business owner, artist
I gave Angela a disposable camera back in January. She kept it for a few weeks to document some of her day-to-day muses. Her film-roll revealed glimpses of her home life, snapshots from the Women's March on the Oklahoma State Capitol, and candid perspectives of her shop.
We chatted about life shortly after her photos were developed.
PD: Typically, Q&A's start off with generic inquires like, "What do you do? Tell us about yourself." We'll save that for later, and start off with - Where are you while you answer this? Describe your surroundings a bit.
AH: I’m in the shop, Yo La Tengo is on, it’s quiet and peaceful at the moment, smells like flowers and candles. (Finishing these questions, I’m in the bathroom while my kid takes a bath.)
PD: Now, if you could be anywhere else right now where would it be?
AH: Floating in the clear blue ocean with the sun beaming warmth down onto me… And maybe a cold drink in hand.
PD: If you could take one book and one album with you to enjoy on the beach after, which would you choose?
AH: Today (and most days), it would be New Order's Substance and my treasured copy of An Open Life, conversations with Joseph Campbell.
PD: Great choices. Now for the typical: What do you do? Tell us a bit about yourself.
AH: Currently, I'm a mother, wife, shop owner, and designer. I have a varied background in fine arts, photography, video production and fashion. I’m a dabbler, but it’s all the same to me.
PD: Where'd the name for your shop come from, "Reference Point”?
AH: The name is a way to keep the shop design-oriented (in aesthetic, vision, products I carry, etc.). It also refers to a few things: my own artistic reference points, my past career spent talking to fashion designers about each season’s references, and it pays homage to my architect father and old point of reference drawings I made as a child… Lots of stuff tied up in the name.
PD: A few of your photos were taken at The Women's March on the Oklahoma Capitol. What did attending something that historical mean to you?
AH: I just felt the need to be there. It felt really important to be there.
PD: Did your kiddo attend with you?
AH: He didn’t. I thought a lot about taking him but it just didn’t work out.
Even though he didn’t go, I do think it's important to keep him aware of what’s going on in the world. I have no intentions of keeping things from him, though he’s very young so I’m sure that will be tempered for a while. I definitely want him to know about the world and plight of its people, and to empower him and teach him that we have a responsibility to stand up for ourselves and others.
PD: You made some great signs for the rally. What were some of your favorites you remember seeing?
AH: Thanks. The most impactful one that I saw had a drawing of a wire hanger on it and said, “Never again.”
PD: Something like "feminism" and it's meaning and motives are often debated. How do you define it?
AH: Equal opportunity. Respect and safety. Feminism for me now seems to be melding into a larger issue of human rights. The struggle against historical white male dominance is certainly not just a women’s struggle. The overarching issue of the day (of always?) is inequality and the growing gap of the haves (power/money) and have-nots. The American democracy is meant empower every single citizen as an equal, not only in regards to each other, no matter your sex or skin color, but also in regards to the commoner vs those with money and power (and now corporations). My worst fear is that that is being eroded… and lately, at an exponential pace.
PD: As The Women's March continues past "a moment" on to "a movement", what do you want to see accomplished? What issues do you want advocated?
AH: I want to see a cracking open of people’s hardcore internalized misogynistic biases (which I admit I am still learning daily about my own), self-protections, and self-propagations. Voter rights expanded. Affordable good quality health care for all. Education and innovation as a priority and right.
PD: Your business is in the youthful and ever-growing Plaza District. What's it like operating a business such as yours in the district? Why'd you choose Plaza?
AH: I chose the Plaza mainly because of the space that became available - it was beautiful, small, affordable and I knew and liked the landlords. It’s been challenging being back in an alley, but it’s been a great place to start the business. There’s a lot of energy centralized in the Plaza - lots of inspiring upstarts and a drive to succeed and make better their surroundings.
PD: What do you see as the future of Reference Point?
AH: Right now, I’m working on wholesaling my candle line. I’d like to design more. I definitely want to do more creative work going forward. I’d love to have a larger online presence and expand the shop to a larger lifestyle concept with clothes, shoes, etc… We’ll see. The business has a life of its own.
PD: You're like, a super-mom, right?
AH: More like super-tired, like most moms.
PD: What are the greatest obstacles and joys of juggling motherhood and your business?
AH: The biggest obstacle is time… Constantly feeling like I don’t have enough of it. Motherhood makes women super efficient, but when I have an hour off, I tend to sit and rest instead of get something done. There’s no balance, you just learn to prioritize and let go of the rest.
As far as joys, motherhood and running my business both bring me immense joy and satisfaction. I’m focused on two of the most satisfying aspects of my life right now. Both are seriously challenging and make me doubt myself, and both are incredibly empowering and fulfilling and have forced me to change and grow (which I love).
PD: We are at question #21, which reminds me of two hip-hop references: 50 Cent's "21 Questions", and up-and-coming rapper 21 Savage. We've talked hip-hop before at your shop. What are your go-to jams?
AH: I’m obsessed with the new Tribe album. I think it stands up to their old work and is still forward-thinking, a rarity from older groups. My go-to's are always very classic - old Tribe, Nas, Wutang, Gang Starr, Eric B. & Rakim… Lately, Kendrick Lamar, old Lauryn Hill & Public Enemy, and especially D’angelo’s new album all feel very relevant to what’s happening in our country right now.
PD: What's your advice to any ambitious individual out there looking to start their own business, or looking to pursue their art on a more serious level?
AH: Do it. Risk it. Jump. I spent way too much time thinking, concocting and asking questions before I ever started a business. There’s truly no other way to learn than by doing. And be mindful about accruing debt (or don’t, if you can help it). Debt will only restrict your options going forward.
PD: Give us the name of an artist(s) we should all look up right now.
AH: Chris Wolston, Alex Dodge
PD: Finally, could you leave us with a quote you really find empowering?
AH: Follow your bliss.
You can visit Angela at Reference Point in Oklahoma City's Plaza District, where she shares a brick+mortar space with fellow Okie-local business, Bison Shop. While you're there make sure to pick up one of her handmade candles, or shop her very well curated selection of other goods, which features work by designers and makers from around the globe.