Posts Tagged ‘women entrepreneur’

Unconventional Art

January 18, 2013

Photo by Alicia Khoury

A professor cautioned once not to write about an experience of which we are in the midst. “Step back,” he said. “Gain some time away from it and then revisit the story later.” The advice is not without reason. He claimed everything becomes too muddled to accurately write about when too close. I have often thought about the benefits to that rule. And yet, rules beg to be broken. My business partner and I are preparing our coffeehouse to open this spring; a full year and half of preparing and we are finally on the last song of this act. At the risk of creating something too muddled to enjoy I want to share with you some of the thoughts, emotions and tasks that have lent themselves to us these past several months.

Primarily I remember the first business meeting. Walking into Early Bird Diner, sitting and ordering and not knowing one another too well. I watched Julie’s face in the overly bright light of the diner, studied her mannerisms and decided this was the right decision. We each held our paper and pens, our smiles, ideas, and naïveté. We did not know what to do so we created our mission statement. We became thrilled at the ease of that step, thrilled at the prospect it promised. And it began. We met at every coffeehouse in town to discuss topics from a business book. We discussed past bosses and what characteristics to embody, what to avoid. We chatted about what we learned in our time as managers. We talked about our childhoods, told stories about our best friends. We wrote notes in our books as if notes were the answer. But they proved we were at least talking, at least dreaming and even preparing. The concept began to round itself. Our confidence grew along with it. And then we began the work that lied ahead.

We always worked late into the night after our other “real” jobs. There were always meetings happening, always and then yet again another. We felt the rush of progress, poured over tedious lists and excel sheets. The itch to go home to fall asleep and rest was both an enemy and necessity. “No, just one more cost of goods, one more inventory list, one more email about the machinery, one last idea about our paper products,” we said to one another. And on and on, etc, etc. There was sleeping, eating, working at those day jobs, and then another meeting, another day of emailing, talking back and forth, sharing exciting stories, disappointments, frustrations, and laughter. Then another day: hearing people encourage us, accepting their advice, telling one another this might be the hardest part. And then crossing that part to discover the next step is the hardest part. And then crossing that, too. It became a story about strength, the mental capacity, the work, the ever-enduring work and willpower and belief in the dream we began to talk about that night at the diner. Ending one work day and dragging to the car to leave and begin another right then, calling, meeting, talking, discussing, dozing off at Andolini’s over a pizza and a beer and deciding that was enough for a night. I think of the meetings with Christie, with Brian, with Kevin, with John, with Roger, with Cindi, and then some. We have sat in our cars on East Montague at 6:00 in the morning and counted passing vehicles. We have thrown on fancy dresses and attended more networking events, shared more laughter. We have danced on the green fields in the Charleston River Dog’s baseball stadium.

We have negotiated, we have offended, we have pacified and we have excited people. We have served at markets and events, a whirlwind of music and arts and pouring Cha Yen. There was that freezing morning in November that welcomed us percolating coffee in a church kitchen in Park Circle at 6:30. We served hot apple cider and coffee and beans for the troops. We made friends, we were called flirts, and we had too much leftover product to be profitable.

Eventually we took tangible steps toward opening our building. We signed a lease, began the yard work, painted the house. And it was just the two of us painting that house, sizing ourselves up against the matter three times our own height. “We have tackled bigger tasks,” we said. And we did it, painted the 26 ¼ feet of its height, each cinder block and its crevices on up to the trim work. And the fresh paint soaked into the masonry and I stood and held the ladder to spot Julie as she painted. And the sun beat on our necks and cars drove by and people waved to us from bikes and then a man walking by said to his young child, “That’s The Orange Spot”. And when he said that, for a brief moment I stood back from our adventure and saw something. And all at once my memory showed me the mess, the colors, the experiences across the canvas we began painting in 2011. And in that moment the outcome gained outweighed each sacrifice and lost hour of sleep. In an instant I could see what we can become; a place that might gain respect through hard work, one that welcomes everyone through its doors, a business that a young child’s father will bring him to share together over a pastry and drinks. In that moment I felt like Claude Oscar Monet as he stepped back to examine the beginnings of an impressionist masterpiece. Except I am not he, I am Laura Cannon, part owner of The Orange Spot Coffeehouse. And I want to tell you about this experience in this way because it has been good and exciting. And muddled.

Laura Cannon is a 2009 graduate from The College of Charleston with a degree in English and Creative Writing. When the opportunity to open a coffeehouse presented itself she took advantage of it in hopes of creating a space for all individuals (creative or not) to sip, work, and relax together.

