Femella is a new series of interviews dedicated to women: their multifaceted, diverse and epic accomplishments! The goal is to celebrate these women, while enabling awareness of each other through a non-competitive lens. Femella is the Latin origin of the word Female. It is actually not related to the word male, which comes from the Latin word masculus.
Thus Femella stands on its own. No comparison or competition.
To be a part of this project please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first batch of interviews I reached out to epic women to discuss the Positive and Negative aspects of being a Female Business Owner:
My name is Brittany Fernbacker and I am the creator of Occult Kitten Collection. I was inspired to create OKC out of my deep love of magic and traveling the world. Growing up as a kid in New York City can leave you feeling like you grew up in the fast lane and it wasn´t until the first time I traveled to England back in 2011 that I felt time and space open up before me. I remember feeling completely spirited away, in awe, as if I opened my eyes for the first time. In 2012 I went on to back pack my entire way through 7 countries by myself using only CouchSurfers.com and car pooling on a very restricted budget. My life was never the same after this experience. I radically changed my views about myself, my beliefs and the world.
I became completely enchanted with how a sense of adventure guided by a deeper connection with my magical self could carry me to places I never dreamt of being possible. I´ve gone on to live in-between NYC and London for over 2 years and now am currently living in Brazil for the past 10 months actively creating my business. I think I´ve been hoarding since I was a child, so it was no surprise to me that I began collecting treasures and adornments from my travels. The collections I offer are inspired by the particular place I´m visiting and their occult traditions, which I then make available through my shop on Instagram and Storenvy. I truly wanted to bring this sense of wonder and beauty I saw to everyone. Opening my business as a woman has been the most rewarding experience of my life because I know all the hardships it took to get to this point. I´ve been mocked, questioned relentlessly and filled with doubt by many because they believe its nothing but fantasy to read Tarot, sell crystals and travel the world. In the end though, it only empowers me more to live my dream, share my truths and hope it inspires others to do the same.
I think a major benefit to being a female business owner is that it gives you a specific status as being a female business owner…No one would ever say how does it feel to be a male business owner, and from that status you are able to present a platform that
fits outside of specific boxes. Running spaces as a women has made it possible to not conform to certain ideas of DIY, for instance male dominated spaces often have narratives of punk rock or indy, whereas, as a woman I feel free to say my space is just a space that tries to be inclusive.
Limitations of ownership stem mostly from a world in which the rest of the world is shocked and sometimes tries to divert your success, so many reps ask, “oh are you the owner,” “Oh cool you are a business woman…” LOL, I never feel like a business woman I feel lucky that I have been supported by a community… I guess sometimes I wonder if men think that they made a community and women feel like they have contributed to one. I imagine it is a bit of both, but as a female I feel fortunate that my world isn’t limited by perceptions of white male success. I can fail freely as much as I can succeed freely…
My name is Chantal Savaresse and i’m the owner of Tomahawk Salon in Bushwhack, Brooklyn. I’ve had my own business for close to 20 years.
First as a yoga and massage therapist in both Europe and the United States. I started by running a studio out of my flat in Prague, Czech Republic 1996-2001. I offered small and private yoga lessons to ex pats and worked with The American Health Clinic as a massage therapist. After 9/11 I returned home to NYC and worked freelance as a massage therapist in the Upper West Side. I decided to open a brick and mortar store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the fall of 2005. I called my shop Femme Fatale focused on vintage and noir style clothing. It was the sexy, experimental part of me. I sold bullet bras, 60’s schoolgirl dresses, lipstick vibrators, prim and polished nostalgia. My mon helped me 3-4 days a week while I continued to see my clients. In 2009 i shuttered my shop to focus on opening a hair salon. I went back to school for barbering and within a year I was ready for Tomahawk Salon. We opened in 2010 in The Loom with just 2 stylist me and Kristin. By 2011 I was ready to let go of my old career as a therapist and move forward full steam with Tomahawk.
In the short time we outgrew our space took over another storefront and expanded. Our location was a bit of a hardship we lacked autonomy and had a municipal waste plant directly across from us. In 2013 we closed down in The Loom and moved down the street. Today I employ 4-5 women. Tomahawk isn’t just my shop but also the ladies that help me day in and day out. I guess thats the biggest difference I started solo and the greatest gift has been running the salon with these ladies. My journey hasn’t been difficult. I always knew I had to create the world I wanted to be a part of and working for someone wasn’t for me. I need the flexible to call my own shots, listen loudly to my music, to be my own boss lady. It’s never good enough, the shit hits the fan often but at the end of the day i’m pretty damn happy.
DAILISHA EVE RODRIGUEZ
The positive aspects of being a business owner are having the freedom of choosing upcoming projects. It is fun to see something go from an idea to the outcome. Furthermore, people make being a business owner fun.
Meeting new dynamic people with different views, opinions and backgrounds is such a treat. For me, there are no negative aspect of being a business owner. I only see the opportunity to make things better and grow from the lessons I learn on a day to day basis. There are no problems in the world, only opportunities!
Business: Obra Obscura : textiles, pattern, design.
There are many challenges running a business and maybe even more being a female business owner. After a couple 9-5’s within the fashion industry, I knew I was not meant for that world. However, I did not know what world I was meant to be in. It is very empowering to say “fuck it…I am just gonna start somewhere and just see where it leads me.” Male or female that is positive.
The number one negative thing to me as a female trying to build my business is equal pay. I also rely heavily on social media, networking, and events to get new clients and advertise my services. Unfortunately all those outlets and opportunities are superficial. People love good looking people, sex still sells, and I feel torn on how to get my foot in the door if it is not for sheer talent and respect. I desire to show my work and not my face and see if I can still win over clients, acquire projects and get more press. In order to not get wrapped in the whirlwind of negativity and inequality, I find that having a good mentor, surrounding my self with strong, like-minded, and inspiring women is extremely rewarding. Female strength is very enduring and yet still very nurturing.
(photo by Joe Miller )
My name is Joi Sanchez. My business is Art LovHer LLC. An artist co-operative that focuses on supporting independent artists in the creation of autonomous platforms of visibility and economic opportunity. With a primary focus on women, queer, and black/brown identified artists, we have existed for almost 4 years in New York City.
As a woman who owns a business, the greatest challenge by far is being taken seriously by my male counterparts without being a “typical female”. I operate heavily in hip hop culture which is heavily dominated by men. Even the most enlightened men, often unconsciously, challenge the validity of a woman operating in this culture. However, I found that when you are about your business and focused, following up, being a woman in this field can be a great advantage as well. You are something unexpected. You often have outside the box ideas that pique interests. People will often [try to] steal your ideas without giving you credit. If you’re doing a good job, it will be noticed even if you never hear the compliments. Once you gain the respect of male counterparts, they listen and take your feedback into consideration this changing the culture. My advice is have patience, stay focused, and don’t listen to the haters.
The Broom Closet : Magical Cleaning Products & Cleaning Service in Bushwick/Bedstuy
When you’re starting a small business you tend to lean on those that have experience in entrepreneurship. Not everyone is ready to take on the risk of advocating a magically minded maid and the pitching process is a challenge when speaking to certain men about the concept of my company.
In our first year we have locked in our market and are growing each day which is a great deal due to the endorsements we receive. When other small businesses show you support by recommending your services, it’s the best platform you can ask for. When I started out I read over and over how female business leaders fail to support one another. I’ve been amazed and so grateful for the supportive women who have been down this road that still play an enormous roll in the growth of my company.
product line available at Catland Books
We will continue to interview more women based on this theme as well, so please contact email@example.com if you’re interested!