Business Name: Ampersand
Website and Social Media (if you have one): www.ampersandsf.com // insta: @ampersand_sf
Location: 80 Albion Street, San Francisco, CA
Tell me about your business: We are a flower shop and design studio specializing in all aspects of flowers; selling stems by the stem and along with full wedding/event florals. People are welcome to come build a bouquet on their own, or we can always design on the fly as well.
How does your queer identity play a role in your work? Benjamin and I built the pop-and-pop shop with an understanding that our relationship would be a major role in the culture of what the shop was and we always wanted it to be a place that welcomed all members of the local community in the Mission, especially that of the LGTBQ community. We are often reminded of how lucky we are to be gay business owners in a city that loves and celebrates our efforts as a couple.
What makes you most proud as a business owner? Some of our proudest moments have to be seeing the growth of our own little flower family that we have in the shop; there are a total of 7 of us now and we are a diverse group of people that are creative, generous, hard working folks to be around every day. I’m also so proud of the amount of quality and heart that everyone brings to everything that we touch.
What makes you most proud as a member of the LGBTQ community? I am very proud to represent the small-business hustle in our community and live an authentic way of life every day with all of our clients and colleagues. There are so many talented artists in our community and I’m especially enjoy queering up the flower world in SF.
What does community mean to you? Community truly is backbone of our company; we originally set out to be nothing more than just the local flower shop, where people could buy affordable blooms to treat themselves or just to hang out with us. We’re blessed to be in a community that loves to shop locally with small business and we like to think that we’re a neighborhood staple now :)
What has been one of your biggest challenges getting to where you are? Honestly, opening up a retail business was one of the hardest tasks we ever took on because the work never stops. There’s always something to improve upon, there’s always growing pains, there’s always your own personal fears of failure that will haunt your sleep in the beginning. It took us a while, working seven days a week, 14 hour days, but we eventually hired help and now with a full staff, the work feels more manageable for sure. It’s actually amazing that we’ve never had the luxury of slowing down or not having growing pains!
What is one piece of advice you would give to an up and coming queer entrepreneur? Self. Care. You must learn self care, as soon as you can. Get enough sleep, do that yoga class even if you’re tired, and have that glass of wine. The sooner you take time to really care for yourself, your business will thrive even more. Entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, but it sure is satisfying.
The Proud Business Project is a photography project highlighting LGBTQ business owners and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area who honor their identity in their business to serve their community in a bigger way. Do you know a proud business owner? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Proud Business Project".