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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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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Tennis Travel Heaven: Monte Carlo + San Remo

Completing a Grand Slam dream tour in 2018 was beyond my wildest dreams. This was our plan when we started this journey. We would dream about it, make visions boards – and watch them play out in real time.

We decided to design the most epic tennis retreat. We had some help customizing the itinerary around tennis in Monte Carlo and San Remo Italy {during the Monte Carlo Open of course}. Playing and watching epic tennis = the most incredible adventure.

Working alongside Harry Hamilton (we have been designing tennis retreats at Jade with Harry) we incorporated the Monte Carlo Open + playing tennis in San Remo, Italy. Home to Djokovic, Cilic, and Fognini, who have all played here as teens. This is also home to Bob Brett tennis academy. Pinch me – a dream come true.

Fun with Harry Hamilton and Laila Lazdina at a local vineyard in Provence.

The last Italian to win the Monte Carlo Open was Nicola Pietrangeli in 1968. The 85-year-old Pietrangeli, a two-time French Open winner, watched court side as history was ,made. I am dreaming of next year’s return.

 

 

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