Homemade Holiday with Hank Jenkins

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Making a life out of what you love is always in season. The holidays just make for one more opportunity to celebrate the creative, the artistic and the all-around inspired. With Lucky Brand’s Homemade Holiday, we bring home some of our favorite local talents who represent their communities as they turned their passions into professions. Meet the owner of The Plant Provocateur, Hank Jenkins, as he shares his experience as a black business owner and how he grew a green thumb.
“I believe that those who have been marginalized deserve to experience the same positive privilege and respect due to all human beings.”
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Tell us the meaning behind the name, The Plant Provocateur? What inspired you to launch your business?
The Plant Provocateur is about my mission to light the wick in hopes of starting a fire; a fire in people to ignite a passion for plants and things botanical. I was inspired to launch my business in response to a former career in advertising and film. That period was one of a means to an end. One day I realized I couldn’t wear the golden handcuffs anymore and needed to follow my true passion for connecting people, plants and wellness.
 
Have you experienced more visibility as a black-owned business in LA during the ongoing movement for justice?
Yes. There are moments when the visor is pulled back to reveal the reality that is right in front of you. I see this every day. Others do not. It’s not part of their reality or privilege. But when we have movements and injustice becomes a visible priority in our lives, I am strengthened by the fact that people are forced to see what I am, a black business owner. More to the point, a queer P.O.C. who is as entitled as anyone else in this world to exercise liberties to exist freely, create freely, succeed freely and be respected.
 
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When did you discover you had a green thumb?

As a kid, I experienced a lot of trauma. Plants were my escape. They found me at a time when I needed positive examples in my life that demonstrated the process of healthy growth. When I was 5 or 6 I remember seeing an advertisement in the back of the Sunday paper… ‘$5 for 100 seeds’. I was able to get $5 and order them. Everything I grew flourished. Since then, I’ve had an amazing relationship with plants. I love learning everything about them, what makes them grow, what makes them so beautiful, what makes them flower and fruit.

“My true passion is getting all things botanical to show up in our lives and make us feel something.
 
You made beautiful wreaths for our holiday shoot. What are your DIY tips for someone looking to create their own memorable piece for the season?
I suggest using live materials or dried live material. Never fake. There is something powerful and comforting about experiencing plant leaves, stems, flowers, berries and seed pods. Their textures are provocative in a way that connects us to our planet’s nature (which these days, is rapidly disappearing.) Their scents can conjure calmness, memories and reduce stress. Visually they can transport us back to beautiful moments we may have experienced on an island holiday or when we’ve been in a landscape that takes our breath away. Using materials like this connects us to the spirit of the season. 
 
How do you plan on spending the holidays this year?
I plan on spending some quality time with my chosen family, friends and myself. I like to surround myself with beauty and positivity, especially during the holidays. These things make me feel alive. Holidays are a great time to stop and take a moment to make memories, do something nice for yourself and prepare for the new days ahead.
Check out Hank on Instagram: @tpprovocateur
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