Stand With Presence

This past weekend I took a walk along the Brandywine River to see the fall foliage. I was inspired by the new garden sculpture installation at Somerville Manning Gallery – especially Stand With Presence by Vicki Vinton.

The reaction to the sculpture was immediate and powerful.  Vinton’s inspiration for Stand With Presence was simple: a friend of hers was experiencing writer’s block and, in her true artist form, Vicki drew a red figure and sent it to her friend with a note – dig deep.

Stand With Presence by Vicki Vinton - Social Stylate

“Current events are just old events dressed up in today’s fashion. The process of creating whether it be painting or sculpting must hold in it some sort of history. Simply the passing of time or a nod to events that have gone before.” says Vinton.

This is a pivotal time for women.  Women of all ages are rising up, speaking out, and making themselves heard as never before. Stand With Presence is a symbol of courage, and beauty –a reminder to keep your beliefs in yourself strong. A reminder that we have the answers if we take time to be present.

Over the past few years, we have seen the power of storytelling play out in one of the largest stages for women. Storytelling is rooted in our culture and has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to share who you are with the world while also providing the power to find our inner strength.

Stand With Presence invites women of all ages to share their stories and bring their strongest selves to their biggest challenges. Raising two boys on my own for the past ten years and starting a business has been my greatest gift, and has given me strength and courage. Your story can transform your life, change the lives of others, your story can change the world.

SStand With Presence by Vicki Vinton - Cindy Pettinaro and Carroll Ivy - Social Stylate

Carroll Ivy and her friend, Cindy Pettinaro Wilkinson, pose with the Stand With Presence statue.

Follow along: #StandWithPresence @standwithpresence @smg_gallery

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For over thirty-five years the Somerville Manning Gallery has introduced current art trends into an area already steeped in a rich art tradition, mounting exhibitions that relate to this cultural heritage both past and present. Recognized as experts on N.C. Wyeth and his family, Somerville Manning Gallery has created multiple exhibitions on N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. Also represented are the Wyeth women, daughters of N.C. Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, and Ann Wyeth McCoy.

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Coffee Talk with Ann Ahl founder of NFUSE

What personally motivated you to start the company? 

My sister, Emily and I started nfuse as a way to make a daily chore (putting on deodorant/ applying body lotion) pleasurable, safe and actually good for you.  Most people don’t realize the lack of regulation around the ingredients that are in deodorants, creams, and lotions that we put on our skin every day. As daughters of a breast cancer survivor and mothers to teens, we were adamant that every ingredient is absolutely safe and effective. 

Coffee Talk with Ann Ahl founder of NFUSE

What obstacles did you overcome to give you a totally unique perspective on what the market needs? 

Breaking into an industry dominated by huge multi-national corporations is daunting to say the least, so that was a challenge.  I think we’ve had success because of our unique perspective and understanding of the benefits of magnesium and how it’s best absorbed.  We received a patent last winter on our magnesium technology used in nfuse. There are no other deodorants (natural or otherwise) that are formulated to deliver magnesium and nfuse is truly innovative.  My sister and I are fortunate because my husband’s family has been involved in magnesium and the environment for many years so it’s very likely that any conversation around the dining table includes a discussion around magnesium.

What inspires you and fuels your creativity? 

Being in nature inspires me and fuels my creativity.  Nine times out of ten if I take a long walk or run, I find that I can work out a nagging problem or come up with a new approach.  Also, Emily, my sister and nfuse co-founder, inspires and drives me. She’s whip smart, determined and the ultimate innovator. We love working together and are passionate about changing the way people approach their daily routines.

That said, Emily and I, sisters and founders of nfuse, have never had an interest in being just another natural deodorant or body lotion company.  We have been single-minded in our efforts to upend daily routines by replacing iffy ingredients with nourishing magnesium and delivering this essential nutrient through the skin. The idea that your daily routine can not only be “not bad for you” but actually healing and healthy is what gets us out of bed (with the help of nfuse) every morning and we will continue to innovate to deliver on this promise.