C4W Member Profile: Sandy Irving

January 16, 2013


What is your profession? As owner of  Charleston Wine Tastings I am a wine educator and salesperson. I present wine tastings in homes and offices and am available for speaking engagements and other events to talk about wine. I represent a Napa Valley winery and all of the wines I market are produced there and are limited in quantity and exclusive to my company.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? I love to travel and this year was fortunate to spend time in Italy, Scotland, England and Spain! Of course while I’m there I sample the local wine. Cooking and creating recipes is also a passion of mine, and if I have time, I like to get my hands dirty in the garden.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Just over 2 years.

What inspired you to become a member? I have a very full schedule, but a friend and member, Robin Giangrande reminded me of the benefits of membership. I love the camaraderie, the mentorship and the support that goes along with being a member. I am excited about connecting with all the members, both old friends and new.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I believe that by empowering ALL women in our community, that each individual will grow as a result. We can all benefit from sharing the programs and the fellowship that the center organizes and puts at our fingertips.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?  I don’t think of myself as living  “as a woman” but feel that we all experience both challenges and success as we travel through life. As a life long entrepreneur, I have always focused on the goal, and not considered whether my gender would be either a help or hindrance.  As the mother of both a son and a daughter, I want both of them to work towards a society where we are not judged by gender in any situation. I do think that women have a stronger sense of community and sister hood.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Turn your dreams into goals by writing them down and making a plan, then be consistent and persistent. Don’t give up.

How can people connect with you? 843-864-6490.

C4W Member Profile: Heather Powers

December 5, 2012

What is your profession? Professional Organizer and Designer

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Gardening, dancing, walking on the beach, cooking and pretty much anything creative!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I recently moved to Charleston and joined in November!

What inspired you to become a member? I’ve heard from many wonderful women in Charleston that this is the best networking group for women entrepreneurs here!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I have just joined so I’m sure in time it will lead me to many amazing women and educational opportunities.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I embrace the challenges of being a woman in today’s business environment.  There have been times where I felt I had to work harder, smarter and have more creative solutions than my male counterparts!  I know that these challenges have helped me identify opportunities and allowed me to creatively solve problems as they arise.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?  I believe women are natural leaders, creative thinkers and problem solvers.  We need to remember this when we feel we are competing in a male driven business world.  Women have the skills and qualities that can really impact global economic horizons if we embrace the challenges as opportunities.

How can people connect with you? Which ever way feels most comfortable for you!  Feel free to call or email, connect with me on my website or social media!

p 240 778 2804  m 843-318-2243

email:  website:

Find me on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest: @hkpowerstudio

C4W Business Member Profile: Jacki Mallett, Coastal Coffee Roasters

August 9, 2012

What is your profession?  Owner of Coastal Coffee Roasters by day and nurse by night.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Reading, writing, being by the water and spending time with my family.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Since I moved here in 2010.

What inspired you to become a member? I saw all the wonderful and inspiring programs the Center for Women offered so I tried one and fell in love with all the great things they do for women in the community.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?  The Center for Women has allowed me to meet other like minded women in Charleston when I was so new to the area.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I feel blessed to be a woman because I am apart of a group that is coming in to their own and sharing what they have to offer with the world.  Women today are no longer trying to be “equal” with men, we are being women with the same rights and influence as men.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.  Women support one another in a way that supports both parties.  Think of it as trying to collect water…you can’t do it with clenched fists you can only collect water with open hands.  Help others and you will receive help.

How can people connect with you? Text me 914-799-4921, email me, call me 843-376-4559, tweet me @jackimallett or find me

C4W Business Member Profile: Judith Moore, Charleston Cookie Company

May 31, 2012

What is your profession? CEO, Chief Cookie Monster, Charleston Cookie Company

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Photography, cooking (I prefer Italian for the  emphasis on simplicity and freshness of ingredients and preparation that produces intricate and subtle flavors), sitting quietly on my screen porch listening to the birds in my garden in Spring.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I joined in 1998.

What inspired you to become a member? As a long-time “uppity woman” it seemed to me an ideal place to meet others of the same, or similar attitude.  And I am a strong supporter of organizations that exist to help women define and identify opportunities that provide for self-determination and advancement.  The Center’s mission to help women make a better life for ourselves, regardless of where we come from and what stripe or color we may be is enormously empowering.  It rocks and I like being part of that energy and spirit.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?  For the past 8 ½ years, since I started the Charleston Cookie Company, the networking opportunities and support offered by the Center has helped me grow my business.  The Center provides invaluable assistance to women entrepreneurs.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? As a baby boomer and approaching 65, I have seen many changes in women’s roles and the expectations of society for women, though, I must admit, at the same time, there are situations I have encountered recently that have caused me to stop short and wonder if I’ve somehow time-warped back to the early 60s.

