Esra Roy spent 11 years as an accounts manager, but, tired of buying unexciting and unsustainable gifts, she decided to switch careers and create a new gift option for Melbourne and Sydney residents.

Her online store Jacob and Roy, founded late last year, offers resilient plants carefully matched to a stylish pot. Delivery is free in Melbourne for purchases over $60.

“I choose easy-to-care-for plants because I live in a really dark old Victorian home where the windows are facing the wrong way,” she says with a laugh. “So if they can survive in my home, they can survive anywhere.”

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On the site at the moment there’s a zanzibar gem (which prefers indirect sunlight and low watering), a dragon tail (drought resistant), a birds nest fern and a pink princess, among others.

Her pots are sourced from Australia and are either ceramic or glass, and include a full drainage system. They’re beautiful, but not tied to seasons or fashions. Currently available: a matte white pot with cascading English Ivy for $94.95.

“We try and make sure they’re more classic,” says Roy. “The whole idea is they can go in any home; they’re not going to date.”

She’s been surprised by how varied the gift-giving occasions have been: “A lot of births, a lot of new parents, and a lot of deaths – even animal deaths.” A large proportion of her customers are also buying pots as gifts for themselves.

The business is still in its early stages, with deliveries limited to Melbourne and Sydney, but there are plans to expand. There was a pop-up store at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne for Mother’s Day, and Roy would like to get more involved in the design side of things. “Eventually I’d like to start working with some designers to create some really beautiful pots,” she says.

Pots and plants can be delivered to Sydney and Melbourne – prices range $84.95 to $119.95.

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on September 5, 2019. Some details may have changed since publication.