This May, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are highlighting and interviewing AAPI-owned business owners we admire. We’re excited to introduce you to Eliza Blank in our newest editorial series, Business is Booming. Eliza is a Founder and CEO of The Sill, a business built on the simple, yet often overlooked concept that, "plants make people happy." Eliza and The Sill believe that simply by being around and caring for plants, you can reduce stress levels and begin a restorative routine.
Take us through your morning routine.
I'm up by 7am. I brush my teeth, take a shower, then eat a big breakfast (and have a generous cup of coffee) with my husband and toddler. Breakfast is a meal I never skip because sometimes my days are so packed that I don't have a chance to eat again until the evening.
Generally speaking, my get-ready routine is pretty simple – I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of person – so I'm usually off to my first meeting by 8:30 or 9am (whether that's from the next room via Zoom, or in-person at a cafe or co-working space.)
What was your first job?
Selling homemade friendship bracelets with my brother in front of a local grocery store. He's older than me and always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I'm an avid reader, but I won't lie – you'll also find me scrolling Instagram. Surprisingly though, inspiration seems to strike when I'm not looking for it: when I'm in the shower, or taking a nature walk with my daughter, Faye.
Who do you admire most in your industry?
There are so many incredible women in the plant and garden industry that it would be impossible to pick just five, let alone one. Vanessa Dawson of Arber is bringing new meaning to how we care for our plants; while Cameron Hardesty (Poppy Flowers) is reimagining – and making accessible – one of the most notoriously expensive wedding categories.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate success?
Who do you call for a pep talk?
My brother. He's an entrepreneur so he can sympathize with how hard it can be – but since he's also my brother, he's not afraid to give me the tough love I need to keep moving forward.
What’s your pump-up song?
Anything from the 90s.
What career would you want in your next life?
Something where I can spend time outside.
What are you reading right now? Watching?
I just finished Molly Shannon’s memoir 'Hello, Molly!' – I read it in one sitting. As for watching, I am not embarrassed to say I love TV. I give anything a try that comes up thanks to my Netflix algorithm.
What outfit do you feel most confident in?
Anything I'm comfortable in: from Madewell jeans and a tee to a Hill House Nap Dress.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
A weekend, unplugged, at my grandma's house in the Adirondacks.
What's a charity/organization you feel passionately about?
We opened our first Chicago location last summer, we knew we wanted to give back to a community that has supported us so strongly throughout the years. Enter the Get Growing Foundation. We’re both passionate about getting more plants into people’s hands. The Get Growing Foundation is a non-profit serving the Greater Chicago Community through outreach and education designed to inspire the next generation of plant lovers.
What makes you optimistic?
My team at The Sill, past and present, that has helped 26-year-old-me's vision grow. The company turned 10 this May and I couldn't be more optimistic about what's to come.
What is the best life advice you've ever received?
Never stop growing.