Orlando Female Business Owners
One of the best things that has come from running this site has been meeting so many local business owners, predominantly women. Getting to meet and engage with them and learn about how they have grown their businesses in my backyard is satisfying, empowering and inspiring.
For all the good that comes with seeing women rise to their full potential, comparisons and competition can creep into our nature. Thanks to our habit of being deeply connected to all things digital, everyone can showcase successes leaving some to feel like they are drowning while trying to keep up with the other local ladies that appear to be on top of the world.
If I had advice to offer it would be to tell the younger ladies out there not to stress or feel like you are lagging behind. This is your time to search while honing a strong work ethic. This is the time to gather knowledge, to build a valuable skill set and be persistent in your own education and edification. This is not the time to look at what other people are doing or have obtained, because you have no idea how real it is or how long and grueling the journey may have been to get there.
To those of us a bit older and more experienced, we still have to continue doing all those things mentioned above; but it's our duty to help those truly searching to find their footing and their voices. If it hadn't been for the only two amazing female bosses I had that put effort into helping me grow (shout out to Mrs. Melisa Belinger and Ms. Tiffany Walker) I'm not sure I would have ever learned how to insert myself into the turbulent corporate waters of superiors that didn't always know more than I did, yet treated me like dirt. They helped me find the courage to believe in my abilities, use my voice, and not apologize for myself.
The list below doesn't include every single female business owner in Orlando. There are still so many more that I hope to meet and speak with someday. However, this mixture of talent across the board shows the depth of skills young women have to tap into right here in our backyard.
I hope you enjoy getting to know some of them a bit better. I know I truly have.
FOOD & DRINK
Baker + Artist + Mama of three + Owner: Julissa Oquendo
Taking all the skills she learned on the job while working at Publix, Julissa decided that even though decorating wasn't her expertise, she knew she could conquer it over time. She's able to take just about any design imaginable for special occasions and parties and create themed cookies that, get this, actually taste good! When I commissioned her to make cookies that looked like my logo I wasn't expecting them to taste good, because so many highly decorated cookies don't. The pure vanilla bean cookies were soft and it werern't overwhelmingly sweet. I was so impressed with the accuracy of the design, the girl has skills. Follow her @sweetposhcookieco.
New Floridian + Mama + Manager + Co-owner: Linda Tran
It's not easy to move states, start a new business, and go into an area already filled with cuisine like yours while raising two kids. That’s exactly what Linda did. She left her job as a Risk Manager and took what many could say was the biggest risk of all, opening a restaurant. Linda and her husband Dat, left Virginia looking for a more affordable place that would allow them more work/life balance. Mai Bistro, named after her daughter, stands out to me for several reasons. It’s a bright, clean and beautiful space, the food is delicious, the environment is warm and friendly, and the iced coffee is out of this world. All of the breads used with their amazing Bánh Mi sandwiches are made fresh in-house every day. Their food has definitely become a favorite for me in the city. No matter who is in the restaurant, you will feel welcome when you visit. Follow along @maibistrousa.
Baker + Owner: Catherine Hilgerson
Catherine found herself a home in Audubon Park last year. Her small shop is packed with delicious baked goods including a pretty intense piña colada cruffin that I still think about. Catherine serves not just Orlando, but also Farmers Markets in Gainesville and Ocala. She now offers gluten free and vegan options, so stop by the shop or contact her for orders. Follow her on instagram @thegourmetmuffin.
Baker of many things + Owner: Jackie Ryan
I first found Jackie at Tasty Tuesday in the Milk District and was lured in by her mini doughnuts of which she had my favorite flavor, matcha. I immediately fell in love. After trying more of her baked goods, like her ridiculously decadent coconut macaroons, I'm an even bigger fan. She comes from an Italian family where cooking, baking, and plenty of eating comes with the territory, and she is following in the family tradition. She is a staple at the New Smyrna Farmer's Market and the Winter Park Farmer's Market. Follow her @pursuitofdessert.
Chef + Vegan Flavor Expert + Owner: Jenn Ross
Sadly, I haven't been able to sit down and speak personally with Chef Jenn, but I feel like a I already know a part of her through her food and her captivating recipe tutorials on YouTube. She is plant powered and makes incredible vegan food that is always bursting with amazing flavors inspired by her Jamaican flair. Her tagline, the "Irie Vegan" means happiness and contentment, and that is exactly how you feel when you eat her food. I would HIGHLY suggest you go try her dishes for yourself. She is located in the Citgo gas station at Lee Road and OBT for now, but word on the street is that she is prepping for a big move! Follow her on instagram @dajeneats.
