women empowerment

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

PICKLE POTTERY

Ash + Oak Floral  Women in business

My love for clay started in high school. As an artsy, shy girl I found solace in the ceramics room. I still enjoy the material, the process, & especially working alone in my studio everyday. It is zen-like for me to prepare a bunch of clay & then sit at the wheel making a shape over & over. A meditation. 

I am inspired by the Japanese aesthetic, wabi -sabi. Beauty in the imperfections. I like to see the makers mark on the work. 

I am also inspired by patterns. I see them everywhere- from wallpaper to the waves of the ocean.  Hand painting the pottery is also a source of meditation for me.  Repeating lines & shapes. 

Ash + Oak Floral

Although social media can be stressful at times, it’s been a blessing for me. Without it, I would not have had the exposure or the opportunities that have come. 

I listen to podcasts in the studio. I love anything about true crime & when that gets too heavy I listen to Oprah’s supersoul conversations! 

I work everyday in the clay studio. Anywhere from 3-10 hours a day depending on my order situation. It usually equals 30-40 hours per week. 

My typical day looks like this: 

Wake up, drink coffee, eat breakfast 

Walk dogs 

work in studio 

Snack

Walk dogs again 

Teach yoga in the evening 

Dinner

Finish up in the studio 

Bedtime 

Ash + Oak Floral

Teaching yoga/moving my body helps to keep me sane & upright since a lot of clay work is hunched over a pottery wheel, sitting to decorate, bending in & out of kilns to load & unload work.

Ash + Oak Floral

My 2019 goal is to get a bigger workspace. Currently I live & work in a 300 square foot cabin. My potters wheel is in the kitchenette & there is pottery in different stages all around the cabin! it feels a bit crazy but I am so grateful to have the determination & work ethic it takes to do what I love with what is available to me. 

Pickle Pottery’s two questions: 

1. Do you work in casual clothing, yoga pants or dirty work clothes?

I often work in pajamas or sweatpants. I always have slippers on. (I have “work” slippers) I like to be warm & cozy.

2. If you were an animal what would you be?

I would be a seal because I love water & I am silly.

Ash + Oak Floral

WHERE TO FIND STEPHANIE:

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

ETSY

CERA SINGLEY EVENTS

AKA CERA HARROLD

Ash + Oak Floral WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Hello! My name is Cera, owner of Cera Singley Events – a wedding and event planning company that serves the Bay Area and beyond. 

 

I started my company back in 2010 after graduating with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, concentrating in special events.  I realized after graduation that I really didn’t want to work for anyone else except myself. My dream as a child was to be a stay-at-home mom and what better way to do that and pull in some additional funds than running my small business from home.

 

Knowing it was going to take time to build up a name for myself, I took on a variety of jobs in different sectors to round out my knowledge base. I worked in the corporate world for the longest duration of time at a tradeshow event house. It was a good experience learning the ins and outs of tradeshows firsthand. They put me on the event management team and I strongly believe that this job alone helped me finesse my ability to think quick on my feet and make something happen from nothing – all with a cool and calm demeanor. There was literally no time for me to freak out or stress.

Ash + Oak Floral

 

Fast forward a few years and after being forced out of a full time job, I landed on my feet running hard after my dreams of running my business full time. My first year out I got pregnant with my firstborn and ran a nutty year of 26 weddings. I double and even triple booked weddings on weekends. It was nuts, I ended up with unhappy clients because I had to split my time to run another rehearsal halfway across the bay (roughly 1-2 hours drive, one way) and missed either the ceremony or most of the reception, leaving my lead assistant in charge. I’m not as young as I was back then and today, I only book one wedding a weekend so I make sure I focus on one client at a time.

 

Because my two boys (2 years in March, and 3 months) thrive on structure and routine, my weeks tend to run together and look much the same! Mornings are usually my time to get the boys up, fed and down for a nap. During that time, I do a short workout routine, start a load of laundry, do the dishes, shower and do my morning devotional. Before I realize it, it’s lunchtime and I usually am able to get a few afternoon hours in answering emails, working on a wedding design, finishing up a timeline or editing a floor plan. Dinner rolls around and, lucky for me, my oldest goes down for bed around 7pm so I have a bit of time in the evenings to take phone calls or do more design work. Weekends are usually reserved for site visits, client meetings or down time with family and friends. Sounds busy, but praying and diffusing essential oils throughout the day seriously help to keep the stress and insanity at bay! That and some poppy or country tunes!

Ash + Oak Floral

 

Wedding planning is certainly a fun business endeavor, but it also comes with some hurdles. Two words… tax season. Being a creative, the business side of my company is my biggest stressor. It seriously makes me so sick to my stomach to see the amount of taxes the government takes each year, especially when I view those dollars as diapers for my kids! This is my biggest struggle as a business owner. I hire a tax guy to do our taxes each year, but other than that, all accounting is run by yours truly and I loathe doing it every month.

