We’re partnering with Latino Memphis to bring you Somos Memphis! A hub of content focused on sharing all the great endeavors, businesses, and more from Memphis’ Latin(e/x/o) community. Latin(e/x/o) culture isn’t a monolith–there are so many vibrant cultural aspects, forms of expression, and perspectives that come together to make Memphis the amazing city that it is. We can’t wait to share more stories with you!
If you’re a plant parent (or looking to explore your green thumb), you’re going to to want to have Viva La Plant Bus
on your radar! We caught up with Iris Valenzuela-Vinson to learn more about the bus and how the business came to be!
Tell us the background of your business! How did you get started and what inspired you?
My partner Matt and I have discussed owning our own business since we met. We had multiple ideas over the years of what we wanted to do, ranging from restaurants to taprooms. During the pandemic, after having time to reflect, we were able to spend more time on things that made us happy. I had been slowly growing my plant knowledge and craft over the last few years and I realized it was something I really enjoyed. With the challenges of COVID-19, we knew a brick and mortar would not be as easily obtainable in the near future. In early 2021, a company that we follow was selling their bus that they used to start up their business. This is what started the idea of Viva La Plant Bus.
The bus has the best vibes! Tell us all about the artwork, design, and more!
Viva La Plant Bus is a celebration of my Mexican culture and my love for plant life. It was important to find artists that speak to me and my culture. Paloma Diaz, a Latinx artist from Dallas, did an amazing job creating the branding of Viva La Plant Bus and making an amazing representation of my culture. Meg Wagler out of Springfield, MO brought everything to life with her mural on the outside and the flooring of the bus. We were wanting something that reminded us of Dia De Los Muertos, was fun, vibrant and inviting to everyone. The bright colors draw you in and make you want to see more. We lined the ceiling with faux foliage to make it feel like an oasis and the mirror on the ceiling creates the feeling of depth.
How has Memphis’ Latin(o/e/x) community been a part of your own story?
Unfortunately, our time and involvement with the community have been limited since we moved here right before the pandemic started, but we hope to continue our involvement as things progressively open back up.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start their own business?
I would say that now is the best time to go for whatever it is you want to try. Don’t hesitate if you are afraid of what could go wrong. The hardest part is starting the process and taking a chance on yourself.
What’s next for you and Viva La Plant Bus?
We are excited to continue our outreach to the Memphis area and beyond. There are plans to pop-up in Nashville and Atlanta this Fall. There will be a lot of markets that we are doing locally as well, as we continue to get requests from local establishments of all kinds. The interest and reception to Viva La Plant Bus has been so humbling. Our goal is to always provide Buenas Vibras (good vibes) to everyone who comes out to see us. We hope you can bring some of these buenas vibras back into your home with one of our lovely plants!