Designers + Makers // PVD Lady Project's Women's Entrepreneurship Week

On the first night of PVD Lady Project's Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, we celebrated Designers + Makers in collaboration with MOO and Craftland. Coming off the excitement of the Lady Project Gala and Dream, Girl screening the week before, the atrium at MOO’s Davol Square office was buzzing with some serious #girlboss energy.

The moderator for the evening, Krystal Furney of MOO, began by delivering a quote that is used often at their office and which carried throughout the rest of the evening’s conversation: “Your job is your 9-5; your passion is your 6-11.” In other words, what you do for a living does not necessarily define you; it’s what you do when you’re not being paid that makes you who you are.

From there we listened to the panel discuss the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, and their personal journeys into becoming boss ladies:

DEVIENNA ANGGRAINI - OWNER, CRAFTLAND + DAMETALS

Devienna had a lot of great insight into the hard work it takes to own a business (or two, in her case!) and shared with us her favorite quote, courtesy of her father-in-law. He told her, “Owning your own business is great because you can work any 80 hours a week that you want.” Judging by the response from the rest of the panel and the audience, we were all in full agreement on that one.

SUSAN MOCARSKI - OWNER, CLEVERHOOD

Susan wanted to design quality rainwear for everyone when she realized there were more options out there for men than for women. When people questioned her, laughed at the idea or were just generally negative Susan simply said, “Screw that! I’m doing this.” She now sells her RI-made rain gear to customers across the globe.

DANIELLE MCCARTHY & ELLEN PJ KELLY - OWNERS, CHAMPAGNE & INK

Danielle and Ellen started their event design business when their families pushed them to pursue their talents as a career. The two friends, who met in design school, stressed the fact that they are always friends first, then business partners. With that comes the importance of having contracts in order to keep business and friendship separate and everything running smoothly. When asked what someone should expect as a new business owner, their answer was pretty straightforward: Nothing. “Expectations? Get rid of ‘em. This is a rollercoaster.”

BRANDIE LEACH - OWNER, RETROSTITCH & FOUNDER, THE G.I. BAZAAR

Brandie opened up to the crowd about not feeling like she belonged in the fashion business since she was self-taught. She stressed the importance of embracing where you come from and being confident in where you are. She began designing bags as a creative outlet after leaving the military and has now founded the G.I. Bazaar to help other veterans find their voices. 

JESSICA MCGUIRL - CO-OWNER, THERE WILL BE CAKE INVITES

Jessica and her husband/business partner met while they were both attending RISD. After designing their own wedding invitations, Jessica realized that it was something she wanted to do for other people. With the mission of helping people tell their stories and reflect their personalities through custom design, they started their company.

MICHELA TEDESCO - DESIGN SERVICES TEAM LEAD, MOO

Michela, who designs ceramics in her studio as her six-to-eleven, stressed the importance of collaboration when it comes to creative projects. She reached out to all the introverts in the crowd and reminded us that, “The results are always ten times better when others are involved.”

Just when we thought Lady Project CEO Sierra Barter was closing up the evening, a voice came from the back of the room. Mayor Jorge Elorza surprised us with an appearance and brought with him some encouraging words. His mission as mayor of Providence is to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table. He lives this mission every day by not only being an avid Lady Project supporter (if you ever meet him, ask him about his pink keychain) but by employing an all-female executive team. 

The pep talk from the mayor and the diverse insights from our panel kicked off PVD Lady Project's Women’s Entrepreneurship Week on the best possible note. I can’t wait until next year as this event and the community supporting it grows bigger, stronger, and better.