creative women

HEX

AKA AMY

Ash + Oak Floral


When did you start your business or career?
March 2015 was when HEX was officially a "business" and we opened our doors in November 2017.


Who inspired you or what inspires you? I will give all the credit to plants, plants inspire me to be a better person and to teach others about how to integrate them into their lives for a better well being. I'm always looking to nature to help me through this life, it give us all that we need to live simply and happily. They connect us, heal us and are the best subtle teachers out there, that's exactly what inspires me.


A struggle you face in your business? I constantly struggle with promoting myself as a person, using my face, my voice and my opinions. I can easily sell a product for another amazing company or person, but I really have a hard time putting my actual face on my business to make it more personal. I've been working really hard to actually "own" my business, not hiding behind others. I've put my mind, body, soul and my blood, sweat, tears into creating this business. Rejection and judgement still hurt and I avoid it at all cost. And not taking things so personally, I think it goes hand and hand. Whether we want to admit it, business is not always just business when it's your passion, sometimes it gets personal and I struggle with that boundary daily.

Ash + Oak Floral

Have you stayed true to your brand (career) or have you changed it throughout the years? I have changed my career quite a few times, I do believe each previous career choices were stepping stones to create the business I now have. I think evolving is one of the most important elements to keep your business current and fresh. However, I also believe in sticking to your roots and following what attracts you. I've always been drawn to plants in some way or another whether it was floral design, plant based beauty products, living plants or plant medicine. I had no idea they were all linked as I worked through these careers, but I think I was put there to learn each individual aspect to help create this much bigger picture. I have of course stepped out of line and off my path, I've gotten distracted and people pleased over my vision and intentions of my business...but I can tell ya, somehow your true purpose comes knocking on your door to force what you are here to do out of you.


Something that scares you? Politics, religion, war, money, competition, judgement anything that separates people and creates hatred in order to achieve power over one another.


The best part of your job? Helping others well being through plants. Whether it is advice to help create a sacred space with live plants, sharing how to care for plants, using plant base products and supplements for health and wellness, or searching for spiritual connection with the use of plant rituals, connecting with people and always learning new things. When I can help people, I feel fulfilled.


How did you come up with your business name? Ha! Oh man...well it's taken me a very long to admit to where our name actually originated from, because I was unaware of it for some time. I'll just say I always knew it would be HEX, it just came to me one day and I couldn't shake it. The name can truly be a blessing and a curse (no kidding) sometimes, because it can be misunderstood at times. The meaning is really behind the shape itself, the symbol is why I named my business HEX not the word itself. I deeply believe in the power of symbols and sacred geometry, and hexagons have been a reoccurring meaningful symbol in my life. It was a subconscious choice to name it that, but I'm so glad I ran with it because it fully encompasses so much of what HEX is all about. The hexagon has been associated with balance and harmony, the idea of pairing material aesthetics with deep meaningful purpose and that's exactly what I'm here for and why I created HEX.

Ash + Oak Floral

What type of music do you listen to? Just about anything, it entirely depends on my mood...and I'm moody, so you can only imagine! I'm currently obsessed with Allan Rayman, Two Feet, Dennis Lloyd, and Moglli. Love me some good bass Axel Thesleff and Diplo. Anything Folky/Americana and I'm also huge Jim Morrison fan. So yeah, just about anything goes!


What’s your morning or work week look like? My morning start with my alarm going off 3 times in 15 minute intervals, and at least one snooze, because I am NOT a morning person. Half the week I like to start my days with heated vinyasa yoga. The other half of the week I sleep in until I absolutely have to wake up, snuggling with my pups and kitty, maybe read a little if I'm into a book. Get ready. Then I head to work, my real routine starts there, because I'm pretty much a zombie until 10:30. Did I mention I am not a morning person? I heat my herbal mixture of goodness and wonderfulness, that keeps me balanced and sane throughout the day. Tend to some plants and relax for the rest of the morning. Mornings tend to be real low key, and that's how I like it.


What do you do to keep your sanity? Plant medicine, yoga, crystals, being creative, allowing for alone and self care time.


If you could change one thing about social media what would it be? I wish it felt more real, authentic, the depiction of perfection can be toxic and addictive.


Give one tip or advice to someone who maybe interested in your biz? Never allow money to overtake what you love to do. Money has a way of jading just about anything, keep a healthy relationship with your earnings. Always remember you are worthy of abundance, security and happiness, never accept any less of yourself and your business. And allow yourself time off, and learn how to enjoy it. If your passion is what you do for a living to make money, make sure to give yourself down time and time off to do the other things you love. You are not your business, you are so much more.

Ash + Oak Floral

Things you learned the hard way. You cannot fill another's cup without first filling yours, two halves don't make a whole. If you truly want to love, help, teach or inspire others, you need to be full and happy within yourself. Also, life is about the balance of polarities, and it all happens in cycles. The good cannot happen without the bad, we need the dark to balance out the light, negative and positive, masculine/feminine, etc. We cannot have one without the other.



What’s one reason you chose to work for yourself? Freedom to create, I cannot be held down with mundane or tedious work that is meaningless. Creativity doesn't work with me if it is forced either, I have to have freedom of expression to keep me sane and happy.



Do pay for accounting and other admin work? Nope, I pretty much do everything from scrubbing the toilets to taxes and everything in between (except what my amazing employee Ash does for me!;) I try to keep things simple and kinda old school.

