10 Inspiring Lady Bosses You Should Be Following Now
If there is anything that inspires me to keep going along on this creative journey, it is the strong women that I am surrounded by. I connected with most of these women through Instagram which I think is pretty incredible. While this little app can be so frustrating sometimes, it’s also such a valuable resource. All of the ladies I am featuring here today have supported and inspired me in some way throughout my journey and you should know who they are!
I recently met Stephanie through a photoshoot I did with her. We met up at Il Rione Pizzeria in Gordon Square and she took photos of me while we drank wine.
If you aren’t familiar with Stephanie she is the gal behind A Life En Route, a blog where she writes unapologetically about dating, body positivity, abortion, and so many other important topics. She writes from an incredibly raw, courageous and authentic perspective. One of my favorites from her is this blog post titled, “I Am Lucky” which is a piece on sexual assault.
After creating her blog, she realized she loved the art of storytelling, which manifested into her current business, Tall Hair Creative, a brand and creative strategy studio that that is guided on the principles of storytelling, design thinking, and celebration. Stephanie specializes in creative strategy, brand design, and brand development, and offers various packages for creative entrepreneurs.
One of the things I love about working with her is that she is driven, inspired, easy to get along with, and super relatable.
If you are just starting your entrepreneurial journey, Tall Hair Creative has an affordable package for you called Unleash. It is a six month coaching program designed to help you get clear on your business plan and create a brand identity. Each month you will meet with Stephanie for one hour to dig into a specific topic. By the end of six months you will be ready to launch your new brand.
Marisa Vittoria of Virtual Zen
Marisa is one of the newest muses in my life and a big supporter of the popular hashtag #communityovercompetition. This movement is very important to Marisa and something she strives to live out every day. I’m planning on having Marisa on my podcast in the future so this is something that you can expect us to talk about more.
If you haven’t stumbled upon Marisa over on Instagram yet, she is the founder of Virtual Zen which focuses on helping creative small businesses to grow through virtual assistance, Pinterest strategy, and organization. Virtual Zen will be launching a new website this month, with four new and improved pillars to assist you with your business. Be sure that you’re following Virtual Zen on Instagram for updates on this exciting new launch.
Janae Bryson of Auden & Company
I met Janae at a panel I was moderating for a Local Girl Gang Cleveland event and have been following her ever since.I was completely inspired by her story and how she got to where she is, so if you haven’t heard it yet, stay tuned; She is a future guest on my podcast and I am so excited to elevate her voice and share her story.
Janae started out as a fashion blogger but realized she loved the branding aspect of it so much that she became a brand stylist. Now her business, Auden & Company, offers brand design and creative services such as social media strategy and educational resources.
The Branding Studio is one of three studios at Auden & Company, which offers three different packages to help you create your brand identity with photography, logo and website design, print collateral and even package design. Check out the portfolio to see some of the beautiful designs they’ve created.
Currently, Janae is launching a new project called Creatively Stocked which will offer beautiful, modern stock images for people of color. Follow Creatively Stocked on Instagram for updates on this noble endeavor.
Follow Janae on Instagram at Auden & Company.
Ann Marie Elaban of The Golden Standard
I started following Ann Marie ages ago.Her Instagram feed is simply inspiring; I love her photos and aesthetic so I asked if she would want to get together and take some photos. She doesn’t consider herself a photographer but, in my opinion, she really has an eye for style.
You can always count on Ann Marie to be vulnerable and authentic on social media. Last summer she became injured while living in NYC and has been super honest and open about her journey to recovery. Not only is she active on social media, but she also has a beautiful blog, The Golden Standard.
Ann Marie writes about things related to lifestyle, fashion, wellness, and especially bees, which is why she decided to name her online persona, “The Golden Standard.” One post that I really love is a lovely guide on how to be alone where she outlines 4 solo date ideas that you can take yourself on.
Ann Marie also just embarked on a new business journey, Shop The Golden Standard, an Instagram account aimed to sell vintage and second hand goods. You can find all of the products that she curates here.