Pastry Chef + Owner: Arielle Junca
Most twenty-somethings can relate to Arielle's journey. Have a passion, in her instance baking, go to school, hone the skills, get a job and then say "what now"? Arielle has been baking both in restaurants and on her own to build her Honey + Clover business in the midst of traveling, volunteering and growing. Her cakes and pastries are not only delicious but beautiful in their simplicity. Once a lady of the markets, she is now focusing on wedding cakes and special orders. Follow her @honeycloverpastry. Photo courtesy Honey + Clover.
Artisan Pesto Maker + Owners: Jelianny Soliman + Paola Aguilar
I first met Jelianny and Paola at the College Park Famer's Market and my friend was raving about their homemade pesto. I was able to sample different types right there at the market and I immediately bought a few jars because I had never had pesto like this before. I now devour my jars and go back for more on a regular basis. Everything they make is non-GMO, refined sugar-free, and preservative free. They are tirelessly working the markets all around Central Florida so they shouldn't be hard to track down. Try their pesto on a slice of cheese pizza and die happy. Follow them on instagram @semillanativa_us
Artist + Protector + Provider of Wellness + Co-owner: Amanda Stone
Amanda's diverse background as a Creative Director has allowed her to bring an artistic flair to everything she touches. However, when her health took a turn for the worst, that is when the juice business was born by her husband Jed. Together they work to bring the community healthy alternatives while educating about wellness and balance. Amanda also co-manages the College Park Farmer's Market while helping Jed with the business and raising her two beautiful kids. Follow them @groundingroots.com. Photo courtesy Grounding Roots.
Chef + Savory Comfort Food Queen + Owner: Trina Gregory-Propst
Chef Trina can do no wrong with her savory and sweet southern comfort foods and her infectious hospitable spirit. It doesn't hurt that she keeps putting Orlando on the map by consistently being one of the most solid places in town to grab the best breakfast or lunch and everything in-between. 2017 was an exciting year for her as she was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and she moved into a larger space in the Milk District. I'm positive Chef Trina will continue to put Orlando on the map for all the right reasons. Follow her @se7enbites.
Coffee Expert + Good Vibe Creator + Owner: Jen Hackney
Who better to get your coffee from than a woman who has a heart of gold and has been in the coffee biz for decades. You can't be in a bad mood when you visit Jenny, because if you are she'll fix it with sage advice, a smile, and an amazing cup of coffee. Find her at her new spot on Edgewater Drive and keep up with some fun things Jenny is working on for College Park. Follow her @gratitudecoffee.
Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream
Former Nurse who can probably save your life + Ice Cream Shop Owner: Kelly Seidl
It's more than just good ice cream. It's amazing flavors like Vanilla Lavender, Blackberry Rose Jam, Alligator Tracks and Sweet Potato Casserole that have me running there in my pajamas at night for a sweet and creamy night cap. Kelly is a new mama that is learning the struggle of running a business with multiple locations, raising a child, having a long commute, and keeping the community engaged and happy with her offerings. Send her some love and follow the creamy journey @Kellyshomemadeicecream.
Family of talent + flaky layer masterminds + Taissa Rebroff & Lana Rebroff
While Buttermilk Bakery is absolutely a family effort, the ladies are at the helm. What else can I say about Taissa and Lana that hasn't already been said by the masses? Their pastries are still some of the best I've had in all my travels to large metropolitan cities. They give the best hugs, they have strong work ethics, and they are just so down-to-earth it gives me hope for the rest of humanity. You are probably already following them, but if not drool over their baked goods at @ilovebuttermilk.
Baker + Graduate of Le Cordon Bleu + Doughnut Maker + Owner: Amanda Eubanks
I always have a soft spot for a former classmate of mine going out and making such a great name for herself. Amanda was delivering doughnuts to our doorsteps before UberEATS ever was. She has taken over Oakland with her huge and filling doughnuts that are insanely good because Amanda knows her dough. She left a comfortable and stable corporate job to become her own boss and showed us all we can do the same when we have the talent to back it up. In a city filled with donut competition Amanda couldn’t be a more collaborative and helpful female business owner to her peers. Follow her @dgdoughnuts.
Coffee slayer + Daughter + Co owner: Ariana Hoyo
Downtown Windermere needed a cute family owned coffee shop. Thankfully, Ariana and her family filled that void last year with Paloma Coffee. Beyond the good coffee and freshly made pastries, it's a warm and inviting atmosphere all residents can enjoy. Follow them on Instagram @palomacoffeeco.
