Boss Lady: Gabrielle Mandel

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Gabrielle Mandel. Gabrielle is the owner and creator of Supra Endura, an arts and accessories collection designed to incorporate color, modern prints, and joy into everyday life.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I grew up in a suburb outside of Philadelphia. Growing up I was always really curious and creative. I studied fashion design at Syracuse University and for the last 12 years, I have been working as a designer in the fashion and home industry. I started Supra Endura about six years ago, it is an art and accessories brand for a creative life.

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Running my own brand and doing freelance work on other brands keeps me energized and thinking about new things. I always like to try new ideas with my art and see what different directions I can push it in.

3. Your scarves are gorgeous and the tutorial for how to style them is super helpful! How did you land on creating scarves and encouraging wearable art in general?
I have a background in fashion design and when I first launched my brand I designed seasonal women’s wear collections. That was really hard to pull off as a solo entrepreneur so I made the transition to accessories and homeware, this was a bit easier and I did not have to reinvent the silhouettes each season.

4. We think it’s awesome that you donate a portion of your proceeds for every product sold. Why is giving back important to you?
I wanted to give back. As I worked more in the industry I began to better understand the negative effects of the fashion industry: material waste, pollution, rampant consumerism, unrealistic beauty expectations. I feel that giving $1 back for the items I sell to a cause that I believe in is a small way to counteract some of these negative actions.

5. What draws you in about Cool Effect and how did you choose them as your selected nonprofit to partner with?
Since I make some of my products overseas and with the pandemic, I was shipping a lot of my items so I wanted to work with a non-profit that helped to fight carbon emissions and worked on projects to end global warming. Also this year I did end up donating a lot to Philabundance as well, to help families in need during this tough time.

6. What sparked the idea to start a creative podcast?
I love podcasts; I love listening to long-form dialogues with people I admire. I felt there were so many inspiring people around me and I wanted to share the conversations I was having with them with a larger audience.

7. Share one piece of advice for a budding creative!
Just keep going. Give yourself time and space to explore your idea. Don’t be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone. We are all afraid of failure but don’t let that fear keep you from something that could change your life.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
I know so many awesome boss ladies who are killing it, but one I have deep admiration for is Antoinette Marie Johnson. I had never met her and e-mailed her on a lark to see if she would be on my podcast, I interviewed her and it was amazing, she blew me away with all she has accomplished. Since then it has been so great to watch her grow her marketing agency Cohere and her other amazing businesses. You can click here to listen to the podcast.

Just for fun…
My favorite color at the moment is: I like so many colors but I end up using Ochre a lot
Tea or Coffee? Tea! I can’t drink coffee it makes me very jittery
My favorite creative medium: lol, Photoshop?
Song I’m currently loving: a few: Walter Murphy – A fifth of Beethoven, Dirty projector – Overlord, Nilufer Yanya – In your head—- so good!
To me, self-care means: Self-care is listening to yourself and your body and understanding when you need to take a break and nurture yourself. I don’t think you have to spend money on products to make you feel like you are taking care of yourself. For me, self-care is a walk, taking a bath or a shower, eating healthy, and trying to get enough sleep.

More on Gabrielle
Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Boss Lady: Ashley Breeding

Ashely Breeding brick wall white button down top
Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Ashley Breeding. Ashley is the Executive Editor at Delaware Today Magazine, an award-winning lifestyle magazine for the Delaware community.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I started out in my 20s as a community staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and learned quickly that I was more interested in writing about arts and culture than hard news. I became an entertainment reporter—covering music, film festivals, art exhibitions, that sort of thing—and realized I would have more creative flexibility working for a magazine, where I could also have a hand in photography and layout. I’ve now been with four different publishing companies, where I’ve worked on over 30 different titles that include custom magazines and books. I came to Delaware Today about a year and a half ago as the senior editor and became executive editor in May.

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Ultimately, I’m always striving to become a better writer, to find a voice. I’ll reread something I wrote five years ago—or even several months ago—and cringe. It’s a constant work in progress. Sunny spaces, good coffee and the company of creative people also keep me motivated and engaged.

