Boss Lady: Ridha Sekhri

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we talk to Ridha Sekhri, creator and co-founder of Twelve and Twenty Eight, a thoughtful and personalized graphic design company that treats your business with the same care and passion as if it were their own. Strong dedication to her values, a meaningful connection to people, and an unending search for creative inspiration are what sets Ridha apart when creating brand designs with Twelve and Twenty Eight’s clients-turned-friends.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.

Hello! My name is Ridha and I am a self-taught graphic designer thriving in the windy city Chicago. Having a degree in Computer Science never satisfied me as I could never visualize myself hiding behind lines of code but rather behind captivating visual designs and bespoke brands. After a short stint in the corporate world, here I am 5 years into this field of graphic design, making the world a more creative place in my own little ways.

2. What about graphic design attracted you to it?

The fact that I get to express myself through visuals. Build art around a concept. The idea of establishing a connection with the audience through thoughtful and creative problem solving was and still is so enticing!

3. Before Twelve and Twenty Eight, you did freelance graphic design. Describe your experience as a freelance graphic designer.

Freelancing was a good way to start this journey. My priority back then was to take up a variety of graphic design work, different gigs with different clients – small startups, big corporations, independent business owners and the likes so as to build a portfolio, a platform to showcase my skills and hone them. Along the way, doing random work I have found my niche which is branding for unique small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. This journey has been an asset, rooting me to my mission which is to work not just for but together with my clients to build their brands with love.

4. What inspires and fuels your creativity?

Talking to fellow creatives, reaching out to them and asking them questions. Being curious, having an urge to learn from the best, and expanding my horizons fuels me. Other than that, looking at the amazing work being done by these much-accomplished designers is a real morale booster.

5. You volunteer with Start Small Think Big, how did you find this organization and what do you like about it?

My experience was amazing! Through Start Small Think Big, I got an opportunity to help individuals who have business ideas but do not have the means to make it happen. I used my design skills to help out 3 unique business owners with branding and identity designs and bringing their visions to life. This organization is doing a great job in creating a setup for qualifying individuals to get financial, legal, marketing, and advertising assistance.

6. How important is design and branding to a new business?

Extremely important! There is a lack of awareness about how important it is to have proper branding for a new business. Branding is not just a good looking logo, it is much beyond that. It is a language that visually sets a tone for your business, the work you do, connect with the audience you want to target, and more importantly how you want your business to come across. Careful initial evaluation of the above is what I make sure that I do so that all the eventual designs for the brand are cohesive and speak for the brand in unison.

7. Who is a boss lady who inspires you and why?

My close friend and coincidentally my client Smita Kishore, co-founder of Simply Smita – handmade, organic and socially conscious skincare products. She is such an inspiration in my life! Her business is so rooted in positive intent through consciously sourced, organic ingredients and a commitment to the environment, sustainability, fair-trade, and service. A rare find!

Just for fun:

What is your favorite activity to do when you want to relax and destress?  Creating cool typography designs, reading a gripping fiction novel or catching up on my favorite shows.
Favorite dish:  Something that has spinach and cheese! Chocolate dessert without a doubt!
Last song you listened to:  Dancing With a Stranger by Sam Smith and Normani
Best memory from Panjab University:  The time when I first met my best friend who is now an irreplaceable part of my life.
If you could learn any skill, what would it be?  I would love to learn to care less about what the world thinks and be immune. Wishful thinking!

To see more of Ridha’s awesome work, follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

 

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15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

It’s all about getting that Instagrammable shot (we get it, we’re a social media company!) but where do you go to get it? Here are 15 Instagrammable spots in Wilmington and Philadelphia guaranteed to get major love and add flair to your feed.