Teacher + Doughnut Maker + Co-Owner: Jennifer Dempsey
If you live in Mt. Dora, chances are high that you have visited Joy Donuts early in the morning on your relaxing weekend to grab a box of freshly made donuts. Their adorably bright, retro food trailer cannot be missed if you drive by the corner of Hwy 441 and Wolf Branch Road. I woke up one Sunday, bright and early and made the 40-minute drive to see what all the fuss was about and was greeted by friendly locals all waiting in line before eight in the morning. Most locals do pre-orders to ensure aren't turned away so plan before you go. Follow them @joydonutsllc.
Doughnut slinger + Mama + New brick & mortar business owner + Co owner: Alyse Perfetto
Alyse and her husband Mike had the idea of a doughnut truck to serve the local community and the community responded with open arms. Their made-to-order concept that allowed us to enjoy a variety of toppings on warm cake doughnuts was received so well that they are working on a brick and mortar space in Winter Park. Whenever you see the Little Blue Donut Truck coming, you know locally made hot donuts await you, so get ready. Follow them on Instagram for updates on their new space @littlebluedonutco.
Self-taught Chef + Owner: Chelsie Savage
Even the most carnivorous of us has contemplated a life of veganism after dining at Chelsie's all vegan restaurant. The Santum quickly became a staple for anyone who simply wanted a healthy and filling meal that tasted good and she has not failed in providing that to Orlando. I have a hard time pulling myself away from her Caesar salad bowl and a tumeric latte, but every meal I've had from her restaurant has been filling and guilt-free. Follow along @thesanctumcafe.
Provider of good quality food + mama to Fitz + Co-Owner: Brittany Lyne
Bringing locally sourced, healthy, good tasting food has been a passion for Brittany, but it hasn't been without it's trials. She works tirelessly with her husband Patrick to continue to find ways to get good food to her community both through her space inside the East End Market and through local delivery services. As a new mama she is learning the balance of the business and being there for her little one. Personally, I love this lady a lot because she is all heart. Follow their journey on @farmandhausorlando.
Cheerleader of all girl gangs + cocktail hostess extrodinare + Co-Owner: Ashley McCammon Dishman
One of the prettiest and coziest bars in Orlando (see the Porch Therapy effect) with a great happy hour, great bartenders and a feeling of community. Ashley loves to collaborate with other local ladies by letting them pop-up in her space which helps foster a sense of true comradery. I can't wait to see what she does with the new expansion space next door! We owe a lot of cool places to her in Orlando, both past and present. Follow along her journey @the_guesthouse.
Chef + Matcha Queen + Co-Owner: Jennifer Bañagale
The kitchen is not always the easiest place for a female Chef to be, but Jen brings her expertise to the trio that owns Kadence in Audubon Park. She won me over with her amazing desserts and matcha, but to watch her work behind the counter of Kadence is such an inspiring treat. Follow along with her, Mark and Lo @kadenceorlando.
Ice Cream Queen + Overall wonderful human + Co-Owner: Jocelyn Stewart
To know Jocelyn is to love her. She just radiates happiness and truth. Along with husband Levi, they are making some of the best ice cream in Florida, all delivered from their bright and happy yellow truck. To all the people of Deland, if you aren't going to see them at the Farmer's Market on Friday nights you are missing out. They don't travel to Orlando quite as often anymore, but if anything is worth the trip, it would be them. Follow their ice cream trail on @midnightsunic.
Rangler of restaurant staff + Curator of the most desired interiors in town + Co-Owner: Sue Chin
Sue Chin is doing the job of 4 people all on her own. Mad Respect. Along with her husband Jason, she is handling the day-to-day at Reyes Mezcaleria, Seito Sushi, and the Osprey Tavern all while having a design business on the side. Sue personifies hospitality and you can't help but want to hug her multiple times when you see her. Follow any of her restaurants in Orlando for food or design goals. She does it all. @reyesmezcaleria @seitobp @the_osprey_tavern
Chef + Far too impressive for me to dare speak with + Co-Owner: Kathleen Blake
I won't pretend that I've ever had the pleasure of getting to know Kathleen Blake, who has many accolades under her apron, including being a James Beard Award Nominee. All I can truly say is that for any young women aspiring to grow in the culinary field, you would do well to visit her restaurant. Every meal I've had here has been divine. Follow the food @rustyspoon.
