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How can you create a market catered to a niche audience? How do you begin to trust your choices and judgment as an entrepreneur? In what ways can you empower others with your brand?
We cover all those topics and more, as we get to listen to Jessica Zweig of SimplyBe Agency’s “tribal gathering” in today’s episode. Female entrepreneurs across the Chicago-area gathered at the event to support each other, as well as establish and strengthen their networks. We got to chat with four incredible women about their businesses, and got a snapshot of their journeys, and how their businesses came to be!
We'll start with Sarah Russo, who is a holistically trained chef. She works with clients in their homes and businesses to create healthier eating habits and also sets up meal plans for people with food allergies and restrictions. Recently, she has also created an organic popsicle called Yum Pops. They are dairy, gluten, and sugar-free cream-sickles that are coconut milk based, with their fruit pops made from local fruit vendors. Yum Pops currently are sold from a cart that is wheeled around Chicago during the summer, but by next year it will have its own store-front! Her goal is to be able to provide those who want to eat clean with food that fulfills their needs, follows their dietary restrictions, but is delicious, too.
Next, we get to know Cat Aldana, who is the creator of Eat, Stretch, Nap. Her brand offers yoga retreats across the country to teach people how to relax and enjoy life outside of the workplace. Before she started Eat, Stretch, Nap, she was teaching yoga full time and was the Operations Director at Air Aerial Fitness. What made her take the leap to entrepreneurship was an opportunity that made her reflect on what she wanted next out of her career. She was offered the chance to open up her own aerial studio, which is what she thought was her dream. But she realized she didn’t want to solidify her future with her own studio, even though she loved everything about her job. She just knew that the best decision was to leave the company, or at least take a break until she figured out her next step.
So she started Eat, Stretch, Nap as a blog to help give people perspective and awareness on tough choices since she was at the same crossroads with her career and life. One thing she’s still struggling with is trusting her choice, but she reminds herself to listen to her gut, and be okay with whatever experience it’ll bring. More importantly, she remembers that she can bounce back from that experience, and learn from it. After talking with students from her classes about Eat, Pray, Stretch’s philosophy, she was able to book teaching events across Chicago, which eventually turned her blog into a profitable brand capable of booking retreats.
Our next lady boss is Silviana Faveretto who is the founder of the Tulle Project. The Tulle Project is an e-commerce business that sells tulle skirts, with the personal mission of empowering women to stand out and be bold. She also has a YouTube channel where she interviews women about their challenges in life and aims to portray women in a realistic and relatable light to see the riches of womanhood. Originally a graphic designer, she created the Tulle Project as a side hustle a couple of years ago. She started out with an Instagram campaign, and made 100 skirts in 100 days, and styled different outfits with each skirt. She loved the attention she got on social media and on the streets with her fun and exciting outfits, but she also loved the smile her skirts brought to people’s faces. She wanted to continue the cycle of joy, and that’s when she turned the Tulle Project into a store and a movement.
Our last interviewee is Rev. Lola Wright, an author at the Bodhi Spiritual Center, which is a center for transformation and liberation. They are a nonreligious center that provides people with Sunday services, classes, workshops and special events. Their mission is to be a place that gives people a sense of community, without traditional religious teachings. Due to a rocky religious upbringing, and her parent’s divorce, she began to question the history of Christianity. She said that she felt like following a religion wasn’t right for her, but she still felt a connection to her spiritual nature. She felt as if there was a creative power in the universe for good that lives and moves in everyone. She knew that if she could align herself with it consciously her life would become easier, and she would stop living a life that society told her equated to success. As she officially began the search for a home for her spirit and career, she found Bodhi and has been with the church for over 12 years.
Stay tuned and hear more of each of their beautiful stories and inspirational wisdom!
In this episode you will…
- Know how to walk away from a job that you love to venture out on your own
- Figure out how to make hard life choices
- Learn to inspire confidence and spread joy to others with your brand
- Be okay with venturing into the unknown, and take everything as a learning experience
- Start to live the life you want to live and not the one you’re told to live
- Stop trying to meet the expectations of others, and live according to you
“I have to remember, in part of making choices, it’s actually just leading me to something that will help me get to know myself better…if I’m not making choices I’m not learning about myself.”-Cat Aldana
“[Trust] that there is something in you to be listened to. For a lot of people that is a revolutionary concept to trust that you do have an intuitive knowing…and the more you listen to it, the easier it is for you to hear.” -Lola Wright
“People can be so conditioned to have a derogatory self-image…if you think about traditional religious paradigms; if you think about the notion that you’re an original sinner, that is so problematic. It affirms that you have something inherently wrong with you, and I have the unwillingness to subscribe to that. It’s just not the truth…you’re whole, you’re perfect, you’re complete.” -Lola Wright