My first job, in 1968, was with a Fortune 500 company.  Women were not allowed to wear pants to work, nor were we allowed to hold jobs that were, at that time, exclusively held by men; jobs that would allow for advancement in the company and provide a decent salary.  When I applied for a sales job, I was told those positions were only open to men: the “bread-winners of the family.” It made no difference that I was a single mother and therefore the bread-winner.  Fortunately, those times have mostly gone by.    Now, a woman can own her own business, creating a full, exciting life for herself with minimal obstruction by gender roles and expectations.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Here’s a quote from an author, Tama Kieves, who writes about creating the life you want:

“Hello, my courageous friend…There’s a ticket in your bones and you know it.  You know who you are meant to be.  Still you insist on doubting yourself, calling it ‘realism,’ to limit yourself to powerlessness.  You’d rather ‘play it safe,’ hedge your bets, trust sweetness only some of the time.  But dear one, Wild Amazing Visionary people are the new safe.  We are agents of invincible faculties.  And we’re blazing trails of abundance…You want results? Trust your Inspired Self.  It’s a presence and intelligence that dwarfs everything else.”

Don’t’ be afraid to aim high and believe in yourself.  Work hard and persevere.  And never, ever be afraid to ask for help.  There are many willing to lend a hand and share lessons learned.  That’s what the Center for Women is here for.  Use it.

How can people connect with you?

My email is

Our website is

You can also friend us on Facebook at:

C4W Member Profile: Leslie Haywood

March 21, 2012

What is your profession? Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, inventor of Grill Charms™ , the “must have” grilling gadget that is revolutionizing the American Cookout.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  Tennis, vacationing, entertaining friends, and EATING!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Joined in November 2007

What inspired you to become a member?  When I first joined in 2007, most of us were living pretty high on the hog, so my reason for joining was simply because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.   Since then “things” have changed and I truly believe that women owned businesses and women entrepreneurs are the answer to our country’s economic problems.  Now if we just had the right women in the white house, we’d be all set!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?  Every time I attend an event it reminds me just how powerful we women are and that our potential is limited only by our dreams.  I am constantly inspired by the people around me… and who couldn’t use a little shot of inspiration every once and while?

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Can I get on my soap box for a minute?  This question brings up a topic that ONLY US WOMEN (specifically us mothers) deal with and it effects me greatly.  “MOMMY GUILT”!  I left my career of 9 years to become a stay at home mom (like my husband and I always planned I would do).  Three years into living my dream of being that ideal stay at home mom, I had an idea for a business. It was something I felt almost compelled to do!  (Much like the “need” to have children, I felt this was something I NEEDED to do!)  I followed that new entrepreneurial dream and completely derailed both mine and my husband’s expectations of the “perfect family”.  It is HERE that I feel my mommy guilt radiates from.  Growing up, my mother was a stay at home mom and my two younger sisters and I agree to this day that our childhood was just about PERFECT.  Our home was loving and caring and unbelievably happy.  Because of this, I wanted to do things exactly like the most perfect mom in the world… MINE.  (Which meant being a stay at home mom)  I never planned on having any kind of light bulb moment where I would find this urge… (Compulsion really) to start my own company, but I did.  Now I wrestle daily with what I can’t help but feel are my “selfish” desires to be a successful entrepreneur.  I hate that I feel this way and on an intellectual level, I know that these thoughts and feeling are RIDICULOUS, but I can’t help but feel “mommy guilt” none the less.  I have realized that my guilt stems from my preconceived notions and life experience which tell me that the most perfect childhood comes from having a mom that devoted herself completely to her children. Well…. as happy and wonderful as my childhood was, I am learning through new life experiences that a “perfect childhood” can come in many different shapes and sizes.  I do feel like our home is full of happiness, TONS OF LOVE, encouragement and all the things that make for happy, healthy, well balanced adults in training and the best part is, I’m showing them that it can be done “differently”.  My daughters were 1 and 3 at the time of my “deviation” so they have always grown up thinking all moms were also “entrepreneurs” or inventors. With this, I am hopefully breaking the chain of mommy guilt with them and showing them that happy childhoods don’t necessarily come from one perfect formula.  It’s too late for me, but maybe I am leading by example so that the next generation of mommies won’t suffer from the mommy guilt syndrome quite as much.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? I am the poster child for, “if you have a dream, you CAN Do it.”  Whether it’s inventing a product, starting own business or creative positive change in a business you already in, I guarantee that unless you are a rocket scientist… (and some of you MIGHT be!) what you want to do is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.  It is simply a process that can be broken down into a series of smaller steps that will lead you to your goal. I am proof that with enough drive and determination ANYTHING is possible.  Simply start SOMEWHERE.  Put one foot in front of the other and the path will appear.  But be ready and be excited!!… because the path that appears isn’t always the one you intended to take!