Balanced healthy food pusher + Soon to be first time mama + Co owner: Katie Bush
I love Kate because she is so balanced in her lifestyle. She's educated herself about how to eat clean and provide that to her community, but she's never haughty or judgmental about it. She is serving healthy food fresh from the Press'd Juice Bar in the Plant Street Market as well as the newer Press'd Kitchen where pre-made healthy meals can be picked up. She keeps us craving real ingredients and makes it look good. Kate joined the new mama club as of YESTERDAY so show her some love and support her business! Follow along on Instagram at @pressdjuicebar.
Mama + Hostess + Lady of the bar + Co Owner: Erica Abalos-Hernandez
If you've spent any time in Audubon Park you've most likely seen this smiling face. Erica and her husband own the popular Redlight Redlight beer parlor and brewery, but she's helped make it a place that women feel like they can enjoy without the presence of a cocktail menu. For instance, she let me host a Gilmore Girls trivia there! She's taken our favorite fictional day, Galentine's and made it a huge community gathering of ladies supporting ladies. She's a gem and you should hug her next time you see her. Follow the festivities she hosts by following on Instagram @redlightredlight.
Food truck veteran + Chef + Co Owner: Jennifer Tamayo
If you frequent food truck events, you've probably seen the Tamale Co. truck somewhere in Orlando over the past few years. This year, Jennifer and her crew added a brick and mortar space to continue to spread tamale goodness to the masses. As someone who never really loved tamales, I can honestly say that her recipe made me view them differently, and now I absolutely crave them. If you haven't tried them yet, follow along @tamale_co.
Artisanal Mylk Maker + Plant-Based Chef + Owner: Ashley Bland
If you listen to your body you'll hear that this is what it's craving. Everything Ashley makes is gluten free, vegan, kosher parve, non GMO, dairy free, and soy free. She's battled several setbacks professionally but that hasn't stopped her from getting out in her community and charging forward to achieve her business goals. Visit her at the Winter Garden or Downtown Farmers Market as well as other small businesses that carry her items and support her. If you haven't had one of her amazing mylks get one soon and you'll forget all about things that go Moo. Follow her pop-ups @sweetutopian.
Modern General Store + Coffee Shop + Owner: Tracy Liffey
Come for the coffee stay for the Kinfolk vibes. All the items sold in New General have been hand selected by different ethical makers all over. In addition to shopping, this is a great space to meet up, sit a spell, enjoy a coffee or something off their bites menu. Tracy is also known for embracing the community and hosting pop-ups showcasing local makers, often other ladies doing their thing! Follow along @newgeneralstore.
Taco Queen + Modern Day Peggy Olson + Co Owner: Juliana Calloway
While her husband John is the culinary master behind Black Rooster, Juliana is very much involved in the business while she holds down her own job as a Director of Accounts for a local ad agency. Add mama to her resume, and she is juggling many hats while standing out in a city in the midst of a full taco overload. You can follow her many adventures on Instagram @julianacalloway.
Baker + Co-Owner: Stacey Simon Tomljenovich
I remember being worried when P is for Pie changed owners but I quickly realized I had nothing to fear with Stacey and her husband Ed at the helm. Their baked goods are as sweet as they are, and I'm always in love with the interesting combinations they come up with. I'd visit more if I wasn't afraid of having to purchase all new pants. Drool over their goods @pisforpiebakeshop.
Baker of the gods + take no prisoners Canadian warrior + Owner: Celine Duvoisin
What can I say about my friend Celine that you wont' already know from her honesty and raw charisma. She fights to give her employees more perks and benefits than most, she is loyal and cunning, she suffers no fools, she can probably bench-press you, and she will not be denied. Beyond that, she makes the best vegan treats in Orlando that are endlessly imitated but never duplicated. Follow her fun account @valkyriedoughnuts.
Cubana + Mama + Saucy lady in more ways than one + Owner: Barbara Lezcano
After two decades in the corporate world Barbara knew that her heart wasn't in it. She wasn't fulfilled and she wanted to show her daughter what true independence looked like. Wanting to share a sauce recipe that had been in the family for generations she went to her father with the idea who said it couldn't be done, the recipe would never be as good as the original. Following her heart she spent two years, while still working full-time, developing the recipe to get it just right. Now the sauces from her Cuban heritage are available all over Florida. Follow her @sweetbabssauces.
Designer + Heirloom Siren + Shop Owner: Ansley Schrimsher
There is much more than what meets the eye when you meet Ansley, owner of Dora Mae. The shop is charming and full of inspiration surely from influences of Ansley's grandmother who the shop is named after. She has impeccable taste, an eye for design and detail that allows her to create both original pieces and treasured heirlooms. She redesigns them and crafts them into modern pieces at the wishes of her clientele. She could probably win an arm wrestle with any guy right after dazzling them with a mini concert as she effortlessly plays the piano. The lady does it all, and with genuine southern hospitality, not the fake stuff. Follow her designs and bits of life @doramaejewelry.
