With family being more important than ever this year, and the holidays around the corner, we’ve happened upon the most perfect gift idea. From Family Botanic, a Canadian startup, comes a whole new way to showcase a family tree, with vintage 19th-century botanical art and a choice of 25 different designs (plus delivery right to your door). We chatted with co-founder Margot Newton (who launched the biz with her daughter) about the art, the process and her own surprising ancestry discoveries! —Vita Daily
Hi Margot! When and why did you launch Family Botanic, and what makes the product/service unique?
I launched Family Botanic in September 2020 with my daughter, Annie, with the goal of making family trees beautiful enough to hang on the wall. 2020 was the year that Mary (my mother-in-law and Annie’s Nana) was turning 90! We wanted to give her something special to mark the moment yet also something that would be very personal. A family tree was suggested to us, so we looked into available options and quickly realized that there were many “templates” that we could use, however, they looked basic—more like an org chart. We wanted to find something that Mary would love, be excited to share and ideally display so she could continue to enjoy it. That’s how we got the idea to take a botanical print and transform it into a family tree. Mary’s gift was our first test tree! We got such a great response from both family and friends that we kept working on developing and refining designs and then decided to start a small business. Our product is unique as we are creating custom family trees fashioned out of authentic botanical art. We start with 18th- and 19th-century historical prints of both plant life and wildlife and then use it to build a personalized family tree. We also want to make it easier to get it on the wall to enjoy, so our Botanical Family Trees are all shipped framed and ready to hang.
Ancestry, lineage and heritage has certainly seemed to spike as an interest in past years; why do you think that’s so?
First, because of the increased access to information online. It is so much easier now to search online and discover information about your family’s past. Services like Ancestry.ca also make it even simpler to do. The second reason is, I think, both Millennials and Gen Z are interested in finding out more about their history, especially since they can do it without necessarily relying on their immediate family and perhaps getting a more “unfiltered” view.
What is the process to obtain a Family Botanic family tree?
We have everything set up online. Start by visiting our website and choose from over 25 different designs. Patrons fill out a simple form with family members’ names and a framed print is shipped directly to them. Our designs accommodate both smaller families (two or three generations of about 12 people) or larger families that span multiple generations with 30-plus members. Some start with the grandparents or greats and depict all their descendants. Others start with a couple or individual, and go back in time to showcase ancestors. As you go through the process of choosing your tree, we are more than happy to help find design options that might fit your family.
What makes this a great gift option for the upcoming holiday season?
This holiday season will be more difficult to get together with family, which is why Family Botanic is the perfect gift. Even if you can’t be together, giving a Family Botanic allows you to celebrate your family in a meaningful and lasting way. All our Family Trees are elegantly wrapped and we can include a gift message.
Were there any surprises uncovered with your own tree?!
Yes! We have actually done it on two separate occasions and for two different reasons. The first time was before my husband Brent and I got married. One surprise was how similar the given names were on both sides of our families. For example, we discovered both our grandmothers were named Margaret. So of course we named our first daughter after them! Actually, she is one of five Margarets on our botanical family tree! The second time, my daughter wanted to understand more of her history and of those relatives she had heard of but had never met. Using Ancestry.ca she was able to trace old birth and wedding certificates as well as census data. It resulted in us have great conversations with my mom, bringing back memories for her as well as giving my daughter richer details of relatives from the past.
Win! A Family Botanic Tree!
We have a winner! Congratulations Quinn D. of Ottawa, ON, who will receive a Family Botanic tree in the design of their choice in either the 12″ x 16″ or 16″ x 20″ size!