Gig Harbor Wild Whimsy Mobile Plant Store Opening
Gig Harbor’s new plant store is open and on wheels.
Plant stylist Salena Ausburn opened her first mobile plant store, Wild Whimsy Co. in Gig Harbor on June 2, the same day the Gig Harbor Waterfront Market opened this season.
The Plant Trailer will be parked on Harborview Drive in the two parking spots in front of The Trolley all summer, selling a variety of indoor plants.
Residents can recognize Ausburn’s plants from its stand at the Harbor General Store. It has had a section there since January 2021.
This year she decided she wanted to take her business mobile and bought the trailer. She has completely renovated the trailer into a shop where visitors can enter and choose their plants.
She decided to expand her business with a trailer because a physical location is a little out of her reach at the moment, Ausburn said.
“I’m a mom of three young children and it gives me flexibility and less overhead. I can come in and out, my kids come here and hang out, and since we live five minutes away my family can ride their bikes,” Ausburn said.
She said being an entrepreneur as a mother takes a village, and the trailer and her business wouldn’t be where they are without some close friends and family.
The mural on the side of the trailer was painted by Hillarie Isackson, a local Gig Harbor muralist.
“The vision, everything is me. I originally started out just potting plants and I still do pre-potted plants to buy, but I really enjoy helping people pair their plants with planters to suit their space,” Ausburn said.
Ausburn’s favorite plant to design is the bird of paradise, which is painted on the side of the trailer.
“I feel like they fit really well in any space because of their light situation and needs, they send out tropical vibes,” Ausburn said. “A lot of people like to buy the lime prayer plant. Their leaves will rise and fall like praying hands with sunlight.
Wild Whimsy is open four days a week this summer:
- Tuesday, 1-5 p.m.
- Wednesday, 1-4 p.m. (4-inch plants are 40% off every Wednesday)
- Thursday 1-5 p.m.
- Saturday 11am-4pm
At this time, the trailer is not set up for colder temperatures once summer is over.
“I’m currently trying to find a way to stay in the fall,” Ausburn told The Gateway.
Ausburn entertains the idea of ”fancy Wednesdays” in the fall and winter, where it can open once a week. She wants to be able to offer residents a place to do their shopping during the holidays.
To do that, Ausburn would need to find a way to heat the trailer.
This summer she has an AC unit keeping the plants cool.
How Wild Whimsy Co. Got Started
Although the trailer marks the start of physical locations for Wild Whimsy, the brand celebrated two years in business on July 23.
“My husband always liked to joke that I had a black thumb,” Ausburn said. She had a noticeable inability to grow plants. Then she bought a fiddler fig tree, known to be a fickle fig tree, and she kept it alive.
“To this day it is my plant of pride and joy in my home. It started out 3 feet tall and is now 7 feet tall. The fact that I can keep this plant alive and see this new growth really developed my green thumb and my passion for plants,” Ausburn said.
Soon after, she made it a business. She started telling her friends that she wanted to sell plants to people.
“I also love pairing the plant with the pot and styling the room. That obsession turned into wanting to share that with everyone, so they could feel that joy and have that beauty in their home,” Ausburn said. .
In 2020, she started selling plants through her Instagram Stories and Facebook Market Place. She has nearly 3,000 followers on Instagram.
The Ausburn family moved from the Lake Tapps area to Gig Harbor in late 2020. They also had a surprise baby — their third child — and put their business on hold.
Then at the start of 2021, Ausburn felt ready to revive Wild Whimsy.
At one point, she looked at an old Pinterest board and saw a trailer company.
“I felt like this idea was doable and something I could do,” Ausburn said. “That would be how I could take the next step in my business, which is not a 9-5, keeping the flexibility that I want right now.”
His brother sold him the trailer and things just kept going from there, Ausburn said.
She hopes the trailer will take shoppers to Harbor General’s Wild Whimsy corner, where her customers can also check out the local manufacturing section of the store, to support other small businesses in town.
Next steps for Wild Whimsy Co.
“As soon as I started getting pop-ups, I wanted to get bigger and get more immediately,” Ausburn said.
Ausburn’s dream is to one day have a long, skinny brick-and-mortar location with a long, skinny white table in the middle filled with plants.
“I want people to come on site, learn all the plant education together, and pot the plant with me. It could also be something fun to do with friends. Come in and drink together,” Ausburn said. “Part of my love for this business is being able to chat with people in the community.”
Going forward, Ausburn wants to be able to style homes and businesses.
“I can come to your house and choose plants that would belong in the right place with the lighting and match you with the right planters and the right sizes,” she said.
Gig Harbor residents can look for Succulent Workshops hosted by Ausburn to learn more about houseplants.