We had the good fortune of connecting with Juana Santos and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Juana, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I think the main thing to tell yourself is that you are on the right track and to learn to love yourself along the way. Good things will come, all at their correct time. When I had my daughter in 2017, I developed really extreme health issues. I had about 7 gallstones and needed immediate surgery following the birth. My health declined extremely the following year, constant stomach problems and so many visits to the doctors. Along with that, I developed depression and anxiety, which is a difficult topic to speak of in a Latino household. At that moment, I wanted to give up on everything. I remember being so exhausted at moments that caring for my son and my daughter was difficult. I was blessed to have my mom and my family to help me, because being a single mother was not an easy thing. I would stay up multiple nights from the anxiety of feeling like everyone around me had their entire lives figured out, and I still hadn’t done close to as much as they had. That was when I discovered just how therapeutic houseplants could be. Although, when I was younger, I always watched my dad tend to the rose bushes, the yard and the trees outside. I remember he would grow peppers and make home made salsas. The best salsa by the way! Houseplants was a whole different ballgame though.  My interest for them started small. I began to binge watch houseplant tour and care videos, until one day I finally set foot in the gardening center and it was game over from there. I began collecting throughout 2018-2019, I was happy, attending events and being active on the Instagram Plant community; and then fell into a bad depression due to health issues resurfacing. I sold everything off, because I physically could not care for my plant collection, and I began to feel like everything was falling apart quickly again. I felt defeated every day, unable to find joy in anything, besides plants. I still kept up with the Plant community on Instagram from a distance, watching everyone grow. Then 2021 arrived, and like the rest of the world, I was not prepared for the change; but oh man, did it bring good things with it. I met my boyfriend, we moved into our home and I began collecting again. I knew this was my sign to keep pushing, because he kept encouraging me to jump back into my old hobby regardless of how long I felt it had already been. I became active on my plant Instagram again, posting solely for joy, and I noticed that I finally had gotten my spark back. They always said you have to take the good with the bad and now I understand why. If I had given up in 2017 when I felt like the world was against me, I wouldn’t be here; doing something I love, sharing it with the world while bringing awareness to mental health in the Latino community, and also having the opportunity to start a small business solely fueled by my passion for plants, health, and self-care. All I can say is, keep pushing when it feels right. Keep pushing when you get that nervous, excited feeling in your stomach when speaking of things you’re passionate about. Keep pushing when you know you deserve better. Most importantly, keep pushing because YOU DO DESERVE BETTER.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are still currently working on a few things for our shop, so we can’t really say much, or we’d spoil the surprise! Although, I would like the community to know that we look forward to bringing you a product and place that makes your jaw drop and mouth water. We are trying to be as eco-friendly as possible while keeping the customers needs in mind. Did I mention we support local growers and artists, aswell? The hardest part of starting a business has to be pushing yourself and telling yourself that even if you fail, at least you tried. We have jumped hurdles and worked with what we had to get this business started. Like I mentioned prior, we are still currently “under construction”, and having to work around the roadblocks has been challenging but rewarding. One thing I have learned through this process is that you have to find the motivation to keep working on your business even on the days when things seem the most impossible. Along with surrounding yourself with a good support system, so that those difficult days seem less intimidating. I know that the challenges are not over, but I know that this is what I believe in. We are excited for this new venture, and we hope you join us on our journey to our Grand Opening!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There’s definitely a few places that come to mind, that I would recommend someone stopping by and checking out while on their vacation. I would suggest they take a quick trip to Mercado de Los Cielos, inside Desert Sky Mall, and walk around the cool swapmeet style shopping center. After shopping around a bit, I would suggest they head to the food court inside Mercado de Los Cielos and grab a Quesadilla frita de cecina, from Gordita’s Wendy. The best quesadillas in Phoenix, in my opinion, and the owner is super nice! Also, they have great salsa! Another great spot to visit would be the Collector’s Marketplace, if you have some time to spare. They have a huge collection of action figures, model kits, and even childhood toys! Plus, the amazing artwork in the front is an attraction itself. Let’s not forget stopping at the Sicilian Bakery in North Phoenix for some of the most delicious cannoli’s I have personally tried. We’ll let you decide, though, if you want to eat dessert before or after stopping by Forno 301 for some amazing ravioli, margherita pizza and a glass of wine. For Saturday, nothing sounds better than a quick dip at Lake Pleasant, and grabbing some drinks while getting a tan in the morning. Later in the evening, after the tan has set in and you’re all bronzed up, head out and grab a quick bite at a local pub near Club Downtown before heading in there to dance the night away to some Latin & Reggaeton music. Finally Sunday I would say there’s nothing more relaxing than grabbing your things and heading up north to Jerome, AZ. Walk around the town and learn some of its amazing history, while checking out some of the unique boutiques they have. Don’t forget to grab some food at The Haunted Hamburger before heading back down to Phoenix to wind down! I highly recommend sitting in the outdoor area of the restaurant, the view is beautiful!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think I’d have to give a huge shoutout to those who were my biggest support system at the time and also gave me that little nudge I needed to find the positives in life. Those people would be my mom and my sister who helped me so much while I was in recovery from surgery, and still till this day. Then there’s the man who taught me that I am deserving of being loved, and being happy. The man who helps me everyday and works with me to figure out new ways to better my health. He has always pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and I thank him greatly, because now I have the courage to take this next huge step in life and get my business off the ground. Last but not least, my father for raising me around plants and gardening, along with showing me that dedication and hard work pays off. All in all, just an enormous thank you to everyone who has been there every step of the way with me, from those who have stayed and those who have left, you have made me the strong and successful woman I am today.

Instagram: @DontYouJuanaPlant

Other: TikTok: @dontyoujuanaplant Store Insta: @DontYouJuanaShop Business Email: Dontyoujuanaplant@gmail.com

Image Credits
Marcelo Diaz

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