womeninbusiness

WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Women in Business is a special project that began because I wanted to highlight some of my favorite female business owners and entrepreneurs in the Ventura community. We are blessed to have so many!

I feel especially honored that each of these nine talented and powerful women said YES! To have spent quality time together, asked them questions about business and life, and then capture part of the essence of who they are on camera—I feel overwhelming gratitude.

I encourage you to learn more about each of these women, view their photos, share this story, follow them on social media, frequent their business, and get to know them. They’re incredible humans, adding so much goodness to the world.


S A R A B E C K T O N - L E Ó N

Parlor Room Goods

The first time I met Sara she was making me a hand crafted cocktail at Fluid State. I was instantly drawn to her mega watt smile and warm personality, and felt like she was genuinely helping to create an atmosphere of community and joy with the patrons around her.

As I got to know her and followed her business, Parlor Room Goods, on Instagram, I learned that she was an accomplished artist specializing in ceramics.

Sara studied art in undergrad, where she learned about and practiced ceramics, furniture making, casting jewelry, glass blowing, and anthropology (which informed her about what she did). During this time she also taught art in various capacities, but it wasn’t always consistent, so she started bartending to fill in, and realized she was good at it and it was really fun.

She went to graduate school at the University of Michigan for architecture, but hopped out and started bartending at a place around the corner. This is where she really gained a multitude of experience working alongside an educated community of PhD’s, great chefs, and really awesome people who changed her idea what the service industry was all about. She recognized that if you’re doing something, you might as well do it well and with care.

About five years ago she moved back to Ventura and started sharing a studio with Maribel Hernandez at Bell Arts Factory (she since has her own studio). A friend brought a wheel over, and she began throwing again. Sara shares, I didn’t know when the wheel was brought that I would create a specialty bar business, which transitioned into other stuff (dinnerware, etc). In the beginning is what just an idea for her bar at home (salt rimmers, copitas for mezcal, etc.), but others wanted them too, and it organically took off. She has since also created items for local businesses like Fluid State, The Tavern, Prospect Coffee, and more.

What is your favorite thing to create?

You’ll hear me say this is the bar, but, I don’t believe in favorites. Life is so temporal, and everything has its season, but hyper-functionality and purposeful items are important. Making bigger things is really fun, because there is something satisfying about holding that much clay in your hands.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Don’t quit your day job. Also, whether or not you’re “good” at something shouldn’t be the deciding factor of if you do it.

How to connect with Sara:

Bell Arts Factory on the first Friday of the month.

Website

Instagram: @parlor_room_goods

Etsy


E L A I N E G E R E A U

Hair Stylist

Everyone knows that when you have a great hair stylist, you stay with them. Well, about two years ago my long time stylist moved away, and I was in major need of a hair revival. I asked around in person and on social media, and about 75% of people said “Elaine at Matiz!” I looked at her work, and quickly made an appointment. I felt the moment I met her that I trusted her with my hair (so much so that I asked her to chop off 10” on my first visit!). She is a natural artist with hair, listens to her clients, and gently provides suggestions if they want it.

Elaine knew at 15 years old that she wanted to do hair. She spent a few years doing friends’ hair in her bathroom; rinsing their color under the tub spout was always an adventure. She then went straight to beauty school at 18, and started working locally right after. She spent eight years at her previous salon, and has been at Matiz the past four years.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

You have to want it. You have to put in the time, and mental and physical energy it takes to be successful. Paying your dues, so to speak. Having passion and dedication goes a long way. Always be willing to continue learning and ask for support when you need it.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love the connection to my clients. I have clients who have been through it all: cancer, divorce, losing their homes in the fire. I have clients who have experienced great joys: birth, marriage, vacations of a lifetime. My lame joke is that I wanted to be a hairstylist or a psychologist and I get to be both, but with less liability.

How to connect with Elaine:

You can make an appointment with Elaine at Matiz Salon in Ventura.

Instagram: @laaiinn


B E R N I E A U S T I N

Life Coaching & Body Therapies

I have been blessed to know Bernie for many years and she is someone who absolutely embodies joy to the fullest, and is so fun to be around. Bernie brings that joy along with a wealth of knowledge to the work she does, and I have been lucky enough to take her classes, as well as co-facilitate courses together.