Shop Owner + Mama to one of the cutest lil babes ever + Owner: Chelsea Wolf
A resale shop that's easy to navigate, organized, clean, and always has a great selection of affordable gently used items is why the mall is just no longer necessary. Chelsea has one of the cutest lil nuggets I've ever seen who she is raising in the midst of the chaos that is a resale shop filled with kids who may or may not leave the dressing rooms a mess after posting selfies on the gram. I don't miss the retail life, and my heart goes out to those living in it every day. Follow what's new @avalonexchangeflorida.
Brooklyn boss + Minimal fashion seller + Owner: Breanne DiDomenico
The first location Breanne opened was in Brooklyn, but thankfully she graces us with some cool threads here in Ivanhoe Village. While the selection may not be quite as bounteous as other shops, she keeps some great sleek, minimalist pieces ready for those who want more staples and less fast disposable fashion; not to mention great accessories. If you like to keep your wardrobe relatively neutral she has lots of earthy solids, classic denim, and all black everything looks. If you are looking for cool threads and local goods follow her @horizonsorlando.
Vintage Shop Owner: Brandy Tezak
There is no window shopping here because it's impossible to leave empty handed as Brandy sources some of the most gorgeous vintage pieces you'll find in Orlando. Last year she moved to the Mills 50 District and now has beautiful bright window displays that lure us in to shop her hand picked vintage for both men and women. Beyond shopping she involves the community with workshops and fashion shows, and tells us clearly, there are no rules to fashion. Wear what you want. Follow her threads at @retromended.
Vintage Shop + Time Machine to the best decades Owner: Brittany DeGeus
Some places just make you feel cooler when you walk in. That happens every time I walk in this paradise of days past. Getting half of my closet sourced from her shop is life goals. Beyond moving her business from a more industrial part of East Orlando to the cozy neighborhood of Audubon Park, Brittany embraces other ladies in the community by letting them host workshops in her space and always being a gracious store owner and friend to all those who shop in her store. Don't bother shoplifting in her store because there are cameras and the city is always watching. Also, her husband took a pair of my jeans and expertly cut them into my favorite pair of shorts, a skill I covet and will always be grateful for. They are simply the best. Follow her @the_owls_attic.
Former Texan + Boho beauty + Owner: Kelly Cubik
If you haven't ever visited Blue Bonnet in Ivanhoe Village (ahem it's been here four years), you may want to familiarize with this shop because exciting things are happening. Breaking from the traditional selling of consignment clothing and accessories, Kelly has decided to turn her space into more of a community hub for workshops. She already has hosted events for succulent arrangements, dream-catchers, and brass geometric air plant holders with more crafty activities coming. She doesn't want to workshops to feel too exclusive so her plan is to leave spots open for a few walk-ins in addition to selling advanced tickets. Keep tabs on all her updates @bluebonnetorlando.
Vintage curator + Owner: Kimberly Hellstrom
The Lovely, which is located in Audubon Park is a mixture of locally made goods and vintage that is collected by different vendors. There is so much to see in each nook and cranny from clothing to books to housewares to locally made goods. Check her out @thelovelycollection.
Gift Shop + Stationary Designers + Event Planners + Owners: Megan & Cedar Watson
Bringing the art of snail mail back one card at a time this shop has more eye candy than you can handle. The perfect spot for gifts, a night out at one of their workshops, or where you can let someone else expertly plan your big day. You can also book their event space for intimate gatherings that is perfect for small showers or parties and minimal decor is needed. Follow these artsy ladies @papergoatpost.
Orlando Vintage Royalty + Mama + Owner: Lisa Smith
Lisa has been curating vintage in Orlando since 1995, and her expertise has allowed her to have a reach well beyond our community. Her pieces have been featured in several films (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Lovely Bones) television shows (Mad Men, Halt & Catch Fire), and theatrical releases. You can shop the vintage in her beautiful space off Formosa in College Park, sip a coffee, and hopefully soon attend events held on her charming back patio. Follow her looks @orlandovintage.
Makers of clean body products + Co-organizers of the College Park Farmers Market + Truth Tellers + Owners: Natasha Byrd-Gaylon & Jennifer Peets
No one keeps it as real as these two when it comes to keeping the funk away during our Florida heat waves with their beautiful handmade soaps and beauty products. Natasha is the woman behind each handmade product that is made in their College Park shop, and Jennifer handles clients and the business side of things. Together they have what all partners in business would desire, a true loyal bond with each other, where not even the business is as important as their sisterhood. Bonus: Once you meet them you'll fall in love and never stop laughing. Visit their shop and follow them @nakedbarsoapco.
