Women Who Empower
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th I wanted to write about the women who have been an inspiration and a support system in my life in the last several months. It’s so ironic to know where I am now and think about how I was one of those women who used to think that “girls are too catty and drama filled, I’d rather hang out with dudes.” And that was true through high school, college and my 20’s. Then about couple of years ago I started dating someone who I thought was “the one.” Long story short that ended badly and ultimately brought me to a point that forced me to look at my life and ask myself who I really wanted to be and what kind of life I wanted to have. And although it has been very tough working through that experience; I have my good days and bad days. I am determined not let that bring me down and question what I have to offer others. I’m going after my dreams and getting out of my comfort zone.
One of the things outside of my comfort zone that I have been doing a lot of lately is networking. For me, when I am meeting someone for the first time or in a new situation I am a pretty shy person. I call myself a shy extravert because once I know you and am comfortable around you, I am not shy by any means and can be quite outgoing. However, starting a new business is a new world to me. I kind of just jumped in and went for it soon realizing I can only Google so much. What I really needed was interactions with people who were or had been through the same thing. So initially I met friends of friends or found people on Instagram who led me to businesses and workshops, who led me to meet-up groups, women based entrepreneurial groups and so on.
I want to highlight some of those women who own amazing businesses, organizations or who are following their dreams. These women have supported me on my journey, have been a shoulder to cry on, encouraged me when I wasn’t encouraging myself, given me advice, tools and recourses to help grow my business and overall be a better me. I am still amazed at the camaraderie I have experienced with these women. It could be so simple and of human nature to look at each other and think “we are competition, I don’t want to share my tips and rescources with you because I had to learn the hard way.” Instead they are eager to empower other women entrepreneurs and help others grow in all aspects of their life. Many of these women have become my good friends; women I collaborate in business with and women that have helped me grow spiritually and mentally during one of the most challenging times of my life.
Mariposa Skies – Katy
Mariposa Skies is your ticket to fashion from around the world. Katy travels the globe finding unique and local designers and artisans. She believes that fashion is a fun and beautiful expression of who you are. “We are all so different, but fashion is the one universal language that can cross barriers of any kind.” Katy is my accountability partner and has been there since my idea was just that, an idea. We try to meet bi-weekly to check in on each other and encourage each other on our goals for our businesses.
Tribe of Dreamers – Annie & Jen
Unfortunately, Tribe of Dreamers is no more. Annie & Jen were the creators and owners of Tribe of Dreamers. I truly believe the connections I have made through these two amazing women have been instrumental in putting me on the path to where I am now. I found Tribe of Dreamers on Instagram of all places. I loved their feed, I connected with their mission and felt we had much in common. So I figured I would just send them a message and see if they were willing to meet up with me so that I could pick their brain. I thought the worst that could happen is they would say no. They said yes! So we met up, we had coffee and we had a great conversation about their organization and about my dreams for my business. Even though we had just met, they were very encouraging, supportive and I left our meeting feeling empowered and determined I could accomplish my dream of owning a business.
Faithful Artisans – Sarah
Faithful Artisans is an artisan collective that is run out of a co-working and event space called As We Dwell in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. Sarah is the owner of this collaborative space and I felt a connection to her the moment I met her at one of her workshops facilitated by another amazing woman, Rachael, the owner of Defining Good. Like me Sarah has been called to give back through her business, partnering with Justice Rising, by raising funds for their mission. Sarah and I have spent time together visiting the homeless on skid row, handing out clothes, meals and setting up a little station for art activities. We have also taken a trip to New York City with another Faithful Artisan, Safiya, owner of Beldi.co. The three of us had a great time, sharing a booth at the Brooklyn Renegade Craft Fair and exploring New York City. You can find some of isiko items at As We Dwell’s storefront called, Faithful Artisans.
Little Hurricane – CC
CC is the drummer of the dirty blues band duo called Little Hurricane. CC and I met when we were both working in a bar in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego, CA. CC is an inspiration to me because she went after her dreams joining a more male dominated field of drummers. She is now a mom and is still going after her dreams, doing what she has to do to make it work. And I’m not being biased here but the music she creates with the other half of the band duo who is also her husband, is incredible!
