When a visitor walks into the Flat and feels immediately inspired by the bright colors, creative design and welcoming atmosphere, there’s a reason for that.
Jasmine Richardson, who serves as creative director of this upscale neighborhood bar and music venue, had a hand in designing the space – making sure that all of the smallest details look and feel just right. A photographer and designer, she also helped with menu design and promotional photos, as well as day-to-day management.
Richardson said that she has always considered herself a creative person – but did not realize her drive until she went to artschool six years ago. She studied fashion design, graphic design and photography at Houston Community College.
“Initially going to art school, fashion was where I had the greatest interest,” she said. “But I quickly learned that I was more interested in the graphic design side of fashion.”
When Richardson accepted an internship as a photo editor for one of her professors, her interest in the art form deepened. “I was really good at it, and that sparked my interest in photography at the time,” she said. “I bought a camera and quickly started shooting weddings. The first job I got was an assistant and just kind of took it from there.”
Richardson also began shooting videos. She has since been working on projects with area museums and with Zagat for local food events. Currently, Richardson is working on a collaborative project with her friend Amber Ambrose, called “The Feelin’ Good Show.”
“It’s a fun and creative web series,” she said. “There are a lot of unrecognized Houstonians doing amazing things to contribute to the authenticity of this city. We want to give them a voice and present options for different experiences for people traveling to Houston. Stay tuned.”
For now, though, most of her energy is focused on the Flat. “This space is becoming a haven for art,” Richardson said. “My goal is to look back 15 years from now and know that I've documented this whole process – the Montrose culture, the people and the camaraderie in the artist community.”
She has worked in the service industry for 21 years. “I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I’m able to bring a lot to the table. Most of all, I want my employees to feel valued here. If you can create a solid team, then the environment will be better across the board.”
Richardson is the type of manager who still picks up bartending shifts, washes dishes and rolls up her sleeves to get to work as needed.
She has created an employee-of-the month program at the bar. “In the service industry, bartenders don’t usually get extra anything,” she said. “So I’ve started this program, and every other month, an employee goes on a trip to a city that we choose. We've already sent someone to New York and L.A. The next winner gets to go to Chicago.”
Richardson said her top priority as manager of the venue is to foster the music scene in Houston. “To me, it’s definitely all about the music,” she said. “The Flat is on the cutting edge. This is an underground venue where you're able to hear things that you wouldn’t normally hear in Houston or in Texas for that matter. You can come to the Flat and get a different flavor.”
For more information about the music line-up, food menu or drink offerings at the Flat, visit theflathouston.com or follow the Flat on Facebook at facebook.com/theflathouston and on Twitter at twitter.com/theflathtx.