The book you own that is the most dog eared.

That’s tough. There are a few but probably Mission In a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business.  A friend gave it to me right before we launched nfuse, it’s the story of the start-up years of Honest Tea.  Also, I just finished Educated by Tara Westover which I loved. I’m a big fan of podcasts too since I drive a lot – listening to How I Built This with Guy Raz.

What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs? 

It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Your business will take over your life and balance is very tough to find. However, if you are willing to show up and put the work in it’s the most gratifying endeavor you’ll ever have.

Words to live by. 

Keep going.

You can do it.

Pick the right partners. 

Look for nfuse at Janssens, houppette, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters and more. Recently featured on Martha Stewart, Town & Country, and The View. I am in love with the lotion — a must!

Coffee Talk with Ann Ahl founder of NFUSE

 

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Boss Lady: Jonna Piira and Lauren Fiske

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to CEO and Founder Jonna Piira and Director of Brand Partnerships Lauren Fiske of Kali, an organic feminine care subscription service that focuses on women’s overall health and wellness. “We are spreading awareness of the benefits of using organic feminine hygiene products and building a wellness community… [with] a forum to find information and learn about what’s going on in the world of wellness.”

1. Tell us a bit about yourselves and your careers.

Jonna: As Founder and CEO of Kali, an organic tampon and pad subscription service, I spearhead the company’s business development and strategic planning activities. My background started in finance in the medical diagnostics sector after getting my MBA and continued on into the tool and frozen foods industries. I have a passion for educating individuals about what they put into their bodies and helping people rethink their periods.

Lauren: My background is actually in Fashion Merchandising. I got my degree from Florida State and began working for Ralph Lauren after college. I ended up living in NYC and overseeing visual displays for the country until I left about three years ago after my son was born. This has been a whole new world for me but I have always had a love for beauty/wellness products and strongly believe in organic period care.

2. Jonna, what prompted you to start Kali and provide organic feminine care options to women?

I was going through my own wellness journey and realized that I had no idea what was in my period care. I started to do a lot of research and was shocked by what I found. I started to wonder how many other people out there didn’t know what was in their tampons and pads. Kali was born.

3. Lauren, as Director of Brand Partnerships what does your day usually look like?

A typical day for me includes a lot of time on Instagram lol. In addition to my marketing responsibilities I also manage social media. I will post content on our feed and stories throughout the day. I also find potential brand partnerships through Instagram so I will seek them out or find people based on our comments or likes. I spend a good amount of time corresponding with brands via e-mail or phone calls to organize giveaways, inbox partnerships, or events.

4. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?

We are inspired by educating people about what is in their period care and making better choices. We also love helping people add self-care into their daily lives. Bringing wellness full cycle and adding wellness into every aspect of your daily life is so important. There are so many amazing natural products that we want to share with our community.

5. Describe a challenge you faced in the workplace and how you overcame it.

We started out as very close friends and have been friends for years. Kali was growing and needed to expand. Lauren was a perfect fit to join the team. We transitioned to working together, which can have it’s potential challenges. However, with strong communication skills and building healthy boundaries, we have been able to do both without negatively impacting our long, close relationship.

6. What’s your most successful form of marketing?

Organic brand partnerships. We are able to reach a new audience in an authentic way with like-minded brands and communities.

7. Lauren, how do you find new brands to partner with and what do you look for? It’s such a great idea to put pampering products in the Lux boxes!

I totally agree! This is honestly one of the best parts of my job. I’m definitely a beauty junkie so it is really fun to discover and test out different brands. I use Instagram to find brands that share the same ethos as us. They need to be natural, organic and wellness-oriented. We love supporting female-founded businesses as well! I personally test every item… If we wouldn’t use or recommend it, we won’t suggest it to our community. There’s so much out there so we want to help people discover new brands and get trusted recommendations.

