Meet the Maker: Iris Lee

Meet Iris Lee, a young (and successful) business owner who manages two brick and mortar shops: Float Pasadena and Tiny Universe

Float and Tiny Universe

Talk to us about your store front endeavors. What made you decide to take over Float Pasadena and then create the Tiny Universe shop? 

I honestly wasn't quite seeking to be a small business owner at the time but Float in some ways found me. The opportunity to open a shop presented itself to me two years ago and I wasn't sure whether to say yes. But the moment I saw the potential with the space, I knew this was what I wanted to do. After two years of being open with Float, the space next door presented itself and I wanted to build something that would compliment the space. I always had a heart for interesting small retail spaces and noticed a lack of small independent boutiques in Pasadena. It seemed like an interesting new adventure and a challenge I wanted to try. 

Do you come from a line of business owners too? Were your family members encouraging of your takeover? 

I do! My parents run an independent community pharmacy in Los Angeles. My parents were my biggest supporters and guidance for doing this business. 

How is business how and how do you think you'll continue to grow both shops?

Business is great! I am taking each day as it comes to me and at the same time always seeing what opportunities are out there. I hope to integrate more programs and have some things lined up for this following year that we're really excited about.  

What is your favorite part about running these shops? 

The people. The guys I work with and everyone that walks through the door makes this the best experience.  

Both shops are well-liked! How has the response been in general? 

It's always been fun hearing how people respond to the shops. We always get great feedback but it's especially exciting when people find us even after two years of business. Makes us feel like we just opened again!

Float and Tiny Universe

Is it tough to juggle both shops while maintaining your personal life? 

Absolutely. Some days I feel like I've taken on too much but I have an incredible support system outside of both shops. I really couldn't be where I am without the support of my boyfriend, friends, and family. And over the course of my two years of running my own business I really learned that I need to take care of myself in the midst of the craziness. It's all about balance. (It's the Libra in me)

Tiny Universe, Float Pasadena

Where do you see business and life taking off in the next few years? 

I just hope we can continue to serve our community and be a destination for folks visiting Pasadena. And I'm not certain what is next for us, but I'm always excited for whatever is for us here at Float and Tiny. 

Photography by Asami Zenri