3. What topics are you most passionate about covering at the moment?
It depends on the day. Variety—experiencing new places, people, ideas—has always been the draw of this job. I don’t do well with routine or monotony. For this reason, I love travel writing, but it’s not something I’m doing as much now that I’m a mom and more settled. Having lived in an area of Southern California that was vulnerable to crises like drought and fires, climate change was and remains an important focus. In general, it’s my belief that as a publication that serves to influence people’s decision-making day to day, we have a responsibility to encourage more sustainable living. In a luxury lifestyle market, that means showing that you can enjoy the finer things in life while still supporting the environment and fair business practices. And where the two conflict, what’s more important?

4. Share a bit about your writing process. For example, do you have specific music or rituals you need in order to focus?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Dolly Parton, but that’s because I have a 4-year-old at home whose favorite song at the moment is “Jolene.” The days she’s at school, it’s mostly Dylan or The Lumineers. And nothing happens until after I’ve had an espresso. Sometimes two.

5. How have you adapted to the evolving COVID-19 regulations?
Our staff has been working remotely since March. I know this time has been incredibly difficult for a lot of people, especially parents, but I find I am more productive when I can make my own hours. Taking breaks during the day—whether it’s coffee with a friend or a hike with my daughter or just 15 minutes of sunshine—is essential to keeping my energy high. I don’t think we’re meant to sit inside four walls all day. That does not inspire creativity.

6. Share one piece of advice you have for an aspiring writer or editor.
Find a profession and pursue freelance writing until you’re firmly established in your career. That said, unbiased, hard-hitting journalism is more important than ever, especially at the community level, so I admire anyone who dedicates themselves to the cause.

7. What are your career goals for the future?
It’s difficult to predict where any of us will be, because the news and magazine businesses are changing every day. My goal is to stay ahead of the curve. Despite ups and downs, it’s an exciting time to be in this industry.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
Any boss lady who juggles a demanding job, family and the proverbial pressures of just being a woman, and does it with humility and respect for others, is a hero in my book.

Just for fun…
If I wasn’t a writer/editor, I’d be
: A photographer.
East Coast or West Coast: That’s a tough one. They’re each magnificent in their own way.
Last book I read was: Am simultaneously reading Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road” and Maggie Downs’ “Braver Than You Think.”
Favorite self-care technique: Massage, reiki, time in nature every day.
When I’m not working, I’m: Soaking up the joys of motherhood.

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Boss Lady: Asata Maise

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Asata Maisé. Asata is a fashion designer and founder of Asata Maisé, a sustainable clothing brand with a modern approach to vintage-inspired staples.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career!
My name is Asata Maisé. I’m from Wilmington, Delaware. I am a fashion designer whose focus is sustainability. Over the last 8 years, I’ve lived and worked in LA, London, and NYC with other designers and brands. I now have my own line of handmade items available at asatamaise.com.

2. What is it about vintage designs that draws you in?
The first thing would be the quality. Vintage clothes were typically constructed better and withstand the test of time. Fabrics and trims also draw me in!

3. We love that phrase “circular consumption,” why is sustainability in fashion (and in general) important to you?
The fashion industry is responsible for so much water waste and pollution (from dyeing and micro plastics), more carbon emission than international flights, and landfill waste (fast-fashion). All of these factors and many more contribute to climate change. I personally do what I can on a daily basis to consume mindfully and bring awareness to how our relationship with fashion affects us in the long run.

4. Congrats on your Vogue interview! How has business changed for you since it came out?
Thank you! The Vogue features have exposed my work to a larger audience which has helped my business tremendously. I used to work part-time jobs to support my business. I’m a full time designer now! In the last 4 months, I’ve had more sales and press than I’ve had throughout my career.

5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Pretty much everything I come across! Films, books, colors, nature. Right now, I’ve been inspired by my personal growth and evolution. I intend to be as authentic as I can through my work by knowing myself better.

6. Any specific color or pattern you’re loving to work with right now?
Yes! With the seasons changing, I’ve been leaning towards greens, browns, and deep reds.

7. Share one piece of advice for someone who wants to break into the fashion industry.
Take advantage of free resources such as social media, tutorials on YouTube, and interviews of those who inspire you. Network and reach out to your local community or build one. Finding a mentor was something that also helped me understand the industry better.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
Rihanna. She’s become such a successful entrepreneur. I admire her hard work and dedication to bringing her vision to life and her focus on inclusivity.

