Blog   >   By Invite Only x Green Banana: A Botany Project

Posted on June 2017

Here at By Invite Only, we are always inspired by gemstones and how they blend into our everyday lives. Looking beyond jewellery, we decided to embark on a small Botany project to create beautiful terrariums and crystal garden displays with the aim of sprucing up your home and work spaces. Hence our decision to collaborate with Green Banana.

In this feature, we speak to Founder Ivan Lim on his decision to start up his own brand, and how he copes with the challenges. Find out more on what Green Banana is about and why he decided to collaborate with us below! 

Hey Ivan, can you give an introduction of yourself, what you do now and what you did before Green Banana? 

I'm a modern creative ecologist and a nature-loving designer. I always believe that there are interesting ways to learn about nature. I endeavour to marry my creative background and the botanic experience to create something special. Through the understanding of plant behaviour and their organic structures, I present my creations in chic terrarium compositions as well as other home decor displays. 

Can you share with us on what inspired you to start up Green Banana? Was there a specific moment that sparked your decision?

I have always been a fan of greenery. Back in the days, I used to collect small plants especially cacti and succulents. They were quite refreshing as they vary in shapes and forms which almost seem like they only appear in outer space. One day when I was in a furniture shop, it struck my mind that, what if I put them all together in a glassware so that I can observe them like a mini sanctuary.

What are the initial and current challenges you face in this industry?

When I first started Green Banana, it was quite a fresh idea especially when passers-by showed their interest towards my collections. People are always curious about how those plants could live in tiny bottles. I spend a lot of time and effort educating them on the mechanism behind the little eco-system. As a designer myself, creating my own brand has been always a dream. Later on I realised that founding a company and driving it towards success is not as simple as designing a logo identity. It also takes a lot of marketing effort, planning strategy, patience and discipline. One has to keep motivating and innovating; stand out from others or you will be buried among them.

Where do you get your source of inspiration in designing your terrariums? 

My inspirations are mostly from nature (forms and behaviour) and architecture concept (geometry). Yeah, sometimes when you run out of ideas, the internet is the quickest and best platform where you can have access to countless inspiration.

If there's one thing people should know about terrariums, what would it be?

These plants still live in the container. Most people think that it can sustain on its own but they still need minimal care and the right lighting in order to grow. We still have a little responsibility on our end. It may be subtle but I believe it instills values into the young generation.

You made a shift from working full-time at a company to starting your own brand, what was the biggest change for you?

The biggest change would be working independently and trying to figure out the right approach for the brand and the business aspect effectively. It’s a learning path and turning point for my career.

What came to your mind when we approached you for a collaboration to include crystals in terrariums? Was it your first time working with Crystals in Terrariums? 

Yes, this is my first time. I’m always fascinated with the beauty of crystals and mysterious energy behind them. When By Invite Only approached me, I thought it could be an opportunity to explore this territory with the brand while sticking to the Green Banana style. I wanted to create a series where crystals are incorporated naturally into the landscape instead of an "add-on".

Can you briefly describe your process on how you came to these final designs for the collaboration?

When we were selecting the ideal crystals for the terrarium as a collaboration, we both agreed that they have to be adaptable and natural-looking. By Invite Only shared with me some thoughts they think is cool as a combination of plants and crystals. There were mutual trust and equal effort in making this unique project possible. So far, I’m glad it all went well. I hope they will eventually end up in caring hands.

What are you up to now and what can we look forward from Green Banana in the future?

I have reduced the frequency of participating in creative markets and placed more focus on team-building and educational workshops. In the current scene of start-ups, I am looking forward to collaborate with more creative talents in the industry. Hopefully, people will respect and appreciate them.