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Meet The Women Behind Aya & Pete!

We couldn’t wrap up Women’s Month without highlighting the amazing 100% women-run team here at Ashima! From our founders to our artists, designers, operations and comms team, we know how powerful an organization can be when women are empowered to lead within it! This month, we’re excited to pull the curtains back a bit and introduce the team behind the magic of Aya & Pete! 

Meet Our Artist - Carolina Buzio (@carolinabuzio) is an illustrator and occasional animator drawn to quirky characters and exciting colour combinations. She was born in the lovely seaside town of Porto, Portugal, and she is currently living in artsy Berlin, Germany, with her partner who is unfortunately allergic to cats or else she’d finally be the crazy cat lady her child-self always assumed she would one day be.

Meet Our Designer - Ana Areias (@anatypestype) is an illustrator and graphic designer, amazed by patterns, dogs, and food. She lives and works in the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal. Ana is obsessed with shapes and bold objects and loves working with different media. With her signature red lipstick and hair to match, you can usually find Ana on the computer, doing ceramics, and weaving at the loom simultaneously! A self-described hip-hop head, don’t hesitate to share any local music recommendations with her.

Meet Our PR Director - Melissa Benhaim (@mellybenz) is founder of Benhaim Public Relations, a Miami-based hospitality and travel PR company. Melissa has helped secure media coverage for our books and toys, including in Essence, Travel + Leisure, Vanity Fair, and more. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking (current count is about 600 recipes since she started counting 4 years ago), and discovering new destinations. Fun fact: before Florida, Melissa lived in Wyoming and the South of France.

Meet Our Ops Manager - After a lengthy career in administration, Marcia is semi-retired and manages our distribution operations. Love those Aya & Pete stickers and postcards that arrive with every order? Marcia makes sure we always have them in stock. She’s also known for her detailed gift wrapping, a skill honed from YouTube! When she’s not in operations mode, you can find her puttering around the garden, playing Candy Crush, or jetting around the world to see her children and grands.

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Meet our Comms Manager - Tegan Dow (@tegan_d) is a Civil Engineer turned Social Media Communications Manager when her love for all things creative took over. She loves photography and traveling and does her best to combine the two whenever possible. Prior to settling in beautiful Calgary, Canada, she spent two years living in Australia, where her maternal grandparents were born. She loves chasing beaches and sunshine with her young daughters Harlow & Capri. Her most amazing adventure to date was summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro and landing the cover of Australian Geographic Outdoor Magazine with a shot of her husband at the roof of Africa!

Meet the Founders - Asha is 9 (almost 10) years old! Curious and adventurous, she’s the inspiration for Aya! Asha is actively involved in the creative process by helping to edit our stories and adding expressions that capture children’s humor and imagination. Asha loves to read, read, then read some more. She also plays the piano, loves drawing, building things, and traveling. Asha has visited more than 25 countries. She’s down to earth, but likes her accommodations top of the line!

Meet the Founders - Serena Minott (@girlonalimb)  is the managing director behind Ashima and Aya & Pete. A trained IP attorney, Serena is an avid reader, lifelong diarist, and a passionate traveler (she’s visited nearly 50 countries!). When she couldn’t find any books that shared fun information about the world from a child’s perspective, she was inspired to create The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete. Although she can hardly draw a stick figure, Serena’s secret talent lies in her ability to surround herself with true creative geniuses. When she’s not busy doing a million other things, Serena loves running, yoga, speaking bad French, and being around a table full of friends. Serena is based between Miami and southern France where she lives with her husband and two littles, Asha and Amal.

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