Women Owned Business 2017

. March 1, 2017.
Meet Washtenaw County's leading ladies
Meet Washtenaw County's leading ladies

There’s no shortage of exciting businesses in Washtenaw County, and some remarkable women are running the show. Below are some of our favorite women doing innovative, creative things in the business world. Get ready to get inspired. These ladies are leading the way, meet them and get to know the businesses they run.

Dori Edwards - Bloom City Club Ann Arbor

Dori Edwards – Bloom City Club Ann Arbor

Dori Edwards

Bloom City Club
Founder and Chief Consulting Officer
423 Miller Ave, Ann Arbor
bloomcityclub.com | 734-585-0621

Describe your business and why it is unique.
Driven by an excitement for the medicinal cannabis movement, Bloom City Club created a provisioning center that represents the highest standards of the industry; the gold or ‘Ayurvanna’ standard of high grade, pesticide-free, craft/small batch, natural cannabis. Most significantly, they designed a place with patients and people in mind.

Owning a business requires passion and dedication. What inspires you?
The truth inspires me the most. We have been systematically lied to about the efficacy and safety of cannabis. Now with so much scientific evidence backing up what most “hippies” have known for decades, I want everyone to know the truth so they can decide for themselves what is best for their bodies and their health.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced in your career as a woman?
The cannabis industry tends to be much like the rest of the United States and its good ol boy mentality. I’ve had both caregivers and other dispensary owners treat me like I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing and discourage me. Little do they know that only inspires me to work harder.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the women and men I employ. They brighten my day as well as our patients’ day. Bloom hasn’t lost one employee since we opened our doors. We have a fair and fun work environment with lots of incentives and bonuses. I love the fact that I help feed so many families! And I also love that my employees are happy. We encourage our employees to think beyond their current position, dream big and we offer lots of personal and professional development to help them reach those goals.

Jessica Spilos - Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary, Ann Arbor

Jessica Spilos – Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary, Ann Arbor

Jessica Spilos

Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary
Owner
301 N. Fifth Ave.
jessicasapothecary.com | 734-545-4303

Describe your business and why it is unique.
We offer skin treatments that are always customized using high quality products including organic skin care and in-house made body products. Our spa upholds a standard of no animal testing, no synthetic fragrance, no artificial colorants, no parabens, propylene glycol, or sodium laurel sulphate.

Owning a business requires passion and dedication. What inspires you?
The Estheticians that work at the Apothecary, including myself, thrive on understanding the biochemistry of skin care ingredients (how products interact with the skin cells). Personally, I have also developed a lifelong passion for Aromatherapy and the benefit of Essential Oils and Hydrosols on the skin and for our well being.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced in your career as a woman?
Being underestimated in the commitment to my business and the potential for growth and expansion.

What is one surprising fact about you?
I used to live in a tipi (Athens, GA… I was 20)

Ann Farnham - Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop

Ann Farnham – Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop

Ann Farnham

Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop
Executive Director
2280 S. Industrial Hwy., Ann Arbor
a2ptothriftshop.org | 734-996-9155

Describe your business and why it is unique.
We are an independent local nonprofit resale shop based in Ann
Arbor supporting The Ann Arbor Public Schools, its PTOs and students.

Owning a business requires passion and dedication. What inspires you?
I’m a believer in our mission and a passionate supporter of Ann Arbor Public Schools. My own kids have gone through AAPS both starting from kindergarten. As new immigrants to the US, our Pittsfield Elementary School community became a second, almost surrogate, family for us in the fall of 2001. This continued into our middle school years at Scarlett, building life-long friendships and connections.

What is biggest barrier you’ve faced in your career as a woman?
Being judged and/or underestimated.

What are you most proud of?
The teams of staff and volunteers that I’ve worked with over the years supporting our nonprofit’s mission.

What is one surprising fact about you?
I usually cut my hair myself. I have for over 20 years. But maybe that’s not so surprising…

What stereotype about feminine weakness do you think is actually a point of power?
Sensitivity. I believe it allows us to see more complex dimensions of people/situations, as well as to better communicate and problem-solve.

Laurie Gross - Gross Electric

Laurie Gross – Gross Electric

Laurie Gross

Gross Electric
President
2232 S Industrial Hwy, Ann Arbor
grosselectric.com | 734-665-8676

Describe your business and why it is unique.
Distributor of Electrical Supplies, Decorative & Commercial Lighting. We are the oldest independent, family owned lighting store in the area. This is our company’s 107th year in business, and our Ann Arbor store’s 50th anniversary.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced in your career as a woman?
People who don’t think I know what I’m talking about because the electrical industry is primarily men & they assume a woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

What is one surprising fact about you?
I love cars: fast and sporty. I used to work on my own car.

