DESIREE

DESIREE BARRERA

HAIRSTYLIST + BARBER

Ash + Oak Women in Business

When did you start your business or career?

Age 19. Going 9 years strong.

What do you do?

Licensed hairstylist and licensed barber. Making people the best of themselves.

Who inspired you or what inspires you?

Fashion, music, strong independent women.

Ash + Oak Women in Business

A struggle you face in your business?

The price rises of the Bay Area have increased salon rent. Also how underrated hairstylist are to the state and community. I have a 4 page resume of education, however this field does not come with sick pay, vacation pay, or retirement.


Have you stay true to your brand (career) or have you changed it throughout the years?

Stayed true %100 and never looked back.

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Something that scares you?

Growing old. Being a hairstylist is a physical job. I use every part of my body.

What do you do to keep your sanity?

Yoga

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Give one tip or advice to someone who maybe interested in your biz?

Success doesn’t happen over night.


Would you own your own studio? If so, what's holding you back right now?

Yes! That is the dream. San Francisco has become to high is housing rent, that a salon rent on top of that is very complicated. The question I ask myself is, -is San Francisco holding me back?



What was your worst hair cut as a kid?

 
5th grade! I have curly hair. When I went home and washed it, I went to school the next day looking like a mushroom top with straggly ends

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Book an appointment at DesireeBarrera.com

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PRACTICE PRACTICE

Becoming a floral designer was not easy and I am still learning tricks. One of my favorite thing to do is practice in my studio by myself. Just me and the flowers. When I have the opportunity to play at home I discover new shapes and techniques. Plus, I follow so many amazing floral designer and we all love sharing our little discoveries to make life easier. So practice and keep learning because no matter what you can always improve.

Or join us for one of our amazing workshops! We will be popping up at Gather and Mill in Grass Valley April 14th for an Easter Centerpiece workshop! It’s only $45 which is a steal of a deal for a workshop! We usually charge $150 but want to meet more people in our community. Find details on our shop!

Ash + Oak Floral







DOGWOOD

AKA KATIE + JAMIE

Dogwood is owned and operated by 2 long-time friends, Katie Pilgrim and Jamie Boling

Ash + Oak Floral women in business



When did you start your business or career?

We officially launched Dogwood Botanicals in January 2019 as a way to offer wellness through cannabis and hemp to folks in places that didn’t have abundant, legal access to clean cannabis, like we are blessed with in California. Although our brand is new to the market, we’ve have been working together in the cannabis and arts industries throughout our 10 year friendship. In addition to our backgrounds in cannabis cultivation, Katie was also the Assistant Director of an art gallery and involved with other art businesses in SF, while Jamie was working as a business consultant and business manager in SF and LA.

What do you do?

Our core mission is to support the earth as we support each other and our endocannabinoid systems. We want to empower others to utilize plants for healing and wellness, and share how we’ve found more well-being through cannabis and CBD. Our first offering is an alcohol-free tincture with 2 simple ingredients: MCT coconut oil + full-spectrum hemp extract.

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Who inspired you or what inspires you?

Wow so many things! Nature is one of our biggest inspirations. Our mission was inspired by our time working with the healing and creative powers of cannabis. It became obvious after traveling back and forth for years between TN and CA that our friends and family in TN were missing out on what was available to us in CA. This inspired us to begin looking for ways to help them gain access. Once momentum started gaining with the Farm Bill and hemp pilot program in 2014, our wheels were turning about hemp and the its healing benefits.

A struggle you face in your business?

Compared to 100+ years of hemp + cannabis prohibition that impacted everyone in our country and denied access to the benefits of this plant’s medicine to countless people, our struggles our minor. Compared to the communities of BIPOC who were negatively impacted by the prohibition years, our struggles are non-existent. Compared to the struggles of the countless people currently incarcerated across the country for non-violent cannabis offenses, our struggles are not really struggles at all. That doesn’t mean we haven’t had challenges that caused struggle. As longtime cannabis advocates who have experienced trauma associated with our advocacy of this plant, both first hand and through the experiences of many in our communities, we are more motivated than ever to to continue pushing forward and spreading love through cannabis and hemp.

Ash + Oak Floral

Have you stay true to your brand (career) or have you changed it throughout the years?

Our values are everything to us and we intend to stay true to our focus on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit in order to give back and operate as consciously as possible and to set an example for others in our industry and beyond. This philosophy manifests in many ways from our emphasis earth-conscious farming practices to our high standards for any business we work with. All shipping materials and paper goods are sourced from 100% recycled materials and are biodegradable. We also reserve 1% of all sales for donation in an effort to give back to to grassroots organizations.

Something that scares you?

Cannabis laws in the South where we grew up.

