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San Diego couple launches new business during COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 09:56:33-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As many San Diego business owners fold due to coronavirus pandemic pressures, a few brave entrepreneurs are launching their businesses now, including a Pacific Beach couple that turned their passion for plants into a "blooming" business.

It was the sign of the times for boxing instructor Cody Warden -- COVID-19 made him jobless.

"I was laid off during that time," Warden said. "It was not legal for me to teach boxing."

His girlfriend, Tammy Nguyen, a social media content manager, was also now working out of their Pacific Beach home. But when the couple looked around, all they saw was joy.

"We were getting all these houseplants in our house, and it was filling this void if you will," Warden said. "It brought us companionship in a time when it was really difficult to see your friends or family."

So they took a leap of faith last month, and decided to turn their passion into a business. They launched IvyMay & Co., an online houseplant curating company that offers tips and free, contact-less delivery anywhere in San Diego County.

"Plants are a form of therapy for people who might be depressed during this time, and being able to take care of these plants and seeing them grow gave a lot of people happiness," Nguyen said.

Science backs this up. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology looked at the psychological responses of young adults to a computer task, versus an indoor plant-related task. Researchers found that people who interacted with plants had significantly lower blood pressure, as well as physiological and psychological stress.

Although Warden and Nguyen cannot see their customer's smiles underneath the masks, they can hear it in their voices when they deliver. They say it reassures them that starting a business that brings joy during the pandemic was the right thing to do.

"If I could keep a house plant alive, you can too!" Warden laughed. "There's no such thing as a green thumb. Basic things, learn how to read your plant, and listen to what it's telling you."

As the business grows, Warden and Nguyen hope to partner with local artists who can create unique pots for their plants.