We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Ashton Chase. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Ashton below.
Ashton, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Are you happy as a creative professional? Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to work for someone else?
I really am. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, of course. It can be hard to create when you’re on a deadline and aren’t feeling inspired or excited. However, I know from the years I tried to fit inside of normal job settings, that I wouldn’t be happy in the 9-5 mould again. Every job I ever had I fell out of love with and burned out on. I thought I was a bad worker, but now I realize I just wasn’t getting to be creative and that I needed to be my own boss. The decision to work towards self employment as a creative, like many others, came during Covid in 2020. I had taken a job managing the floral department for Austin’s massive downtown Whole Foods floral department. I felt so overworked and underpaid. I really started to resent my 40 hours a week and how tired I was during and outside of those hours. I was tired of my boss and I was tired of working a large job for little pay while 1 man at the top got wealthier. So I decided to become my own boss. I had to grind for the next year at another job while I got my own floral business to be profitable enough to go solo, but it was worth it. Now I control my days, my hours, and make the same amount of money working half as much. I get to create for a living and constantly think in shape and color. I couldn’t be happier.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I started my floral design business in November of 2020. I had a couple of years of experience working in flower shops, and set out with the intention of opening my own shop. I began selling arrangements out of my home, and realized (like the rest of us in 2020) that working from home is a dream! I shifted out of the mindset of opening a shop and instead became content with the peace and quiet and solitude of my own workspace at home.
My job has become a mixture of different kinds of floral assignments, which I enjoy. It keeps things fresh. While I originally intended to build my business around “dailies” (delivered single arrangements), the surge and demand of rescheduled pandemic weddings over the last two years quickly pushed me into the wedding business. I hadn’t been formally trained in this area, so I’ve had to learn quickly. I’ve spent many weekends freelancing for other wedding florists to learn and observe. I also teach classes on Ikebana floral design, do a large weekly floral design for Uchi, and occasionally design for photoshoot sets.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can provide some insight – you never know who might benefit from the enlightenment.
I sometimes feel non-creatives can view an untraditional, creative job like mine as irrelevant; especially if it falls under the 40-hour-a-week mark. My wish for people who feel this way is for them to understand that not every job has to fit into the same structure or mould to be legitimate or important. I wish for them to ask themselves why they feel the need to sell so much of their lives away to a job to feel correct or complete.
In your view, what can society to do to best support artists, creatives and a thriving creative ecosystem?
Recognize first that, even if you aren’t a creative, you consume art and creativity every day. On your phone, through your headphones, on your TV, at your restaurants, you constantly consume the work of artists who have non-traditional creative jobs. Second, always buy local when you can. Spend a little extra if you have to. It matters. Instead of buying generic pieces of doctor’s-office-style art from Target which have thousands of copies, find a local artist on Instagram whose style you admire. Commission them for a custom piece. Stop in to catch live music when you meet your friends for a beer. Get to know your local bands. Tip them. Choose to eat local chefs’ specials rather than hitting a chain restaurant for date night. Instead of buying flowers from a conglomerate grocery store, look for a local floral artisan with unique style. These artists need your support. And if you can’t always support them financially, promote their work.
- Website: www.thespottedpoppy.shop
- Instagram: @thespottedpoppy_floral
- Other: TikTok: @thespottedpoppy_atx