We’ve taken the time to get to know Courtney McKinney, creator of CM Designs Company, your one-stop-shop for all things plant related!
Q: Tell us the story behind CM Designs Company and what led you to start it?
A: “In college I started trying my hand at having plants in my dorm room, but nothing ever survived. I never stopped trying though (R.I.P. to all of those poor plant babies). After college, my husband and I moved to Denver, Colorado and we brought our 3 surviving, but sad looking plants; a snake plant, a pothos, and a dracaena. Somehow these 3 plants managed to begin thriving and growing into healthy plants. So after converting my “black thumb” to a “green thumb” I began buying more plants. Living in an apartment and having a small porch limited the amount of plants I could have, but my plant family grew to 10 plants before we moved back to the St. Louis area. Now that we have our own house, our plant family has grown exponentially! We slowly started adding more plants and when COVID-19 started we began propagating our existing plants to create more plant babies. All of my propagations were sitting in window sills and on tables in wine glasses, old sauce jars, and any other container I could find. But because of the size of the glasses and jars they took up a lot of space, so I needed to find a way to make them more compact and also more aesthetically appealing. In July 2020 I lost my job as an Interior Designer and began trying to think of ways I could still help support our household and, let’s be honest, the plant addiction. I knew that there were a ton of people, both locally and all over the world, who had really started getting into collecting plants and starting propagations of their own, so I decided to try making propagation stations from wood and glass test tubes and trying to sell them. I started with some simple designs that my dad and I made in his workshop. I listed them on Etsy and they actually sold! They may have sold to people I knew, but people liked them and that was enough for me to decide that I wanted to make more and start my own business. Just like that CM Designs Company was born! I started selling only wooden propagation stations at the local Alton Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market, but I quickly expanded into making wooden air plant displays as well. After building up my stock of wooden pieces, I started experimenting with macramé and using recycled blown glass pieces in my designs. Customers loved the macramé and glass pieces, so they became the newest staple in my small business. Now after almost a year of being in business on my own, I offer wooden propagation stations, macramé pot hangers, various air plant displays, and live air plants. I’m so grateful and incredibly thankful for all of the support and wonderful people I have met through this new journey. I couldn’t have ever expected CM Designs Company to mean as much to me as it does now!”
Q: What inspires you?
A: “Being able to see how much joy and excitement a new plant or even a new plant display can bring someone, especially during such an incredibly tough year for a lot of people. Seeing how happy my work makes people inspires me to keep going and making even when things are tough for me.”
Q: Any new projects or launches coming up soon?