We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Phan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I think I’ve always gravitated towards creative and design industries & careers. One of my earliest memories are of me sitting and sketching for hours after coming home from school. I knew it was something I was good at and had the discipline to sit for long periods of time. It was something I took to very early on and could sit and focus on for hours even as a little kid. Being creative is part of my identity and I don’t think I wanted to do anything else in my life. I remember when teachers would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said either a “teacher or an artist” so it’s rather inline with what I do now.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I graduated college with a comprehensive design degree and 2 classes short of my interior design degree. I always loved sketching, so when I originally started my wedding planning & design business; naturally I sketched all my designs. It was what set me apart as not many wedding designers weren’t sketching out their design concepts. This was something so odd to me, because it’s such a natural part of my communication as a designer. So I set out on a mission to teach as many creatives how to sketch as I could. I don’t think it’s been easy, but once I found what I was naturally good at and there was a real reason and deeper mission as to why I wanted to teach others, it became a path for me. It never felt crowded there because I knew exactly why I wanted to empower creatives and designers. I knew I wanted to see others succeed & I wanted the world to fall in love with sketching as much as I did. To me, sketching is only part of my story. I want others to be inspired and to take their creative talents and build legacy wealth. I’m a daughter of Vietnamese immigrants and I want to inspire others to take their creative calling and dream big. It takes a visionary, someone who can see past the limitations and see beyond that for themselves and for their communities. I’ve learned so many lessons and a lot has to do with believing you deserve success and that you are worthy to receive it. And in order to reach any level of success, you have to have the conviction that it will work out no matter what – that is what my parents’ have instilled in me through her flee to freedom. I hold that with me when things get tough or when I want to throw in the towel.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m all about experiences, good food, and visiting charming cities. I would first plan out a trip to Sonoma, wine country. There are so many beautiful wineries and luxury hotels there. I don’t have a go-to restaurant, because I like spontaneity and look at restaurants based on what they’re in the mood for. I’d pick them up from the airport, we would check in to a beautiful hotel- @macarthurhotelplace is one of my favorites. They just remodeled their hotel so it has lovely high end design without being pretentious. Then I’d book a picnic lunch at one of the beautiful wineries, we could go to Cornerstone Gardens and walk through their gardens filled with artisan artist displays. Then we’d head into town and grab ice cream at a local ice shop. Before the end of the day we’d order wine & cheese appetizers of course from one of my favorite restaurants: The Girl & The Fig. The next day would be a pampered girl day, where we head out for yoga or a casual hike and then straight to get a message at Solage Spa. We could take a ride on their charming bike rentals and come back and enjoy a lunch at their restaurant. I’d find a creative activity in town – either painting or wine tasting throughout the day. The rest of the week would be exploring other fun cities, like Berkeley and visiting stationery & calligraphy shops. I also love site-seeing so we’d have to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, and iconic Lombard street in san Francisco. We’d probably drive down the coast to Half Moon Bay and visit the coastal beaches. I love the water so this would be really fun to drive down 16 mile road and plan a whole day there. I think that would be a great week exploring, eating, indulging in really good food, and having a great time!
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 many people to thank, but firstly my immigrant parents for their sacrifice and for their bravery. I owe so much of my work ethic and learnings through their lessons on hardships and I always wanted to become someone who would make them proud. It was always important for them to bring their children here to America to live out the American dream, get an education, and build successful careers. Also, my art teachers Mrs. Yu from middle school and Mr. Clement from high school, who always inspired me to dare to be different and to take my creativity and expand my thinking because it’s never crowded there.
Instagram: verymaryinspired and @thesketchbookseries
Photography: @Jessicamaidaphotography Location Host/ Rentals: @paisleyandjade Designer/Stylist: @amberstreit for @typeasociety Floral Designer : @photoshynthesisflorals Custom Cakes & Desserts: @sweetfix Custom Paper Goods: @theideaemporium Linens: @nuagedesigninc Tabletop decor: @smthingvintage