Meg Witt of The Upspeak Collective
Meg is the ultimate cheerleader for small business owners. She founded The Upspeak Collective a little over a year ago with a $600 investment and a passion for small business. The Upspeak Collective offers personalized business coaching, brand photography, and website design. She also supports many women-owned businesses through workshops and her V.I.P. Club.
Meg shares generously through social media. I love following her for everyday inspiration and business tips. Find her on Instagram here.
Meg is currently re-branding her website and so far it looks so beautiful. There you can find out all about her new programs that are designed to help three different levels of business owners up-level their business. You can also grab a few freebies like the $1,000 in Ten Days challenge. If you’re working towards a financial goal this would be a great push to help you reach that.
Meg also has her own podcast called Upspeak where she discusses topics including sex, politics, religion, parenting and basically anything that you wouldn’t talk about with your family at Thanksgiving.
In addition to her having her own podcast, Meg was actually a guest on Episode 11 of Muse Room Podcast, where she tells us all about how she started her business.
To find out how you can work with Meg, visit the website here.
Chrissy Freeman of Verdure Salon
Chrissy and I got connected in quite a serendipitous manner. I had posted about the book, “Big Magic” which was our January book of the month for Muse Reading Room. This is a book that Chrissy held by her side at all times as she was launching her business. She had just finished the book when she saw my post on Instagram so we ended up collaborating together for my first event.
If you aren’t familiar with Verdure Salon, it is a non-toxic nail salon here in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood. I am normally not one to prioritize manicures, but honestly, when I do, it’s at Verdure Salon. The space just feels different than your average nail salon. It’s a refreshing environment and when you get your nails painted there you know that the products used contain less harsh chemicals than your average salon or drugstore nail polish. Our mutual friend Lindy wrote a blog post all about Chrissy and her business, which you can read here.
One of the services I have yet to try is their Classic Gel Manicure. They have found a way to offer a longer lasting manicure without the the effects of nail bed damage and toxic chemicals. To book an appointment for a Classic Gel Manicure visit the website.
Chrissy also loves to host events when the salon is closed. Be sure you’re following Verdure Salon on Instagram so you don’t miss out on the fun!
Maria LeFebre of Your Local Girl Gang Cleveland
At the beginning of my podcasting venture, I didn’t realize how much Cleveland had to offer. One person that exposed me to so many more creative women in Cleveland is Maria, the Founder of Your Local Girl Gang. I discovered the Girl Gang through our trusty friend, Instagram, and decided to learn more. When I found out that Maria was the founder, I reached out to her right away. Maria and I met up a couple weeks later for coffee and we instantly related over our shared love for podcasts and hip hop music. Maria is an easy gal to relate to and get along with. Like so many women in our time right now, she realized that the work she was doing was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She’s even an expander for me, meaning that she shows me what is possible in my own life. Before Maria started the Girl Gang, she was a second grade teacher. She realized it wasn’t right and now she is the founder of a beloved community.
Your Local Girl Gang was started because Maria wanted to shop at more women owned businesses but found herself spending hours scrolling through Instagram to find them. She then decided to create a directory dedicated just for that- a place to find all of the women owned businesses in the Cleveland area. Now, since it’s start in 2017, Your Local Girl Gang holds highly curated events all over the city for women to connect with the women-owned businesses they love.
Since starting the Girl Gang, Maria has been featured in multiple podcasts (including mine), and many publications such as Cleveland Magazine and Fresh Water Cleveland. You can listen to Maria’s episode of Muse Room Podcast here, where she tells us all about how the Girl Gang got started.
If you are a female business owner or know of a female owned business that you love, you can help grow the gang here. I’ve even been able to find a few podcast guests through the directory, so if you’re looking for something specific you can search for it on the website.
Maria also launched a membership program not too long ago. If you own your own business, you can become a Business Builder. Through this membership you get access to member-only hour before events, a discount on merchandise, vendor tables and sponsorships, an official Girl Gang website badge more!
