All plants have personalities. Anthropomorphized, a fiddle-leaf fig tree is the young urban dweller with a beanie collection, an orchid is the elegant suburban mom, a snake plant is the post-grad bohemian. As for the plants sold at SANSO? They are all Tilda Swinton—that is to say, elegant, weird, soulful, and wholly unique.
SANSO, located in Los Angeles’ Lincoln Heights district, is the beautiful brainchild of Yunice Kang, a former photographer who found solace in plants after the death of her father. “During this time, I began practicing meditation for the first time in my life. I [also] began to connect to individual plants in a whole new way,” she says. “I visited countless nurseries and greenhouses but realized all the nurseries in LA at the time were offering only a few of the same selections.”
That would become her lightbulb moment. Flummoxed by the lack of plant diversity in stores, she reached out to plant collectors and private growers who generously shared their knowledge—and their rare plants. SANSO (Korean for “oxygen”) was borne from the relationships Yunice forged with this community of passionate plant lovers. “Many of our rare selection of plants come from private individuals who have acquired their collection from various regions over the last 30 to 50 years,” she says. “I visited as many greenhouses and nurseries in Southern California as possible. I would ask a lot of questions and start conversations with the growers to feed my own curiosity.”
SANSO opened three years ago. Today, like so many retail businesses this past year, it’s evolved into primarily an online store. Plants are available for curbside pickup only, which means, for now, you have to be local to shop from the store. This may change in the near future, though. “We are working on making more of our products accessible online for shipping, delivery, and gift options. We have a lot of people who reached out to us from outside of Los Angeles, and we want to be able to offer them the same level of care and attention that we would someone locally,” says Yunice.
For those living in the Los Angeles area, you’re in luck: Tomorrow, Saturday, March 20, on the first day of spring, new arrivals will go live on their site at 12 PM PST.
Below, a sampling of their new offerings:
For more stores we love, see:
- Shopper’s Diary: Leaf Shop Végétal in Paris
- Shopper’s Diary: Houseplants at Forest in London
- Greendigs Store: In Columbus, Ohio, A New ‘Living Design Experience’ Opens