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

Hi Anna, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have always been a creative, though what form that creativity has taken throughout my life has changed over time. Over the years I’ve expressed myself through music, poetry, storytelling, photography, digital design, and now floral design. Sometimes I think that life would be so much easier if I didn’t feel so strongly about creating — art is so personal and vulnerable, and there’s a reason that when people think of lucrative careers they never think of artists. But there are also days that remind me why I do what I do, when something I create brings a smile to someone’s face, gives them a memory they will cherish forever, or resurfaces an unspoken shared emotion. Creating almost feels like a basic need — I have to create, and I consider it a privilege to be able to nurture my creativity in my career.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The thing that I am most proud of in my career is that I’ve managed to create and believe in my own definition of success. After years of trying to ‘fit the mold’ in full-time corporate tech jobs that ultimately left me unhappy with myself and my life, I decided to take a step back and examine why.

I found a career coach who helped me understand that for the most part, the career path I was on was not lining up with how I wanted to live my life. And then I had to answer the question: well, what do I want my life to look like? It seems like a simple enough question, but I realized that I hadn’t ever really thought about it before. I knew what society valued, what my peers wanted, what years of indoctrination by the media told me was important (money and status), but I had never really paused to think about what *I* wanted in my life.

I want to create, to create for other people, and to know that my work has a direct impact on people’s lives. I also want to be my own boss, to manage my own time and to have the flexibility that comes with it. As equally important is realizing what I don’t need to be happy: tons of money, a ‘stable’ job, or the status that comes with working at a prestigious brand.

From that series of conversations, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at floral design. As a florist I loved being able to create and to see the direct impact of my work, even if it was on the small scale of just one couple’s wedding. I loved it so much that a year later I started my own wedding floral studio called moon & mei to have an even greater connection to the couples I design for.

Today I am most proud of recognizing that I don’t have to just be one thing or another in my career. That I can, at the same time, be a wedding florist *and* do other types of creative work. I never felt comfortable with just being one type of creative; I’ve always been interested in many different things and the specialization that happens in the corporate world made me feel trapped, like I had to put myself into a box for people. Today, I design wedding florals, and take product & portrait photography, and freelance web design, and in five years, I may add or subtract from that list.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
– See a concert at Red Rocks (I haven’t done this yet because I moved here during COVID but I really, really want to go!) – Drive up to Estes Park, browse the shops, & visit RMNP
– Go to a brewery. Since I’m in Longmont, I’d probably take them to Lefthand!
– Get the “low rider” pizza at Proto’s … it’s life changing
– Go white water rafting in Buena Vista
– Get the glazed pork belly taco at Bar Taco on Pearl Street. Get a yummy cocktail while you’re at it. Thank me later
– Go for a few hikes/walks around the area. My favorites are Rabbit Mountain Open Space, McIntosh Lake, and for a longer one, Twin Sisters Peak Trail

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would probably still be lost in a corporate job if not for my incredibly supportive husband. He has encouraged me at every step of the way to do something that makes me happy and has helped me accept that my priorities in life are just as valid as everyone else’s, even if they look different. I also would not be where I am today without my parents. They’ve worked hard their entire life to give me and my siblings all the opportunities we’ve had and all the opportunities they didn’t have growing up in China. I am very grateful to have such supportive people in my life.

Website: moonandmei.com

Instagram: @moonandmei

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annaakizer/

Other: moonandmeifloral@gmail.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado 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.