By Jennifer Eytcheson
Crestone’s art district is about to get a little brighter thanks to the near-future opening of Luminaries, a new studio-boutique. Owner Shoshannah Asha is passionate about art, sustainability, and community, and Luminaries is the perfect combination of all three. Located in the Sangre de Cristo building, Luminaries will offer a variety of one-of-a-kind items including art and clothing, reflecting Asha’s commitment to the environment.
Luminaries is an exciting addition to Crestone’s art scene, offering a special shopping experience. Keep an eye out for the grand opening and don’t miss the chance to visit this new gem in town.
Here’s what Asha revealed when I asked about her inspiration, vision, and how she got started with her business.
Q: I looked up the definition of luminary and it’s a person who inspires or influences others, especially one prominent in a particular sphere. Among other artists or business owners, who inspires you and why?
A: My first and biggest art muse is Zach Emmendorfer, who had such a passion for his art that he just painted all the time. He was always thinking about his subject matter, talking about it, and looking at animals, plants, whatever he wanted to paint. He would spend hours learning about these things. I admire Noemi and Kris Kosmowski a ton. Noemi has been an artist her entire life and for her it’s just simple: Work at what you love and you will succeed. There’s not this blindness of having to work another job to pay the bills.
Q: What has led up to you opening Luminaries?
A: I signed my lease for my studio last February, and shortly after was invited to participate in a program called “Business Idea Lab,” hosted by RMMFI (Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute). The program lasted two weeks and I received a small grant after graduating, which was funded through a program called Rural Women Led Business Fund (RWLBF). After Business Idea Lab, I was invited to apply to the next program, a 12-week course called “Business Launch Bootcamp.” I had to interview for the course and was chosen to participate. I graduated with a solid business plan in place and received another grant and the opportunity to apply for a business loan, which I received in December. Since then, I’ve been working on developing my storefront. Now my studio space will become a studio-boutique.
Q: Describe what you envision.
A: My vision is to maintain my working studio, where I will create artworks, primarily paintings and costume pieces. I will offer henna design at certain times of year, and of course carry clothing. My style is best described as cirque-fest, circus-y, festival type of fashions that you see at music festivals.
As this style emerges, I’ll be selling off other more random items from my storage unit and closet, and other people’s closets! I want to be known for a certain style and quality.
Q: What advice would you give to others who want to follow their artistic dreams?
A: You might have to squeeze it in after hours for a while. Learn the business part of business because marketing yourself and keeping your books is really important.
Q: What habits and practices do you have that lend you the success you need to open your studio-boutique?
A: I have a busy schedule that keeps me on track. I have no spare time right now. I must stay focused. I have to say no to a lot of things.
Q: What keeps you up at night when thinking about Luminaries?
A: Thankfully, I sleep at night and think during the day. I like to sleep in bed and get out of bed if I can’t. Sleep is super important to me, so I daydream.
When it comes to Luminaries, I think about what needs to be done, one step at a time, to get to a point where my walls are filled with paintings and my shelves are full of aesthetically pleasing, well curated, and high-quality finds.
Shoshannah Asha has lived in Crestone for 10 years. She loves animals and nature. She once heard of an animal sanctuary in Costa Rica, where they hire people to paint themselves like wild animals and hang out in the jungle acting like them. That is her dream job and pretty much sums up her character.