What piece of advice do you have for women interested in owning their own business?
Go for it! Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. It’s a lot of work, but very rewarding!

Grace Adams - Body Conscious Massage Therapy

Grace Adams – Body Conscious Massage Therapy

Grace Adams

Body Conscious Massage Therapy
Owner and founder, LMT, BCTMB
2201 Medford Rd, Ann Arbor
bodyconsciousmassagetherapy.com | 734-929-5930

Describe your business and why it is unique.
We are a team of highly trained and experienced massage therapists who focus on pain management massage, not just deep relaxation (although we do that too!) We network with doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and many other medical professionals as well as many athletes, coaches and trainers to try and help people truly live pain and stress free lives.

What stereotype about feminine weakness do you think is actually a point of power?
The idea that having an unrealistic standard for things is something that is often stereotyped in women in the workplace. It is often looked upon as creating more work with little/no pay off. I would argue that all the little things in business are what come together to make up the big picture. When you consciously and intentionally control those little things, you can paint a much clearer, and in my opinion, more attractive picture.

What piece of advice do you have for women interested in owning their own business?
My advice for women interested in owning their own business is simple: Write out your vision, figure out a game plan, and work hard at it every single day. Know that at first, you might be the only one who believes in your vision, and that is ok. If you work hard every day, you will find people who will see it and start to share in your vision, and eventually, will want to be part of it. And what comes next, my friend, is truly magical…

Dina Sheldon - A2 Yoga

Dina Sheldon – A2 Yoga

Dina Sheldon

A2 Yoga
Owner
2030 Commerce Blvd.
a2yoga.net | 734-216-4006

Describe your business and why it is unique.
A2 Yoga is unique because although it is a for profit studio, we offer donation based community classes that raise over $5000 yearly helping other non-profits. As a sister duo that run the studio, together we teach with some of Washtenaw County’s best yoga instructors offering over 36 weekly classes and 4 community classes. Ana Patricia founded the studio over 13 yrs ago and I (Dina Sheldon) came on board in 2013.

What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of our teachers for rallying around the studio when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It helped our students see that even in the face of a difficult illness, our studio was standing strong. I was especially proud of my yogi sister, Ana, for stepping in when I wasn’t able to be around as much.

What stereotype about feminine weakness do you think is actually a point of power?
Subtleness. Women can be very subtle in seeing things and remembering things. This is actually a point of power because yoga itself isn’t about the “go-go-go power through it”. It’s about working into the deeper realms within yourself. As a teacher, gently and subtly we walk around the room and notice the nuances of individual students and personality. It is with words or subtle adjustments/modifications that we can assist our students back on the yoga path, both on and off the mat.

What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women?
Recognizing that we don’t have to create change with forceful action. I liken it to the concepts or 3 Tattvas of Yin Yoga. 1) Find your edge – That is find your cause or intention. 2) Resolve to remain still – That is, resolve to ‘subtly’ work to create change. 3) Resolve to do this over a period of time – That is, don’t give up because someone says it can’t be done or it takes longer than you thought it would. Yin is the feminine side. I hope more of us ladies can tap into that side of us, knowingly aware of the feminine.

Irene Patalan - Collected Works

Irene Patalan – Collected Works

Irene Patalan

Collected Works
Owner
303 Detroit St #107, Ann Arbor
collectedworksannarbor.com | 734-995-4222

Describe your business and why it is unique.
Collected Works, in the Marketplace Building in the Kerrytown Neighborhood, is a women’s clothing boutique. We have always been on the look-out for the unusual. We look for gorgeous fabrics in easy to wear, but beautifully styled apparel. We are so proud to work primarily with small American designers. Our business is celebrating 40 years this year! We are proud of this and honored that our community has supported Collected Works for these many years.

Owning a business requires passion and dedication. What inspires you?
I am inspired by life and living it as an art form. Life is short. Why not look fabulous! I encourage my customers to take the time and celebrate the day.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced in your career as a woman?
Juggling family and raising children, while running a business, is always a challenge. Extended family helped along the way and I am grateful for this. When they were young, my kids slept at my feet behind the counter! The crib was in the basement at our first major location. I would nurse my daughter, sitting on the porch of the store, while ordering jewelry. You make it work and have fun.

What piece of advice do you have for women interested in owning their own business?
My advice to women who want to go into business is: Yes! Go for it! You can do it. Don’t overthink it, but do be prepared. Watch your costs.

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