Arizona Living is the ultimate indoor plant haven. The Torquay store is a unique plant nursery featuring a sea of locally grown cacti, succulents, and gardening tools, with the addition of woven baskets from Africa or ceramics from local creatives – and everything in between!
It’s no surprise that all the employees are keen gardeners and avid plant lovers, too, including founder and owner Libby McLean. The surf coast local grew up in a ‘mad gardening family’ but didn’t find her passion for landscaping until she started working on the desert-inspired, Palm Springs garden of her first home, a mid-century abode in Geelong.
‘I began work on creating a garden with low water needs using a blend of cacti, succulents and natives,’ Libby says.
‘I found myself propagating my special things regularly for friends to use as gifts. I did a couple of little local markets with planted out handmade concrete painted planters and the seed of a dream to escape my corporate fashion job began.’
Nearly eight years on, her side hustle has grown into a flourishing business with a new look HQ designed by Emma Mitchell Architects! When they first moved in 2020, it was a newly built, blank canvas with concrete walls before the renovation turned it into their ultimate office and retail space.
‘Emma Mitchell and our builder Norm Chalmers were awesome to work with because when I asked for an upstairs greenhouse where I could water with a hose indoors, they said “easy!”’ Libby adds.
‘We now have a large mezzanine wrapping around a big central void in the retail end of the building and a large, divided staircase that encourages you to head in different directions as you move upstairs. We often re-arrange how the fixtures of the store are laid out to best display the evolving seasonal green life we get in.’
Libby’s recent travels to Europe inspired Arizona Living’s bold red wall, in addition to finding a range of new, ‘random things’ for the store, including vintage rugs from Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkey!
‘The beauty of running a business in Torquay is the incredible locals, creatives, brands and artists we get to source products from,’ Libby notes.
‘My major goal when I am doing any design of our space is always customer happiness. I want Arizona Living to be that safe place people feel welcome, comfortable, relaxed and inspired, somewhere they can pop in, to wander through and walk out feeling better than when they arrived.’