Ivy Mak and Anna Thomas share their experience as new business owners in Charlotte, from establishing a partnership to building plans for the future. They are the owners of a small plant company called Cactus Club, which caters to all of Charlotte’s cacti needs. For two years now, Ivy and Anna have traveled around selling their plants out of a bus, building their company plant by plant. This adventure has been a success, and the future of Cactus Club is bright.
How did the two of you meet and decide to go into business together?
Ivy: I started this plant journey while I was working at Anthropologie. We first met through mutual friends, then really got to know each other when we ended up working at the same bar. There, we discovered a shared interest in plants, adventures, and entrepreneurship. We would go buy plants monthly and I just fell in love with going to the nurseries. I wanted one of my own someday, so I started hoarding plants and learning more about them by doing research and reading books from other plant lovers.
Anna: I started by hanging out at pop ups with Ivy and, of course, taking a plant home every time. Then all the research began, and I became so excited while learning about plants… I knew I had to be a part of The Cactus Club.
How does your friendship impact your business partnership?
Ivy: We work well together because we both enjoy hard work and aren’t afraid of a challenge. Owning a business together means that there will be times we disagree, however, we have learned to talk through matters in a productive and positive way. We are constantly challenging each other as people and as business owners. We keep things fun and keep each other laughing even through the tough times.
What made you choose the signature bus?
Anna: The Cactus Club began because Ivy was hoarding plants and an old friend was selling the bus. We figured it would be a cool way to share a love of plants with Charlotte. We also decided to operate our business out of an old bus because it allows us to bring a large amount of plants and provides plenty of space to display our products. The mobility makes it more convenient for people to buy plants.
Why did you choose cacti, and how have you been able to establish the business?
Ivy: We love the uniqueness of cacti and found a lack of variety available in Charlotte. Since then, we’ve been working for two years to expand Charlotte’s choice of cacti. The Cactus Club provides a wide array of cacti from different kinds of barrels and upright varieties. We also carry hawthorias, euphorbias, succulents, houseplants, and rare tropical plants. We both bartend full time to ensure every possible dollar can be put back into The Cactus Club. Over time, we hope to have built our business to the point where we can bartend part time, then one day be able to solely focus on The Cactus Club.
What are your plans for the future of Cactus Club?
We are working on having our own brick and mortar by the end of this year. We hope to sell stylish and simple potted plants to a range of customers from beginner plant people to the more experienced gardener. For now, we are at different locations every Saturday and Sunday. You can find out where we will be on our Instagram or website.