Ana seems like a fun bundle of energy. I’m super impressed with her fun designs for kids wear, and even more impressed by her concept of a kids creative space. I love it when people are able to take the thing that they love, and share it with littles who just may become huge talents themselves! I am planning on hitting up her brick and mortar the next time that I am in Sacramento, and I can’t wait!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Ana Manzano, Owner of Ana Apple and Founder of The Greenhouse. I was born and raised on Maui, went to college in Washington, DC, and have been living in the Sacramento area for over 8 years now.
What do you make or do?
Ana Apple is a line of quirky apparel for infants and toddlers that celebrates whimsy and inspires giving. My team and I just opened a boutique in Sacramento’s waterfront historic district in mid-March, which features the full collection as well as products by other California-based handmade artists.
Along with the store, I finally have been able to launch The Greenhouse, a children’s creative space, which is a big crazy vision I’ve had for a few years now. The concept is to inspire kids of all ages to explore new artistic mediums, from your standard drawing & painting to the more off-beat like balloon twisting, puppetry and upcycling. The coolest part is that 10% of tuition is contributed to a different youth-focused non-profit in our region each quarter, to provide their clients with increased access to arts education. I’m still pinching myself that it’s all happening in living color.
Where can we find your creations?
The Ana Apple store, The Greenhouse children’s studio and our production HQ are located at 114 K Street in Old Sacramento. Store + Studio: 916-737-5272
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I started my business as a side gig in 2009 and spent the next few years building my business during the day while bartending at night. Had to make sure those bills were covered! It was really rough in the summer and holiday season of 2011, when I was putting in crazy hours at the sewing machine to keep up with production for pop-up events, wholesale accounts and online sales. Then hours at the computer taking care of the business end. Plus those bartending shifts. I remember one weekend in which I worked at the bar Friday night until 2am, then was out the door at 7am Saturday for a San Francisco show, and back for another bar shift that night at 9pm before a local Sacramento show Sunday morning. I had turned into a zombie and from there, decided to set a game plan to save money, acquire more wholesale clients and do whatever else I needed to do in order to quit the bar. After a few months of upping my hustle, Cinco de Mayo 2012 was my final bar shift. Been a crazy but fulfilling ride since then.
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
Oh my gosh. All the things, if I can help it! We’re continuing to get the Ana Apple collection into more Whole Foods locations throughout California and are working on expanding into more regions across the country. A lot of my attention is going towards growing The Greenhouse into what I envision it to be, which involves bringing in an array of guest teachers, planning fun events, collaborating with non-profits and, a big juicy goal, eventually establishing a scholarship program to help kids pursue their artistic passions even further.
What would be your perfect day off?
Sleeping in, making a green smoothie, hitting a Vinyasa yoga class, running around in the sun at the river with my American Bulldog Pepper, then putting on some Alabama Shakes & enjoying good rye whiskey while playing sous chef for my boyfriend Beau, who is always making us super-tasty dinners. I try to make some version of this exact day happen each week.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
Stay true to WHY you do what you do. Your people will connect with that and love you for it. Whether your passion is consciously-crafted kids’ apparel, a creative studio that gives back to the community, or making one-of-a-kind statement jewelry that helps women hold their heads up with more confidence– start with your Big Why as your core and your brand will come together beautifully to showcase it.
Who are the makers that inspire you?
I have a serious creative crush on the illustrator Genevieve Santos right now, who is the adorable, talented genius behind Le Petit Elefant. I carry a collection of her cards, prints and stickers in my store and love sharing her work with our guests. Her whimsical style partners perfectly with the Ana Apple brand and the other lines that I carry, such as JanieXY, Cuddlefish Press and Geaux Melange.