Brew Haha! in Wilmington, Delaware - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

1. Brew HaHa!: Wilmington
Attention all foodies and coffee lovers! With numerous locations in Northern Delaware, Brew HaHa! offers a calming and one-of-a-kind coffee house atmosphere. With a wide selection of eats and drinks, you are bound to find a gram-worthy food post. An added bonus is any coffee drink includes beans source from Brandywine Coffee Roasters. Botanical wallpapers, framed art walls, bookcases, and outdoor garden scapes are some of the many backdrops to choose for a photo.
Photo by: @rievictoriaaoki

Philly Art Museum - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

2. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a world-renowned collection of pieces. They have a collection of historically rich works that are sure to inspire creativity. Not to mention the countless photo opportunities like the Rocky steps. the Rocky statue and countless other spots around this museum.
Photo by: @shelbysparkling

Nemours Estate - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

3. Nemours Estate: Wilmington
Nemours Estate is a 300-acre county estate with formal gardens and a classical French built mansion. They also house a collection of vintage automobiles which are used on the estate.
Photo by: @bittersweetcolours

Philly observation deck - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

4. One Liberty Observation Deck: Philadelphia
Get the bird’s-eye view of the city of brotherly love with this next spot. This observation deck gives a 360 view of the city from the 57th floor of the One Liberty place building.
Photo by: @lea_grcic

wilmington riverfront - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

5. Riverfront Wilmington: Wilmington
This spot is home to many recreational, cultural, retail and culinary attractions. The Wilmington Riverfront has plenty to offer the eye with its small-scale skyline.
Photo by: @amyeatworld

Electric Light Mural - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

6. Electric Light Mural: Philadelphia
Best enjoyed at night, the Electric Light mural is a public art installation in South Philly. What makes this spot unique is how the mural is contoured with LED lights. If you are not able to visit this location at night, it is just as beautiful during the day.
Photo by: @guenstorm

Shofuso Japanese House + Garden 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphiaa

7. Shofuso Japanese House and Garden: Philadelphia
Built in 1953 using traditional techniques, Shofuso is a 17th century-style Japanese house and garden. This historic spot features beautiful waterfalls, gardens, tea garden, tea house and much more.
Photo by: @kachanova_a

De La Couer - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

8. De La Coeur Cafe: Wilmington
This popular breakfast and brunch spot offers fresh pâtisseries and delicious food options. With a lavishly decorated interior and exterior, you will have no problem taking your next Instagram photo.
Photo by: @lagolt

Brandywine Park - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphiaa

9. Brandywine Park: Wilmington
Home to the Josephine Fountain, Brandywine Park is the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the Brandywine River. This park includes features such as formal gardens, monuments, bridges, grills, hiking trails, public restrooms, playground, picnic area, and pavilions.
Photo by: @kanchisumansharma

Magic Gardens - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

10. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a non-profit, folk art environment and gallery space on South Street in Philly. The Magic Gardens, created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, spans three city lots and includes indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth. Each spot in this encapsulating landscape is different and will give you the most unique backdrops to choose from.
Photo by: @monicalynndesign

The Bakeshop on 20th 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

11. The Bakeshop on 20th: Philadelphia
A small batch bakery offering tastes from your childhood using family recipes. Not to mention options such as coffee, sandwiches, and soups. Take a picture enjoying your tasty treat.
Photo by: @paristempslibre

Cafe Lutecia - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

12. Cafe Lutecia: Philadelphia
This French cafe offers a full menu of delicious beverages and food. In the warmer months snag a seat outdoors for the perfect natural lighting.
Photo by: @lhimsical

Friday Saturday Sunday - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

13. Friday Saturday Sunday: Philadelphia
Eat, drink & visit! Located on 261 South 21st Street in Philadelphia has a bar on the ground floor and New American dining upstairs.
Photo by: @tednghiem

- 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

14. The Queen: Wilmington
Not only does The Queen offer top-notch performances from various artists and performers; but its facade offers a unique spot for a picture. Make sure to look ahead for tickets to a performance if you have time.
Photo by: @firststateballet

Bellevue State Park - 15 Instagrammable Spots in Wilmington & Philadelphia

15. Bellevue State Park: Wilmington
Not only does this state park have a catch-and-release fishing pond it is also equipped with a 1-1/8th-mile fitness track, equestrian facility, and hiking trails. There are plenty of places to catch a quick selfie or photo!
Photo by: @alyssa.kelley

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Boss Lady: Olivia Falcione

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Olivia Falcione, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia, where the newest inspirations and top vendors debut in the season’s most gorgeous weddings. Olivia brings her vast advertising and sales experience, unwavering persistence, and love for all things Philadelphia to the luxury wedding industry.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career

