Eliza Blank is the CEO & Founder at The Sill, a direct-to-consumer indoor plant company focused on bridging the gap between plants and people. Eliza has raised over $7 million from Brand Foundry Ventures and The Raine Group, among others. Prior to launching The Sill, Eliza served as a Brand Strategist at Wolff Olins, one of the leading brand agencies in the world. Eliza holds a BS in media, culture, and communication from NYU.
On the first hour of her day. I love the idea of a morning routine. That said, I’m constantly iterating on mine. I founded The Sill in 2012 when I was 26 years old, living with my boyfriend in the Lower East Side, working by myself from a borrowed desk in Chinatown. It’s 2019, I’m nearly 34, living with my husband and 7-month-old daughter in TriBeCa, with a dispersed team in New York, New Jersey, and California of nearly 70 people.
The first hour of my day looks wildly different now than it did in those early days of the business, but my habits surprisingly remain the same: I always shower in the morning, I always eat a big breakfast followed by a generous cup of coffee, I always throw on a sensible uniform of jeans and a tee-shirt. I never leave without wishing my husband a good day (ps he was the boyfriend from 2012), and he does the same. I have enough time for some solid inner reflection and leave the house filled with optimism, ready to tackle the day ahead.
On self-care through plants. I’m biased of course — but I never want to be in a place where I don’t have greenery within my line of sight. Ever. My home has plants in every room (even where there isn’t natural light). Our office, of course, has a lot of plants too. If I had to boil it all down to one outcome, it’s this: a good look at your plants is better than a good look in the mirror. If your plants are suffering, it’s symptomatic of something else going on in your life. Plants create time and space to nurture yourself. If you’re not making time for your plants you’re probably not making time for yourself.
On greenery as therapy. As adult Americans, we spend nearly 90% of our lives inside, and 11 hours in front of a screen. You could argue it’s inhuman! Plants are intrinsically good for people. While studies suggest that surrounding yourself with plants in the workplace positively increases focus, productivity, and creativity among other things (like improving air quality and reducing sick building syndrome), as most plant parents can attest, they are simply therapeutic to care for.
On building a digital community. The world of gardening has always been both a private activity (alone in my garden), as well as a communal activity (garden clubs, horticultural societies, etc.) We wanted to be able to mirror this historical structure, while also modernizing it to make it relevant to today. We believe in creating multiple channels both online and in real life in order to meet the customer where they are. Some days you may want to join a workshop at a store, others you may want to kick a question into the online forum — in either case, The Sill has a place for you to belong.
On bridging the gap. The Sill has evolved as a business over time, but our core mission has remained constant: bridge the gap between people and plants, because plants make people happy. It’s a mission that the team takes very seriously because it ties us intrinsically to the customer. If anything, I’ve only developed a deeper sense of responsibility on delivering on this mission as time goes on because I realize how big of an opportunity The Sill has to positively impact the everyday of our customers’ lives.
On her nightly sleep routine. I’m actually terrible at the evening wind down. Some might say I have terrible sleep hygiene. But here’s the upside of being a founder/CEO and new Mom — you're only about 5 minutes away from falling asleep at any moment. When given the opportunity to sleep, you fall asleep immediately.
— Eliza Blank, Founder & CEO at The Sill