Just for fun!
All time favorite fashion designer: (hard one) but I’d have to say Alexander McQueen for his ability to translate emotions through clothing!
Movie with the best costumes/fashion: What A Way To Go (featuring Shirley MacLaine)
Favorite local business: Hayes Sewing Machine Company on 202
How I prefer my coffee: I prefer green tea 🙂
To me self-care means: listening to my own needs & naps!

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Boss Lady: Kendra Edwards

Kendra Edwards looks over her sunglasses in this black and white photo

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Kendra Edwards. Kendra is the eCommerce Director of J/Slides Footwear, an original footwear company inspired by the streets of New York City and its local surf spots.

1. How did you discover J/Slides Footwear and what prompted you to choose them as your next career venture?
Not too long ago I had started my own consulting company, K.Consults, and was looking to take the leap into working for myself full time. Around the same time, I was invited to meet with the J/Slides team and we instantly clicked! I’m a fan of the product and I knew this was a brand that I could grow with. I also knew that I would be coming in at a critical stage in their Ecommerce growth. I felt like this brand HAD to be a closet staple every NYC girl owned and I wanted to be a part of making that happen!

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I am naturally a very driven person, so when that drive is met with a brand and/or product I truly believe in it sparks a fire in me that is exciting and intoxicating. Doing what I love and seeing a brand grow to its potential before my eyes, is the most gratifying feeling. It’s addicting, to be honest. It’s like this baby you get to mold into the dopest, flyest human being and send them off to take over the world. I can’t really describe the feeling. When you are on the right path of working with a brand you believe in you can’t turn the creativity off. You find yourself inspired by everything and New York is the perfect muse.

3. As Director of Ecommerce, what does your day usually look like?
Every day presents its own set of challenges and accomplishments. From the moment I wake up, I’m checking all our media channels to see if we’ve gotten press hits. Then to my email and the website to make sure there aren’t any major tech issues before I’m en route to work. As soon as I walk into the office I need to be on my game! There are times when I arrive and I have to spearhead an impromptu photoshoot because a new shoe went viral and we need to continue to promote and create content to drive sales. However it doesn’t end with the visuals, with all of our content production comes the need to edit our marketing calendar, update email templates, social media sites and homepages all before I’ve had a sip of coffee! But this is what keeps you on your toes in this industry.

4. What is J/Slides’ most successful form of marketing?
Organic and word of mouth marketing have been overwhelmingly successful for us. We have a loyal following that loves to share and post their love for J/Slides! Most of our online followers will hashtag us and then we gain new fans through them. From homemakers to teachers to travelers to influencers – they all have their own style and show how truly versatile the brand can be. It’s a beautiful thing and it really shows the essence of the J/Slides brand.

5. How do you stay ahead of the latest marketing trends and strategies?
It takes a village. J/Slides owners Jay Litvack and Dimitri Mavridakis are incredibly creative with years of experience powering some of the world’s biggest footwear brands. Their wealth of experience and foresight keeps us current and on-trend. I also have an amazing tribe of stylish international friends in a wide range of industries that keep me on my toes when it comes to what’s trending. Networking is also key, a casual conversation over coffee can get your brand included in a top publication or TV segment. With all of this in mind, I would argue that the most important part of our company’s strategy is consumer insight. Listening to our customers, responding and making the necessary changes to attain and retain customers.

6. Share one piece of advice you have for someone getting into the Ecommerce industry.
It’s a rollercoaster ride! The highs are high and the lows are the best teachable moments you will have in your career. The best thing about Ecommerce is the ability to carve your own lane, put your creative stamp on your brand or the brand you work for and see the fruits of your efforts in real-time. The best part about my job is I get to single-handedly shape the way our consumers shop and interact with the brand.

7. Who is a boss lady who inspires you and why?
I don’t have just one, I have many. I am inspired on a daily basis by my Girl Gang made up of badass women that are killing it in their respective careers. It’s inspiring to be around other creative women who push me to explore my creativity and boldness in the digital space. They uplift me in moments of self-doubt, hold me accountable to my goals and aspirations, and are always on standby with a dirty martini to celebrate my accomplishments 🙂

Just for fun!
How I take my coffee: Medium Roast with two sugars with a splash of almond milk
My favorite book is: Becoming by Michelle Obama
The tv character I’m closest to is: Maxine from Living Single
A song that I can’t help but dance to is: Anything by CiCi Peniston or circa 1990’s.
The last new thing I tried was: Kundalini Yoga

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