Best known for its Goodwood Road plant shop, Stonecrop has launched a second, expanded shopfront in Hackney, branching out into homewares, fashion and jewellery.
Stonecrop launches flagship store in an old church in Hackney
Stonecrop Plants & Accessories on Goodwood Road, in Cumberland park, opened at the beginning of 2019 as the culmination of founder Keta Grishaj’s long-held love of plants.
Early in life, she saw her mother grow vegetables and fill the house with greenery – a habit she brought over from Albania, where Keta and her family migrated from.
When Keta left home, she carried this fondness for foliage with her.
While living in Melbourne, she noticed a burgeoning crop of boutique plant shops, and wondered why there weren’t more stores like these in her hometown.
Keta moved back to Adelaide, as many SA expats do, with a hope of creating her own business off the back of the realisation she had during her travels.
Talking her ideas over with her partner, Lenny Kruger, the two decided to jump into business together – despite neither having any history running a retail store.
Initially, Keta and Lenny planned for a business that would touch on many of Keta’s interests – plants, plant accessories, fashion, jewellery, furniture and homewares.
This vision was readjusted when Keta came upon the Goodwood Road tenancy – consisting of about 50sqm of shop floor.
“I just said, ‘Let’s start small. Let’ do pots and plants, because obviously this is going to be very green when it’s filled,’” Keta says.
“Stonecrop was born, and we didn’t have a big opening or whatever, because we were nervous. We’d never done anything like this.”
The business slowly grew, becoming known as a staple stop for people hunting for plants, and Keta also garnered plant-styling clients – in hospitality and residential.
COVID was also kind to Stonecrop, with Keta seeing many people in lockdown looking to populate their homes with plant life. She started offering sales over FaceTime and one-on-one in-store shopping sessions, once restrictions allowed it.
All the while, Keta and Lenny held on to the original idea they had for an expanded Stonecrop.
Towards the end of 2020, they opened a pop-up shop in the Adelaide Central Market.
“Having the two shops made me go, ‘We can do this. Logistically, we can do this,’” Keta says.
“We were at the financial position where we could, and so I had a big girl chat with Lenny and said, ‘The Central Market’s great and we got awesome exposure, but let’s revisit our original idea and let’s go bigger.’”
Keta had scouted for a new shop prior to COVID hitting, and at that time engaged the owners of an old church on Richmond Street in Hackney. She picked this conversation back up again, and, after another potential tenant decided not to take the spot, she signed the lease.
The space was long-abandoned, used mostly for storage by the Adelaide Caravan Park.
To Keta, the empty church’s cavernous nave was a blank canvas.
“Every time I would come in here – because I did look at the space like three or four times – I got the same feeling of, you could make it your own, and that’s obviously what we did,” Keta says.
The building’s façade has been cleaned and brightened, and inside Lenny and Keta have built a multifaceted shopfloor.
Plants, pots and candles line the entrance to the shop, and then each side of the space gives way to candles, jewellery, and women and men’s fashion. Behind the counter, another room hosts an expanded array of homewares.
Like Stonecrop’s range of plants, Keta has curated the rest of her store’s offering with variety in mind.
“I wanted unusual; I wanted a bit of everything as well,” she says.
“I wanted hand-made, locally made, and then I wanted affordable, imported stuff that is more sort of fast fashion. I wanted a one-stop shop for finding everything that you were looking for.”
Local jewellery brand Nativis is stocked alongside Melbourne label Liberté. A range of brands collected under the Holiday Trading Co name are also in stock, as well as Afends.
“[Afends] is getting to be a brand well known for its sustainability and ethically made clothing, so I’m really excited to be offering that – especially because it’s a bit of a niche thing to be doing it here,” she says.
As the new Stonecrop shop settles, Keta also plans to hold workshops in another of the site’s back rooms, or occasionally out in the front courtyard. And there are plans to eventually apply for a liquor licence and open for events.
For the moment, Keta is comfortable in the new and much larger challenge she has set herself in this old church.
“We’ve got more room to play around with here, and more work because it means more watering,” she laughs.
Stonecrop is located at 36 Richmond Street, Hackney and opens 9 am ‘til 5pm Tuesday to Friday, 10am ‘til 5pm Saturday, and 11am ‘til 3pm Sunday.