Owner: Robin Michaels
Deja Vu's old location in Ivanhoe Village was one of my first go-to spots to explore many years ago and we can credit that strip of retail now there to her! She's been in business over 30 years giving Orlando all things vintage and thankfully her newer location off of Mills has so much more room to navigate through the racks of treasures. While most people might use the extensive collection that Robin keeps for vintage for costumes or themed parties, she has amazing everyday wear items including gorgeous vintage dresses. Don't let this be a spot you visit once a year for the inevitable roaring 20's shindig someone will throw.
Soy based Candle Makers + Southern Sirens + Owners: Leah Thompson & Liz Jennings
If you haven't visited them in the Plant Street Market you may not know about Collective Kindness. It's a mother and daughter local business that is bringing something new to Oakland residents in 2018. The Collective Kindness Home will be a new venture in what is said to be the oldest home in Orange County, built in 1860. They will feature different themed rooms with local vendors, from home decor, gifts, stationary, bath and body products, along with their own candle library. They will also have space to host workshops and an in-house cafe. The house is sure to become a gathering place for those in the community and a destination for so many others. Follow along @collectivekindess
POP UP QUEENS
Jewelry designer + Mama + Wearer of all pink everything + Owner: Samantha Redding
The mobile trailer that Sam created really set her apart over the past year with local ladies. It gave them more than the ability to just click a purchase button and get a piece they loved in the mail, but it created an experience to visit her trailer, take photos, meet her, and shop. From a strictly business perspective it was a solid call because it fostered brand loyalty, allowed her to connect with her customers, and she was able to curate events all around people purchasing her goods. Call it hippie or gypsy chic, I call it the correct way to be doing business in 2018. Follow Sam and her glittery goods @gypsetco.
Art Director + Designer + Jewelry Maker + Mama + Owner: Alexandra Nieto
After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Alexandra eventually decided to pursue jewelry design and production. Don't be fooled by the minimalist look to her pieces, they can take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours to complete as each piece is handcarved. She sells directly to consumers on her website, but she's also been carried by Rifle Paper Co. Look out for a new collection from her later this year. Follow her on Instagram @sommijewerly
Stylist + Vintage Wrangler + Owner: Idenise Rodriguez
By day, Idenise is a stylist, but she loves finding vintage pieces and prides herself on amassing great items she can sell at pop-ups while educating people on sustainable, ethical fashion and what real vintage is. Her feed is filled with stunning local models, wearing her curated pieces that inspire beyond the same ol' Forever 21 and Zara shots we've all started to feel bleed together with little originality. She's currently working on more pop-ups but she does sell pieces through her Instgram so make sure to follow her @worthyragsco. Photo courtesy Worthy Rags.
Licensed esthetician + Make-up artist + Restorer of vintage campers + Owner: Stephanie Hunihan
Because getting ready in a hotel room isn't always ideal for pictures. Stephanie restored this 1962 camper into a mobile make-up parlor that is perfect for events, especially weddings. Her beauty services go beyond just makeup, she offers services for lashes, brows, and spray tans. Stephanie travels bringing her talent to ladies all over who will have her. Check out her camper around @thesouthernglamper.
Artist + Owner: Betsy Garcia
It takes a lot of courage to switch career goals from becoming a doctor and pursue something as fickle as illustrations and paper goods. That didn't stop Betsy from moving forward and creating an entire line of art prints, greeting cards, and desk accessories. I love her use of color and whimsical imagery, and for someone who loves to travel, she has a collection of city prints you will want to collect as you wander. She modestly never mentions that cities and wildly popular businesses have commissioned her for her work. I love a modest hustler. Follow her @bloomwolfstudio.
Sweet Confection Makers + Owners Julie + Jean Summers
Julie doesn't have your typical background for someone who is currently in the kitchen weekly making soft and gooey treats. She is a history major who spent time in Korea teaching English. It was there that she met her partner, now wife, and then came back home and decided she wanted to pursue something that had always interested her, perhaps one of our oldest candies, the marshmallow. The two of them now run the business bringing sticky treats to the masses at local farmers markets. This year they plan on launching their mobile trailer that will make serving up their treats free of corn syrup, dyes, and artificial flavors even sweeter. Stay in the loop by following them @sugarrushmarshmallows.
