Studio Choo is the work of two best friends, Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo, who share a love for things natural and wild. The flowers are locally grown whenever possible, and always fresh and seasonal.
Why is your name Choo?
Studio Choo started with a sneeze. Jill's tiny sneeze, to be exact. It was so small Alethea remarked upon this tiny sneeze and thus "Choo" became a shared nickname between the two. They remained friends when Alethea left the Bay Area, and they dreamed of starting a business together one day. Upon Alethea's return a few years later (early 2009), they finally took the plunge to open their floral studio and the eponymous Studio Choo was born.
Alethea spent her time before Studio Choo as an estate gardener in Seattle where she managed the wet and wild rolling hills of the city's rich and famous. After working in other boutique flower shops perfecting her art, she returned to her native Bay Area to settle back in.
With her mother, aunt, and uncle all running their own flower shops while she was growing up, it now seems only natural that Jill would do the same. After spending her childhood in Rhode Island learning the difference between roses and ranunculus, she graduated with a degree in illustration from Parsons School of Design and moved to San Francisco to try life out west.
After running the business out of Jill's kitchen, Alethea's Honda Element, and a garage in South San Francisco for a year, they were ready for a new home base. In January 2010, Studio Choo joined forces with Magpie & Rye and Small Stump to form Prairie Collective. They opened a small studio/showroom in San Francisco's NOPA neighborhood featuring fresh flowers, jewelry and home accessories with an emphasis on natural materials, and souvenirs of the past. The shop will undergo a big change in Spring 2013...with Studio Choo expanding and moving to a new larger space in South San Francisco and Magpie and Rye turning the space at 262 Divisadero Street into a solo venture!
Small Stump is the art, craft and woodworks of Jill and Matt Rizzo. The two were married in 2010 and work from their tiny brick house by the ocean in Pacifica, California. The company was started by Jill in 2007 with an etsy shop stocked with silkscreen prints, hand-printed fabric stump sculptures, and small woodland treasures. Currently Jill is quite occupied with Studio Choo but cranks out a new print every now and then. Matt creates small works in wood and helps out with events on the weekends. Their two naughty cattledogs, Pee Wee and Bernie, can be seen running wild on the beaches and in the hills of Pacifica.