Friday, August 18, 2017

Business Showcase: B.Willow

By Erin Colligan

The corner of W. 27th and Crestmont Avenue got a little greener when B.Willow opened its storefront earlier this year with a selection of plants and other natural products. Owner and operator Liz Vayda started the business in 2013 with the mission “to do work that would bring more nature into peoples’ everyday life.”

Vayda, who was born in Carroll County and grew up in Baltimore, earned her Masters in Environmental Science & Policy from Johns Hopkins. She studied methods to “incorporate more green in a concrete landscape.” She then took a job helping an interior landscaper and learned the art of
interior plantscaping, which she realized is a service that interested many homeowners.

B. Willow started as an outlet for antiquing and thrifting repurposed material for plants. Trohv started carrying their products in 2014, followed by various pop-up shops. In 2015, Vayda expanded the enterprise to offer workshops in bars and cafes. They had a spot in R. House, where they still manage the plantscaping, when it opened in 2016. Their new home base in Remington is exciting to Vayda because the neighborhood doesn’t have much retail other than bars or restaurants and she had opportunity to offer “something meaningful for people”.

B.Willow is far more than a plant store, Vayda says. It is a “community-centered space” that features more than 30 local vendors selling a range of natural products from food to body care. They continue to offer workshops and collaborate with dozens of other vendors to cross-promote services and products. On the 22nd of each month, B.Willow hosts an “Earth Day” open to the public. Vayda prides herself in a staff that will walk you through the process of selecting a plant that’s suited to you, based on your personality, style, and the lighting, drafts, and humidty in your house. She explains, “What I love about plants is the joy I get out of more observation of them” as they grow and change through the seasons. She is also attracted to the “wellness component” of plants and how they can be mentally restorative. Vayda notes “there’s something huge we’ve taken out of our life” and she hopes B. Willow can help people reconnect with nature without having to leave their homes.