Bailey Koyata, owner of Seicho Plant Co. PHOTO: CHLOE MACEACHERN

Bailey Koyata has loved plants since she was just a child. When Koyata moved out, she began collecting more plants in her home. This helped her realize just how beneficial they were. But it took that pandemic and a job loss to turn her passion into a business: Seicho Plant Co.

While the business may only be a few months old, Koyata’s love of plants began early. 

“My grandparents were really huge gardeners and then my grandma was really huge into flowers and indoor plants so I’ve kind of always been around plants,” says Koyata. “They pretty much transformed their entire backyard into a garden.”

Koyata remembers walking through all the slats of everything and in between all the rows of vegetables and thinking to herself, “this is so cool, they just have everything here.”

Despite a strong attachment to plants early on, Koyata says she didn’t start keeping her own plants until after she moved to Calgary from Lethbridge. She got them for the aesthetic she says.

Eventually, Koyata began noticing her plants were affecting her mood and mental health. 

Love of plants started early. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BAILEY KOYATA

“It’s actually crazy how much plants can really help with your stress and anxiety,” she says.  “It’s definitely helped with the stress and anxiety of COVID, having yourself surrounded by plants.”

That’s because working with her plants lets her focus on something that she can control, she says. 

“That was my main source of anxiety relief, just being able to actually do something that I can control and enjoy, and being able to actually see something come out of it.”

These benefits led to Koyata increasing the size of her own planet collection, which now stands at 95 plants. She says that it takes her hours to water everything.

Koyata’s idea of turning that hobby into a business began when the pandemic was still in its beginnings stages. She says her and her co-workers spent a lot of time discussing what would happen if the salon they worked at, Swizzle Sticks, got shut down because of COVID-19. 

After the shutdown, plants played a role in easing Koyata’s stress. She began to sell plants out of her home to make some extra money.

Selling plants from her townhouse in north Calgary was just something that she felt she could continue to do throughout the pandemic and not feel too overwhelmed, she says.

She eventually turned that idea into a full-fledged business: Seicho Plant Co. 

“Honestly if COVID had never happened I don’t think that I would be doing this today.” 

Seico Plant Co. PHOTO: CHOLE MACEACHERN

Now, Koyata says plants are just scattered throughout her house. Seicho Plant Co. offers both shipping and pick-up options, as well as stocking some in Chantal Maier’s spa and Lunar Energy Esthetics.

Maier had previously worked with Koyata at Swizzle Sticks and credits Koyata and Seicho Plant Co. with helping her on her own plant journey. 

“She’s just always been somebody that’s super knowledgeable,when she’s passionate about something, she’s passionate about it and she takes it very seriously,” says Maier.

“It’s like I have a place to go. I can message her anytime, I can look for a post that talks about a subject that I’m wondering about,” adds Maier.

Maier has also felt the effects plants have on her mood.

“The more I get my plants together, the more I get me together, my goal in this house is to just fill it with plants because that’s just how much complete calmness it’s given me.”

Koyata suspects that COVID-19 has helped increase the public’s interest in plants.

“A lot of people who have never really either had time for plants or didn’t think that they could take care of them, they’re actually having the time to have plants and realize that it’s really not that hard,” she says.

However she does think that as life returns to normal, sales will drop off slightly because of people returning to their busier work and travel commitments. 

In the meantime, Koyata will focus on growing her business and guiding people into the world of plants.

“New businesses coming out the other COVID is pretty rare but I luckily picked one that really boomed in the COVID era.”