Adelaide favourite Botanica Boutique sees the worlds of design and nature come together in the form of miniature gardens. Growing from a love of the outdoors, founder Lesley Williams and her team began identifying mosses and learning about their growth and sustainability in microclimates. They then designed desktop products to house their delicate findings – and with that, Botanica Boutique was born.
Since the launch of their first 100% recyclable mini mossarium, Sanctuary, Botanica Boutique have created a range of products centred on rare plants: from their Biodomes to their larger pot plants. Proudly designed with a contemporary focus right here in South Australia, Botanica Boutique resides at 99 Magill Road, where you can peruse the range or have your own Botanica creation made up for you.
With strong roots in Adelaide, Botanica Boutique is part of Shop South Australia, an initiative of Brand South Australia that promotes local makers and producers. The Shop South Australia website is home to more than 350 South Australian products from over 80 local businesses. When you find something you love on the website, you will be directed to the vendors own website to purchase, ensuring that 100% of the profits remain with the maker here in SA!
Why did you begin Botanica Boutique?
To me there is nothing better than being immersed in a rainforest or admiring the rolling moss landscapes of a Japanese garden. It’s compelling and I’m obsessed. In pursuit of bottling this experience, I began designing products that facilitate the cultivation of mosses and the plants that thrive with them: vessels with a minimal, integral aesthetic that function beyond a glass jar, encouraging people to display mosses in their homes all year round. After our humble beginnings with a Kickstarter campaign, we realised that there may be potential for this little vessel to grow into a family of products, and here we are.
What is your most popular product?
Concrete tends to be the material of choice globally but as far as products go, Biodome – our largest terrarium – has recently spiked in popularity. I love seeing what people create in them. The design is a balance between open and closed traditional cloche vessels and plants really do thrive inside it with very little maintenance. The feedback I receive is that it’s a joy to peer into the dome to view the mini-scape, and for that reason I think it’s becoming popular.
Why did you decide to open a bricks and mortar?
A home base for the brand felt like an important next step. Online is great in so many ways but our customers do also prefer the experience of talking face to face when it comes to selecting products, understanding scale and especially when problem solving and experimenting with bryophytes. I also enjoy sharing our warehouse and workspace. People get a real feel for how hands-on we are here and all that goes into design, manufacturing, logistics and packaging for our little mossarium.
Your first mossarium Sanctuary is 100% recyclable. Are the rest of your products also recyclable?
When Botanica started we were 100% local design and manufacture. As demand increased for new materials and finishes we reacted by manufacturing in marble, concrete, cork and timber. Modularity was important, such that the bases and tops can be interchanged to make the most out of the design and promote endurance throughout the range. But as the brand has grown, we too have grown in knowledge so the design and manufacturing process is coming full circle. From 2019 we are introducing new hybrid recycled materials produced in SA, using renewable, recycled and recyclable solutions for all of our products. It is more important than ever to be environmentally responsible as product designers.
Your products are designed in South Australia. Where are they made?
A high percentage is made here in South Australia, including the tooling, with the medium bases and some glass manufactured overseas and finished in our workshop. Our Sanctuary top involves quite a complex tool developed in SA and we continue to work with local manufacturers here with whom we can collaborate.
What’s next for Botanica Boutique?
We’ve just finished developing self-watering pots called Skye in recycled and recyclable spun aluminium; a new large glass mossarium called Torus; a product to keep your elks and stag horns thriving indoors called Shield; new environmentally friendly materials for Sanctuary; and a YouTube channel full of mini-scape concepts!
Workshops are high on the agenda and I’m very excited to be collaborating with some Melbourne and Adelaide friends to bring some unique experiences to our showroom next year. I’m inspired by art forms such as Bonsai, moss gardens and floral design. Coexisting with nature is important in Japanese culture and bringing the art of nature indoors is something we feel at Botanica is so beneficial to the joy and health of our culture.
Photographer: Jenah Piwanski
Art direction: Marsha Golemac
*This content is sponsored by Brand South Australia.