As I write this, I am surrounded by the most low-maintenance houseplants fighting for their lives in the early-winter gloom of my most sun-filled room. I have the opposite of a green thumb, yet I still continue to try for the love of leafy things, despite my perfectionist tendencies often telling me to just give up already. Thankfully, others, like Emily Huff of Eaton Rapids, have more patience.
A transplant from Metro Detroit, Huff opened City Pulse’s 2022 Top of the Town Best New Business, Odd Mama’s Plants, back in June.
“Odd Mama’s originally started out as a 50/50 partnership. After just a few months, my partner decided to step away and pursue another job opportunity,” Huff said. “I’m still thankful to her, though, because she’s the one who put the wheels in motion.”
The idea for the store grew from a lifelong, casual interest in plants, which became a coping strategy and obsession during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having struggled with anxiety and depression throughout her life, Huff, a mother of four, brought her youngest home from the hospital the day lockdown began.
“Coming home with a newborn at that time was pretty nerve-wracking, and like so many others, I think my anxiety reached an all-time high,” she explained. “Houseplants can be extremely beneficial for one’s mental health and well-being. Plants are therapeutic and have allowed me to find calm in chaos, and they have allowed me to foster some really amazing friendships within the plant community.”
Odd Mama’s boasts a rotating selection of rare and common houseplants, unique pots and planters, macramé, plant accessories and plant-related gifts. The shop also carries a variety of unique items from local makers and artists and offers repotting services and in-house workshops.
Huff’s personal style (tattoos, gauges, an Against Me! tee-shirt) come through in the ghost and skeleton-themed items that make themselves at home alongside candy cane garlands and dangling, iridescent snowflakes. I picked up a pair of neon green gummy bear earrings to gift a friend, which turned out to be the work of Huff’s eldest daughter.
“My amazing husband does a lot of things to help me with the shop behind the scenes, and my children are also always on board and excited to help where they can. It’s definitely become much more of a family effort,” said Huff.
With the business still so new, Huff is just getting started. While her current focus is on keeping new items in stock for repeat visitors to discover and cultivating the store’s decidedly lovely and welcoming atmosphere, she has ideas that reach beyond the store.
“I’d love to start a plant project working with nursing home patients,” she said. “I think plants could be very beneficial and bring some unexpected joy to a lot of people, and I’d love to share that with them.”
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