By Cynthia Gellis
In April of 2020, Anthony Diaz, a sign language interpreter, and his husband Kevin Alcaraz, a freelance make-up artist, posted a photo on Facebook of the macrame plant hanger that Kevin had created. Little did these houseplant enthusiasts know that they had taken the first step in creating Plantiitas (the “ii” in the name symbolizes the two of them standing together in this endeavor).
At first, they had no plan to transition from pop-up to shop, but popularity and demand motivated them to make the leap. Social media was a key factor. On October 24, 2020, after many months of hosting pop-ups in their garage, Plantiitas opened at 4003 East 4th Street. As of April 2021, the thriving plant shop has over 12k followers on Instagram; and customers trek from Orange County and even the Valley for the shop’s diverse selection of general tropical and collector plants.
Anthony and Kevin see the mission of Plantiitas as more than just providing quality houseplants. They believe that by learning how to look after a plant, people can learn how to look after their own well-being and that plants should be accessible for everybody. These beliefs are expressed in the shop motto: “Para Todxs Sale El Sol,” which translates as, “The Sun Rises for Everyone.”
It is important to Anthony and Kevin to make their offerings accessible. The shop stocks a wide assortment of plants and containers in smaller sizes that are both apartment and wallet friendly. Stop in and you will be dazzled by the stunning assortment of interesting houseplants on offer. It will be hard to leave empty-handed.
For Anthony and Kevin, it is important to find ways to give back. They are active in leveraging their business to support people of color and marginalized communities by partnering with local organizations to host public workshops and with their “Plantiitas Values” philanthropic program that raises funds for nonprofit organizations such as the 1736 Family Crisis Center. In addition, twice a month, the shop hosts no-fee local vendor pop-ups as a way to support other novice small business owners in the neighborhood.
Looking forward, Plantiitas envisions finding more ways to engage and serve the community. As Kevin so thoughtfully put it, “It’s hard to make the world different, but little by little, we’re trying.”
Plantiitas at 4003 East 4th Street
plantiitas.com and on Instagram@plantiitas