The Funemployed: Patrice Banks

DCF: Who Are You?
I’m Patrice Banks, Founder, CEO and head #sheCANic at Girls Auto Clinic!

DCF: For those of you who haven’t heard of this mecca, here’s some more info!!

Girls Auto Clinic (GAC) is a woman owned and operated business that caters to women. GAC offers automotive buying and repair resources, products, and services based on trust, education, inclusion, and empowerment.

It’s no secret most women hate their automotive buying and repair experiences because we feel misunderstood, taken advantage of, and/or mistreated. To make things worse, the automotive industry has not done much to ease concerns, anxiety, and fear despite the fact more than half their customers are women and spend $200 Billion (with a B) a year on buying and repairing their cars.

Patrice was once one of these women. A self-proclaimed “auto airhead,” Patrice created a business model that supports a need in the lives of millions. Girls Auto Clinic offers:
Automotive repair services
Educational resources in person and online through
Car Care Workshops
GAC blog
Facebook #sheCANic community

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DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
PB: I get to do what I love which is help people. Everything I create is for the purpose of educating and empowering women.  It’s empowering to me and fun. I want to create a place where I want to be a customer and I want to work. (DCF: I wish all businesses thought this way, I would never work somewhere that I did not want to be a customer).

DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
PB: I have had many mentors. You can find a mentor in almost anyone. It was probably a teacher or coach. I don’t really remember my first. If I was going to survive growing up where I was, I needed to find help or mentors. Look for those that are you doing what you want to do, and ask them how you can help them. (DCF: Notice she said ask them how YOU can help THEM, go make yourself useful and that will be returned, don’t go looking for what you can get first)

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DCF: What’s your happy place?
PB: The beach! =) (DCF: Mine too girl, I love the water!)

DCF: Where do you get your energy?
PB: Knowing that what I do is needed and I have a responsibility to work. True joy comes from working contribution. The gym, meditation, talking to a mentor, taking a nap.

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DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
PB: I live by balance since I’m a Libra, but balance is never being too much of anything. Too much of a good thing can be bad too. Our strengths unbalanced are weakness. I find balance by doing the things from question 4.

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
PB: Everything. You will sacrifice all you time, money, blood, sweat, tears, friends, and possibly family. But if you survive, you win. You’ll look back and realize the journey is worth the reward. You will gain greater things for the things you have lost.

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DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
PB: People don’t take you seriously because you don’t look like them or talk like them. They don’t think you are good enough because you are different. There isn’t much women led support.

DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
PB: Be yourself. People who matter don’t mind. People who mind don’t matter.

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DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
PB: I don’t have failures. Only learnings. I fail everyday. I welcome failures. So I don’t see them as great at all, I see them as necessary. Take the fear out of failure. Take the stigma out of failure. (DCF: YASSSSSS this is exactly why I ask this question.  Failure is great, failure makes us, there would be no success without failure!)

DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
PB: Writing my published book, The Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide (which you can order now on Amazon!!) . It is amazing and every woman driver should own it!

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DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?
PB: My book came out September 19th (hot off the press) and we are doing a book tour on the east coast, performing Girls Auto Clinic car care workshops and book signings. (DCF: Fingers crossed for DC!!!!!)

I’m also available for public speaking.

Our full service auto repair center in Upper Darby, PA – that cates to women, hires female mechanics, and has a nail salon on site to get a mani/pedi while customers wait– is open and doing very well! (DCF: Because it is BRILLIANT!!)

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DCF: Let’s get Social Media!!
GirlsAutoClinic.com
instagram.com/girlsautoclinic
facebook.com/girlsautoclinic
twitter.com/girlsautoclinic
Women are also welcome to join our #sheCANic facebook group, where they can ask any questions they have and have them answered by female mechanics. facebook.com/groups/shecanics

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The Funemployed: Lauren Taylor

DCF: Who Are You?
Lauren Taylor, Founder + Director, Defend Yourself and Safe Bars. We teach skills for stopping harassment, abuse, and assault. Our promise to you: Take our classes and you’ll have more safety, more confidence, more freedom, more fun! For my bio, let’s just say I’m a teacher, resistor, advocate and warrior princess. I’m passionate about a world free of gender-based violence and people becoming their full selves. I love chocolate, justice, cats, and DC (not necessarily in that order).

