Five Women Making History- Eliza Blank, Founder & CEO at The Sill


March is Women’s History Month and we are excited to celebrate and share five amazing women and mothers who are making an impact in today’s world.   We encourage you to join us each week as we spotlight these hardworking and inspiring women!

Eliza Blank:: Founder & CEO at The Sill

Eliza Blank is the Founder & CEO at The Sill, a digitally native direct-to-consumer houseplant brand on a mission to modernize the garden center experience. Eliza has raised over $12 million from Brand Foundry Ventures, The Chernin Group, and The Raine Group, among others. Prior to launching The Sill, Eliza served as a Brand Strategist at Wolff Olins, one of the leading brand agencies in the world, and as a Brand Manager at Living Proof, a Polaris Partners backed beauty company that excited to Unilever. She has been featured in The New York Times, Domino Magazine, Refinery29, NPR, and Forbes, and in books including Living with Pattern, The Kinfolk Home, and My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. Eliza holds a BS in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU. Her favorite plant is the Philodendron Cordatum because it grows quickly and is incredibly resilient.

An Interview with Eliza

What inspired you to launch The Sill?

My mom came to the U.S. from the Philippines in her 20s, earned a second nursing degree and an MBA and spent over 30 years working for the same hospital in western Mass. In her free time, she cultivated a beautiful garden and tended to her houseplants. She is the driving force behind my appreciation for plants (and my role model for hard work). When I left home for New York City, I attempted to fill my first apartment with plants, but I was disappointed in the experience of “urban gardening”. You could say I had a hunch (Plants Make People Happy) and the hustle, and sometimes that’s enough.

It was my very first year out of school that I moved into my own studio apartment. Calling it small would be generous. It was on the sixth floor of a walkup and I had windows facing a brick wall (sigh). I knew houseplants would make my apartment feel more like home but the experience of finding the right plants, getting them back to my sixth-floor walkup, and taking care of them was much more challenging than I expected.

What started as an idea to connect people with plants, has since become an online storefront, a subscription, 9 brick-and-mortar stores in 5 major US cities, and a global community of plant parents—all powered by The Sill’s talented team. And I am proud to call them my family.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My daughter is my alarm clock at 7 am every morning — but I generally stay in bed for at least 10 extra minutes while my husband starts to prep breakfast. I check in on the business—email, calendar, and the sales numbers that came in overnight while I was asleep. It gets me excited for the day ahead. By 7:15 am I’m out of bed for a shower and breakfast. I never leave the house without a good breakfast. I usually don’t have another meal until dinner, so I never skip it. I always do a quick read of The New York Times and then have coffee. My husband does the crossword puzzle and he shouts out the clues he can’t get on his own. He and my daughter leave the apartment around 8:30 am for work and school respectively — and I settle into my home office, which is also our bedroom. Lunch is usually just an accumulation of snacks and (more) coffee throughout the day. Unless I have important meetings, I generally keep it pretty casual. My typical uniform includes Madewell jeans, a T-shirt or sweater, and tied-back hair. These days it’s easy to keep it simple. My day consists of a lot of meetings these days. If I’m lucky, I’ll get out for an in-person meeting, coffee, or trip to one of our New York City stores. I make time for a walk each day. I problem-solve the best when I’m unplugged. Dinner is usually at home and around 7 pm. After my daughter goes to bed – I usually hop back online and wrap up my work. The one benefit of working from my home office is it forces me to keep the room tidy and the bed made. It makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something important before my day truly begins. And it’s nice to get into a well-made bed at the end of the day!

As a woman, what obstacles did you face or did you ever question whether you could achieve your goals?

I don’t know that this is specific to being a woman — but even 10 years later, I can doubt myself and this can often be my biggest obstacle. Problems come and go – but I find that how I manage my emotions, my internal dialogue and the ability to stay true and believe in myself is what ultimately gets me through.

What is one piece of advice you wish you could give your pre-boss self?

I would tell my younger, pre-boss self that validation has to come from within.

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