When she couldn’t find plant decor that fit her style, even living in Toronto, a frustrated Katrina Huang decided to design her own. She launched Viridi (meaning “green” in Latin) in 2020, first selling her abundance of vintage home decor finds, then later her own line of planters and plant accessories.
She scoured thrift stores, flea markets and antique malls throughout Ontario for handmade pottery, hand-blown glass, marble bookstands and ashtrays, and uniquely shaped candleholders.
“I would spend my evenings scanning the home decor shelves at thrift stores and adding to my growing plant collection,” says Katrina. “I found myself with more decor than I needed and decided to start selling my finds.”
With her vintage sales, she built a faithful online audience interested in home decor, thrifted finds and plants. Designing her own houseplant accessories collection was a natural next step.
“When designing, I’m usually thinking of what I would want in my own home,” says Katrina. “I’ll look at a space or a plant, and think of what could go great there that I can’t find.”
“The response has been incredible and it has become more successful than I could have imagined,” says Katrina. “Most of my time running Viridi has been by myself behind a screen, so being able to meet people in person and be with the community we’ve created has been the best part.”
Viridi: Inspired by the Past
“I’m very inspired by decor from the ’80s, and other vintage pieces I find while thrifting,” says Katrina. “The Gelato pot in the Viridi collection is inspired by the rounded shapes and edges from’80s era decor, and the chequered onyx-and-travertine catchalls are inspired by vintage Italian ashtrays I’ve loved from the ’60s and ’70s.”
Start to Finish
“My favourite part of the job is whenever I can be creative, like picking out flowers for arrangements and seeing my designs come to life,” says Katrina. “I have no training or experience in product design — usually, everything I create starts from a very-rough sketch in my notebook. Seeing something come from an idea in my mind to a tangible thing is always so rewarding.”
Visions for the Future
“I would love to open a retail experience of some sort,” says Katrina. “In my head, I have a dream of a greenhouse/bubble tea cafe that is decked out in vintage lounge furniture. You’d be able to study and work during the week, and on weekend nights, it’d turn into a live jazz/soul-music bar, where you can sip on natural wines surrounded by plants…one day!”
Feature image courtesy of Cliona Concetta. Additional photography courtesy of Cindy Chau and Viridi.