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DCF:  Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
LT: When I took my first Empowerment Self-Defense class, I found it life-changing! With less fear, I could live more of the life I wanted and be more myself. What I love about teaching with Defend Yourself is offering that opportunity to our students, and witnessing their transformations. I also love being invited into so many communities, connecting with so many people from all walks of life.

DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
LT: My primary mentors have been my students, who are creative and energetic. I’m always learning from them. I also am supported by many, many activists trying to end gender-based violence and make the world a better place for everyone.

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DCF: What’s your happy place?
LT: Home, with cats. Or walking in Rock Creek Park. I love DC, my hometown (DCF: Me too!!). I’m also happy in the classroom! Even though we deal with difficult topics — sexual assault, harassment, abuse, stalking, etc. — we have fun! We laugh. I love connecting with my students, listening deeply, meeting them where they are, walking with them as they do their work.

DCF: Where do you get your energy?
LT: This is going to sound repetitive, but I really get my energy from my students! They face so much oppression — yet they energetically seek ways to empower themselves and transform the world.

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DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
LT: I’m not sure what the concept of balance really is. I meditate, I lie around with my cats, I work out, I walk in the park, I hang out with my friends. I try not to work ALL the time, but my work really is fun!

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
LT: Economic stability. Self-employed, mission-driven folks like me don’t have a regular paycheck, paid leave, access to group health insurance, a retirement fund. I don’t need a high standard of living, but I do wish I felt more secure. (DCF: Agreed, people doing great work should have access to more stability). 

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DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
LT: The struggles are not as a woman working to empower women (and others targeted for harassment, abuse, and assault) — it’s that our work is misunderstood. Many people think Empowerment Self-Defense requires you to be an athlete or a martial artist. Our programs are for EVERYONE. Or they think that martial artists or police can teach what we do. That’s not true. So much of what we teach is assertiveness and boundary-setting — being able to express what you want. It’s not just kicking and hitting. It’s really empowerment.

DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
LT: As an activist, I thought “business” was a dirty word. Now I wish I had learned more, because the tools and principles of business can help any kind of organization succeed.

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DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
LT: I’ve had hard times, but nothing I’d describe as “failure.” I learn, I change, I get up and keep working. (DCF: I believe the only failure is not trying – all other “failures” are just redirects which is why I ask this question, if we didn’t fail, we couldn’t succeed)

DCF:  What was your proudest moment to date?
LT: I love to watch my students grow, learn, and take charge of their lives! Some of them become Defend Yourself teachers, and I love watching them find their place in the classroom. I feel very warm and fuzzy when (former) students tell me how our workshops have changed their lives.

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DCF: What are you Currently Conquering? 
LT: Everything is growing super fast! Defend Yourself is busy, and bringing on more teachers to meet the demand. This is great news! Safe Bars, which teaches bystander intervention to bar staffs so they can step up when they see unwanted sexual aggression, is booming, both here in DC and around the country. I’m traveling a lot to conduct train-the-trainer workshops, so people in other cities can start their own Safe Bars programs. And with the rise in overt hate, we’ve been teaching a lot of Bystander Intervention, so people know what to do when they see someone being treated — or spoken about — badly. And now I’m writing a book about overcoming the internal barriers to standing up for ourselves! That’s what being passionate about your work will do!

