• Aaron Patel

The Happy Shrub: A Link Between Bonsai And Mental Health

Did you ever think that there was a link between bonsai and mental health? probably not. However, The Happy Shrub have plugged that market, as they have created a unique and rather unorthodox cause.

Married couple Howard and Lucy Mansfield always wanted to contribute to the mental health community, however, rather than dive into areas already full they decided to think outside the box. They also considered people working from home for a full year now, understanding that some need a change after sitting at their desk for hours.

"We knew we wanted to do something mental health-related, we knew we wanted to get people away from their desk," said Howard Mansfield.

"But why bonsai trees?" you are probably asking yourself, well the inspiration actually stemmed from the fact that the couple wanted bonsai themselves. "We could not find one we wanted and we got obsessed with the one we did eventually get. We were really getting into wiring these tiny branches!" said Lucy Mansfield.

Howard also cites the fact that his profession and some of his family members experiences with mental health was another factor that gave them the spring to launch The Happy Shrub. It would appear that the stars aligned and from there they were able to put together something unorthodox but very interesting and rewarding.

From their initial interest in bonsai, the couple were then able to bridge a link to mental health. "Because we were doing so much with this tree it must have had some kind of profound effect on us," said Howard.

Their venture into the subject of mental health comes from their professional backgrounds, Howard has worked in the corporate side of mental health and that exposure was one thing that set the couple off on their new adventure.

It has already been quite the journey for the couple, who initially had the idea during the first lockdown and since then they have taken more steps to ensure that they can get the business off the ground.

Late nights and making sure they look after their young daughter, the couple have certainly put the hours in.

"We have so many different things to do, we just left the website how it was about eight months ago!" said Lucy.

They have a lot to be reflecting upon which can indicate to them that things have been successful thus far. Lucy spoke about the sheer positive reception and feedback they have received, even from people they don't know.

"We've had people sharing our stories and they haven't even tagged us, people we don't even know!"

The sky is the limit for the couple, as their early days as a business have already been successful and they continue to grow all the time - no pun intended! There is still so much more to come from them as well. In the near future, they would like to start their own podcast.

Recently they hosted a live giveaway and it was received positively, an experience they really enjoyed. "There were like eight people watching and we had people saying how good it was. Just the fact that people were going out of their way to be supportive was so heartwarming," said Lucy.

Ultimately, the couple are dreaming of creating a helpful resource for the mental health community, they want to ensure that they are helping as many people as they can in the long term.

"We've already had a state of what this is like, which is doing what we want in the way we want to do it, helping people in the process, our goal is to help people," said Howard.