Rachel Song brought a piece of her Chinese culture and childhood when she moved to America and hopes to share her lifelong love of plants with Long Islanders. NewsdayTV's Senior Lifestyle Host Elisa DiStefano reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

Coming from a family of mom-and-pop business owners, Rachel Song, owner of Modern Terrarium Bar in Rockville Centre, felt it was her destiny to become an entrepreneur.

“I watched them run their businesses since I was a little kid,” Song says of her grandparents who ran a large bookstore in Beijing. 

Song was born in Beijing and immigrated to the United States as a teenager with her parents. Her family lived in upstate New York before moving just over a decade ago to Westbury, where she still resides.  

“School definitely was a challenge, because I came here when I was 17 and I really didn’t speak a word of English,” she recalls.

From English as a Second Language instruction in high school, Song moved onto business management classes at Touro College in Queens while working full time.  Her job heading logistics for a fashion company in 2009 eventually proved unsatisfying. 

“So, finally I decided, I’m going to take a chance. I will try to open my own business while I’m working for a company,” she says.

That first foray, a Brooklyn-based doggy day care/grooming/boarding service, failed, Song surmises, because she wasn’t fully committed to it.

“After that, I took a little break in between to try to find myself again — to find my passion,” Song explains.

Her next venture: a crafting class/gift shop. It started with shabby chic pots and signs and morphed into its current iteration of terrarium crafting in 2017, where her plants are sourced from a fourth-generation grower in Huntington.

“We call it modern because we’re using colored sands to create sand art,” Song says. “And we also do a succulent versus your traditional terrarium where you use live moss. It’s just a very different look.”

Recently, the shop added “Paint and Plant” workshops, offering desert moon and boho design templates, where patrons choose plants, terracotta pots and mix the color palettes to their liking.

“We also give them a card where they can write their intentions,” says Song. She adds,  “hopefully they’re good intentions that will grow with the plant as well.”

In addition to offering workshops, Modern Terrarium Bar is a lifestyle gift shop.

“Everything in here is related to home and gifts and it’s really unique because we really try to source products from small maker U.S. businesses run by women,” she says.

You’ll find a curated collection of candles, diffusers, tea towels, and organic teas; all-natural soaps, body oils, facial massage kits and other self-care items, and a variety of host gifts.

Prices start at $2 for crystals and go up to $100 for a collectible plant.

Modern Terrarium Bar is located at 19 S. Village Ave., Rockville Centre. The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; 516-678-8886, modernterrariumbar.com.

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