ABIP

Meet A Houston Mom: Meet Emily Yau of Flea at Silver Street

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?

I’m originally from New York City but we have lived in Houston since 2012 and we love it here! 

Child(ren) and Age(s)? 

We have one very sassy daughter, Abigail, who just turned 4 years old. 

One thing people would be surprised to know about you…

I am a fourth-year medical student. I completed my third and fourth year clinical rotations in NYC while my daughter and husband stayed in Houston. I’ve been commuting back home to Houston to see them for over 2 years and it’s been tremendously difficult to be apart from her as she grows up but we make it work. And I’m graduating in June so the end is in sight! 

Favorite local activities to do in Houston? 

Running the path around Rice University, running along the bayou. And the food! 

Do you have a favorite family-friendly restaurant in the area?

Romano’s on West Gray is always a favorite—it reminds me of NYC. The owners are from Howard Beach, NY and the pizza is A+. 

Also, Cantina Barba—2 carne asada tacos with avocado, side of queso, and a paloma is my go to order. 

What local places do you go to for pampering and/or mom’s night out? 

Honestly, I haven’t had time to go out in Houston. When I’ve been home, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family since I still spend the bulk of my time in NYC. 

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share! 

I started organizing and curating markets in Houston in 2012 (when we first moved from NYC to Houston). One of our favorite things to do was go to brunch and then hit up local flea markets like Brooklyn Flea—at the time, there really wasn’t anything like that in Houston. We started Rice Village Flea, a small outdoor market in Rice Village and it really took off and grew to hosting larger events at Silver Street Studios. We sold Rice Village Flea when I started med school but decided to continue with the larger markets at Silver Street, which I named Flea at Silver Street (fleaatsilverstreet.com). 

The vendor selection process is through applications and this market, we will have 107 booths of local makers, artists and small businesses selling vintage home décor, hand-poured candles, handmade jewelry, original art, handsewn leather goods, paper goods and artisan foods. We also work with a local rescue, Jamie’s Animal Rescue (jamiesanimalrescue.org)—we’ve worked with her since our Rice Village Flea days—and will have a pet adoption event on site so our attendees can meet animals up for adoption. We are so thrilled for our upcoming event—our holiday flea is usually our biggest event of the season and it will be on Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 1. 

I’m so proud to be able to support other small businesses through my own venture. Flea at Silver Street provides a platform for these artists to showcase their work to the public and it’s really a great feeling to know that you’re contributing in part to helping someone realize their passions. It’s very rewarding to see vendors who had just started their business with us in 2012 graduate to brick and mortar stores; to have been a part of their growth is an amazing feeling. This is one of the reasons I’ve maintained the business throughout my med school career; it’s obviously been challenging running a business that has three to four large events annually (each of our events has conservatively 2500 to 3000 attendees per weekend) while studying full-time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think my experience will inspire my own daughter—you can run your own business, help others achieve their own goals, all while pursuing your own. 

How has the Houston community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

The Houston community has been incredibly supportive of small businesses. And in general, Houstonians (and Texans) are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. My business, Flea at Silver Street, would never be where it is without the support of the local community and I am forever grateful to our family of vendors who have grown with us. 

What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?

Sleep when you can. 

Set goals and know when to ask for help. 

What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids? 

You will never go to the bathroom alone again. 

Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?

Wine. That is all. 

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