In Bernie’s practice she incorporates her education as a Life Coach, Massage Therapist, and BodyTalk Practitioner to see beyond the whole expression of what her client is talking about or feeling. She listens with her heart, eyes, and ears. BodyTalk is something that I find deeply fascinating, so I asked Bernie to touch on it a bit.

BodyTalk is an energy style of revealing the bodies communication system, and is designed to use western and eastern philosophies. When we look at the organs, when we look at the endocrines, that’s a part of BodyTalk. And how do we connect them? The whole thing is about communication, to keep the body connected so the brain, the body, and the spirit are working in a cohesive unit, rather than fragmented or separated parts of themselves. It’s all about communication because our everyday life trips our stress buttons, and stress puts a stop on certain parts of the body having full communication. BodyTalk opens the communications and keeps them flowing.

What do you feel has been your greatest evolution as a person and as a business owner?

I am not in control. I am here to usher in an invitation for someone to find a greater expression, or express their potential.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Follow your heart, and make sure that you pay the bills.

How to connect with Bernie:

Bernie shares a beautiful office in downtown Ventura with seven other practitioners. She also works with clients remotely.

To find out more about Bernie and to make an appointment, visit her on her website.


T I N A B A S E L I C E

Aloha Dog Grooming

I was introduced to Tina several years ago during the Christmas Eve service at the church I attend. For many years it has been tradition that at end of the service, various farm animals come strolling down the aisles to the front altar as a symbolism for all of life’s wonder. After the service people can come down to meet the creatures, ranging from donkeys to geese to pigs and more! We have Tina and her team to thank for bringing the beautiful animals, and all the joy that they bring.

Tina got into the business because she used to groom show horses until her early 20s. Needing to support herself and coming to the realization that equine grooming wasn’t financially fulfilling, she thought, Let’s try dogs! I figured if I could shave a horse, I could probably shave a dog. That was the logic behind picking that. For a few years she worked with a mentor that took a chance on her and taught her everything she knew about grooming dogs, as well as the thought process behind working with various types of dogs—aggressive, nervous, unique breeds, and so on. This eventually led to her starting her own mobile dog grooming business (whilst also running her own ranch back home). Once she had enough clients, Tina opened up her original brick and mortar location on Front Street in Ventura, Aloha Dog Grooming. She has since moved and has been at her Main Street location for two and a half years.

What makes Aloha Dog Grooming stand out from other dog grooming businesses?

I started to become more knowledgeable and did more research about these types of issues [aggressive, senior, nervous] so I could accommodate them. I’m getting known for taking care of dogs that are harder to handle, and that feels rewarding. We also have Senior Dog Day, where dogs over 14 years old or with debilitating health problem have their own day. The owner can stay and watch, it’s quiet, and one person is holding the dog while another grooms.

People also really like that I have my non-reactive animals in the shop, because it helps relax other dogs so they have a good grooming experience.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Don’t overthink it. If I would have put more thought it what could go wrong, I probably wouldn’t have done it to begin with. Also, if someone is really good at something, but not so much at something else, do what you’re really good at. If you can delegate, do that, or figure out how to do it.

How to connect with Tina:

Aloha Dog Grooming is located at 1998 E. Main Street in Ventura.

Facebook & Instagram: @alohadoggrooming

Tina is also involved in an upcoming Career Fair for animals, along with animal control, the zoo, Fish & Game, and a dog trainer. This is a great opportunity for people to get into animal careers. For more information, call the shop.


H E A T H E R B R O W N

Brown & Co. Designs

Anytime I think of Heather, I think of community. She is so good about cultivating community here in Ventura (and beyond), and reminds me of the phrase collaboration over competition.

Heather is an incredible calligrapher, that creates stunning items for weddings, events, and more. I first came across Brown & Co. Designs on Instagram a few years ago around the holidays when she was creating beautiful hand lettered ornaments. I immediately reached out to her to purchase a few, and was so happy to have some of her creations hanging on my Christmas tree. Since then I am proud to say that I own several of her beautiful pieces.

Heather is also the Creative Operator at the Annex in The Collection, where all of the businesses in the Annex are locally owned. She organizes community classes facilitated by various artists that are taught on the second Thursday of the month.

