Meet Joseph Ressler: Co-owner of Rewild Plant Store in D.C.

Meet Joseph Ressler: Co-owner of Rewild Plant Store in D.C.

Locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia is an impressive feat for any small business owner in the Washington, D.C. area. When Joseph Ressler opened REWILD, a plant store on a mission to connect people to nature, in 2018 with business partners Lily Cox and Kyle Cannon, he didn’t expect to expand quickly. Within five years, REWILD went from a floral shop to a plant store with locations in two Washington, D.C. neighborhoods, Maryland, and Virginia.

Opening stores throughout the Washington, D.C. area is a sort of homecoming for Ressler. Growing up in North Potomac, Maryland, he now lives inside Washington, D.C. in a neighborhood called Brightwood Park. “It’s a true neighborhood—walkable, quiet, and with unique row houses,” says Ressler.

One of his favorite things to do in his neighborhood is walk to Lost Sock Roasters’ pop-up at ANXO, a local hard cider company. With coffee, food, spacious seating, and pictures of dogs hanging on the walls, the pop-up feels like home.

Ressler’s Local D.C. Recommendations

Ressler is local to the core. When in the Washington, D.C. area, he’ll send you to D.C.’s Habesha Market and Maryland’s Wang Dynasty for food, D.C.’s All Souls Bar and Maryland’s Quarry House Tavern for drinks, and D.C.’s Flash and Virginia’s Wolf Trap for sounds.

His ideal day includes grabbing coffee locally with his wife before walking their dog in Rock Creek Park, the country’s third national park. His next stop would be the National Mall with a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden to see the plants. (He is a plant store shop owner, after all.) He’d end his day with Chinese takeout at home while watching Seinfeld. If his friends get lucky, they may be able to convince him to leave home for a nightcap.

His ideal day keeps him in the area. Rather than travel the world, Ressler prefers to be at home. “I actually love being home and being in the same place for a long time. You get to watch that place change and grow and I think the depth of that is very appealing to me,” he says.

Despite being a homebody, he and his wife snuck away to Italy in the summer of 2023 to explore Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Taorimina. “We really loved scootering around from one site to another. It was a blast zooming around these beautiful cities,” says Ressler.

Running Rewild

Not only does a love for home keep him grounded in Washington, D.C., but his business does too. After working as a professional poker player for eight years, the idea for REWILD was born when he earned his MBA at Georgetown University.

Even though poker is only a hobby now, Ressler applies poker strategy to running a business. “Poker is about logic, probability, and psychology. You run a business through all three tests. Does my idea make sense? Logic. Will my idea most likely work out? Probability. Do I have any bias around my ideas? Psychology,” notes Ressler.

He goes on to explain that in poker you must focus on what you can control. Same in running REWILD. He can’t control when customers come in and for what, but he can focus on training his staff to prioritize customer service, selling quality houseplants, and more.

After a few dead ends trying to work in corporate America, Ressler loves what he does. As REWILD’s CEO, he thrives on seeing end results. He says, “Whether that is a beautiful store that our team spent a bunch of time putting together, or an office building that we decorated, or even just walking down the street and noticing our plants in someone’s window. The end result of adding greenery into spaces is the best.”

Ressler considers himself an entrepreneur. His advice to other entrepreneurs is to “just start.” He says, “I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who are looking for speed bumps to delay starting. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.”

Plants, Patience, and Perseverance

As he continues to grow and expand REWILD, the words of Ressler’s mother ring true: “always persevere.” Perseverance takes patience, something not unfamiliar to Ressler. His house is full of cacti, plants that require patience. He nursed a Peruvian apple cactus and saw it blossom for the first time after four years!

As a plant owner himself, Ressler’s passion is to help customers find the right plant for the right space in their homes and apartments. It’s what makes REWILD stand out. Selling unique plants from smaller or family-owned nurseries, REWILD’s staff listens to each customer and connects them to the right-for-them plant.

The Philosophy Behind Rewild Plant Store

REWILD’s personal care for each customer is how the brand started. Ressler started to notice that plants sold in big chain stores and other environments produced an impersonal experience. Believing that plants are personal, he and his co-owners created a more intimate store experience for customers.

And it worked. REWILD is “rooted in the belief that caring for plants is a deep form of self-care.” Self-care leads to growth. A houseplant and its caregiver mature together, a lesson that expands beyond a home and into the world.

Be on the lookout for Dreams Abroad’s ongoing Meet the Locals series. Follow our series to meet other global professionals sharing their stories from around the world.

23 thoughts on “Meet Joseph Ressler: Co-owner of Rewild Plant Store in D.C.

  1. Kudos to Joseph for his mission and continued expansion in the DC area. I have family that live there so I’ll be checking out some of his recommendations next time I visit.

  2. Thank you for highlighting Joseph and REWILD. I really enjoy the meet the locals series. I’m looking forward the the next post.

  3. Absolutely love this write up. Business success stories of people doing what they love is so inspiring. Sending best luck to Joseph for continued expansion and growth.

  4. Indeed, caring for plants is a form of self-care. It’s what I do, for my flowers in the 9 vases at home. I feel so good doing it, with some flower-care meditation playing in my ears.

  5. It sounds like their mission is going strong and they are thriving, I wonder if they will be successful enough to spread their wings to Europe

  6. I’m really impressed by Joseph Ressler’s journey from professional poker player to successful entrepreneur with REWILD. It’s fascinating how he applies poker strategy to running a business, emphasizing the importance of customer service and quality products.

    His love for his local community in Washington, D.C., and the little details like walking his dog in Rock Creek Park and enjoying coffee with his wife make his story even more relatable and endearing. It’s clear that his passion for plants and helping customers find the perfect greenery for their homes shines through in his business.

  7. As someone who dreams of exploring new places, you made me feel like I am right there with you, exploring the enchanting streets of D.C. Can’t wait to visit.

  8. Smart to analyze if there is a bias or not. That matters. I thought of starting up a daycare but I had a huge bias, my daughter was struggling to find a good one and it was stressing me out.

  9. Love the idea of applying poker strategy to running a business. I agree with him that it is best to just focus on what you can control.

    Ressler seems to be a really practical and great entrepreneur. Would love to learn more about his business and his management style. It was nice meeting Joseph.

  10. I love the mission that Joseph has adopted. The products being sold must be of a good quality for him and his partners to have opened so many other stores. It sounds like he really does love plants and has a good knowledge of them. Using a more personal approach can work well to match the eight plant with the right person.

  11. It’s so interesting that Joseph has used some poker knowledge and insight to help in his business. There’s so many things you can transfer to use in other avenues x

  12. What a beautiful story that serves us as a powerful and beautiful reminder to persevere in anything we do and want to succeed.

  13. What an incredible journey and transition from the world of poke to the wildlife and nature. I love the purpose behind Rewild. Sounds and looks like an incredible place. Great feature!

  14. I would have never thought that things learned from being a professional poker player would help with business! What an interesting path in his jobs.

  15. This is interesting, nice to meet you Ressler, and learn about your inspiring story. Thank you for sharing!

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