How Christopher Griffin went from plant lover to Instagram's Plant Kween, earning thousands of followers and dollars from brand partnerships

  • Christopher Griffin, aka Plant Kween, had 50,000 followers devoted to his home gardening Instagram account in January 2020.
  • Today, Plant Kween has 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content.
  • Griffin shared their strategies for turning a passion into a thriving brand and carving out a space on crowded platforms. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Christopher Griffin’s captivating smile shines, even when it’s partially obscured by the geometric patterns of their plants’ leaves. 

Griffin’s Instagram account, which is under the moniker Plant Kween, aims to be a breath of fresh air from doomscrolling. Their feed is filled with lush images of the 200 plants living in their Brooklyn apartment, tips on caring for the greenery, and useful botanical knowledge. 

They started the account in winter 2016 — as a means of learning about something new after graduate school — and grew it steadily to 50,000 followers by January 2020. Then, two things happened: Individuals took up home gardening when the pandemic forced them inside while Black Lives Matter protests and conversations about systemic racism highlighted Black voices. Griffin fell smack in the middle. 

Today, Plant Kween has 311,000 followers and collaborates with brands like Spotify on curated content. Griffin couldn’t disclose what he earns with the music-streaming service but a partnership with the sustainable fashion line Tonle, that sold $42,000 of non-binary clothing last year, netted them around $8,400, according to Tonle. 

What started as an experiment to rehab a wilting plant turned into a brand that nets income, educates followers, and fulfills Griffin. They shared their strategies for turning a passion into a thriving brand and carving out a space on crowded platforms like Instagram. 

Choose something fun

Griffin purchased their first plant — a marble queen pothos from a local hardware store — during a period of soul-searching. Tending to the plant’s heart-shaped leaves reminded Griffin of their grandmother, who kept a thriving garden in Philadelphia and introduced them to the family’s deep-rooted history of horticulture. 

Griffin’s experiment quickly transformed into a passion, which they said is vital to developing a thriving brand or business. Enjoying what you do will make the work feel gratifying, they said. 

“If it’s not making you happy, then it’s going to become a tedious chore,” Griffin said. “It has to be something you want to explore and share with other folks.” 

Stay consistent

Griffin’s day begins with their plants: They wake up early, make a cup of tea, write a diary entry, and care for their plants while listening to a curated playlist. They post on Instagram in the mornings. 

They recommend entrepreneurs find a similar consistency when posting on social media. Find a time that works for your audience and yourself, then maintain that regularity in your daily routines. 

“It’s an ingrained process that feels good for me and isn’t a chore,” they said. 

Schedule specific time to engage with your audience 

Griffin loves engaging with Plant Kween fans and sharing parts of their life, but maintains control over time spent online. Griffin sets specific times for corresponding with their followers, gauging how they’ve reacted to a certain post, and interacting with their online community. 

“I have dedicated time that allows me to do that so I’m not spending 10 hours on social media, because that’s not healthy,” Griffin said. Resist the urge to answer every message as it comes in and block off times of your day to converse with followers. 

Set boundaries on what you share

While it may feel tempting to share every aspect of your life or brand, Griffin suggests establishing rules on when and what you share. Establishing boundaries is a healthy practice for Griffin, who doesn’t want to share all of themselves with the world. 

“Plant Kween is a part of me, but not all of me,” Griffin said. “It’s important to be able to keep something for myself.” 

Find the right partners for collaborations 

Griffin maintains his full-time job as assistant director of NYU’s LGTBQ+ Center — where they advise students groups and run programs —  while simultaneously building their side hustle through collaborations and partnerships. For example, Griffin’s collaboration with sustainable fashion startup Tonle.  

Griffin, who identifies as “queer non-binary femme,” feels working with brands that share common values or beliefs is more authentic. Additionally, they suggest partnering with companies that share your values, especially if you’re able to be selective. 

“Understand that you have the power in that exchange,” Griffin said. “You’re bringing value and a unique voice, that’s why brands want to work with you.” 

Source: Read Full Article