My name is Isabella, I live in Downtown Miami and work through my Upcycle creative studio. Here’s a bit of background info on how my quarantine project turned into a company:
ONE DOOR CLOSES > My family runs an art company. We represent a small group of artists. My job used to be fun and social, as I would travel the world and meet interesting people, while we put on shows for our artists in galleries and museums. But when COVID got underway, all that came screeching to a halt. I found myself indoors all day, with my life revolving around my desk. I was bored and unmotivated.
ANOTHER ONE OPENS > To help cheer me up, my sister, Niki, brought me a plant. This led me to do a lot of research on plants. I was fascinated by the process of growing plants, so I started propagating plants, reusing and repurposing every pickle jar and smoothie bottle I could get my hands on.
HOOP DREAMS > I’ve always loved basketball and soccer. Been a Tottenham since before I was born. Sports are a big part of my life. So I had an idea. To take used basketballs and soccer balls and turn them into planters. I started slicing them in half, filling them with soil and a plant, and using a chain to hang them from the ceiling. I photographed my concept and posted it on my Instagram story. Friends started asking if they were available for purchase. At first I offered local deliveries, then national. I thought it was just my friends supporting me, so I was surprised when I got a custom request from a total stranger. Now I ship internationally, and 80 percent of my orders are from people I don’t know.
YOU GOT THIS > Having plants in your home boosts your mood, increases your creativity and productivity, and filters toxins, while increasing oxygen. But some people are scared to buy a plant, as it’s a living thing, and if you don’t care for it properly, it can die. Central to the mission of our company is instilling plant confidence! With each new order, we write out a personal note to the customer, sharing the name of their plant, as well as precise care instructions. Plants are a lifestyle, and these days there are dedicated websites and Instagram pages for every plant type. Once you know the name and specific care instructions for your plant, it’s kinda tough to mess up.
A GOOD ENVIRONMENT > A major focus of our company is giving back to the community around us, and the environment. We are developing a charitable initiative, where we will donate new soccer balls and basketballs to schools, and take their old sports balls, which they would have trashed and surely sent to landfill, and use them for our planters. Our name is Upcycle Planet, and we’re all about recycling and upcycling materials, and giving them a second life, with the goal of bringing more beauty, happy, and healthy to our world.
The meditative process of creating my products, finding solutions for modern challenges, and building the Upcycle Planet brand, are what bring me intrinsic fulfillment.
The opportunity to turn my creative pursuits into my career translates into sustained long-term success and motivation to me.