By Carlotta Mohamed
Roy Paar and Milana Naumenko turned their love of plants into a passion project, opening the Water and Light plant shop in Ridgewood June 2. They welcomed the community with champagne and cupcakes.
Water and Light — located at 788 Cypress Ave. — is a small plant shop open Fridays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a variety of houseplants to view and choose from in the 350-square-foot space. On opening day, Paar and Naumenko sold 10 plants within two hours and a total of 47 plants by the end of the day.
Throughout the green botanical showroom, big and small plants such as succulents, monsteras, fiddle leaf fig trees, cacti, and philodendron selloums range in price from $8 to $200.
“A lot of them are tropical plants,” said Naumenko. “We wanted to make sure people see plants as an individual piece. For me, I love plants and in a lot of stores I go to there are beautiful plants, but they’re mixed together. This type of display we have is more about the individual plant and it’s nice to see.”
Paar and Naumenko partner with local and regional nurseries in New York City, Florida, and California to bring quality plants to their customers. After receiving a certificate from the New York State Department of Agriculture, they are able to take care of a plant in their apartment until it’s ready to be placed in the shop for sale.
Customers can also text Paar and Naumenko about a certain plant they would like to purchase, and their order is placed until they are ready to pick it up. They are currently working on launching an e-commerce shop with domesticated shipping to destinations within the United States to help build online sales, and incorporate technology with the plant business.
“There are sensors that tell you when your plant is dry or if it gets too much sun, and we want to have something like that to sell with the plant,” said Paar. “We also eventually want to develop a mobile app that can tell you when to water your plants.”
Everyone’s plants need consistent care and Paar and Naumenko provide extra services to help customers if they have any questions about their purchase. In addition, their Instagram account — @addwaterandlight — includes one post each day about a particular plant and how to care for it.
“I feel like a lot of people shy away from plants because they probably don’t know how to care for it,” said Naumenko. “We can monitor when a plant needs fertilizer, and that’s a way to keep in touch with the customers, and we’ll be there to take care of the plants.”
Paar said they’ve invested a total of $15,000 to begin their business and hopefully it blossoms into something bigger.
“We’re putting a lot of time, money and effort into this,” said Paar. “I’ve tried to start a handful of companies but never really done it quite like this. We have a ton of ideas and cool new stuff in the works coming soon.”
The Water and Light plant shop can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Paar and Naumenko are currently looking for an intern to assist with sales from July 6 to Sept. 15 during business hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, while they begin the next step of creating their online e-commerce shop.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha