Got a Girl Crush Outtakes: Studio Choo (The Lost Interview!)
Photos by Andrea Cheng, Words by Theresa Ralston
Going to let you guys in on a little secret. Originally, Got a Girl Crush Magazine was going to feature 12 girls. I stopped by Prairie Collective one afternoon to hang out and snap some photos of Jill Rizzo, one of two ladies who make up Studio Choo (the other being Alethea Harampolis). Knowing that my friend Theresa was a big fan of their shop AND a talented writer, I enlisted her to carry out the interview. However, I made the mistake of approaching Studio Choo during their busiest time of the year (wedding season!), and we ended up not being able to include it in time for production deadlines. So, we are extra excited to share this “lost” interview with everyone and round out our series of Got a Girl Crush Magazine Outtakes!
Nestled on a bustling, foggy stretch of street in San Francisco, Studio Choo stands out like a patch of sunshine: warm and welcoming. The flower shop is part of a small shared space called the Prairie Collective, where best friends Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo share their love of dreamy arrangements. Favoring fresh seasonal flowers, like curl-edged ranunculus, papery peonies, blood-bloomed roses, their aesthetic is sweet and unexpected. The shop is scattered with their designs—intriguing mixes wrapped with sepia-toned ribbons, and perfectly imperfect single buds tucked into tiny glass vases.
Got a Girl Crush: How did you two meet?
Alethea Harampolis: Jill hired me at a flower shop in San Francisco called Rose and Radish. I had never worked in a flower shop before, but we immediately became great friends and I learned a ton in my 4 years there.
GAGC: You’re shop owners and floral designers. What are your backgrounds?
AH: I grew up in my mother’s garden in Marin and from a very early age had dreamed of becoming a florist. My grandfather in Australia used to grow flowers for the Melbourne flower market.
Jill Rizzo: I was basically raised in flower shops—my mom, aunt, and uncle all had shops back in Rhode Island. I went to art school in New York City, got an illustration degree, and thought I would definitely NOT be working with flowers when I “grew up”. After college I moved to San Francisco and go figure, got a job at the coolest and most beautiful flower shop I had ever seen (Rose and Radish).
GAGC: What’s the hardest part of working with your best friend? The best?
AH: The hardest part is probably just that it’s a relationship of sorts; always needing nurturing and compromise, love and understanding. The best is that I get to hang out with my best friend all day. We laugh at lots of stuff and since we’ve known each other for so long we get to be silly with lots of personal jokes that only we think are funny. Also, being around beautiful flowers and making our own schedules doesn’t hurt either.
JR: I think both the hardest and best things are that we know each other so well. Best because lots of things can be left unsaid and we just know, hardest because we can’t get away with anything.
GAGC: Your flowers are “a little bit wild”. Describe your personal style.
AH+JR: Our style has a “just picked from the garden” look. We like each arrangement to look like it’s a little patch of garden growing right out of the vase. Twisted wandering vines and that odd stem reaching for the sunlight are usually included.
GAGC: Where do you draw your inspiration?
AH: I find that we draw our inspiration from seeing flowers and plants growing in their natural environments. I love to come across an overgrown garden with tons of flowers in bloom, or that amazing patch of blooming honeysuckle on the side of the road.
JR: We do a fair amount of driving around Northern California so we definitely draw inspiration from all the landscapes around us, but we are also online a ton and love to see what creative people are up to all over the place. We are lucky to share a space with our friend Annabelle (Magpie & Rye) who is always doing something cool.
GAGC: What’s your favorite flower or plant for each season?
AH+JR: For the winter we love the tiniest posies of local sweet smelling violets, the spring brings amazing nosegays of lily of the valley, ranunculus, and anemones, the summer has lovely garden roses and locally grown wildflowers that are always plump and juicy. In the fall we use lots of leaves and berries, and giant dahlias from a secret grower.
GAGC: If you didn’t own Studio Choo, what would you be doing?
AH: I would be probably be working as an estate gardener which is my other favorite profession or at a local homestead/community garden.
JR: I’d be a printmaker and painter and photographer and maker of things and live in the woods with my husband and like twenty dogs.
GAGC: What would you eat on your last day on earth?
AH: A traditional British breakfast followed by the best grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup for lunch and at the end of the day dinner at my mum’s house.
JR: Spaghetti and meatballs with tons of parmesan, cheesy buttery garlic bread, wine, cream puffs and éclairs for dessert.
GAGC: What are 5 things you can’t live without?
AH: My dog, my best friends, really good hand lotion, a quiet peaceful place to come home to, music.
JR: It wouldn’t be as fun to live without pets, crazy future plans, my husband, candy, and cozy sweaters.
GAGC: What are some of your favorite places, restaurants, and shops in San Francisco?
AH: For dinner Chez Spencer, to shop Gravel and Gold, to visit the ocean.
JR: I like to eat at Park Chow and we love The Ramp on sunny days. I wish I could say I did more out and about in SF, but I usually like to spend most of my spare at home. If I feel like being around people walking around the Mission is fun, maybe get a burrito at Taqueria Cancun, peek into Paxton Gate and the shops on 16th Street.
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