Ash + Oak Floral

Who would you like to work with someday? Collaboration or Ideal Company

We are inspired by so many women-owned businesses! That being said, a collab with fellow Appalachian herbalist, Lauren Haynes of Wooden Spoon Herbs is at the top of our goals list right now.

How did you come up with your business name?

The dogwood is sacred tree that is abundant and celebrated in our hometown of Knoxville, TN. We chose the name after the idea came to us on a trip in our early planning stages. It was affirmed when we synchronistically saw a Dogwood tree in the PNW later that day. Then we read more about Dogwood’s use as a flower essence and its use in dealing with trauma, maintaining grace, finding balance, and knew it was so aligned with the benefits of hemp and connected us to our roots in the South.

What type of music do you listen to?

We talked about this at lunch with an old friend today. Our friendship and many of our key relationships exist because of a connection to live music. Long ago, our backgrounds were in music and event production in the TN. Music is constant companion through the good times and the bad. We have a broad appreciation for music, including Southern hip-hop and trap, Bluegrass, Psychedelic Rock, Electronic Music, Jazz, Reggae, and even Classical.

What’s your morning or work week look like?

Slow morning routines. Maximizing time during the week by focusing on certain departments / tasks each day. We both juggle roles outside of Dowood: Jamie is a mom and still sees business consulting clients, and Katie is on the the Board of Directors for a youth program in the city and she also runs her own art blog. So we are big on maximizing our time, meeting in-person at least once per week, and aim to take time on the weekends for maximum balance.

Ash + Oak Floral

What do you do to keep your sanity?

Laugh a lot. Especially when it would be easy to freak out.

Give one tip or advice to someone who maybe interested in your biz?

Get your hands dirty in the soil and build a connection with the cannabis plant.

What is your studio situation?

We are HQ’d in San Francisco and Sonoma County from our home offices. Katie lives right at the Ocean in SF and frequently breaks up her work day with visits to the wild dunes. Jamie lives in Santa Rosa where she works from her sunny south facing office where her 5-year old loves popping in to our meetings. We are both so grateful to be able to work close to home and maintain life balance while we dive into entrepreneurship.

Do pay for accounting and other admin work?

Not at this time because we are lucky to have an in-house pro. Jamie has a background in business administration and operations. She runs a consulting business helping small businesses create efficient systems and handles our accounting and admin.

Ash + Oak Floral

Dogwood team’s two questions….

1. If you were given $10,000 for your business, what would you do with it?

We would commission a beautiful mural in our hometown of Knoxville, TN that adds to the landscape around it and also sparks curiosity about our brand.

2. What was your worst job before Dogwood?

Each aspect and challenge of our careers and work experiences got us exactly here and prepared us to lead this company. We’ve both worked our share of dirty, laborious, or minimum wage jobs but we always try to make work fun, especially if we’re working together! In fact, several years ago we had the time of our lives karate kicking waste off of our farm truck into the county dump.

Ash + Oak Floral

WHERE TO FIND THESE LADIES:

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Ash + Oak Floral

A week from today we will be celebrating International Women’s Day. Traditionally, flowers are the symbol and gift of IWD, so don’t forget to send to your personal Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Emma Watson or Gloria Steinem some flowers.  

As a woman-owned and operated business, we support all women, especially working women. We walked the women’s march, we buy from women-owned business and we tend women activists events.

As a young girl to my early teen years I knew back then I was a feminist. I know this word has so many new meanies but back when I was 12 I remember arguing with boys or teachers about equality.

Ash + Oak Floral

My mother who is one of my strongest influences taught me to work hard and let no man or anyone to tell me what I could or couldn’t do. Having a 17-year old sister I constantly remind her she can be strong and change the world. Her dream job is to become the first female NFL coach. I could care less about football but I hope she makes her dream come true. I would be extremely proud of her. If she decides to stay at home and be a mom I would be just as proud. We have to hold no judgment against each other.

Ash + Oak Floral

Wither your a working mom or lawyer we have to stick together and let no one put boundaries on us! Say something empowering today to a woman stranger! I am sure she could use a boost from you!

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AKELA HUDSON DESIGNS

AKA AKELA

Ash + Oak Floral Women in Business

When did you start your business or career?

I started back in 2017, it was my therapy while I was recovering from my chronic pain issues with my back. It came together through my passions: art, design, vintage. I didn't really know where it was going to go but I knew I had to give it my all.

What do you do?

The last few years I have been building my brand as a designer & stylist mainly focusing on home decor and design but this year I'm going back to my roots as an Artist. I enjoy the freedom to create as I wish which and connect to a greater purpose. I'm enjoying the process

Who inspired you or what inspires you?

