We had the good fortune of connecting with Michele Weiss and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michele, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My parents raised me to pursue a career that was steady, structured and rule following. My dad was old school and believed that job jumping or switching careers was a sign of being flighty and unreliable. According to mom and dad, your lifetime job needed to have benefits (most importantly a 401K) and you would ultimately retire comfortable after showing up every day and putting enough money away. In a roundabout way, I ended up spending 15+ years in a corporate environment monitoring clinical research trials in the pharmaceutical industry a few years after graduating from college. It was challenging and lucrative work which I enjoyed until I hit those last few years. I thought I was meant to live in a black and white world where coloring outside the lines was not allowed. A career heavily regulated by FDA guidelines doesn’t leave much room for interpretation and there are very strict rules that need to be followed. One day I took this super comprehensive personality test (our entire organization did it as part of a team building exercise) and it revealed I was a really creative person. I literally thought I had received someone else’s results and tried to give it back! The thought of doing anything creative was super scary and something I would have never considered. I never allowed myself to think that way and just admired creative people and brands from afar. I became miserable at work and couldn’t figure out why. It was time to go, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was scared. The only creative outlet I really had was arranging flowers. So after a trip to Bali with some girlfriends, I became inspired and quit my job. I started a small fresh floral arranging business. Unfortunately I didn’t do enough research about what it took to run a business and the confidence just wasn’t there. I freaked out and ran back to the corporate world. Another two years went by and I decided I was ready. This time would be different. I had done the research and was serious about making it work. The world of faux (artificial) florals had spoken to me for a variety of reasons. I love that I can creatively arrange a bouquet and not have it die! And I love the challenge of finding the ultimate faux version of the real thing. When I stumble on the perfect flower or leaf and it’s done right… it’s perfection! And I want to tell the world there is another fabulous option to fresh floral. I’ve been expanding from only doing flowers and moving into other botanicals like succulents, plants, trees, etc. I can go in any direction my heart desires (it took awhile before I would allow myself to think this way). When I see something that inspires me, I can create my own version. I think that’s what I love the most about this creative world. While it can be overwhelming, it can also be incredibly satisfying. There are so many talented people out there, it’s fun to watch and get my own creative juices flowing!

What should our readers know about your business?
I founded my small business and called it ANDSOSHE. I create luxury faux botanical decor for your home, business or social event. My effortlessly chic arrangements offer sophisticated, modern and enduring elegance to any space. Every arrangement is lovingly assembled by hand for lasting enjoyment. My goal is to inspired others with these stunningly realistic and enduring botanical arrangements. The two biggest challenges I continue to encounter are 1) People’s preconceived notions about artificial flowers. If you’re not a fan, I get it. The stuff we’re used to seeing isn’t always great. Just know there are much more realistic and high quality options out there; and 2) With better quality comes a higher price point. Sometimes people don’t seem to understand that. In the world of big box stores who sell mass produced items for a lower price, it can be difficult to stand out as the superior choice. I want the world to know that with me (ANDSOSHE) every arrangement or piece is researched, tested, curated and created with love. If I wouldn’t put a design in my own home, I won’t offer it for sale.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Kevin, has encouraged my to pursue my creative dreams every step of the way. I also have so many friends and family members who have supported my efforts and I can’t even begin to express my gratitude.

Website: www.andsoshe.com
Instagram: andsoshe.co
Linkedin: andsoshe
Facebook: andsoshe.co
Yelp: andsoshe
Other: Pinterest: andsoshe_co

Image Credits
Meg Marie Photo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.