By Katie Johnson
For a long 11 weeks, Queen Victoria Market’s (QVM’s) beloved plant store, Folia House, was forced to keep its doors shut due to coronavirus restrictions.
But on June 12, owner Quynh Phan was overjoyed to re-open to customers after QVM allowed specialty traders to return to the market.
“We were surprised when we opened because in one week everything went back to normal,” Ms Phan said.
“A lot of people came back to the store, we have regular customers coming back as well so it was really good.”
Since re-opening, Folia House has enjoyed a steady stream of customers who have been keen to step back into QVM’s green wonderland—buying up Quynh’s collection of seasonal plants and boutique vases.
“Small indoor plants which are easy to take care of have been very popular with customers lately, especially devil’s ivy and peace lilies,” Ms Phan said.
Although the market closure has been difficult, Folia House was able to stay afloat through their online orders and a new warehouse they opened in West Footscray last month.
“We’ve actually had a lot of online orders from our new website and still do. People were buying plants like crazy. We’re able to offer a good delivery fee because our warehouse is close to the city,” Ms Phan said.
Ms Phan also said QVM’s three months of rental relief for traders had been critical for her business.
“The three months of free rent was really good news for us. It made it much easier for us to focus on our online store,” she said.
Ms Phan has been a familiar face at QVM for some time. For years she had a flower shop on Franklin St, but after customer demand increased, she was prompted to open up Folia House in 2016 with a small team of three people.
Now, with people locked inside their homes, Ms Phan said that demand is higher than ever—as many discover the power of plants for the first time.
“Plants have been popular with people in isolation, especially in the city because people are looking for some green in their house because they don’t have a backyard,” Ms Phan said.
“Many people are buying plants for the first time, as the greenery brings them happiness while they’re stuck at home.”
Folia House is now open from Tuesday to Sunday at Victoria St •
For more visit: foliahouse.com.au