Buju Tattoo – Briana
Briana is one my best friends and we have known each other for almost a decade now. She owns Buju Tattoo, one of the prettiest tattoo shops you will ever come across, named after her sweet pit bull. At one point there were only women in the shop and even though that is not the case now, there are still more women tattoo artists than male tattoo artists that work out of the space. Briana has been there for me as a friend without judgment and at times with brutal honesty. I love her for that. She is a force of encouragement when it comes to following your passions. She is the sweetest and most genuine person you will ever meet and anyone who meets her can immediately sense the most calming aura about her.
Kurandza – Elisabetta
Elisabetta is the force behind Kurandza a non-profit social enterprise that invests in the future of women in Mozambique. Through education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development programs, women learn to become leaders in their villages, sharing their skills and knowledge with the rest of their community, and creating an opportunity for thousands of people. I learned about Kurandza from a mom blog I found when I was searching for social good companies. As soon as I realized that Elisabetta was also an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) like myself, I reached out to her in the same way I did with Tribe of Dreamers. I ended up becoming a member of her Global Dreamers Facebook group which has been a source of inspiration and resources to grow my business. Last quarter, isiko partnered with Kurandza for their #istandforgirls campaign which raised funds to send 100 girls in Mozambique to school.
YOUME – Lauren
YOUME Clothing is the creation of Lauren who is passionate about bringing people together believing that we can do far more together than alone. YOUME exists to renew and empower communities through collaborative repurposing partnerships. They do this by providing school uniforms and new clothing to kids in developing countries in exchange for their oldest, most tattered garments – which are repurposed into YOUME products for sale. Sale proceeds fund further clothing exchanges and community-led development projects – like building and repairing water wells and schools, and providing new books, teacher salaries, farming seeds and medical supplies. Lauren and I met at church through the recommendation of Jen from Tribe of Dreamers and we have been friends since. She is my sister through Christ and I know I can go to her for support and prayer in my business and personal life. We share a love for Swaziland, Mozambique and a passion to do what we can in bringing people together to make a better world.
Yellow Co. – Joanna
Yellow Co. was started by Joanna to empower creative, entrepreneurial women to become agents of good. They have collectives or chapters all over the USA and even one in the Kenya! They also hold a very inspiring conference in the summer in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles and are currently touring the west coast doing a mini conference series. I joined the San Diego Yellow chapter this last summer and have made some wonderful friends and connections through it. Our meetings are something that I look forward to each month. It is a place to gather with like-minded women and talk about important issues of our world and in our own personal lives. There is a complete sense of belonging and warmth in the Yellow community and I am beyond thankful for it. I met Joanna at the One year anniversary party of As We Dwell. She is down to earth and a sweet women with an incredible vision of bringing women together for the better good. Shout out to Katherine and Stefanie who are the San Diego Chapter leaders.
Stefanie is a fine artist and you can find her ethereal and whimsical work at www.stefaniebalesfineart.com
I have to note a few other inspiring ladies I have met through the San Diego chapter of Yellow Co. who are doing great things and have been a source of support and encouragement in my business journey.
Shannon – story teller & copywriter at www.shannonolona.com
Krystal – designer and owner of Wild Hearts & Halos
Deanne – owner of Kumbucha on Tap
Melissa – Owner and Creator at Mint and Merit
Ceramic Heights – Amanda
Amanda is the owner of Ceramics Heights, the space I work out of. Amanda, and her kind heart, has managed to create a space for the community around her. “It is a place where the novice and established ceramicist create alongside each other. “Heights” are reminiscent of the wonderful neighborhoods around San Diego, and the residents who make them so. Ceramic “Heights” are also the unique and personal goals of each student and master. These can be anything: perfecting a glaze, throwing taller cylinders, recreating classic works, or gaining mindfulness.” I work out of Ceramic Heights at least a couple days week and always look forward to discussing general life things and life as an entrepreneur with Amanda. We have developed a wonderful friendship that I am very thankful for.
And last but not least, two ladies who don’t have a business of their own but have been instrumental in my life because of their generosity. They are my dear friends Bethy and Amy. They both have provided me with a place to crash when I was in need. Remember that bad breakup I mentioned? Well, I suddenly found myself in need of place to live while I figured out my next moves and Amy was there for me. She let me stay with her while I did just that.
Bethy, a close friend since childhood constantly opens her home to me when I’m up in LA for conferences, networking events and meetings. They are both my saving grace and I don’t know that I can ever repay them for their generosity but they have all my gratitude.
And there you have it. Just a handful of boss babes who rock my world!
“Behind every successful women is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back.”