We’re all about passionate women who are making it happen. Like Linda Bui—cosmetic-supply-chain guru slash ceramist slash master of plants—who is doing just that. We spent a day with her (and her pup, Quincy) in Williamsburg as she tried on some of our favorite summer dresses and talked creative inspiration, true-crime podcasts and otherworldly flowers, among other things.
Hello, we love you. Won’t you tell us your name? (And what you do and where you live?)
I’m Linda. I handle MAC Cosmetics’ supply chain by day (if they need something made, I find a way to do it) and work on ceramics and floral arrangements for my studio, ma dam, by night, weekend, whenever there’s time. I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Let’s talk go-tos…
Coffee order: A latte and a scone from Rabbit Hole.
Outfit: I’ll just throw on a pair of jeans and a white tee. I’ve also been wearing more dresses lately—honestly, the more shapeless the better because I just try to be comfortable. Once you’re in your 30s, you’re kinda over it, you know? I love a baseball cap too. I like to pick one up in every new city I visit.
Album/playlist: I’ve been listening to podcasts these days, especially My Favorite Murder. I’m reading Helter Skelter right now too—I’m really into true crime, it’s weird. I also like the podcast Reply All, which is about technology and the internet—they’re just really funny guys.
Weekend plan: I usually bring Quincy to the McCarren Dog Park or I get brunch or take a workout class. Pretty basic! But right now, my husband and I are doing a lot of renovation for our house, so we’ll go check out wood and marble stores to get inspired.
Tell us more about your work. How’d you end up pursuing both ceramics and florals?
When I started in the beauty industry, working in the supply chain, I was really operations focused and realized I needed a more creative outlet. So I signed up for classes at the pottery studio Choplet—I’ve been there for years now—and just kept practicing. When people started asking to buy my stuff, I was like, OK, I guess I can really make this work!
As for the flowers…I’ve always been very passionate about botany. It started as an interest in plants and when my apartment ran out of space for more plants, I started to explore flowers. I took classes with florists and got to know everyone’s different processes. I also spent a lot of time at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden reading botanical books. I eventually started incorporating flowers into my ceramics thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to have a complementary arrangement for each vase to really complete the piece? Plus, it’s this reusable work of art that you can keep refilling with flowers!
Speaking of flowers, if you had to pick one to represent you, which would it be and why?
I really love proteas. There’s something very beautiful yet alien-like, almost otherworldly, about them that I identify with.
What about creative inspiration—where do you find yours?
I’ll look at my plant books, check out design websites, blogs, Instagram. I also like to talk to my husband and randomly brainstorm. Most of the time he just sort of hesitantly listens, worried that I’m gonna go off and start another project [laughs].
What advice would you give to a budding (sorry, had to) creative looking to take their art full-time?
Just do it! I know it’s kinda nerve-racking, but you have to commit to yourself and do enough so it makes you happy. Maybe it’s not a full-time thing at first and just starts as a hobby or passion project. If you think of it that way, there’s nothing to lose!
Finally, who’s a lady you love in your life?
Oh, I’d have to say my mom for sure. Both she and my dad were refugees from Vietnam—they came here with basically nothing and made their way. She’s definitely the most inspiring lady in my life.