Houseplant sales are booming and so are ‘Plantfluencers,’ the social-media creators sharing plant tips, products, and content

Christopher Griffin PlantKween

As many people shelter-in-place at apartments and homes through the pandemic, houseplants have become a growing source of interest.
Houseplant brands like The Sill, Horti, and Bloomscape have all reported a surge in sales.
“Plantfluencers,” the influencers sharing photos, videos, and classes centered on plant-care tips, are a part of this boom.
Business Insider spoke with several plant influencers and brands about what it’s been like to be in this niche space during the pandemic.
Some plant influencers had vastly increased their followings and continued to land brand deals. Others have launched side projects like online classes and virtual plant-care events.
Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard.

While sheltering-in-place during the pandemic, many people are looking around their houses and apartments and wondering, “Should I buy more plants?”

For advice on the subject, some turn to “plantfluencers,” the social-media influencers who specialize in sharing content about — as their nickname suggests — plants.

These influencers’ horticultural content on social media ranges from houseplants to gardening to sustainable living. Some of them have built communities of hundreds of thousands across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

And for some of these creators, it’s not just a passion, but a robust business as well. They collaborate with both local plant shops and larger direct-to-consumer brands like The Sill, teach courses, publish books, and partner with brands across industries for paid sponsorships.

Plantfluencers are not new to the scene, but their popularity and impact have surged amid the pandemic.

“We have seen a huge uptake in interest in these types of accounts since lockdown,” said Sarah Penny, head of content for Influencer Intelligence, an influencer marketing and data analytics platform.

One plant influencer who has seen major growth during the pandemic is Christopher Griffin (@PlantKween), whose Instagram follower count has increased by around 150,000 followers to over 225,000 in total. Their page is filled with colorful plants, educational content, and collaborations with brands like Horti. Griffin also works full time as an educator and assistant director at NYU’s LGBTQ+ Center.

“I think folks are looking for an opportunity to green-up their space and to make their homes that they’re working in have a little more light to it,” Griffin said. “And I’ve been sharing my journey about how I’ve been doing that, for me.” Griffin’s own houseplant count has grown by around 50 new plants to over 170.

Griffin attributed their recent follower growth to a combination of both …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

Big Tech’s record rally is being boosted by coronavirus — and growth rates are just getting started, BofA analyst says

Screen Shot 2020 08 05 at 9.33.20 AM

Rick Sherlund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch vice chairman of technology investment banking, said COVID-19 has accelerated a digital revolution and has boosted big tech.
He added that software is up 29% in the S&P 500 and is “not only eating the world” but “leading the market.”
Sherlund said he does not think big tech’s record rally should be compared to the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rick Sherlund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch vice chairman of technology investment banking, told CNBC on Tuesday that the coronavirus has accelerated the “urgency” behind digital transformation, and that has contributed to the skyrocketing growth of big tech.

Sherlund said that tech, particularly software, is the “relatively bright spot” in the global economy. Tech in the S&P 500 index is up 22%, and software is up 29%, he noted. He compared this to the broader S&P 500, which he said is up only 2% year-to-date, adding the “COVID impact has been very uneven.” Software has “been a big benefit during this period,” he said.

Sherlund also said that software is “becoming the business,” as more and more people are using it to learn, shop, work, and socialize at home. While it used to be used for back-office processes, it’s now at the forefront of people’s daily lives, and this is just the beginning of software’s growth. “Software is not only eating the world, it’s leading the market,” Sherlund said.

Read more: 3 ultra-growth fund managers who are crushing the market during a chaotic year told us how they’re doing it — including their biggest themes and top picks for the future

He added that this record tech rally is not a repeat of the late-’90s dot-com bubble. “We have good business models now. These companies, even if they’re growing fast and unprofitable, we look at unit economics … I took a look recently at a number of dot-com names, where they were valued back then and where they are today. We’re nowhere near those kinds of valuation levels,” he said.

Sherlund said he’s “not terribly concerned” about valuation levels of big tech stocks, and that the growth rates are just getting started in the tech sector. “Digital transformation is really disrupting markets and we’re at the very early stages of where this is going to take us,” he said.

