Aster + Gray
20 Indiana Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Gabrielle is from Valparaiso and is a 2012 Purdue University grad with a degree in Advertising + PR. After graduation, she worked a 9-5 and began Aster + Gray as a side business to sell upcycled and repurposed furniture at artisan markets. A year after starting her business, Gabrielle left her job to open a brick and mortar shop in August 2017. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs (two adorable pittie rescues!), spending time with family and visiting Walt Disney World with her husband.
NAME OF BUSINESS
Aster + Gray
TELL US ABOUT ASTER + GRAY
Aster + Gray is a boutique that sells artisan-made goods. We sell merchandise handcrafted by more than 100 artisans, which ranges from curated home decor and housewares to bath & body care, jewelry to stationery, apparel and more. We believe in the importance of working with small businesses and artisans, and we proudly support the artisans who are represented in our shop.
HOW MANY EMPLOYEES DO YOU HAVE?
We’re a small shop, and we have three awesome employees!
FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
There are so many aspects I love about my career, but the absolute best thing about my shop is that it supports people. Opening a boutique has always been something I knew I would do someday, so by stocking merchandise that’s made by people—many of whom are local to NWI—we’re able to give artisans an outlet to sell their goods, and I’m able to do something I love every single day. Having my own store has also given me a chance to create a happy, positive work environment. I’ve worked really hard to make sure my employees love being at the store and that they know how much I appreciate them. I’ve worked in toxic environments, and I’ve unfortunately been sucked into the negativity and have screwed up because of it. But, I’ve realized my mistakes and understand why I made them, and I never want my employees to feel undervalued and unappreciated like I have in the past.
MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
Being an entrepreneur comes with its fair share of challenges, like time management, accounting, multitasking and marketing. I’m not a pro in any of those areas, so I’ve realized that in order to be successful, it’s so important to find the right people who can excel in the areas you’re lacking. We’ve built a really great team with trustworthy people who all bring different strengths to the table, and it works really well.
The most difficult part of being an entrepreneur has been becoming okay with uncertainty. When you have your own business, you’re going to have great days, and you’re going to have not so great days.
There’s usually not the “right” time to do something, and you’re not always going to feel ready to try something new. But, you’ve still got to take action and try. If things don’t pan out the way you wanted the first time, you keep trying until you figure it out. And sometimes, when things don’t turn out as expected, it’s a really great thing! Although this has been a challenge for me, it’s been one of the most important things that I’ve learned. It’s pushed me to be flexible and willing to adapt, which I think is key in being successful.
MOST VALUABLE THING/LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
Success doesn’t happen overnight. There will be good days and days you feel like quitting, and that’s okay. Being a business owner is one of the best things I’ve ever done, and it’s definitely one of the hardest.
FAVORITE LOCAL RESTAURANT
Ricochet - they have the BEST tacos and margaritas!
FAVORITE LOCAL SHOP
Ivy Boutique is my favorite local clothing shop!
FAVORITE ENTREPREUR RESOURCE
Hands down The MEFCO Project Podcast with Andy Frisella. His content is real, relevant, relatable and so true. He tells it how it is, and I love him for it.
I pour myself a glass of wine, turn on whatever my husband and I are binging on Netflix (currently Parks and Rec), and look through listings of historic homes on Circa Old Homes.
FUN FACT ABOUT YOU
One day, I would love to help fund a shelter for pitbulls. I have two pittie mix rescues, and they are just the sweetest dogs in the world!