When designing your space, you should focus not only on the aesthetic, but also allow your personality to shine through.
This is how the online shop Itaenim Class found its niche—by marrying two interests through its plant pots: love for plants and K-dramas.
The Instagram shop (@itaenimclass) has over 15,000 followers and follows only 116 accounts, including that of Korean actor Jung Hae-in. It is owned by Mitchelle Tan, Miranda de Quiros-Grapilon and Olive Zarate. They became friends when they met as employees at ABS-CBN.
“We shared a passion for plants and K-drama for years. Both those things were heightened and sort of became life jackets during the early part of the pandemic,” Tan said. “We wanted to share those things with others with hopes that they would also feel less stressed about what was happening. We thought it would be fun to sort of put our two passions together.”
The name of their shop is a nod to the Park Seo-jun drama, “Itaewon Class.” It is Zarate’s favorite drama, but the name was suggested by reporter Jeff Canoy. The name is also apt since, Tan noted, the K-drama is about a “group of friends starting a small business and seeing it grow. So we were inspired by that and ended up taking the name Itaenim Class.”
The main feature of their plant pots are witty statements that attract K-drama and BTS fans.
For instance, they have pots that say “I Purple You,’’ which means I love you in BTS-speak, and lines from their songs such as “Spring Day.” There are also pots with lines such as “Okay lang magdrama, basta K-drama” and “K-drama lang puwedeng magpaiyak sa akin.” Some simply bear a finger-hearts design.
Tan said that the inspiration just materializes randomly.
“There are a lot of hugot statements you can get from the planting experience as well as watching K-dramas,” she said. “So when there’s an idea, we discuss it, and then we sort of agree that it would look great on a pot. There are many lessons learned in the planting process which apply to life as well.”
De Quiros-Grapilon and Zarate are the Army (aka BTS fandom) in the group. Tan said that reporter De Quiros-Grapilon listened nonstop to BTS after getting introduced to the band. Zarate was influenced by her children who are K-pop fans. Tan said that K-pop has become a bonding tool for her friend and her children.
“The songs are great jams and earworms on first listen,” Tan noted.
They add new items every month. “Anything fun and relatable to other plantitas and plantitos, we’re there with them,” Tan added.
They also have hugot lines available for non-K-drama fans. “The most memorable one was a client who ordered our ‘Ikaw lang sa-pot na’ pot,” Tan recalled. “He used it to hide the ring for his proposal to his plantita girlfriend. It was so sweet. And we were cheering when she said yes!”
The women have yet to accommodate requests for customized statements, and that’s one of their goals. However, clients can customize their items by choosing from available statements, the color of the plant pots and the sizes.
Sizes for the Itaenim Class pot plants range 14 cm X 14.5 cm up to 18 cm x 18.5 cm. The hugot pots are made of earthenware ceramic. Prices start at P700 and include a catch plate and care cards.
The shop also offers potted plants.
Itaenim Class entertains clients 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Instagram. INQ