Back in June, Staten Island resident Shana Taylor quit her job at the U.S. Post Office to chase her dream and open a “plant cafe” with her family
She recently spoke to SiLive about the holistic health idea behind the Koze Vibes Plant Shop Cafe in Staten Island.
Taylor went into business with her parents – Denise Armfield and Michael Taylor – after quitting the post office. Both already owned cafes, bakeries, and other businesses in the Staten Island area but decided to come together to support Shana’s newest endeavor.
“We decided to merge our businesses to give me another chance. Along with my brother, who utilizes the space for his Pokémon card business called Big Grin, Koze Vibes was born,” Shana explained.
“My sister Tanisha Taylor designed the store for us.”
She continued to describe the separation of labor, capitalizing on her parent’s specific experience and strength while maintaining an accessible price for patrons.
“My mom makes cupcakes and all kinds of baked goods, so we utilize her baking abilities, and we also have coffee, hot tea, lemonade, iced tea and homemade refreshers. We’re trying to create a different vibe on Staten Island. People don’t always have to pay expensive prices at Starbucks. We try to be reasonably priced,” she said.
Besides the pastries and fresh refreshers made from scratch every day, Koze also serves light meals during the day, like casual sandwiches and salads. The cafe even has a dinner menu for when patrons are craving something more filling in the evening, and it includes fan-favorite menu items like mac and cheese, cornbread, and honey barbecue wings.
Besides having delicious food, there’s something else that makes Koze Cafe unique: it teaches patrons how to be a “plant parent.”
In an array of plant events appropriate for all ages, Shana hosts classes focusing on learning to grow a plant from scratch, learning plant trivia, and even getting hands-on experience with plant care. Taylor told the outlet that she also conducts in-home plant consultations.
The unique idea to incorporate plants into Koze Cafe’s experience came from when Taylor was still living in Manhattan and working at the Post Office. She admitted to the outlet that she began using plant care to deal with her struggles with mental health.
“Caring for plants helped with my depression. It also taught me patience, which helped with my anxiety. Plants are soothing, and they bring me joy, peace and clean air. It brings a balance and calmness. Soil is also said to have ingredients that produce more serotonin in us,” Taylor said.
She added, “I figured if plants are helping me, they can help others, too. I also come from a lineage of plant lovers. My maternal grandmother’s house was filled with them while growing up, and my paternal grandfather was a sharecropper in North Carolina before moving to Staten Island.”
Taylor focuses on the importance of planting a seed and concentrates on the present in her therapeutic Koze Cafe classes.
“You don’t need to worry about yesterday, and you’re not worrying about tomorrow because you have to focus on what you’re doing right now,” said the expert plant parent.
There’s no target audience for her classes either; she expressed that learning to be a plant parent is a task anyone can learn.
“My clients are everyone from corporate companies, such as NBC, Philanthropy New York and the Staten Island Foundation, to people like you and me,” Taylor expressed. “There’s almost always one houseplant in every home so I can market to everyone. You need to have a friendly personality, as people can be a bit intimidated/overwhelmed, especially as new plant parents. So a welcoming attitude and reassurance can go a long way to connect with customers and to ensure they return.”
Source: Black Enterprise