For me, it's a combination of various sources, but it usually boils down to nature and spirituality. Being mixed race I noticed I have so much inspiration from my backgrounds, my mother's German culture, and my father's African-American and Southern roots. I like to think of myself as a visual storyteller, telling my truth and connecting with others.

Ash + Oak Floral Women  in Business

A struggle you face in your business?

I have a difficult time running my business like a business. I find myself doing things for free, charging less than my worth and balancing the financial aspects of it all. A lot of this comes down to my personality but over the years I have gotten better about finding my voice. This year I am intentionally focusing on running my business in the most efficient way to create a sustainable income from, I owe it to myself and other creatives that have been told they cannot earn a successful living from following their passions.

Have you stay true to your brand (career) or have you changed it throughout the years?

I didn't realize that in the beginning, I was creating a brand and not a business necessarily (which I believe are different) I originally focused mainly on intentional home decor and what that means to each individual. I had success with getting my creations in stores, doing events and styling using the akela designs brand. This was great but I lost myself in the mix.

Something that scares you?

Being Successful. I know it sounds strange but I think the idea of being where I've always dreamed of reaching is kinda scary. It's a good scary.

Who would you like to work with someday? Collaboration or Ideal Company.

Ash + Oak (wink, wink), I want to work with others that share a common mindset and outlook on life and business but it's also important to surround myself with diversity. Intention, integrity and connection are pillars in my business life.

How did you come up with your business name?

I went through so many ideas before landing on Akela Designs which is named after my unique name. The name Akela is as diverse I am, which can be traced in Hawaiian, African, Native American and Indian roots. I couldn't think of a better name.

Ash + Oak Floral Women in Business

What type of music do you listen to?

I listen to everything! It really depends on my mood, I go from grunge rock to electronica funk to old school rap. Music another love of mine, it can be healing or just plain entertaining.

What’s your morning or work week look like?

It varies from week to week but at the moment I am working on an Artist's residency at Broad Room, which is a non-profit women's art collective in Sacramento. I'm working on honing a consistent schedule to complete goals. I also work from home in my studio.

What do you do to keep your sanity?

Journaling is key for me. My mind is constantly full of ideas, to-do's, previous conversations, and projects that I need to release from my consciousness. I try to write once a day and on days I skip I can definitely feel a difference.

Give one tip or advice to someone who maybe interested in your biz?

Remember to love what you do first and foremost. It gets rough at times on many levels but you need to know why you decided to follow your passion in the first place, this will get you through the busy, exhausting and stressful days that feel overwhelming.

Things you learned the hard way.

Learning to say No. I am a people-pleaser by heart but this does not work well in running a business. Many times I've overextended myself to the point of sheer pain and it was all because I couldn't say no. Not the case anymore, I am in charge of my path, being kind to myself is key.

What is your studio situation?

I mainly work from my home studio as well as my space at Broad Room. I'm still balancing it all out.

Do pay for accounting and other admin work?

At the moment no, but in 2019 this will be a goal. I think getting professional help will be a game-changer so I can focus my energy on what I do best.

Ash + Oak Floral

Akela’s 2 Questions!!!

1. What's your least favorite thing about social media and why?

Social Media is straight up draining. It can be a beautiful blessing where it connects you with amazing people from all walks of life but it can feel like you're living in a world separate from your own. I truly think it's all about balance and understanding that the 1:1 screen does not define you, it's only an extension of yourself. I'm still figuring it out.

2. Best halloween custom?

Poison Ivy from Batman, hands down! Inspired from the comic not the movie. I had the best time creating my look from scratch. I haven't dressed up in years though, maybe it's time to do it again!

Ash + Oak Floral

WHERE TO FIND AKELA:

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

WORKSHOP

OUR NEW PROJECT

Ash + Oak and Dia Photography are launching a new project together and I am super excited to share it with everyone. We are putting together a workshop and shootout for new photographers and other wedding vendors. Our first event is for new photographers so other vendors stay tuned unless you want to learn how to use your camera better to get those rad Instagram pics.

Our first workshop is on May 18th 2019 and the locations is a secret until you book your ticket. You wont need a flight or anything crazy like that, if you already live in the Bay or Northern Cali.

Nomad Workshops

After many workshops, webinars, workbooks and so many meet-ups I have learned very little and spent sooooooooo much money. I was tired of this and wanted to put something out their for people like me. I am not saying there aren’t great workshops out there or that ours is the answer. However, we are laying it all out.

Are you looking to learn how to price, what social media tools and tricks we use, what our steps to booking clients is well look no further. I will tell you my exact steps and trust me I have tried so many different things.

Diana will help teach you one on one a few tricks with the camera while you shoot a beautiful styled shoot I set up for you. More details will come after Valentine’s Day. Stay tuned.

Oh and we are doing it all outdoors and getting adventurous with it! PACK YOUR BAGS!

