Urban Sprouts owner is branching out and publishing a plant guide.
Jen Stearns’ book is reflective of the store’s aesthetic: clean lines, wood and lots of green. And many lessons in the book are the same as the ones you’d find walking into the downtown Renton location.
“The Inspired Houseplant” breaks it down in four parts: plant basics, plant guide, plant projects and plant style.
Throughout the book are breakout boxes with planting tips and facts. There’s images of potting steps, and vegetation complimenting different home decor styles.
Girl Friday, a firm that creates books for entrepreneurs and authors, approached Stearn about making this guide a couple years ago. Before that, she’d never thought of writing. She mostly worked in retail and greenery.
Stearns grew up with her mother’s vegetable garden, and had her own patch at a young age that she had full reign of.
“It brings me joy when I’m with plants,” she said.
While she loves them, Stearn said herself and many modern customers are more interested in how they make you feel in your home.
With people living in more densely populated areas, Stearn said she thinks it’s brought more interest to houseplants, since many lack the yard needed for outdoor gardening.
Urban Sprouts developed into a place for beginners, while offering items for experienced collectors. She also makes sure all of her sales staff is fully prepared to answer questions on everything in the store, not just names but the science.
Stearn is more than an entrepreneur with a green thumb and a taste for modern decor. She’s well versed in the science behind gardening. She received a degree in environmental science at the University of Washington looking at urban agriculture and marine biology.
Originally she wanted to work with food production, but found people still needed to take the first step into caring for houseplants. She moved locations from Ballard to Renton in 2016.
The business was rebranded to Urban Sprouts and since moving in, has also turned to technology. It now offers two subscription boxes, a tech support line for care tips and an active Instagram. It’s also a learning space, with classes that range from “mounted fern” to “yoga, mimosas and terrariums.”
“I want this store to feel good to people. I work hard to make it smell nice, be homey,” Stearns said. “The classes, I think, just really personalize it. The goal is to demystify and put personality into some of the learning.”
Urban Sprouts also carries small-batch soaps, candles and other things from passionate independent vendors. The store features artists and made in America goods.
Stearns’ book will be launched with an event from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 724 South Third Street.