Along with Stop Street Harassment, we also founded a National Street Harassment Hotline. It’s 24-7, English and Spanish, chat and phone, and of course it’s free. 855-897–5910 or https://goo.gl/ZcQAZC. I hope people will spread the word about it.
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DCF: Let’s get Social (Media)!!

facebook.org/defendyourself

facebook.org/safebarshq

@1defendyourself

www.defendyourself.org

www.safebars.org

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The Funemployed: Meredith Forte

DCF: Who Are You?
Meredith Forte
Frame Avenue Design
Picture Framer, Design Consultant, Artist, Creative, Photographer, Lady Boss, Rockstar Mom, MacGyver of anything crafty. DC born and raised.

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Photo by Yellow Whale Portraits

DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
MF: I love to create. Artwork has a way of telling stories… where you’ve traveled, your favorite things, special moments in time. (DCF: So true and so special!) I see walls as blank canvases and I love to make those stories come alive through art and framing.

DCF:  Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
MF: I don’t think I had one mentor in particular, but I have a squad of super women (and they know who they are) that I surround myself with who inspire & motivate me to always peruse my passion. I know they always have my back and I have theirs. I rely on their advice and insights whether good or bad.

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DCF: What’s your happy place?
MF: My happy place in in my framing studio, or on a client’s floor sifting through their artwork, creating amazing wall spaces.

DCF: Where do you get your energy?
MF: My two daughters. They always keep me on my toes and inspire me to keep going.

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DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
MF: I find my balance through daily workouts and designing beautiful spaces. I love that my job allows me the flexibility to do the things I love while still being able to pick up my kids from school and spend special time with them. (DCF: I love that balance means something different to each of us.)

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
MF: I sacrifice getting a regular paycheck. As a single mom supporting two kids money is always going to be an issue. But as my business grows, it becomes easier to pay my bills and live a life that I love. I have a roof over my head, shoes on my feet, food in our bellies, and for that I am grateful. (DCF: Gratitude is also so important for balance!)

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Photo by Yellow Whale Portraits

DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
MF: As a not only a woman, but a blonde woman I face a lot of struggles of being taken seriously. But I have learned to always be confident, assertive and never apologize.

DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
MF: Throughout the years, I have listened to a lot of advice, however I always trusted my gut and went with my instincts. You can’t go wrong when you stay true to who you are. Set goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them.

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DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
MF: My marriage. It taught me the true meaning of strength. I want my two daughters to see their mom as a strong independent woman so that when they grow up they will know that anything is possible with a lot of courage and hard work. My older daughter dreams to be president of the United States one day…end of story 🙂

DCF:  What was your proudest moment to date?
MF: My proudest moment was when I decided to move from a brick and mortar store to a studio space in my house. It was a HUGE risk, but one worth taking. I struggled for a while not having physical exposure, but it also allowed me to make personal connections with my clients and artists. I go to their homes, meet their families, see their style and create beautiful spaces that I would not otherwise be able to do being stuck in a store all day. (DCF: So important to build the business that works for you!)

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DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?
MF: Oh my! I am working on so many cool things right now, I don’t even know where to begin! On one of my latest projects, I had the opportunity to curate, design and frame all the artwork for a client’s condo. She trusted my keen sense of design and I must say, the condo looks ahhmazing! I also work with some of DCs great artists and have some super fun art shows coming up in the pipeline.

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DCF: Let’s Get Social (Media)!!

Here’s where you can find me…

www.frameavenuedesign.com

facebook.com/frameavenue

IG @framemastermer

Twitter: twitter.com/framemastermer

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The Funemployed: Charese John

DCF: So Who Are You?
Charese John, Revive Events & Catering, Co-Owner/Creative Director- Charese John is more than a “chef” and way beyond the title of “designer.” John is a creative force with plenty of innovation, vision, and talent. She can see the horizon and she knows how to build it. John has roots in the soil of Corporate Hospitality via Fortune 500 companies like Safeway and Dean & Deluca. Those roots grew stronger as co-owner of Revive Events & Catering, a boutique catering business in Washington, DC. In just the past six years, John and her team have designed more than 3,000 events including private dinners, corporate receptions, and weddings with 1,000+ guests.