Ash + Oak Floral

Do you think you will change careers again or is hex the end goal? 

Oh I hope not, although shit I'm a Gemini any change is possible and likely to happen! I want to say I know I will be constantly evolving and further educating myself to help grow this business. I will allow myself the freedom to choose whatever path comes my way. I wouldn't say a career change per-say...maybe some added side jobs or something I can already incorporate into my current business. I love multitasking and learning new things. I have a couple callings, but I'm not sure if I want to go there with a way of making money, maybe added services is safe to say;) 

What’s your favorite product/brand in the store?

SO HARD!!! Well, I'm going to cheat and give a couple because I can't just choose one. MENDER our topical CBD line is outstanding, I use their products daily. I suffer from headaches and MENDER's headache serum is a life saver. Also TONIC CBD tinctures have changed my life and saved my sanity too many times to count. Both MENDER and TONIC are ran by the best boss ladies around, I love them, I love their products and I love what they stand for. Lastly, Purpose jewelry because they support anti-human trafficking by rescuing women of sex trafficking, teach them the art of jewelry making, and give them healing holistic care and mental support. I can't think of a better company to support! 

Ash + Oak Floral

LUV MARTHA SWIM

Ash + Oak Women in Business


When did you start your business or career?

I started my little biz 4ish years ago. 

What do you do?

I make custom swimsuits, exclusively. I don’t believe in bikini bodies. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to fashion and in standardizing sizing. I don’t think you only get to be comfortable and feel incredible on the beach if you’re one specific body type that most the swimsuit industry is making them for. I want everyone to feel good and do whatever they want to do in my suits, whether that’s lounge in the beach or swim or surf or hike to waterfalls or river raft, etc. every size body should be able to be comfortable while they play. 

Who inspired you or what inspires you?

I studied Community Activism/ Social and Economics justice in college and feel consistently influenced by what I learned. Because of that I’d say I’m inspired by tons of activists (intersectional feminists mostly) in my mission and work, but stylistically I’m influenced by 30s, 40s, and 50s women’s fashion and vintage workwear.  

A struggle you face in your business?

I struggle to stay organized. I live and work in a school bus that’s on the road half the year, so I’m constantly pressed for space and time .... in addition to just being a cliche creative who would rather make things then work on excel sheets 




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

I believe I have stayed true. If anything I have become more honest about it. I think I was afraid to say super political things on social media (like: “the patriarchy loves diet culture, because it’s hard to tear down decrepit power structures when you’re just really very hungry”) , but I think my feminist agenda is an integral part of what I’m doing and making.... so I guess I have refined my brand

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Something that scares you?

I’m afraid I’m not pulling it off. I feel like I’m constantly breaking even, so there is a real fear that if anything breaks down everything else will crumble

Ash + Oak Women in Business


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

I dream of getting my fabric printed with the artwork of my sister @mimimeghan and my friend @tuttifruttialice 



How did you come up with your business name?

My business name was a bit of an accident... it started as a bunch of things I would make for friends and family and would label/sign “luv, Martha” and then it caught on and I felt like I couldn’t change it!

What type of music do you listen to?

Oh so many types but my go to music is Otis Redding or Billie Holiday




What’s your morning or work week look like?

Great question!! It’s different every week and definitely changes quite a bit in my peak seasons (spring/summer) but basically: 

   — emails and admin stuff over morning coffee (I tend to sleep in soooo ‘morning’ is more of a mindset’)

   —.sewing sewing sewing

   — if needed: afternoons spent in cafes drinking tea and/or a beer and working on website stuff/ meeting with clients

  — some evenings and weekends spent doing Speaker series, podcasts, zines, events, etc 

It’s a lot to keep track of and a lot of bouncing from administrative to maker to public speaker but I keep my day planner on me constantly and have lists everywhere to keep it all straight! 

Ash + Oak Women in Business

What do you do to keep your sanity?

I listen to oh so many podcasts and audiobooks while I work. It helps me feel like I’m learning, I'm engaged and I’m constantly growing... I think I’d lose my mind if I didn’t feel like I was connected to the world around me and informed on the happenings—- being a full time maker can be incredibly isolating so audiobooks and podcasts have become my biggest allies 


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

Be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to show people who you really are through your brand. I was told to keep politics out of my business, I was told to use “real models”, I was told to do so many thing that didn’t feel right for me and in the end I am SO glad I didn’t listen. And also try to trade your goods for as much as you possibly can! 

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Things you learned the hard way.

Ahhhh so many things!! But primarily to ask for help with anything you don’t know (in my case website building and tax/administrative stuff). AND that it’s okay to be afraid and unsure... I am still afraid of failing and I’ve been doing this passion project full time for years now. I was hard on myself for my fear and that’s ultimately just detrimental. Accept the fear and do it anyway!


What is your studio situation?

My studio consists of half my school bus: a huge industrial sewing machine, a few back up machine, vintage school lockers stuffed with fabric and hanging bins bolted to the ceiling that I refer to as the “shipping and receiving office” 



Do pay for accounting and other admin work?

I actually just hired a super sweet friend (for trade!) to make me all the spreadsheets I’ve been desperately avoiding... and set up my quick books!

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Where to find Luv Martha

Website

Instagram

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

Instagram



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

Established 2014 in Oakland, California