What is the chance of a seed separated from a tree grows into a tree again? A journey of a seed to reach the unreached always begins with a bold decision. A blade of grass, a flower and a tree all embody an attitude for life that helps us to look into ourselves. There is one person who carefully listened to these stories of plants to achieve his own dreams.
In 1960, a massive violet lavender field the late founder of AMOREPACIFIC Suh Sung-whan experienced during an inspection trip to Europe further reinforced his belief in the power of plants. He began his business with flowers and plants and dreamed of introducing the most Korean cosmetic products, serving tea that represents Korea, and even more, opening a botanic garden to offer a place to rest. These dreams are still ongoing within us. After all, plants have been the source of a forest called AMOREPACIFIC.
The ＜Garden of Choices＞ project believes in the infinite value and power of plants and aims to look back on the path Amorepacific has walked and capture the bold choices and journeys it has taken. We hope that all of us who are struggling every day in our own place to make difficult decisions, whether big or small, can find the courage to move forward.
The Planting Culture of Millennials and Gen Z These Days The current generation is more passionate about plants than ever before. There are those who are changing jobs, gaining energy, and finding motivation for new work through plants. Everyone who ‘cares for plants’ has their own anecdotes with plants, whether it be Looking into oneself using plants as a medium or relieving one’s longing for nature. Seedkeeper was mesmerized by seeds while working as a contents marketer and designer, thereby launching a plant related brand and imbuing vitality into daily life and work through plants. Chung Hye-yoon and Moon Ye-jin are creating their own spaces and new brand activities with inspiration they got from plants. We met with such people who are making ‘bold choices’ and creating their own worldviews with plants as the motive.
Time to Take Care of Plants and Myself
Director Moon Ye-jin of ‘oth,’ which is a brand that creates objets with photos as the medium to provide inspiration in people’s daily lives, views plants as the source of inspiration, rest and life companion. She records her everyday life with photos and v-logs, and many people want to copy her taste. All she does is just gather together the things she likes, but this becomes a story of her own that people relate to. Why are so many people finding themselves relating to this director, to the point where there’s a newly coined word, ‘Ye-jin Moon vibe’? Let’s follow her warm gaze towards plants and nature.
Hello, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I am Moon Ye-jin, and I manage the brand ‘Oth,’ which shares various experiences by stimulating the five senses with inspiration from nature, daily life and travels.
The glass wall that allows you to fully enjoy the view of the four seasons and plants located here and there around the house catch my eye the most, just like the phrase on social media “My home, which makes me feel like I’m in a greenhouse at times and gives off the illusion that there’s no boundary between indoors and outdoors other times”. I wonder what you had in mind as you designed the space.
I renovated the house with the wish to create a space that could make me feel like I was surrounded by nature, without having to take the car and drive a long distance. This house didn’t have a good first impression on me, because the area with the best view was the blocked veranda and the big room which didn’t get any sunlight. But I thought that it could blend in with nature once I enlarged the small window in the big room and expanded the veranda and put in a glass wall instead of the typical white sash that Korean homes have.
How did you get into growing plants?
I began growing plants after I started living by myself. I bought a plant to decorate the house without giving it much thought, and it grew very well although I didn’t pay much attention to it. That made me have more responsibility over pet plants, and I found myself growing as well with my plants.
Do you have your own standard when it comes to choosing plants? Which plants draw you in the most?
I found that with my personality, it’s nothing but greed for short term visual satisfaction to grow rare plants. I’m not good at growing high maintenance plants. I didn’t know which plants were compatible with me in the beginning, which is why a lot of flowerpots came into my house with healthy plants but left with nothing but soil. After that, I started to only put plants that get along with me in my house. Luckily, it seems like all of my plants now are happy with the space they’re in because they’re growing just fine. All in all, plants that can do their job without receiving much attention are the ones left standing in my house.
A lot of people love your vibe, to the point where they call it ‘Ye-jin Moon vibe’. People are paying much attention to not only your house interior but your brand, ‘Oth,’. The brand uses a lot of materials that are inspired by nature, so I wanted to ask, since when did you develop an affection towards natural scenery including plants?
I started loving nature from the moment I realized that nature helped me concentrate on my inner voice by blocking all outside noise, and only impacted me in a positive way. In the ocean where my frequent anxiety was swallowed up by constant waves, in the empty field I came across, in the vast nature that washed away my negative thoughts. I created ‘Oht,’ to share that experience with more people.
I’m sure you’ve noticed on the ‘Today’s House’ application or social media that a lot of people are showing interest in plants and gardening these days. We can see numerous photos of houses with plants. Can you feel that people’s interest in plants have changed?
Being in your house with countless plants and looking after your own garden brings joy in that you grow with the plants, but the fundamental reason is taking care of yourself. More people are realizing as time passes that the time you spend looking after plants is time you look after yourself, although you may not realize this at the beginning.
What changes did you notice after starting to live with plants?
I’m able to enjoy seasons better, compared to before when I just let them pass by. In the winter, plants shrink from the cold and save their strength. In springtime, they bloom wonderfully with all the strength they saved. And we can’t forget summer. They grow so much that I have difficulty keeping up with them. It awes me sometimes. You may be able to tell the change of seasons with the changing view out your window, , but I’ve come to realize how to enjoy seasons to the fullest as I’ve started growing plants.
Can you tell us an instance where plants brought you joy or energy as you lived with them?
After a long day of work when I come home and I’m lying in bed with no energy whatsoever, I feel my fatigue suddenly disappear when I see a sprout from a seed I planted recently. And there’s also times when I water a dying plant just one last time, thinking it might be able to live. When I see a fragile but green sprout peak out from the empty flowerpot days later, I often find energy and strength to carry on living from such a small living being.
Nowadays people look for places where they can be with plants as well, other than growing plants themselves. And a lot of people loved Oth,’s garden themed pop-up store. Why do you think there’s such continuous interest and consumption regarding plants?
If you live your daily life with plants, you will be able to feel other emotions. They don’t say unnecessary things to us. They give us feelings of solidarity, just like friends, as well as happiness and a sense of achievement rather than the feeling of unhappiness. I think people’s interests in plants are going steady for so long because more people are receiving such emotions.
Can you give us some of your own tips to new plant moms out there?
It’s important to find the plant that fits you, even if it takes some time. Before getting a plant, explore the space you live in. You always need to remember two conditions, how much sunlight there is and whether breeze passes through the space. Once you’ve got yourself plants after much consideration, you need to give it the right amount of attention. I think it’s good to keep some distance and show affection at the same time, to make sure you both don’t get tired of each other.
Is there a plant you want to be like the most? Which plant resembles you the most, if you were to describe yourself as a plant?
I’d say a dandelion, which travels freely around the world on the wind before eventually settling in one place and taking root.
We’ve looked into the meaning of planting culture that millennials and gen Z want by taking a glimpse at the life of Seedkeeper, marketer Jung Hye-yoon and director Moon Ye-jin. It seems like watering the plant, trimming its leaves, catching bugs and cleaning its surroundings with love means that we’re taking care of ourselves, watering our minds and giving ourselves a sense of accomplishment and positive energy every day. In the end, it’s about the journey to find comfort, courage and what is ‘most like me’. It makes us think that the reason Jangwon in 1960, at 36 years old, lived a life focused on plants is just like the reason millennial and gen Z plant moms do so. To get inspiration and dream of growth from a close relationship with nature.
Photo / Provided by Moon Ye-jin Editor / Rawpress General Planning / Amorepacific Communications Team
*The entire interview, video and manuscript is copyrighted by News Square.