 

Looking into the future, I know weddings and events will always be a part of who I am at my core. I’d love to do a wedding at Haiku Mill in Kauai. If you don’t know about the venue drop everything (after reading this) and go check it out! It’s seriously one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever seen!

 

If I could give one piece of advice to someone interested in diving into the industry – just be you. People buy from who they like, even the quirky, silly parts of you. Don’t be afraid to be yourself! I’ve learned to take my core values and pour them into my work. I’m not after the money. I’m after helping my clients create their dream wedding/event come to life in ways they never dreamed possible. I naturally have a servant heart and I view each event as an opportunity to help them have just the best day ever and we do whatever we need to to make sure that happens!





Ash + Oak Floral WOMEN IN BUSINESS

 

My two specific questions to answer are:

 

1. How do you deal with mom life and work life?

Nap time. Enough said. It’s glorious when your toddler and baby nap at the same time, but when they don’t, multitasking is clutch. There are times where the emails just have to wait because my babies are more important. Weekends and evenings are when my husband is home to take care of the kids, so that’s when I take a lot of my calls and schedule in person meetings. It’s been a fun ride and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!

 

2. What outfit/style do your regret the most from your teenage years?

Oh gee… this brings back some “fun” memories!

I had this pair of capri pants that with a zipper on the side. They had vertical stripes in about ten different colors and let’s just say I thought I was hot stuff when I wore them. Looking back at photos now, boy was I largely mistaken! They did nothing for any part of my bottom half. No wonder I didn’t have a high school boyfriends!

MTHR COLLECTIVE

Ash + Oak Floral


When did you start your business or career? We started MTHR Collective in January, 2017

What do you do? We are co-founders of MTHR Collective, an all-inclusive retreat for the every mom who craves fresh air & inspiration

Who inspired you or what inspires you? Our mutual struggles to find a mom community that was cohesive with our creative identities was our true inspiration behind MTHR Collective. We were craving connections with other likeminded mothers, but we couldn't find many resources that would link us together, and we saw the need for something like this at that point.

Ash + Oak Floral


A struggle you face in your business? Getting our brand new passion project off the ground was definitely our biggest, initial struggle. For our launch year, we were passionate about promoting self-care in relation to motherhood, and wanted other mothers to take a leap of faith into the experience we worked so hard to curate, but it's definitely challenging when you have essentially nothing to show for it yet. Our first year was a major success, and we attribute that to having the first year of business officially completed, and with a ton of original content and genuine testimonials to show for it

Have you stay true to your brand (career) or have you changed it throughout the years? With this being year two for us, we are still very much interested in staying on-brand and maintaining our objective. Our retreat will always offer new and original experiences, but our mission statement will remain the same: To always be creating the space for mothers to share, learn, and feed their creative passions.

Ash + Oak Women in Business

Something that scares you? Failure likes to linger around the top of our "Biggest fears" list, and sadly, we're learning that doesn't go away with age! Inspirational quotes regarding failure is basically our go-to Google image search when we're feeling really self-doubt-y.

Who would you like to work with someday? Collaboration or Ideal Company There are so many women-led brands out there that inspire us every day and share the same value and ideals as MTHR. We'd like to reach out to companies like Dove and Old Navy, and Lulu Lemon's ambassador program to find available opportunities to work together.

Ash + Oak Women in Business

How did you come up with your business name? It came to co-founder, Danielle, IN A DREAM. True story!

What type of music do you listen to? Everything in between Fleetwood Mac and Drake?

What’s your morning or work week look like? FUELED BY COFFEE. We both have toddlers around the same age and so much of our day oscillates between singing remixes of Wheels On The Bus, changing diapers, and then switching gears during nap time and answering emails/editing photos/working on design projects. Beyond our MTHR business, we both are freelancers (Danielle is a wedding photographer and Liz is a designer), so nap time is everything for us (and our workload!).

What do you do to keep your sanity? Ah, the million dollar question! Enlisting help (i.e. babysitter, family, friends, etc.) definitely gives us a chance to breathe...or sleep. We are also both night owls and CLING to the hours of 8:00 pm-12 am just so we feel like we have some semblance of "me" time.

Ash + Oak Floral

Give one tip or advice to someone who maybe interested in your biz? We love this quote when encouraging mothers to choose self-care: "By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacation-less class".

Things you learned the hard way. That it is not our job to manage other peoples expectations of us.

Do pay for accounting and other admin work? No, but will likely hire someone soon for this!

Ash + Oak Floral

What do you see your future self telling your kids about picking a career? We cling to this one piece of advice we heard from a Jim Carey Commencement speech forever ago: "You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love". We will always root for our kids to go after what they love in their careers.

If you could only eat pizza for a whole year what would be on it? Pepperoni, pineapple, jalapeno! Savory, sweet, AND spicy!

Ash + Oak Floral

WHERE TO FIND THESE LADIES:

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

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

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 1.41.54 PM.png

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



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

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!

Established 2014 in Oakland, California