East Bay teen turns her pandemic hobby into a blooming business

MARTINEZ; Calif. (KGO) -- The COVID-19 lockdown has been a huge adjustment for many, but finding ways to cope can provide a positive outcome for some.

Katelynn Hernandez was excited for her senior year in high school before the COVID-19 pandemic forced her school to shutdown.

Hernandez decided to take her happiness into her own hands by starting a new hobby - gardening.

When Hernandez found herself feeling anxious, gardening provided an outlet to forget about the stress of living in a pandemic.

"The pandemic impacted my life because it was a lot of change coming my way," said Katelynn Hernandez. "The pandemic was mostly lonely, like a lot of change that I wasn't use to. And coming up with a new routine helped me keep my mind off of what's actually happening in the pandemic."

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She quickly inherited her green thumb from her father and grandfather who also love to garden. Hernandez started planting cacti and succulents into ceramic pottery with inspiring quotes and sayings.

"It helped me a lot because it was like a little escape," said Hernandez. "I just wanted something to take care of and watch grow. That's what really helped me in the beginning and it turned into a hobby."

Hernandez began positing her succulents to a local Facebook page for small businesses.

After receiving positive support, she decided to launch her own plant business, Miss Succulents, on Facebook.

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"This is like peaceful for me to do this, and that's what really helped me in the beginning," said Hernandez. "It's kinda like plant therapy for me."

Hernandez's passion quickly blossomed into a successful small business and she was surprised how her plants brought her customers so much happiness.

"Once stuff started selling, I thought Wow. People actually like my stuff and I can actually do what I like to do," said Hernandez.

Hernandez creates live videos on her Facebook page and holds plant giveaways to engage with her customers.

"That's what really keeps me going," said Hernandez. "That just feels good to bring other people happiness."

She hopes her story and new hobby will inspire other children who are struggling during the pandemic.

"My advice for other kids struggling with the time we are in right now, is to get up and get started on whatever you want to do," said Hernandez. "If you have a passion then follow through with it and you will really find a love for something."
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