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

Hi Anastasja, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I wanted to create a platform that would allow me to become more deeply connected with my community, and to advocate for honoring Nature in our daily practices. I knew from past employment experiences that I wanted joyful connections with strangers to be at the center of my own business. I was just about to graduate ASU with an Interdisciplinary degree in Marketing and Digital Audiences, but in December 2020 my learned methods of finding a job were only yielding remote social media intern positions for corporations I had never heard of, and I started to explore the idea of entrepreneurship. Phoenix is a beautifully welcoming space for local and new businesses, but I had no abilities or passions that I had enough confidence in to build as a business. I took inventory of my past life experiences and lessons learned, my current resources, my purpose and goals, and my education. I realized that I had the capability to launch a plant micro-shop, and that house plant demand had skyrocketed since we began spending significantly more time in our homes, revealing my opportunity. I built a plan to create a plant shop that’s purpose is grounded in connection, accessibility, and advocacy for Nature. I was blessed to be welcomed by The Churchill, a community space in Downtown Phoenix devoted to empowering local small businesses, and I was able to quickly launch my business.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I created Sage Femme with the intention of making nature accessible to All, specifically by providing beginner-friendly house plants at accessible pricing. Buying a new houseplant can be expensive, and intimidating for new plant parents if you don’t have the confidence that you can care for it. I sourced from local plant nurseries and plant providers for my shop to guarantee healthy plants that weren’t dependent on high amounts of fertilizer and water, and created guides for basic plant care on my Instagram so anyone can access them.

I would never have predicted that I would become a business owner, much less that I would start my own business in the middle of a pandemic, months after graduating college. Any example of an entrepreneur I had heard of was either a passionate creator, or a well-connected investor, and I couldn’t identify with either of those. Starting a business was more of a solution to my career crisis than anything else. On the verge of graduating, only a couple months after the lockdown was lifted, I quickly realized my career opportunities were less than inspiring. I couldn’t see myself working as a corporation’s social media intern, but I also didn’t qualify for any roles that interested me. I decided that if I was going to try something that had a high chance of “failure”, I should do it now. Fortunately for me, I was able to find some opportunities that aligned perfectly with my intentions, and it was almost easy to launch Sage Femme. After connecting to the small business community in Downtown Phoenix, I am so happy I had enough trust in myself to try. Creating a business that I fell in love with, and receiving not only support, but encouragement and love from my customers and community is the most connecting experience I’ve ever had. Actually, my favorite part of becoming a business owner is being witness to all the talented people in my life that are learning to trust their own creativity and innovation. Connecting to the people and space around me was my highest value when I created Sage Femme, and plants are the perfect tool for Connection. Beyond the emotional, physical, and spiritual healing they provide for humans, they are the literal embodiment of the Life and connection we all share. They bring energy into our homes, provide nutrients and even healing properties for our bodies, and in most cases they create deep personal fulfillment as we help them grow and thrive. My vision for Sage Femme has quickly evolved over a short amount of time, but it has always remained a source of Joy and I can’t wait to keep experimenting with creating new opportunities for Connection.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Downtown Phoenix has so many opportunities for joy to offer. I will always recommend stopping by The Churchill, maybe even before you check in to your hotel! This space will always have my heart. There are many places within walking distance from there that are worth the visit. Wilderness Brewery, with their focus on local sourcing and eco conscious priorities, is a great space for meeting friends before some of the local community events that occur monthly in Downtown Phoenix. Events like Phoenix Vegan Market, happening every second Saturday night, and the Farmer’s Market, every Saturday morning, are great for finding local restaurants and food trucks. First Fridays and The Phoenix Art Museum are my favorite spaces for people watching.

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?
I have so much gratitude for my close friend Shalanndra. We met just a month before we graduated together, only to realize that we had been working in the same building on campus for at least a year. She was one of the first people I shared my business vision with, and she has been a vast source of support ever since. Beyond creating the entire website for my business and multiple graphic designs for me and the shop I rented space from, she is also a beautiful artist and has since created her own brand for her original art, along with pursuing a career as a tattoo artist. I have had the privilege of witnessing her grow through multiple life transformations, and I have so much love and respect for her. You can find her art at Imcasterr.com or @Morecasterr

Website: Sagefemmebotanicals.com

Instagram: Sagefemmebotanicals

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/anastasja-castoro/

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