Little Byrd Candle Co
9 to 5 + Candle Maker + Mama + Owner: Nadia Byrd
Like so many of us Nadia is juggling a 9 to 5 office job, family life, motherhood, and then adding a creative side project to her plate. She began making candles as a way to provide additional income for her family, and she has been working with soy and coconut candles that have a clean burn. The name Little Byrd is a way to carry on the family name since and she is the youngest of the Byrd family. I personally had to stop using most candles due to the chemicals, but I tried her lotion candle at home and absolutely love the light and clean scent. You can find her candles at Naked Bar Soap Co. or you can meet her on Sundays when she pops up at the College Park Farmers Market. Follow her @littlebyrdcandleco.
Non-toxic beauty maker + Single mama grindin + Owner: Amanda Nieves
Whether you are a loyal user of MAC, Fenty or Cover Girl, you should know that there is a local mama here in town that is doing big things in the makeup world. Amanda created her own line of cruelty free, vegan, beauty products right here in our backyard. She has been featured in Glamour, Vogue, House of Coco, and by several beauty and lifestyle bloggers. Her mantra is that of a minimal beautification process that leaves you feeling good not only about how you look but the products you support. Personally, I haven't used another mascara since I've used hers. Follow her @illumabeauty.
Macrame Artist + Cozy knit maker + Mama + Owner: Sara Stofferahn
It's not easy to reset your life after parts of it come crashing down. That's exactly what Sara has done all while slinging macrame and bringing it to the forefront of her journey by hosting workshops in Orlando, showing others the joy of creating with their hands. She is the mamma of two sweet little independent ladies in training that keep her busy in-between building her business and working with other local creative businesses in town. Follow her @findyourfiber.
Jewelry Designer + Mama to twins + Owner: Christina Brownell
Known for the earthiness of her jewelry, Christina utilizes traditional metal-smith techniques into her pieces incorporating sterling silver & 14k gold fill, semi-precious stones, rocks and gemstones. One of my favorite pieces she makes is a turquoise hexagon ring and you will rarely see me without it on. You can find her pieces on Etsy or inside of Gypset's mobile trailer. Follow her @rockhaus_metals.
Jewelry Designer + Cat Mama + Daughter of Artists + Owner: Shannon
I got to meet Shannon recently at Galentine's and I loved her vibe and more importantly her jewelry. She spent time at the Parsons School for Design before she moved to Florida and started her own jewelry line named after her cat Lou. I really love her designs because they don't remind me of anyone else's work that I've seen lately. Her designs are inspired by nature, mathematics, and of course her feline friends. Her pieces are light, never weighing down the body with heavy adornment. Follow her designs @myloujewels.
Photographer + Shirt Designer + Lover of Color + Owner: Liv Jonse
While Orlando Shirts started as an extension of a family business, the idea came from Liv's creative juices. By creating designs and collaborating with local artists Liv was able to rally the community around wearing their city pride, supporting a local, female-owned business, and keep Orlandoans looking good. On top of the business, she is a local photographer that has showcased her work in local galleries and been published in the Orlando Weekly. She rocks a mini bun like no one else I know, and she is definitely one of my favorite ladies who epitomizes how fun and satisfying life can be when you walk to the beat of your own drum. Follow her @livvid or @orlandoshirts.
Woodworker + Real life Ron Swanson but better + Empower-er of young girls + Owner April Rivero
April grew up with close family friends that owned a furniture shop, and she had access to playing with power tools and learning from skilled craftsmen that eventually set her down the same path to create with her hands. Today, she is a builder of things for local businesses from cash wraps to cabinetry. She spends time at her children's school showing young girls that they can use a hammer to build things just like the boys and she said when their eyes light up, "that's what it's all about". Follow her skills @thewonderwellco.
Photographer + Editor + Taco Bell Ride or Die Homie + Co-Owner: Josie Hubert
In a sea of photographers I gravitate to the ones that are down-to-earth, honest, and have a great creative eye. Josie owns Fox + Film along with her husband Alex, and the two of them are mature and professional beyond their years. I personally love that I often find originality in their work which is a true sign of not mimicking what is popular online and being true to your artistic expressions. Josie is also always down for a Taco Bell photo shoot which makes me love her the most. Follow them @foxandfilmphoto. Photo courtesy Fox + Film.
Stylist + Boss + Owner: Corinne Gammichia
Orlando is filled with female-owned hair salons that all deserve love, but Alchemy has been my home for quite some time. Corrine is the owner behind the salon that repetitively wins awards touting it as the best salon in Orlando. You can see the education that goes into their process with new apprenticeships and lessons on Monday's led by their most seasoned stylists. Soon they will be moving into a new space and I for one cannot wait to see what they do with it. Follow the hair trends @alchemyorlando.
