flower cart at Fred Huette Center norfolk, va

Our pop up is beyond events like Crafted, or the Sensational Spring Arts & Crafts show. Our pop up terrarium classes at the Birch, the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, in your backyard, dining room, or office cultivate a unique experience around the idea that “this is happening now, and who knows when it will happen again.” Part of our mission is to provide an experience that helps people learn to be in the now, connect with others, and embrace life and this moment; the plant that's softly gripped in your fingers, the roots you dip in the water, the small hole you dig in the soil to make room for life to flourish, the new plant companion you'll lovingly care for and connect with each day, and the diverse, and sometimes random, group of people you gather with to share this experience. 

John leading a terrarium class at the Birch in Norfolk, VA

John leading a terrarium class at the Birch in Norfolk, VA

The plants become an extension of you, and become a part of your story. The experience of that moment when you carefully picked out your new succulent friend and gave it a new home is the beginning of that plant story. The moment is impermanent, but in that moment you’re growing something both in the physical world, and in yourself.

Pop ups are the spice of life

That’s the beauty of a pop up. It provides variety and makes life interesting. It takes careful planning and preparation, but it expands the opportunity to build new relationships that might not have otherwise been possible. There’s something serendipitous about it. When we meet and connect with someone new that’s visiting a Glass Gardens popup, there’s no doubt that it was a “right place, right time” occurrence.