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Above ground, Charese has also learned to own the sky—and knows no limits. While studying with celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, John mastered the art of international cuisine with a flair. Throughout this time she was gaining a deep understanding of the wants and the needs of the entire dining experience: the internal requirements of the host, the guests’ palettes, and the external environment to hold and enhance it all.

DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
CJ: When entertaining is your life-style… It does not feel like work at all! I love celebrating all of life’s special occasions! Its such a wonderful opportunity to meet people when they are celebrating the best times of their life’s! That makes my work “Funemployment”

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DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
CJ: I consider Marcus Samuelsson to be my most important role model as I have had many over the years. My first professional cooking experience came from his kitchen as he emphasized the importance of greatness in the details. Cooking daily in a 3 star fine dining restaurant, no detail ever went over looked! I still hear his words in my head over 15 year later. I believe it’s were my intensity for greatness was birth and nurtured.

DCF: What’s your happy place?
CJ: My happy place comes from with-in. When I am able to create, design & deliver a great experience with ease for my clients it confirms that this is what I am here to do! The joy I have is transferred to the work and the people I get an opportunity to meet!

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DCF: Where do you get your energy?
CJ: My energy comes from the desire to always provide an exceptional experience. Food & Design is always evolving and I love to stay on top to trends and industry movements! You must move to grow… Movement is my energy!CJ3

DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
CJ: When I look at my children, I am reminded of what my #1 job is! However, when your work is your lifestyle it carries over to the family and it was important to me to build my business around them! My boys get a front row seat to see how the magic happens and they love it! (sometimes lol). My baby boy age 7 is a foodie and my oldest son age 15 has a pallet for finer things in life because they have been apart of the journey!

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
CJ: My biggest sacrifice has been financial resources! In my first 2 two years, it was very important to me to insure that we always presented each event with a luxurious feel even if the budget didn’t allow. We wanted our work to speak for itself… and now it does! I am glad we never compromised that goal.

DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
CJ: I have not found that the Catering industry is woman driven these days… So instead of struggles I have found strength watching woman become very successful!

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DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
CJ: I would tell my younger self not to complain as much! I was told very early on that I would have to be better and work harder just to be in the room. There were very few woman chefs 18 years ago when I first starting cooking & entertaining for a living. It is a lot easier today but I am grateful for my road… IT made me who I am!

DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
CJ: I have been extremely blessed to not have an extreme failure but I have had many disappointments. The greatest of them all was the naive expectation that I would be able to start a luxury catering service in the Urban area of NE Washington DC without a big Brand behind me. I had to start over from scratch and by showing each new client what we were able to do. We did not look the part at the time but stayed true to what we knew.

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DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
CJ: My proudest moment to date was when we received a call to host the first visit of the new Nigerian President to the United States. This event was extremely challenging because we only had 2 days to put together and ensure the Ebony Life TV network that we were capable of executing such a prestigious event and had knowledge to do so. It was such an honor to work at the Nigerian embassy as the first Non-Nigerian caterer to host the president. #greatevents

DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?

CJ: I am super excited to be working on our First book (Fabulous Entertaining – all year long).

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Let’s Get Social (Media)!!

www.Revive-dc.com

IG – ReviveEventsDC

FB- Revive Events and Catering

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The Funemployed: Alexis Arenas

DCFunemployment: So… Who Are You?

Alexis Arenas, Owner and Lead Artist, The Beauty Expert Group. Over 18 years’ experience in Makeup and Hair styling specializing in Film, TV, Print, Male Grooming, and Events.

(DCF: Alexis was being modest so I went to her page and pulled some more tidbits about this rock star!)

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Alexis Arenas has more than 18 years experience working as a makeup artist and hair stylist in the United States and United Kingdom. A Venezuelan-American with a strict upbringing in the US and UK, Alexis became enamored of makeup as she was forbidden to wear any! Her lifelong love of David Bowie and his use of cosmetics to create unique and memorable characters further fueled her passion.