Nomad

WOMEN WEDNESDAY ...Whoops today is Friday

Ashley aka Ash + Oak

women in business

Hi, my name is Ashley Mueller and I am the founder of Ash + Oak. I started my business over 5 years ago. It all started with a bad break up and turning 30. I wasn’t your typical American worrying about a white picket fence, career and kids. It wasn’t my thing. Somehow, I was approaching 30 and I started to realize I didn’t want to keep waiting tables or live on the beach in Mexico forever. Well, maybe living in Mexico wasn’t so bad.

I was in Austin, Texas alone and heart-broken at a music festival when I realized my favorite job I had ever had was working with flowers. I was 18 or 19 and worked at a hippy kind of co-op grocery store in Tacoma, Washington. They put me in charge of keeping the buckets clean and flowers organized. I loved it.

I got back to my hostel after the music festival and sent an email to my favorite design studio in SF. Thankfully, they were interested in an intern. I expected to sweep floors and clean buckets but I also was hoping to learn a lot more behind the scenes and how to build. Since I didn’t get the lessons I was hoping I jumped ship and move on to starting my own business.

 
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My biggest struggle was “the business.” I had no idea what I was doing. I went to Art school and let me tell you I did not learn a thing about starting your own business. I ran businesses for other people but still had no idea. A few other struggles a had to deal with involved having a tiny car for giant weddings, getting a cease and desist letter from my landlord for working from home and living in the bay with a huge rent to pay and little income. That did not stop me.

My biggest fear is not succeeding. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be my own boss. This probably came from my dad and grandpa who both ran their own companies. I thought I was going to New York to be a fashion designer but when the time came I didn’t have it in me. I crushed Fashion School so it wasn’t that I couldn’t design I just didn’t have the courage to take that leap. I still don’t know if I have the courage to keep going to succeed. I spent hundreds of dollars trying to break this wall down in therapy but it didn’t help. It’s just my biggest fear.

Things that do help me keep my sanity through the rough, busy and broke moments are being with my puppies. It sounds so lame (super basic Instagram tag) but I struggle with anxiety and those little pups calm me down. A few pets in and I am chill as can be. Hiking and a glass of wine with my friends totally help too. If it’s wasn’t for my 5 best friends and our girl trips (about 4 times a year) I would definitely lose it. One piece of advice you should learn from me is taking girl trips. Get wild and weird and be you. Let it all out, cry and laugh with your besties.

women in business

A few other tips for women you thinking about starting a business or changing careers is just do it and don’t stop. Make sure you’re doing it for you and your passion. I know I am in the right career for me because during the slow season I crave working with flowers. There are many times owning your own business you don’t get to be creative and it’s soul-sucking. During January I spend most of my time on vacation and prepping for the new year. About mid-month I start to feel a little crazy. At first, I didn’t know why but I pick up a few flowers locked myself in my studio aka laundry room and went at it. OMG, I was a new person. Don’t forget why you started and don’t let it slip away.

I am sure I could go on forever but I won't. This is 1 of the 52 posts you will see about working women. Each Wednesday I will blog about another woman doing her thing. From screenwriters to beauty products from Oakland to Australia I will be sharing all sorts of love with you. Each woman gets to write or answer a few questions but each week there will be two guest questions. For this week I must answer……..

What keeps you going when you start to doubt yourself?

Hummmm, my passion for the flowers. Honestly, I hate weddings and lovey things but it’s a place for me to create what I love. Working with my hands and touching every stem drives me to keep going. Someday I will give up weddings and create living art for galleries. Big dreams but my goals.

The most fun you’ve had creatively that didn’t involve work?

As I mentioned before I take these wonderful girls trips and on the trips, we usually do a creative project. One of the first was for the Dakota Pipe Line. Well, let me start this off by saying we had good intentions. During these girls trips, we usually take psychedelics and drink a lot. This one trip we wanted to send a sign to the pipeline as well as supplies and money. My dear friend let use her leather sign from her wedding but we had painted over it. Well, do I need to say more. Painting and drugs are by far my favorite things to do besides flowers.

 
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Please feel free to comment or send people my way. I would love to hear from you!

2019 TRENDING WEDDING INSTALLATIONS

Ceremony backdrops, hanging installations and wow Instagram worthy floral pieces are all the rave. I wanted to share with you what to expect from 2019. Forget that basic eucalyptus garland because we have the hottest ideas. Sorry wedding blogs and Pinterest but you got nothing on me.

FYI These installations are NOT low budget ideas, if you want something this beautiful expect to send big.

Installation Inspo
Installation Inspo
Installation Inspo
Installation Inspo
Installation Inspo
Installation Inspo
Established 2014 in Oakland, California