If you’ve ever thought The Juicy Leaf on Figueroa looks more like an oddities shop than a plant shop, that’s because it sort of is. There are plenty of fun air plants and succulents, new unique items, eccentric vintage pieces, and other rare, interesting finds. But they’re all part of one vision of shop owner Felix Navarro. Juicy Leaf Highland Park.
Instead of buying a pre-made succulent or air plant arrangement, Juicy Leaf encourages their customers to create their own arrangement using their plants, sand, pebbles, containers, and whatever else you find in the shop.
“The main concept is giving people the opportunity to create,” says Navarro. “Choose the elements, choose the pieces, and either do it [yourself] or have us help.”
Although the Juicy Leaf has been on Fig for less than a year, Navarro’s been slingin’ succulents for more than a decade. The Juicy Leaf shop got its start on Abbot Kinney in Venice nine years ago, after Navarro gained enough of a following from doing garden shows, swap meets, flea markets, and selling out of his garage for two and a half years.
Before selling plants, Navarro worked in finance but decided to leave after the housing market crash in 2007. Feeling the weight of a corrupt industry, he left to pursue his dream.
“I had worked my way up the corporate ladder,” says Navarro. “I was successful, and then I found myself peddling at flea markets. So it was a little tough.”
But working out of his garage for that first couple of years paid off. He learned how to talk to customers, to sell his product, package it and transport it – information that helped him open a brick and mortar shop. And now, Navarro’s homegrown shop is in Highland Park, a neighborhood he says reminds him of Abbot Kinney 10 years ago with such a diverse and creative vibe.
With creativity in mind, Navarro’s passion has always been plants, and providing a place where people with any budget and any background (green thumb or none) can create their own arrangement.
“If you bring in a coffee cup and say, ‘I want a succulent in here,’ and you pick a $2 succulent, that’s what you’ll pay, just $2,” says Navarro. “All we need is something to fit the plant into, and we can make it look awesome.”