Alexis trained in Makeup and Hair Styling for Film, Television, and Stage at the renowned Greasepaint School in London, under Julia Cruttenden and her team of BBC trained artists. She studied Airbrush Makeup, Tattoo, and Birthmark coverage with Temptu Cosmetics in New York City. She is skilled in HD ready makeup for TV and Film, SFX, Beauty, and Events.

She has held leadership and artistry positions with MAC, Smashbox, Prescriptives, Trish McEvoy, Clinique, and Colorlab Cosmetics teaching men and women how to take care of their skin and bring out their best features with cosmetics. She also worked under the National Training Director of Clinique Cosmetics (UK) creating training programs for all Clinique counter staff in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

For Alexis’ full bio, check out her page!!

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DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployed?

AA: Being funemployed to me means being excited everyday for what lies ahead. It’s doing what I love, learning everyday, meeting new people, creating new work, chasing my dreams, and making (and achieving!) my goals. My path to funemployment was circuitous – I have been a makeup artist for 18 years – but there was an extended period that I had to relegate my dreams to a sideline to do for my family. After I finished my BA in History, I moved back to the UK to train as a Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist for Film, TV, and Stage at the incredible Greasepaint School. After I graduated I worked for major brands as a pro artist, traveling the UK and the USA on the Pro Artistry Teams, and later in Head Office for Clinique in the UK as an intern (during my MBA studies) working in training and education. After I completed my MBA I returned to the USA – where (in Baltimore) there were not the same opportunities available as there were in London. I decided to branch out and spent time in enterprise software and later hardware sales. The tech industry was incredible – but I always missed my true calling – BEAUTY – and working as a creative. With an incredibly supportive husband by my side, I finally quit my job and started my own company. In the first 6 months, I have had the incredible opportunity to work with heads of industry, celebrities, I have headed up makeup, hair, and special effects on two television shows, have appeared on TV as a beauty expert over 6 times, have been published, and now INTERVIEWED(!!) by you – probably the best year ever.

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DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?

AA: My husband. Hands down. When I am weak, he is strong, when I have doubt, he pushes me further. He is the best friend I have ever had and there is no way I could have made this the burgeoning success that it is without him. (DCF: A friend recently asked me what I was looking for and I said someone who makes me a better version of myself and it sounds like you have found just that!)

DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?

AA: My Father was from Venezuela, and he was extremely driven and organized. He and my Mother were entrepreneurs that through discipline, creativity, and hard work, created their own, unique empire. My parents always valued education and sent my sisters and I to excellent schools – and I ended up going to boarding school in England. My school was exceptional, but boarding schools in the UK in the 1990’s were still, ahem, rustic, by American standards. I was punished for pretty much everything, was cold 99.9% of the time, and made the best friends of my entire life. I have ended up spending over half of my life living, working, studying, and visiting the UK. It is my second home. Moving away from my family at 12 years old changed my life, having an entrepreneurial family showed me what was possible, being a global citizen shapes my ideas of what is possible. So, in short – everything I have done and experienced have brought me to where I am today – and although there have been (many) missteps – I would not change the path – I am exceptionally lucky – and really happy. (DCF: Sounds like you were blessed with the fruits of their hard work, and then your own so I believe we make our own luck!)

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DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?

AA: I love looking at other people’s work, speaking with people from all different walks of life, reading, music is a huge inspiration for me – David Bowie provided the soundtrack for my life. I am motivated by my goals and dreams – I need to make these things happen for so many reasons. My father passed away suddenly in 2009, right after I came back to the USA. I was pregnant with my first child and in a dead end marriage. My fathers’ death shone light on my life, and I knew everything had to change. I wish he could see what I have made of my life – it’s 180 degrees from where I was. It took a while – but I made it.

DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?