Join …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

Big Tech’s record rally is being boosted by coronavirus — and growth rates are just getting started, BofA analyst says

Screen Shot 2020 08 05 at 9.33.20 AM

Rick Sherlund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch vice chairman of technology investment banking, said COVID-19 has accelerated a digital revolution and has boosted big tech.
He added that software is up 29% in the S&P 500 and is “not only eating the world” but “leading the market.”
Sherlund said he does not think big tech’s record rally should be compared to the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rick Sherlund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch vice chairman of technology investment banking, told CNBC on Tuesday that the coronavirus has accelerated the “urgency” behind digital transformation, and that has contributed to the skyrocketing growth of big tech.

Sherlund said that tech, particularly software, is the “relatively bright spot” in the global economy. Tech in the S&P 500 index is up 22%, and software is up 29%, he noted. He compared this to the broader S&P 500, which he said is up only 2% year-to-date, adding the “COVID impact has been very uneven.” Software has “been a big benefit during this period,” he said.

Sherlund also said that software is “becoming the business,” as more and more people are using it to learn, shop, work, and socialize at home. While it used to be used for back-office processes, it’s now at the forefront of people’s daily lives, and this is just the beginning of software’s growth. “Software is not only eating the world, it’s leading the market,” Sherlund said.

Read more: 3 ultra-growth fund managers who are crushing the market during a chaotic year told us how they’re doing it — including their biggest themes and top picks for the future

He added that this record tech rally is not a repeat of the late-’90s dot-com bubble. “We have good business models now. These companies, even if they’re growing fast and unprofitable, we look at unit economics … I took a look recently at a number of dot-com names, where they were valued back then and where they are today. We’re nowhere near those kinds of valuation levels,” he said.

Sherlund said he’s “not terribly concerned” about valuation levels of big tech stocks, and that the growth rates are just getting started in the tech sector. “Digital transformation is really disrupting markets and we’re at the very early stages of where this is going to take us,” he said.

Join …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

‘Hope in Darkness’: Nearly 2-year nightmare ends as Josh Holt and his wife gain their freedom

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Josh Holt after his release from prison in Venezuela, in the Oval Office of the White House on Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Washington. | Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Editorial note: This is the latest in a series of articles related to the KSL Podcast, “Hope In Darkness.” Find all of our episodes and coverage at kslnewsradio.com/hope-in-darkness/.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate floor speech in April 2018, just over a month before Josh and Thamy Holt’s release from a Venezuela prison, threatened to potentially undo all the work behind the scenes to secure their freedom, in the eyes of a Senate staffer whose work was key to that effort.

“I was worried we were completely burned to a crisp and that it had ruined any chance to get you out,” Caleb McCarry, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, told Josh Holt two years later in an interview for his podcast, “Hope In Darkness.”

‘On the edge of collapse’

Rafael Lacava, the governor of Venezuela’s Carabobo state, invited Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to visit Caracas in April 2018. Lacava was aware of the Holts’ imprisonment; he knew McCarry through a mutual friend and legislator, opposition leader Pedro Diaz-Blum, who had been with McCarry and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at a Boston retreat in the early 2000s aimed at mending fences between Venezuela’s government and opposition factions and the United States.

Durbin hoped to negotiate the Holts’ release during his visit. He also wanted to urge Venezuelan leaders not to go forward with potentially unfair elections. At the time, there was concern among international circles that Maduro had moved the election date up by a number of months in order to more easily win reelection.

When he got back to Washington, Durbin felt compelled to document the conditions he witnessed there, which were far beyond anything he expected. He described a country not just in crisis but arguably failing.

“No doubt many are aware that Venezuela has been suffering devastating economic and democratic backsliding,” Durbin said in his April 2018 Senate floor speech. “But what I found was a country that is on the edge of collapse, facing overlapping economic, humanitarian and political crises.”

“Inflation is rampant, expected to reach 13,000% this year, leading to what some call a race for survival,” Durbin said on the Senate floor. “Business leaders told me they’re being vilified by …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News