Artist + Sculpter + Owner: Jenn Brenner
I met Jenn briefly at the last Grandma Bazaar in Audubon Park and I rushed to find her table after a friend showed me some earrings she had purchased in the shape of hands. Very different, very cool. The intricate jewelry she hand-makes is porcelain and inspired by fairytales and Victorian ephemera. She is also an artist creating things by carving or sculpting by hand, while other pieces are created using handmade molds of antique buttons, vintage stampings, plastic figurines. Jenn, I only met you for a moment, but I thought your work was pretty rad.
Photographer + Winged Eyeliner Pro + Owners: Madison Hope + Natalee Kennedy
If you are looking for high end, editorial imagery Madison will give you what you are looking for and her partner Natalee will handle all the details. Her bridal photography is often edgy and crisp and full of stunning white imagery. These ladies have only really just begun what I know will continue to flourish into a serious photography biz that will take them all over. Follow them @mhpandco.
Artist + Designer + Pattern Maker + Owner: Jessa Bray
Jessa is a talented artist that has been in demand in our community for her skill set, but remains humble. She knows her worth but also her limits, and she doesn't get caught up in the life portrayed by so many through social media. She has designed logos for businesses all over Orlando, worked on branding for other small businesses, and added charm to the walls (and stairs) of several female owned businesses. She just landed a full-time gig with Emily Ley, so her freelance life may take a back seat for now, but follow her for inspiration on Instagram @jessabrayy.
Artist + Queen of Nails + Business Owner: Ashley Morillo
I've never been one to get my nails done on a regular basis, ever. This past year that changed when I met Ashley, owner of Nail Alchemy. Now she is the only person I trust to take care of my natural nails and she is never stumped no matter what designs her clients bring her. For example, she put Oprah on my nail, no questioned asked. Ashley felt the need to own her own business after the beauty world proved to have no solid female mentors or owners to work under, and she was feeling discouraged and uninspired. She took matters into her own hands and opened her own business just a few months ago. Take a look at her handy work on Instagram @nail_alchemy.
Floral arranger + Mood setter + Owner: Stephanie Forshee
Stephanie is such a delightful human, it makes perfect sense that her dream is to own a coffee shop that also sells flowers. She makes truly stunning arragements for weddings and elopements, but you can also find her arrangements around town in Audubon Park and brightening up Buttermilk Bakery. When she isn't busy dealing with floral buds around the city she is also a hair stylist and mama. Check out her talent on Instagram @littlewildbloom.
Botanical Designer + Pinterest Worthy Space Maker + Owner: Jennifer Crotty
Most plant-loving ladies in Orlando are well aware of the space that Jennifer owns in the East End Market filled with greenery and home decor, but her style is woven all over the city. Businesses like The Guesthouse, Black Bean Deli, and Domu have all hired her to give their spaces the much desired organic green thumb touch. The work that has gone into Porch Therapy did not sprout overnight, but now locals are seeing the benefits of her hard work as we see branches of her business flourish all over Orlando. Next up Is her project called "The Heavy", a highly curated space in the old Lombardi’s seafood space. Locals will be watching and waiting to see what is next. Follow the greenery @porchtherapy.
Artist + Blogger + One Tough Lady + Owner: Elizabeth Kraft
Elizabeth began making cards years ago after a trip to San Diego. She had found a gift for her cousin and instead of sending it off on its own, she decided to make a handmade card to accompany it. Her art and the special touch of hand painting was loved by friends and family which grew into a small business. The name is an homage to her grandmother, who Elizabeth says was always a "bright light" in her life, and who also created her own handmade cards. In addition to her side business she now has a new blog called Nourish to Eat that focuses around health, happiness, and balance after suffering some traumatic times in her life. She's a tough cookie and I give her a lot of credit. Follow either of her journeys @brightlightpaper or @nourishtoeat.
Oh and then lastly there is me! After the final straw in a poorly managed corporate environment I ditched the over 40-hour work weeks, sexist CEO's, toxic chaos, and have been working as a one woman marketing + creative business for clients big and small. That's partly how I've gotten to meet so many amazing women and it's allowed me to have a job where I call the shots and focus on the sweet spots of my skill set instead of trying to be everything to everyone. I'm still able to learn new skills (like video) because learning never stops unless you allow yourself to get complacent and lazy.
All photos above are mine unless otherwise credited, and I implore you to support local businesses and local women in any capacity that you can, and PAY THEM FOR THEIR SERVICES.