“My shop is really just an extension of me, all that I love and find beautiful in the world. It generally evokes emotion in others and that makes my day every time I witness it.”
In a few words, describe yourself and your practice.
Hmmm, let's see... I only wear black, I am louder than I want to be and most of the time I wish I was dancing. I'm extremely passionate and overly excitable. My shop, Asrai Garden, is really just an extension of me, all that I love and find beautiful in the world. It generally evokes emotion in others and that makes my day every time I witness it.
When did you start your practice?
I opened Asrai in 1999.
Is your practice how you support yourself? If not, what else are you working on to do so?
Yes, Asrai is how i support myself. I also take interior and other design projects on the side.
WHO (OR WHAT) INSPIRES YOU?
Nature obviously is like WOAH, I am dumbfounded by it and constantly freaking out over every little bit of it, plants, bugs, animals. I get so excited it's silly.
What are some challenges you're facing in your practice?
Always my challenge is to make money. Perishable is a terribly tough business and because I want the shop to look a certain way, I need to have large amounts of fresh flowers and product on hand at all times. Currently I’m about to launch the online shop (17 years late) and feeling like an old dog learning new tricks. That is challenging.
What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
I don't even know... I opened the shop when I was 23, it has been open almost half of my life. I think I would be starting other businesses, it’s all I want to do. Unless I could travel professionally, can I do that?
Are you comfortable sharing all aspects of your process?
Not all... a girl needs to keep some secrets.
WHAT IS THE MOST USEFUL TIP OR ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Only work with people that you want to learn from and with. If you think you need to have all the answers and ideas you are screwed.
If you were to share one piece of advice with those who aspire to do what you do, what would it be?
Get ready to WORK!!
What makes your work unique?
As far as I know I opened the first shop to combine all the things Asrai has combined. When I started I knew of no other florist who was buying the types of flowers I was. I had never seen a moody flower shop with black walls, taxidermy, selling victorian and fine jewelry or really most things I had in the shop.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on finally launching our web shop and a possible side business with my best friend. I’m also working on taking more time away from the day to day of running my business so I can feel creative again.