Heather picked up calligraphy as a form of catharsis when someone very close to her passed away. She began by making signs for her own home and family, which eventually led to helping people with weddings and other special events (her designs are serious works of art). This transitioned into teaching creative workshops and classes on hand lettering.

During this time she was working in the dental field, and doing calligraphy on the side. It was at that time her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and it was a catalyst for her leaving her office job, and went into lettering full time while also spending quality time with her mom.

What differs Brown & Co. Designs from someone else in the same field?

The story of grief and loss, and the darkness of losing your only support systems in life, not once, but twice. My “why” of sharing is the therapeutic side of it, and all the joy and feedback I get from it is rewarding. It’s also a personal style and preference.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Don’t quit, and keep going. Be authentic in putting your true self out there. Network in a genuine way.

How to connect with Heather:

Instagram: @brownandcodesigns

Private Workshops

Find out more about classes at the Annex at The Collection here.


S U M M E R D A L T O N

Tiger Owl Designs

Summer and her family were neighbors of mine for a few years, and during this time I got to know her a bit. She is someone that I admire for her creativity, beauty, and strength. I vividly recall watching her from a window one day, pushing her toddler in a stroller, uphill, with her dog on a leash next to her, all while being about eight months pregnant. I remember being convinced that Summer was a real life Super Hero—I still do.

Summer shared with me that she has always been a creative person who wanted to make things, and that nature and the environment has always interested her. Tiger Owl Designs began as a side business of screen printing t-shirts with eco-friendly materials, however, she always wanted to create her designs from start to finish, as opposed to getting blank t-shirts. Summer had an idea in her mind of a pair of wrap pants, and created them on a whim one night out of old curtains. Instantly people commented on them, so she refined her pattern, worked with a pattern maker at her previous job to help her with lines, started creating and selling more pants, launched a website, and has recently gone full time.

Where is the material you use sourced?

Summer met her supplier at a Los Angeles textile trade show. Linen is made from flax which takes less water than cotton, can be more organically grown, and is a fast crop that allows farmers to grow other crops throughout the year. She started asking more questions about where flax is grown, where dyes are made, etc., and feels like she is getting the most eco-friendly option for the quantities she needs.

I am constantly learning about the textile and fashion industry, and try to gently share for people to educate themselves on where their clothes are from. Don’t impulse buy. Ask companies ‘who makes their products,’ and ‘are their employees treated properly and paid a fair wage?’

Summer herself tries to be as transparent as possible with her customers, and does her best to answer any questions that come her way.

Sizing

We talked a lot about diversity in clothing, and Summer shared that she is wanting to change her sizing, and is working on adding a size that can accommodate more individuals.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Just do it, and listen to your customers.

How to connect with Summer:

Instagram: @tigerowl

Website

Clothing is also sold at Passport Habits in Ventura & Mujeres Collective in Summerland.


K A I L A D I N I U S

Esthetician AKA The Skin Magician

Kaila is as kind as she is talented. My sessions with her are always relaxing, while also feeling like I am catching up with a good friend. She is such a people-person, and strives to connect with her clients on an authentic level, and it shows.

Born and raised in Ventura, Kaila has been an esthetician for 15 years, and until having her own space has always worked for some sort at doctor’s office or medical spa.

How do you differ from someone else in the same field?

I come from a medical background, with a bit more scientific treatment based skincare—microdermabrasion, chemical peels, etc. I also started a skincare line through working with a lab in Florida. It’s effective skincare, and different then the run of the mill items you’ll find at the drugstore.

Kaila is known for being the Skin Magician, and there is a reason why! She shared that her favorite type of skin transformation is when she can make someone feel like they can go about their life and not hide. I feel like it’s really important to make people feel good. Your face is the first thing someone sees, and when you feel good about the way you look, you feel good about life. If I can make someone feel good, then that makes me feel good.

Can you tell me about the items in your skincare line?

  • Oil Cleanser—great for sensitive and dry skin.

  • Day Cream

  • Night Cream

  • Retinol—which everyone should be using and is great for wrinkles, pigmentation, clearing out cellular debris, and making cell turnover happen faster.

  • Illuminating Primer—make-up users especially love this glowing product.

  • Hylauronic Acid—hydrating but works from the inside out, and our body naturally produces it but it slows down as we get older.

  • Vitamin C Serum—brightening and full of antioxidants and citrus stem cells.