AA: Balance is not an ever fixed mark. I treat every day as a new set of goals to achieve: Kids to school, Work out, Network, Work, Spend time with my family, Walk my Dog, Organize something. There are days I excel at getting stuff done, and there are days that I am less successful at getting things done. My mantra is “Every Day is a New Day”. (DCF: This is SPOT ON!!)

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DCF: What did you have to sacrifice to get here?

AA: Entrepreneurship automatically denotes the sacrifice of security. The security of a JOB. Once you get past that, and you see the true commitment it takes, then you sacrifice time with your family, food (you wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I miss meals!), sleep (Oh, I miss sleep), activities I’d like to take part in, etc. I have had to turn down opportunities for other opportunities and just hoped I made the right choice. I sacrifice time with my friends – as if I have any time, it HAS to be spent with my family as I miss them. But at the end of the day – it is all worth it.

DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?

AA: I hope I am raising my children well, so that they contribute, and become good global citizens. I donate my time to other artists, I donate my expertise to people who want to learn about what I do and how to get into the industry. I have formally volunteered my time to organizations that help the homeless and cancer patients. I run races that support charities, and I have raised money and run races for organizations that are close to my heart. I try to give back. Every day I try.

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DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?

AA: I wish I hadn’t spent so much time trying to revive my first marriage. I wasted to much effort! I wish I had realized how strong I was and pushed myself harder earlier. At the same time – I wouldn’t change the path I have taken – I would not be where I am now.

DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?

AA: Ugh. I have failed so many times. “Bright Side”: I have tried so many times! You can’t fail if you don’t try! From my failures I have learned to step back and breathe – this will save you time and time again: bad relationship – stop being an emotional wreck, step back, breathe, reevaluate. Not happy with your job: step back, breathe, reevaluate. Unhappy client? You got it – step back and breathe. Also: LISTEN. (DCF: This answer is exactly why I ask this question!!)

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DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?

AA: I’m really proud that I am actively chasing my dreams and making my goals a reality. Some of the coolest moments over the past 6 months have included doing Tim Gunn‘s makeup and grooming for his incredible appearance on PBS News Hour, I’ve been working with incredible companies on a really wide variety of projects, and I have a huge super top secret launch that I can’t wait to be able to share! 2017 is looking exciting 🙂

DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?

AA: Right now I am finishing the season up for my 2nd TV show on Investigation Discovery, I’m booking into 2018 for bridal work (crazy, right?), I am in some very exciting behind the scenes talks for some Big Projects, and have work coming out in The Washington Post, a Hearst Publication (OMG) and lots of commercials – so TOOT TOOT, there goes my horn. 😉 xx

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DCF: Let’s Get Social (Media)!!

Website: TheBeautyExpertGroup.com

Instagram: AlexisArenasMakeupArtist

Facebook: thebeautyexpertgroup

 

 

 

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The Funemployed: Dani Sauter

So let’s start at the very beginning – Who Are You?
I am Dani Sauter, the content creator and blogger of Blonde in the District. BITD is a curated collection of my personal life interests, style picks, beauty faves, and travel diaries, all with an emphasis on confidence and supporting the local community. I live in Arlington, VA with my husband and cat, and my husband owns a small business in Old Town Alexandria. I work full time for a IT contractor supporting the government and blog as my side hustle, but I hope to transition to blogging full time in the future.

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DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
DS: I love blogging for a few reasons. The biggest reason is the creative outlet it gives me. I started my blog after leaving a depressing job that tied my hands of creativity. I needed something to inspire me, so I started BITD and it is the best decision I have ever made. I’m a big daydreamer, and thanks to my blog, it has given me the confidence to go after my personal goals and aspirations.

DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
DS:  Angelica Talan of Angelica in the City and Clarendon Moms. I still remember meeting her for the first time at a blogger event when I was a newbie blogger and we clicked. She was also one of the only people who talked to me at that event, and that event is what led me to create Bubbles & Bloggers as I felt like such an outsider there. Angelica is always giving me amazing advice, listening to my vision and letting me bounce ideas off her, and always says it like it is. She also genuinely wants to see me succeed, which can be rare for bloggers. I also look up to Alison Gary from Wardrobe Oxygen, who is another veteran blogger who is always sharing some of the best advice.

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DCF: What’s your happy place?
DS: My happy place is people watching with my husband and a glass of wine at the Cafe de Flore in Paris.

DCF:  Where do you get your energy?
DS: In a large cup of iced coffee….or champagne- depending on the time of day, while listening to my curated Kanye West playlist.

DCF:  What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
DS: Balance to me means not taking life so seriously. Its stopping to smell the roses every now and then and appreciating life. We sometimes get so consumed with work we forget the good things in life. I try to find my balance while taking walks, to free my mind and letting the surroundings inspire me.

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DCF:  What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
DS: Time. The time it takes to create content, to take pictures, brainstorm on content and collaboration, plan blogger events- it all takes A LOT of time. But I view it as time well spent building my brand and its worth it.

DCF:  What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
DS: Cattiness and being looked down upon by other women. Women so often view each other as competitors instead of as support systems, and I don’t agree with that at all.

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DCF:  What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
DS: About a year ago, Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen gave me some of the best blogging advice I’d heard- “Never compare yourself to any other blogger.” This is SO true, especially with blogging. Its taken me some time to realize that everyone has their own vibe and stride as a blogger- everyone is in a different place and has different goals, and that is ok! What works for one blogger may not work for you, and vice versa. It’s important to not set yourself in a standard. Know your voice, stick by it, and be proud of it.

DCF:  What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
DS: Doing free promotions for a brand. When I first started blogging, I would get SO excited whenever a brand reached out to me. Unfortunately, it took me some time before I realized that I was being taken advantage of and promoting someone elses product for little to nothing in return. I learned to never do work for free, and that my time is very valuable.

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DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
DS:  Being invited to NYFW this year. Attending NYFW has been a goal of mine ever since I was a young girl, so receiving invitations was a huge deal for me.

DCF:  Currently Conquering? 
DS: I recently relaunched my website so that was a big thing to conquer! My redesign is a breath of fresh air for me and I am loving the new vibe! I also have a number of collaborations with local DC brands and businesses coming up, in addition to planning some amazing events. I am also making strides to plan out upcoming Bubbles & Bloggers events to continue to make the blogging community more inclusive.

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Let’s Get Social (Media!!)

Website: www.blondeinthedistrict.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blondeinthedistrict/

Instagram: @blonde_inthedistrict

Twitter: @blonde_district

 

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The Funemployed: Sanura Williams

DCF: Who Are You?
My name is Sanura Williams and I am the owner and founder of My Lit Box, a monthly book subscription box committed to highlighting writers of color. (DCF: Which I subscribe to and love getting every month so join us!!)

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DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
SW: I love what I do because I’m a lifelong, avid reader (DCF: Me too, reading is life) and when I’m working on My Lit Box I feel extremely grateful to be able to focus my efforts and energy towards something I’m extremely passionate about.

DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
SW: I’ve been fortunate enough to have met amazing women in my lifetime who may not have been mentors but impacted me in ways beyond measure and most of them were teachers and professors I encountered during my academic career. But today my biggest supporters have been my sister and best friends who have been sounding boards and constant encouragement in those moments of self-doubt. (DCF: So important to have trusted advisers that can help you navigate!)

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DCF: What’s your happy place?
SW: My happy place is anywhere that’s quiet with a good book (DCF: because a good book can take you anywhere in the universe!) and Paris, France which is my favorite city. When I find myself in a quiet place with a good book IN Paris, that is heaven on earth!