8. Jonna, what advice do you have for those looking to become an entrepreneur?

Don’t wait for the perfect moment to move forward on your idea. You just have to go for it. There are so many ways to start your research and build your idea while you are still working for someone else. Also, sometimes the most important thing to remember during the tough times…is to not give up.

9. What do you see for Kali’s future? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

We see Kali continuing to grow and expand to different product categories. We can’t share too much just yet, but we will share soon. Stay tuned.

10. Why is it important to give back to organizations such as I Support the Girls and Girl Up?

It’s important to give back to people in need. Some of the basic things we take for granted may not be available to everyone.

11. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?

Sara Blakely. She is very inspiring because she built a company from nothing to solve a problem in a very innovative way. She is always pushing herself out of her comfort zone and is continually investing in female-founded companies.

Just for fun!
Favorite breakfast food: Jonna:
I start my day with homemade celery juice, eggs, and coffee; Lauren: I know I should, but I don’t eat breakfast. Does coffee count?
Last song you listened to: Jonna: It Must Have Been Love (Roxette); Lauren: Truth Hurts (Lizzo)
Current show you’re watching: Jonna: The Affair; Lauren: Gossip Girl
Next travel destination: Jonna: Finland, my home country, with my family; Lauren: Miami
The perfect Saturday includes: Jonna: an almond milk latte, a book, the gym or yoga, and brunch with friends; Lauren: Nothing (no child, no husband, no chores)

For more information on Kali: Instagram | Facebook

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Inspired by Design

I was date raped in high school. As I read the news of Jeffery Epstein (and thousands of other stories) unfold, I find myself thinking why have I never had the strength to talk about my experiences. I realized I there have been countless times for decades that I have been a victim. I found myself wondering why I have never had the courage to speak up.

I no longer feel powerless. As a single mother raising two boys, teaching them respect and accountability for their actions has been my top priority. The feminist writer Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object, has some valuable advice: “It’s important to normalize a healthy reaction to the rejection of affection.

Thank you Leigh Ann Barnes for inspiring me to find my voice. Leigh Ann who was a victim of date rape in college found her passion designing handbags.

Let’s rewind….
Leigh Ann Barnes was sparked by a challenge from her family: create a transparent stadium-approved bag that is stylish, functional and fun. What came to be: a dynamic accessory collection providing jobs for women in-need.

Hit play….
Emboldened by the challenge, Leigh Ann harnessed her ingenuity and created a chic convertible handbag. During the creative process she realized a sense of purpose was needed that went beyond the Gamechanger Bag.

The Aha Moment: connect ideas with action, need with purpose and, ultimately unite women of all ages. The smaller leather goods could be made by survivors of abuse. Creativity, kindness and compassion through hands-on manufacturing.

Fast forward…..
Leigh Ann Barnes is defined by transparency, creating joy and making change happen. Her long-term goal is to introduce other brands to the Cottage Manufacturing Model in Los Angeles and Georgia.

The end [but really, it’s just the beginning]…..

Leigh Ann Barnes business model is more than a handbag or an accessory; it’s about recognizing and embracing that we are all equally important and deserve the same opportunities. Though Leigh Ann Barnes is only one step in the journey to these women restarting their lives, it connects ideas with action, need with purpose and ultimately unites women of all ages.

From this game changing foundation, Leigh Ann Barnes partners exclusively with accredited factories when manufacturing overseas to ensure women working abroad have a safe work environment.

In the U.S. company aspirations include growing the Survivors Cottage Manufacturing Program in Los Angeles and Athens, Georgia. The goal is to incorporate brands and manufacturers into the Program as a resource for reclaiming and repurposing their own excess materials. A duality of doing good as they support work for women in need of reclaiming and repurposing their lives.

image: @photo_flo

You can buy her bags at Neiman Marcus, via her website or her pop up shops {where you can find Leigh Ann telling her story and inspiring other young women}.  Cast your vote for Leigh Ann via the Accessories Council Design Excellence Award.

Game on.

  • Bonus for all readers. Save 25% off your purchase through September 30th, 2019. Use code #sostylate at check out.

 

 

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