How can people connect with you? People can connect with me at  Twitter @grillcharmer  FB!/GrillCharms

C4W Member Profile: Kathy Puzerewski

July 20, 2011

What is your profession? Entrepreneur: Previous owner Invitation Station – I’ON Square Mt. P 2004-2007 | WE*DO Fine Stationery and Invitations | Social MediaPeeps | The Wedding Isle | Coming soon, Lucky Lady Letterpress

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Being a MOM and WIFE!  Newlywed – something really are better the second time! Watching my 11 year old son (Michael’s) baseball games. Last year’s Mt. P U9 Cal Ripken All Starts State Champs – U10 Runner up this year!  We’re off to Regional’s in NC next week. Hanging out with my hubby with a nice glass of homemade pinot grigio wine or one of his awesome home brew beers. Traveling whenever possible!!  Husband works for USAir (no he’s not a pilot – never met one that wasn’t a jerk – no offense), so anytime we can get away we’re outta here!! Self acclaimed “movie-hol-ic .”  I love all the kids movies.  Just saw Horrible Bosses – thought it was hysterical. Enjoy reading (paper books that is-not sure about all this Kindle stuff – seems weird to me.) Reading/studying Numerology (Pythag’s Theory) right now – totally fascinated! Currently listening to the 4 Hour Work Week on CD in my car.  This is now my mantra! Hummm…let’s see I was recently a stand-in beer tasting judge at Westbrook Brewery (now that was fun).  MUSIC – going to Keith Urban concerts!  I am a huge groupie – used to go all his concerts! :-0 PAPER is my PASSION.  Just LOVE paper stuff…I’m getting ready to delve into Letterpress with new little letterpress I just got! I like driving.  I drive a stick shift.  Used to have a little white MGB and was in the British Women’s Car Club…BTW – I am English by birth.  Born 1969 Leeds, England.  Immigrated to US 1975 with Father.  1980 Returned to UK to go to school-Graduated 1985.  Returned to US in 1985, then in 1986 – Enrolled at CofC and have been here ever since!!!  Does that make me a NATiVE??? How could I forget – I love shopping  and a good bargain! Who doesn’t!
How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I was a member when I had Invitation Station, but I was chained to the store so could never really participate.  I just recently joined the C4W as an individual.

What inspired you to become a member? You guys!  Impressive organization.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? So far great networking!  Hoping to be more involved.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Not really sure how to answer this, other than I love being a woman and wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course I believe that we are the dominant sex and one day take over the universe!!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Even in tough times with little or no money (God knows I’ve been there), there is still hope and you can do whatever you set your mind to. There are so many ways you can cut back, and scale back to save and still do what you want to do-that is, what your heart says you should be doing. There’s never a perfect time to make those life changes like starting your own business, you just have to DO IT!  But be flexible and adapt! But NEVER GIVE UP!  Don’t take NO for an answer.  Think outside the box!  Refuse to be a YES woman.  Sometimes the best action is no action. People do what they want to do, so what are you waiting for!

C4W Member Profile: Stacey Elicker

February 11, 2011

What is your profession? Owner & Strategic Planning at Little Highrise.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Spending time with my family and cooking.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? One year.

What inspired you to become a member? I became a member to meet other entrepreneurs and learn from other women. Navigating the business world as a woman business owner is much different than many people might think.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? It has given me a rich appreciation of the power of women helping women. It can sometimes be tough for women to trust others, but the Center for Women has proven that if we put ours minds to it, we can accomplish anything – together!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? The demands of work-life balance have always been a struggle. I can attest to the fact that it is indeed possible to be successful at both at the same time.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Many people think that women in the workplace are at a disadvantage. If you research your market and refine your approach, women have a huge advantage in every marketplace. Analyze your strengths as a woman and use those as one of your unique selling points.

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