At Sandows we're proud of our roots. Launched from a basement in Hackney whilst holding down our barista jobs, Sandows is a side hustle gone wild. Although our days of trading shifts for space to brew cold brew coffee are behind us, we remember them fondly. Our latest series, Baristas Mean Business looks to celebrate other people working in coffee doing something special on the side.
Earlier this summer, barista and seasoned member of the coffee community Daniele Di Silvio decided to switch it up and launch his plant shop plxnt papi. Based in Netil Market, Daniele describes plxnt papi as a little bit of Colombia. Reggaeton music echo’s between the leaves and there’s good vibes greenery all around. If you check it out, you’ll find Daniele next to a tiny pineapple ready to offer you advise on plants which have symbiotic relationships with ants, or even particularly velvety leaves.
After eight years as a barista, managing coffee shops, and working at Oatly, Daniele knows his way around coffee. He’s still passionate about the community and support from friends in the coffee biz has helped his new venture to thrive. We sat down with him to find out what inspired his new hustle, what it’s like to try something different, and his tips for taking care of yourself.
Where were you when inspiration struck?
In my bedroom, having just had one of the toughest months of my existence. My girlfriend noticed that when I was looking after plants I seemed at my happiest so I put all my energy into learning about that and opened the shop. There’s something amazing about looking after plants and helping something else grow.
Your greatest stunt - tell us about a time you pulled something amazing off?
Honestly, the biggest thing I’ve ever, EVER done is making it so that I could get to the point where I sold a plant to a human. Aside from that, I made eye contact with J Balvin at a concert and share a birthday with Beyoncé.
How have you found the transition from working in coffee to doing something new?
It's been quite a smooth transition actually! A lot of the skills (especially in terms of service) have been essential for what I'm doing right now. My approach to sourcing and quality comes from the coffee world aswell - caring about where things come from, what makes them special and their impact on the world! Plus, the support and love I get from all my friends in the coffee world makes me still feel like a part of a beautiful community!
Biggest fuck up?
Letting drugs take over my life.
You can go for a coffee with anyone living or dead, who do you choose and what do you ask them?
My alocasia. I’d ask ‘why did you die on me?’. On a serious note, it would be Pope, my best friend, and I’d just ask him to talk because I miss him every minute of my life.
What are two traits that have helped you in your hustle, and one quality you'd love to develop?
My love for people and my self-awareness. I’d like to improve my forgiveness and organization.
What has taken the most courage so far?
Constantly and truly checking myself.
Top tip for keeping the plates spinning?
As overused as it might this be, SELF CARE. it can never be stressed enough.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Focus dude, believe compliments and accept love.
Is there anyone in particular who’s helped you make it work?
I never would have been able to even begin thinking about plxnt papi without the incredible group of humans (mainly women) in my life who I love and who love me back.
Find plxnt papi at Netil Market, 13 - 23 Westgate St, London E8 3RL (open all day Wednesday - Sunday).
And check out @plxntpapi on Insta!