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These 3 Women Turn Stress Into Business a la K-drama With ‘Itaenim Class’!

Itaenim Class marries three friends’ passions: flowers and K-dramas.

Plants and K-drama: Who knew there was a special connection between the two? For friends Mitchelle Tan, Miranda de Quiros-Grapilon, and Olive Zarate, who worked together at broadcast giant ABS-CBN, plants and K-dramas were not only their mutual passions for years; they also served as life jackets when the pandemic struck.

“So we wanted to share those things to others with hopes that they would also feel less stressed about what was happening,” says Olive in a virtual Q&A with My Pope. “We thought it would be fun to sort of put the two together.” (Read: 5 Ways to Achieve Peace of Mind Amid the Pandemic)

The result is Itaenim Class, a business that mirrors Itaewon Class, the Korean series that inspired its name: a group of friends opening a small venture together. A blend of their favorite pastimes, the online shop sells plants in witty K-drama-inspired pots like “Ok lang ma-drama basta K-drama,” “I’ll get over it. Need ko lang muna Mag-Drama,” and “Buti pa ang halaman. May nagaalaga.”

“We started the business last year and we’ve just had a blast seeing the whole thing bloom,” says Olive.

My Pope Philippines catches up with Olive and Itaenim Class a year and a half later:

Itaenim Class founders, Miranda de Quiros-Grapilon, Olive Zarate, and Mitchelle Tan celebrates their anniversary last June 25, 2021. (Photo from Itaenim Class Facebook)

Where do you source your pots and plants?

The pots are made of lightweight ceramic earthenware material. We designed the egg pots and the catch plate based on our needs and what we thought would retain a classic, clean look.

For our plants, we have suppliers from Cavite, Laguna, Mindoro, and other parts of the country. But in the last few months, we’ve mostly relied on our own propagation. We have lots of plants that we’ve been able to personally care for and grow. The most in-demand plants are, of course, the aglaonema varieties but we’ve had our fair share of philodendron fans, too. (Read: 5 Instagram Stores if You Want Modern Ornamental Plants)

How often do you come up with hugot statements?

We usually have new hugot pots every month. It’s important to keep it fresh and to make sure that we cater to as many people as possible for their own hugot. Our K-drama series pots are some of our bestsellers. It just means that there are many more of us out there who were rescued by plants and K-drama during these pandemic lockdowns.

Photo from Itaenim Class Facebook

Are there lots of K-drama and K-pop-loving plantitos and plantitas out there? What are they like besides their love of plants and all things Korean?

It’s a culture of appreciation. And what K-drama and K-pop music has taught us— the value of just doing your thing and loving it. Which is where plants come in. We just love taking care of plants and seeing them grow. Some people might call it an obsession, but we gotta do what we love! What the pandemic has taught us is that life is short. We just want to live a life doing the things we love.

You are from broadcasting. What have you learned about yourselves, each other, and running a business?

All of us have worked in broadcasting and we’re so used to the fast-paced nature of the business. Plant life has really taught us to stop and to literally and figuratively, smell the flowers. To just pause, sit back, relax, and be patient.

The last year and a half in business has also taught us to trust and listen to each other more. The love we have for each other and for the business can only bloom if we have open communication. (Read: Three My Pope-approved tips for better communication)

Photos from Itaenim Class Facebook

If you could give a plant to your favorite K-drama star or K-pop idol, who would it be and what plant would you give?

We love Kim Seon Ho from Start-Up! We’re #TeamGoodBoy all the way so we’d like to give him a ZZ plant in our pink “Fighting!” ceramic pot since that’s the plant he ended up with at the end of the series.

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