Feature Friday: Gypsy Skulls


When I saw the name Gypsy Skulls pop up on my Instagram nearly a year ago, I was hooked. I even wrote a mini piece about her in this article on my fall essentials. Ayla is the beautiful artist behind the company, who not only has a creative eye but a sweet soul and an infectious kindness. Read on to learn more about her art, her inspiration and community.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. Where are you from? What do you do?

I am the owner and artist behind Gypsy Skulls:; pressed flower art, apparel and decor. I was born and raised here in Calgary, AB and my partner and I are now raising 2 babies of our own in this beautiful city. My background lays in Kinesiology and prior to Gypsy Skulls, I worked as an Exercise Physiologist for the Canadian Sport Institute. When I had my first baby, I started doing a little bit more with Gypsy Skulls while on maternity leave and before I knew it, a full blown business had blossomed (pun intended)!

Gypsy Skulls

What inspires you to do what you do? How did you start doing this work?

Gypsy Skulls was manifested while I was working on a Masters degree in something completely unrelated. I needed a creative outlet and had my hand in making jewelry, crocheting etc when I came across a beautiful rendition of a Sugar Skull done in all water color florals. The flowers looked so real and beautiful it had me thinking that a Skull made of real flowers would be incredible....well it wasn't. Not the first time anyways. It looked a lot like Hannibal Lecter. But I worked hard at the skill of pressing flowers and working with them and as time went on I was able to tap into a creative side that I didn't even know existed.

I am definitely inspired by nature. Flowers are so incredibly unique and an absolute wonder to work with. I am also inspired by our incredible community of entrepreneurs who love and support each other. I am blown away by the support that Calgary has to offer small businesses and honored to be a part of this community.

What inspires you most about your community?

As I eluded to before, the on-going support that the community of Calgary has provided me with as a small business is incredible. People are shifting in how they shop and are excited to support local entrepreneurs; it is very inspiring to witness that shift in our culture.

Gypsy Skulls If you could give anyone who is starting out in your field one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to say no. This took me a really long time to learn but knowing when to say no is really important to your brand and your business. Set goals for your company, know your brand and stay true to yourself. If a request isn't in line with those aspects, it is OK to say no.

Tell me three fun facts about yourself.

  1. I hate naming fun or interesting facts about myself! I always draw a complete blank.
  2. I adore cycling. It's taken a bit of a back seat since I had babies, but I have gone on many incredible adventures on my bike, including a summer that I rode across Canada (6000km).
  3. Wine is my spirit animal.

Gypsy Skulls

How can people get in touch?

Photo Credit: @lindsay_skeans
Do you know of a person, business, non-profit or other organization doing amazing work in Calgary? Tell me about it! Visit the Feature Friday page for more information!

xo _ britt