Providing Beauty to Urbanites
Walking on the streets of Addis Ababa, it would not take long to notice mini flower marketplaces. These marketplaces are now increasing in number in almost all districts of the capital as the tradition of using indoor and outdoor flowers to decorate residences has grown. At the various corners of the capital, it has become big business to grow and sell indoor plants. As a result of the community’s expanding change in attitude towards aesthetics, members of the society have started to purchase and use them at a premium price to adorn their homes. In this article, EBR’s Tirualem Asmare looks into the flourishing flower business that is bringing beauty and livelihoods to homes in the capital.
Bilen Tefera is a 29-year-old businesswoman who owns and operates her own business in Megenagna, Yeka District. When EBR interacted with her, she was carrying a variety of indoor plants on the automobile, intended for home décor.
“I adore real flowers and plants, and having them in my house makes me very happy,” Bilen told EBR. “Flowers make us happy, relieve our tension, enhance the beauty of the home, and provide us with oxygen.”
Bilen was just returning from the Town of Bishoftu in the Regional State of Oromia, where she bought the flowers. She shares that her home already has a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants, but she wanted more. “One cannot get enough of these beauties,” Bilen says joyfully.
For ETB 30,000, she purchased 10 different house plants. Despite having a range of prices, the most expensive is ETB 5,000. She claims that although house plants are expensive, they are also incredibly lovely.
“I cannot wait to see what my residence will look like after I plant these,” Bilen told EBR.
Getachew Atinawu, a 26-year-old man from the Summit neighborhood in Bole District, makes a living by cultivating and selling house plants. He stated that the slim likelihood of finding employment after graduation was what prompted him to pursue a floral business. In 2018, he formed a micro and small business called Getachew and Zemede landscaping with just ETB 30,000 in startup capital.
“The work is incredibly rewarding, and for three years it was quite cool,” Getachew told EBR. “We provide a wide range of options, and each one has a distinct price.”
ETB 20 is the lowest price, and ETB 3,000 is the highest. Most of Getachew’s clients use plants to decorate their residences. Most clients purchase the products at an average price of between ETB 350 and ETB 80, depending on the area. Elsewhere, house plants can be purchased elsewhere for up to ETB 8,000.
“The society’s attitude seems to be changing with time,” Getachew says. “These days, a customer will visit and ask about the price, and they won’t be shocked at the price increase.”
Due to the current state of the nation and the decline in construction, businesses such as Getachew appear to be slowing down. When business is good; they could sell ETB 8,000 worth of flowers per day. In addition to the money they make from sales, they were able to make more money by decorating people’s homes.
Getachew shares that when they first began the job; the area where his business is located was filthy and smelled horrible as it also served as a marketplace for sheep and goats. But today it is much more appealing, with the whole place smelling like flowers. Getachew’s business was recently at risk when he was told to evacuate his place of work, and there seems to be no hope for a replacement location. With the business being the only source of livelihood for Getachew and his colleagues, the future still looks bleak following the news of the evacuation.
“I’ve been working in this business for four years now,” says Yitbarek Molla, a 25-year-old man engaged in the same line of business. “I started this job because I was unable to find a job in the field I graduated in.”
Yitbarek and his colleagues initially formed an association before moving to separate areas. Yitbarek now works in the Kirkos District.
“It amazes me to know how much has changed when it comes to aesthetics and the love for flowers,” Yitbarek says. “I have customers who come here and look at the flowers as if they are looking at the child they love the most.”
He sells both indoor and outdoor plants for the home. While plants kept inside the home don’t require sunshine, outdoor plants do. 75 Pct of clients purchase outdoor plants to spruce up their yards, according to Yitbarek.
‘’We sell from ETB 3,000 to ETB 4,000 worth of flowers per day, and on days when business is good, we sell up to ETB 10,000,” Yitbarek told EBR.
According to studies, indoor plants not only add beauty to your home but may also improve your health and wellbeing. There are several ways houseplants might enhance indoor air quality, as plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and emit oxygen, they also produce water vapor through transpiration and vapor transpiration, which increases humidity.
Indoor plants lower stress levels, and having plants in your home or workplace can help you feel more relaxed. Studies have shown that working in an area with plants can also help reduce both physiological and psychological stress.
Taking care of plants can be a therapeutic exercise. Indoor gardening has also shown to be beneficial for those who are experiencing signs of a mental illness. Horticultural therapy has been utilized by researchers to improve well-being in patients with depression, anxiety, dementia, and other diseases.
Indoor plants do, however, have some drawbacks. These include maintenance needs, insect problems, and occasionally toxicity. Indoor plants that are neglected are more likely to get pest infestations, including scale, mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. Although they are difficult to notice with the unaided eye, spider mites, which are linked to arachnids rather than other insects, produce obvious webs. People should also be careful when bringing indoor plants into their home if they have dogs or cats, because many common indoor plants are poisonous to animals.
Little insects like aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects emit a sticky fluid called honeydew that draws black sooty mold. Any of these pests can cause leaf yellowing, leaf drop, and, in extreme situations, stunted plant growth because they feed on plant sap. Giving your indoor plants enough hydration, light, and fertilizer is the best way to prevent these infestations, as is making sure the pots drain effectively.
EBR 11th Year • April 2023 • No. 116