One of the cool things about Your Local Girl Gang is that you don’t have to be a business owner to get involved. Part of Maria’s goal is to connect local women to the female owned businesses in their area. One way that she provides that opportunity is through the Business Booster membership. As a business booster you can get access to the member event calendar, a discount on merchandise and event tickets, access to the Girl Gang Slack channel and quarterly bonus perks.
Anytime the Girl Gang hosts an event I am eager to go. I always end up meeting a new face that turns into a longtime connection. If you have ever thought about going to a networking event that doesn’t feel like networking, be sure you’re following Your Local Girl Gang on Instagram for updates on upcoming events.
Arbela Capas of The Battle of Arbela
I had followed Arbela on Instagram for a while but only started conversing with her at the beginning of this year. She is a freelance writer and blogger. Like many other women in 2019, both of us had a yearning to connect with new people so we chatted over coffee at Foyer in Ohio City. (P.S. if you haven’t been to Foyer yet, it is a dream.)
Here are a few pieces of her writing that struck a cord with me:
“The Greatest Snowball Fight Ever”; an essay written for Cleveland Magazine about her father who died suddenly in 2015
“Staying Creatively Inspired While Easing into Adulthood”; a piece she wrote for her blog, The Battle of Arbela. She talks about how she is trying to listen to her inner child more and how to stay creatively inspired.
Arbela’s writing has been published in Cleveland Magazine, Pressure Life Magazine, Substream Magazine, The Vindicator, The Cleveland Stater, The Cauldron, and Bottle Magazine. If you are interested in reading her work, you can find it in the archive section of her website.
She also co-hosts The Kiss Off Pod which you can find here.
Including Stephanie on this list was a no brainer. Like a lot of Clevelanders, I knew Stephanie from afar for quite a while before I connected with her in person. I think it is safe to say that Stephanie is the pioneer of small business here in Cleveland. Through the evolution of The Cleveland Flea, she has drastically changed Cleveland’s economy by providing makers a place to sell their goods and grow their businesses.
The reason I connected with Stephanie was because I asked her to be a guest on Muse Room Podcast, which you can listen to here. Since then we have stayed connected over social media and I love seeing her when I attend Cleveland Flea events.
I am currently enrolled in her group coaching class, 'Think Like a Boss.’ and I’m so excited to dig into the work. Right now we are learning about the difference between thoughts and circumstances. A lot of Stephanie’s coaching work is related to mindset and how as an entrepreneur, you really need to learn to control your mind. Registration for this round of group coaching is closed but you can get on the waitlist for the spring session.
If you ever are looking for someone to support your creative dreams, Stephanie is your girl. Find more about her coaching here. She’s also one of my podcast management clients and just announced her brand new podcast, Braving Business. To stay up to date on this exciting new project, follow her on Instagram.
Lindy Hale of A Linderella Story
Once again, an Instagram friend that became a real life friend! I reached out to Lindy about being on my podcast and her response was, “What?! I still have a full time job and I just have a blog.” I didn’t care about that. I knew that Lindy was doing cool things and wanted to share them with my listeners. You can listen to Lindy’s episode of the podcast here. After we chatted for the podcast, I knew she was someone I wanted to be friends with. We are both new to this entrepreneurial world so it feels good to know I’m not alone in this journey. She is someone that I feel constant support from and I am so grateful for that.
Lindy is the human behind the blog, “A Linderella Story”, where she shares interviews with humans that have really creative and inspiring brands. Her stories written about Casey Lewis (Willow Room Salon and The Glasshouse Project), and Katie Kurtz (Founder of Soul Connect Movement), are among my favorites. Lindy also co-founded the Creative Remedy event series with her friend, Arastasia. I’ve attended almost all of their events and at one I even shared a vulnerable story about my journey with body image. If you wanted to be surrounded by fellow creatives, I highly recommend checking it out. Find more information about The Creative Remedy on Lindy’s Instagram.
Lindy just announced new services that she will be offering soon. If you need help with website copywriting and branding, copy editing, and social media content support, she can help! Follow her on Instagram for updates.