First, hello! And thanks for inviting me to be on the Social Stylate blog! To take you back a bit, I am born and raised in the Philadelphia area and I went to college at Penn State University. While I studied public relations in college, the majority of my career has been in advertising sales and publishing. After graduating at PSU, I got my first start in magazine ad sales as an Account Executive at Global Traveler magazine, based in Yardley.  This is where I really learned the ins and outs of sales and I immediately knew it was for me. I then started at Modern Luxury, but in their New York City offices, where I worked solely on the NY market publications, including Manhattan magazine and Beach magazine (in the Hamptons). While I loved living and working in New York City, I was happy to come home to Philadelphia, where I ended up at Philadelphia Style magazine. I left Philly Style briefly for an opportunity at Sparks Marketing Group, where I worked in event partnerships and sales. However, it didn’t take me long to come back to the publishing world. I was thrilled to re-join the Philadelphia Style team in September of last year and to take on the Publisher position of our newly launched bridal publication Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia.

Outside of work at the magazine, I stay busy ( and constantly entertained) with my very active 3-year old son Gabriel. I appreciate spending time with Gabe, along with my family and friends. Other things I love? Strong coffee, red wine, exercising, traveling, trying new restaurants in the city and, of course, weddings!  

2. Describe your current position at Modern Luxury and how you got to where you are today.

In my current role at Modern Luxury, I am the Publisher of our bridal publication Modern Luxury Weddings Philadelphia. Focused on the sales side of the magazine, I work alongside our team to ensure that we are building partnerships with the top luxury brands in the wedding industry here in Philadelphia. We create advertising programs for brands that include print, digital, social media, and event exposure. I feel grateful to work in the bridal category, as Philadelphia is made up of some of the most talented and passionate professionals in the entire wedding industry. In addition to weddings, I also am involved in the advertising and sales for our sister lifestyle publication Philadelphia Style magazine. I have been working in publishing & advertising sales for almost 10 years now, with a strong focus in the luxury market. I have learned to understand the needs and expectations of clients and the audience in the luxury publishing space. I believe my experience & knowledge in this industry has brought me to where I am today. Also, learning that persistence is key and that if you don’t ask for it, the answer will always be no.

3. How has media convergence impacted the creation of advertising campaigns for Modern Luxury?

I think when industries and trends change, you have no choice but to change with them! With the shift towards digital and social media, we of course, had to adapt to ensure that we could offer our partners integrative programs that allow for them to connect to our audience across all platforms.  While our print publications continue to be a big focus for us, we can accommodate the needs of our clients with our exceptional digital capabilities and strong social media networks. But might I say that I still personally believe that there is nothing better than the touch and feel of a magazine versus a swipe on a screen!

4. Were you able to experience luxury travel during your time with Global Traveler Magazine? If so, describe your adventure.

Yes, I was! I was able to travel quite a bit and stay in multiple luxury hotel properties in the US and abroad. I would say my trips to the United Arab Emirates are most memorable. It was my first experience flying international business class, which I’d fly everyday if I could!  I was very impressed by Dubai and would love to return for leisure.

5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?

As a mom and role model to Gabriel, he is really my inspiration and motivation. I am inspired by him daily to set a good example and to show that as long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to!

In terms of my creativity, I am fueled by fashion, music, traveling, and art – particularly photography. I am also inspired by our own magazines, by learning what’s new and exciting with the people and brands of our own city. Lastly, I am a sucker for Pinterest. I could make vision boards all day!

6. Why did you decide to take the position of Director of Strategic Partnerships at Sparks for Big City Moms? What was your most memorable moment from that experience?

As I had been in publishing for the majority of my career, I was excited to take on a new challenge in the events and sponsorship space. Also, as a mom myself, I could really relate to the audience of Big City Moms and understand their needs and expectations. My most memorable experience would be seeing the final product of our work with our Biggest Baby Shower Ever events, which are held in multiple cities across the country. The events had such a great energy and were really enjoyable to be a part of.

