Meet Molly Malecki, your new WeHoP Sales Specialist
We’re really excited to introduce Molly Malecki as Sales Specialist for our Washington customers. Molly is a Certified Professional Horticulturist (CPH) and is from the retail side of our industry. She was the Annuals Buyer at a premier Seattle garden center for the past four years. Her experience with plants, consumer trends and extensive retail background made her a perfect fit for this position.
“My goal is to keep on the pulse of the horticulture world and strive to be ahead of its currents. I’ve learned to predict and set trends, with words and with products.” Molly is excited to delve into the bigger world of horticulture and looks forward to learning this side of the business.
How did you arrive at this business?
While completing a master’s degree in Art History, I flew off to Rome to be a teaching assistant cum scout leader for my final spring. I returned to Seattle to graduate, and to embark on new adventures in present time. A zeal for plants led me to answer an ad for work at a local nursery. I finished my first day at the nursery bone-tired, but eager to return. I finished the first week with a sprained ankle and an unnatural desire to memorize the entire Sunset Western Garden Guide. I’ve never looked back or doubted that the world of plants—and the people who work with plants—is where I want to be.
What do you know about plant people?
They are driven; they are spirited hard-workers; they are great cooks; they are funny; they are generous; they notice things and are attuned to their surroundings; and they revel in the natural wonders around them. These are my people.
Who have you worked with in the past? What are you most passionate about professionally?
Since 2010, I’ve served as the Annuals Buyer at Sky Nursery, mastering the challenges of a growing nursery in complicated times. My goal has been to have my hands on the pulse of the world of horticulture and to strive to be ahead of its currents. I learned to predict and set trends, with words and with products. I’ve worked tirelessly to search out new offerings and market my finds in compelling ways. Among the fruits of these labors are compelling sales numbers and two consecutive L&GR Merchandiser of the Year Awards for Sky.
But I want more. There’s a bigger world of horticulture out there and I want to examine the bigger picture. To think critically about plants and people in these times, when our possibilities are virtually infinite, yet constrained by the bounds of geography, weather, tradition and other hobgoblin.
What are you known for professionally? What do you have a knack for? What’s the one problem you are best at solving for your customers?
There’s no doubt that I am an ideas person, but I’m also a supreme pragmatist. My perennial questions: Does this work? How can we make this better? I like elegance in simple solutions. But I’m also insatiably curious. (Colleagues have noted my mind’s sponge-like capacities— mostly in compliment!) I have a need to grasp the big picture, then get busy analyzing, dissecting the working parts so that we can refine them, improve upon them. I revel in creative collaboration with a team. I’ll work to cut through the fog of a problem or a cloudy brainstorm like a laser and help you spark that tinder of an idea that’s exciting and worth running with. I’m most interested in: Where can we go from here? How can we enchant our customers?
What are you passionate about personally? What do you really enjoy? What can’t you stop talking about?
I am perpetually fascinated by plants. My mom and aunt have always been plant connoisseurs,so as a kid I was shuttled around from nursery to nursery. I usually ended up having to share my seat with the latest yellow Echinacea or another ‘Nancy Evans.’ Wherever I am, love to visit nurseries and gardens. I’ll admit to an unhealthy infatuation with ariods. I fell hard for Manzanitas after meeting ‘Louis Edmunds’ outside of Jungle Fever in Tacoma. I’ve structured trips to South Carolina just to stand beneath certain live oaks. These days I’m preoccupied with Saxifrages. But for the sake of well-roundedness, I will also say that I love reading, traveling, throwing the ball for my retriever, and cheering for my Huskies in the fall.
Sunset Magazine, Gardens Illustrated and RHS The Garden are my touchstones, my escapes. My dream would be to be on a May-long tour of the gardens of England. Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden and Woodland Garden books are warm friends that continue to inspire and refine my own gardening aesthetic. In my mind, I’m also plotting a trip to Istanbul, just to be able to stand under the dome of Hagia Sophia.
Where did you grow up and why aren’t you there now? Where can we find you when you’re not working?
I grew up on the south end of Whidbey Island, on the beach. I live in “town” now with husband, (who is also an islander), but catch every ferry I can back. You can find me just about every weekend on Columbia Beach with my family and my dog, Rufus. If it’s July or August or September, that’s me out there on the water crabbing or fishing for silvers with my dad.
What would be impossible for you to give up?
The quest for awesome dry shade-loving plants. Chocolate. A July 4th not spent on Columbia Beach.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a thinker and a doer, who strove to master things that piqued my curiosity. As a good daughter, sister, friend and dog-mom. I’m a Thurber fan, so what has resonated with me is the observation his secret was “a warm heart and an angry mind.”