  • Charcoal Mask—purifying.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Don’t give up. I think that you’re not doing something right if you don’t want to throw in the towel at least once a week. Love what you do. Know how to roll with the punches, because business ebbs and flows. Take advantage of the down time.

How to connect with Kaila:

Kaila’s office is located at 73 N. Palm Street in Ventura.

Instagram: @skin.magician

Website (where you can also purchase skincare items)


B O N N I E R O S E

Senior Minister at the Ventura Center for Spiritual Living

Something that I love about Bonnie is that she has a way of weaving paradox into every aspect of life. She invites you to ponder the sacred and mystical, whilst still living in the moment of everyday life. She is one of my greatest mentors, but also a wonderful friend (we like to bond over The Office and our love of dogs).

I deeply admire Bonnie for many things, but one of which is having a variety of career paths in life. She was born in New York, and went to college in North Carolina where she received a degree in nursing, followed by an additional degree in music. She then moved back to New York and worked as a nurse, while supplementing her income with singing and acting on the side. While doing a Broadway show out in California with her husband, they realized that there was life beyond New York, and moved out west where she continued working as a nurse and singer. Deciding that she didn’t want to do either anymore, she got a job as a corporate trainer for a medical device company, and also started attending the school of ministry (with no intention of starting a church). However, they used to bring their Vizsla dog Stella up to Ventura County to run on the beaches, and one day a woman who attended our church saw she had a t-shirt with the logo of our denomination on it and she asked her about it.

I thought, ‘Yeah, I don’t really want to run a church, but if that church opens up I would consider looking into it.’ Two weeks later that minister quit, and it was on my radar because of that conversation. I applied for the job, I got it, and I have been here ever since. That was a little over 15 years ago.

What is your favorite part about being a minister?

The camaraderie that I have with people in the church, and all the joy. The other is that I get to think about really deep, mystical, unanswerable questions. I get to think about a way to put them in to words, and put answers into words, knowing that the answers are never complete, and poke around in the mystery.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Follow the joy. One way I like to locate the joy is to review the best thing that I experienced (and the worst) from the previous day.

How to connect with Bonnie:

Bonnie is the Senior Minister at the Ventura Center for Spiritual Living, located at 101 S. Laurel Street in Ventura. She speaks most Sunday’s at 10am.

Podcast with weekly talks

Blog


A L E X I S G U T I E R R E Z

Life & Success Coach and NLP Practitioner

Alexis and I met taking a class at our local community college many years ago, and right away became study buddies. She has a warm personality that instantly makes people feel comfortable, which is probably a huge reason why she has gained so much success in all of her work.

Alexis is a Certified Life & Success Coach and NLP Practitioner (Neuro Linguistic Programming helps people re-program how they think and process things so they can be more successful in how they do things), and works with women to identify what kind of goals they want in their business, and then scale and figure out how to achieve those goals.

Alexis vulnerably shared about her past career, and how it brought her to where she is at now.

So much about why I work with women and want to empower women is because for 15 years I took emergency calls from women in all sorts of situations. I will never name names, or tell a story about a specific call or incident, but I feel like over the years as a 911 dispatcher you are this faceless person, and you process everything that is thrown at you. Unfortunately, you’ll get a call from a women who is in the worst domestic crisis of her life…and you do everything you can in that moment to help them and try to keep them calm and send them help. But at the end of the day, after years and years I kept going home feeling like I wasn’t doing enough—even though I was really good at my job and doing everything right. I felt unfulfilled.

She began by selling clothing via direct sales, because she felt that a lot of women needed a boost of confidence in their personal lives. Clothing doesn’t solve your life issues, but you can feel more confident. What she realized she liked even more, was helping women. So, Alexis created group trainings to help empower women.

This eventually transformed into coaching, and creating the podcast She Can with Alexis Eileen! geared towards female entrepreneurs interested in mindset and reframing how we view things. Her hope is that listeners will leave the podcast with more tools than when they started listening.

What piece of wisdom would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Avoid the endless cycle of getting started, before you get started. Just do it. Also, failure is feedback. You never fail at anything in life, you just receive feedback.

How to connect with Alexis:

Instagram: @alexiseileenae

Website

Podcast

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For questions about this series, or to work with Jen, contact her here. If you would like to support this project and others like it in the future, click here.