7. Who is a boss lady who inspires you and why?

While she may not be your typical ‘boss lady,’ I really admire Jennifer Lopez. She is extremely successful and always seems to be taking on new challenges in her career. I think in any industry, in order to grow, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. She seems to have that down! She also stands out to me as someone who stays current with the changing times, but still true to herself. I think being able to adapt to change, while still owning ‘your brand’ plays a big part in the longevity of your career and/or business.  She also still manages to balance life as a mom, stay in amazing shape and somehow, never ages! #teamjlo

Just For Fun

Favorite kind of coffee beans: While I love coffee, I can’t say that I know too much about beans!  I can say that I love a strong, dark roast with just splash of milk, one in the morning and then a pick-me-up cup around 3pm.

A perfect night at home includes: a funny movie, a glass of wine, cheese, sweatpants, and Gabriel

If I could learn a new skill, it would be: Calligraphy! I have been really wanting to take a calligraphy class recently

Best movie involving a wedding: I’d say it’s a tie between My Best Friend’s Wedding and Wedding Crashers

My favorite place to vacation is: Italy and Spain are two of my favorites.

   

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Kindred Skincare Facial

Before we started working with Kindred Skincare, I was already a huge fan. Our client Houppette, a cosmetics and accessory boutique, introduced me to the line several years ago and after one use of the brand’s Body Oil, I was hooked.

When Houppette said they were offering a Kindred Skincare organic facial in their newly launched spa, I was one of the first to sign up!

Kindred Skincare Organic Facial at Houppette in Greenville, Delaware - Social Stylate

I was immediately relaxed as I stepped into Houppette’s newly launched spa room. I laid on the warm, plush table and enjoyed the subtle scent of lavender and lemon while calming instrumental music played in the background and the facialist, Vivian, prepared to begin the Kindred Skincare routine.

Step 1: Cleansing
Vivian massaged a generous amount of Kindred’s Blemish Cleanse onto my skin for several minutes before slowly removing it (and all the day’s stress) with a hot towel. *insert relaxed sigh here*

Step 2: Exfoliating
She then applied Polish Cleanse and massaged it onto my forehead, chin, nose, and cheeks for a full five minutes. A gauze mask was placed over the exfoliating cleanse and, using a soft bristle brush, the pre-warmed Clay Mask was applied. Then, Vivian (who’s now my new favorite person) used a Gua Sha Tool to press the clay into the gauze to stimulate the lymphatic system.

Layering the products like this allows the willow bark oil and other botanicals in the scrub continue to work in combination with all the lovely fruit acids, plants, and clays in the mask. The cotton gauze allows the mask and fig seeds to be more efficiently removed, and it holds the clay in when you use the Gua Sha Tool.

While the mask worked its magic, Vivian gave me a soothing hand, arm, and décolletage massage. She started with Oil Cleanse, then exfoliated my skin using Polish Cleanse, and finished up with nourishing Body Oil. You can choose between Kindred’s signature Body Oil or La Femme, which has a light floral tone and a touch of illuminating mineral powder.

Vivian then rolled up the gauze mask and used warm and wet washcloth mitts to gently remove the Clay Mask.

Step 3: Toning
A spritz of Kindred’s subtly fragrant Shinrin Énergié Mist was applied, which is pampering and refreshing on its own but also removes any remaining fig seeds or clay from the skin.

Step 4: Moisturizing
Warm Morning Moisture Oil (you can choose between Morning Moisture, Nightly Nourish, or Intense Moisture) was brushed on my face and décolletage and gently massaged in, making sure to completely condition the skin. This part was so thoroughly relaxing, I didn’t want it to end.

Step 5: An Extra Treat
Vivian made sure to wipe away any excess oil, then blotted Under Eye Treat beneath my eyes to protect against unwanted wrinkles.

Step 6: Pop Of Color
Before my hour of bliss came to an end, Vivian applied Kindred’s Baton Rose onto my cheeks and lips to give my skin a pop of color.

This was a wonderfully pampering and relaxing experience that I would be more than willing to repeat until the end of time. My skin felt rejuvenated and was glowing when I walked out of Houppette. It was the perfect addition to my day, and brightened up my skin during this cold winter weather!

x, Lauren

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