With the disastrous financial implications of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, more attention has been drawn to the importance of local enterprise than ever before. As declared by the government, local businesses are ‘essential to the lifeblood of our communities’ [1], both for the economic stability they bring and the sense of unity they inspire within the neighbourhood.

This is very much the case in ‘A Little Blossom’, a plant business based in Addiscombe, and owned by mother of three, Aska Miah. Miah first discovered her love for horticulture during her childhood years in Bangladesh, when she used to help her parents grow their own fruits and vegetables in their back garden. After moving to England aged 13, she continued to cultivate her passion over many years, eventually setting up ‘A Little Blossom’ in June 2019. Her motivation, as she notes, was the firm belief that ‘we as humans have a natural love for greenery’.

Miah set up networks through social media platforms and personal contacts, gaining confidence from the overwhelmingly positive feedback on her indoor plant products. Particular praise was directed towards the sustainable, chemical-free environment used to grow the plants, and the free plant exchange service offered; this scheme allows customers to switch any of their old plants with fresh ones from Miah’s diverse collection, at no cost to them. Other services include repotting and plant-sitting, although the latter is less commonly used at the moment given the current circumstances.

Despite increased customer interest in indoor plants (driven by ‘people’s realisation that they needed to have some form of nature around them’), lockdown has posed many challenges to the business. She is no longer able to organise jumble sales, which used to be her primary income generator.  This has pushed her targets back by around six months.

Nevertheless, Miah’s determination and extensive network has opened new doors into the plant market, particularly online. She now sells her products on shop.ourlocalonline.com, owned by close friend Dr. Logeshwari Nallathambi, who is dedicated to uplifting all local businesses. Miah also hosts regular Zoom sessions to educate community members about the benefits of greenery on physical and mental wellbeing. Foliage plants, for example, remove nearly 87% of air pollutants, including harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene.[2] Once the pandemic has subsided, Miah hopes to open an outlet in Central Croydon and continue growing her plant business, quite literally.

The story of ‘A Little Blossom’ exemplifies the unpredictability of recent times, and the challenges faced by local businesses around the country. It remains our collective duty to support them in every way we can, so that we emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. A small act of kindness can go a long way in helping others, helping the economy and helping yourself too. So take a look around the house and ask yourself: ‘What am I truly missing?’ If the answer is greenery, then you know where to shop.


References and Citations

[1] PM: Build, Build, Build - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[2] Wolverton et al., 1984, 1989