DCF: Where do you get your energy?
SW: I get my energy from (1) taking the time to myself and recharging. I am a big advocate of self-care and I always make time for it and (2) from witnessing the successes of other Black women. Owning a business can be challenging. You’ll face obstacles that will have you question if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. But then I see a woman just like me making it happen and I clear those obstacles out the way and get back to work. (DCF: You sounds like my soul sister!! I really believe in both of those things as well.  We cannot help others if we do not care for ourselves first and I LOVE seeing other black women win, it reinforces my belief that we can all win!!)

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DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
SW: Balance to me is the ability to address everything that requires my attention without shortchanging anyone or anything and this is something I’m still working on. But something I’ve found to be key in finding balance is establishing boundaries and not only sticking to them myself but making sure others adhere to them as well. (DCF: Boundaries are so important and I wish we did better about teaching people about creating and respecting them, it would help us ALL.)

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
SW: The biggest sacrifice I’ve had to make is giving up the things that I want to do for the things that I have to do. Passing on an invitation to Sunday brunch in order to design and schedule an email. Skipping an after work happy hour to come home and schedule social media content for the next day. Until I get to the point there I can expand my team, these are responsibilities that fall in my plate that I must tend to and because I believe in my business I will tend to them without a second thought.  (DCF: Been there and it’s tough but it also makes you appreciate the simple things and those times with friends when you do get them). 

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DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
SW: From my experiences so far, I can’t place my finger on any particular struggle I’ve faced within my industry that I would attribute to being a woman.

DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
SW: I wish I had taken seriously the importance of a network. I’m an introvert so I shied away from a lot of social interaction well into early adulthood and felt as if I would be okay without fostering relationships with others. As I stepped into the world entrepreneurship I began to realize that I missed out on golden opportunities and in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t used being an introvert as a crutch or an excuse for not establishing meaningful connections with others.

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DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
SW: This is a tough question to answer as I feel that I have yet to “fail” at something. (DCF: I like to believe the real failures are never trying not the occasional set backs that we all face in life.)

DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
SW: In all honestly, simply starting my business. It’s not a dollar figure or anything like that. It’s simply doing something I never saw myself doing in a million years. I never thought I’d be Sanura, the entrepreneur so I am very proud of that.

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DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?
SW: As My Lit Box is approaching its one-year anniversary this April, I am very proud of the community we’ve managed to build and I want to keep growing. On the 1st of every month, a new theme is announced and everyone is welcome to join. If you love books, look a surprise in the mail every month, and you have a desire to support writers of color, then My Lit Box is for you!

DCF: Let’s get Social (Media)!!
Website: www.mylitbox.com
Instagram: MyLitBox
Facebook: MyLitBox
Twitter: MyLitBox

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Posted in Art, Artist, Entrepreneur, GirlBoss, TheFunemployed | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Funemployed: Melissa Kullen

DCF: So, Who Are You?
Melissa Kullen, Zengo Cycle, Master Instructor

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DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
MK: I love that I make exercise fun – for everyone involved, myself included! I have taught a wide variety of group exercise formats over 23 years in the fitness arena, and Zengo is by far the most FUN! So many people search their entire lives for something they truly love, and then hope they may be fortunate enough to make a living out of it – that’s what I’ve found. Lucky me. (DCF: It’s always such a blessing to do what you love AND make a living off of it! #Goals)

DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
MK: Zengo founder, Marc Caputo truly helped me make the transition from “personal trainer” to “motivational coach.” The voice, the passion and purpose with which he first built Zengo Cycle has gifted me the ability to take the workout from a physical to a mental workout. That was a game changer. (DCF: Such a major difference that sounds subtle but powerful!)

DCF: What’s your happy place?
MK: It probably goes without saying that Zengo is my happy place. Or on the rare occasion that we are all home together, there’s no where I’d rather be than lounging at home on the couch with my kids, husband and dog. (DCF: Family gives it all meaning!)

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DCF: Where do you get your energy?
MK: Taking care of my body is a priority, and consistency is key. I have a healthy routine, I eat well, but never deny myself something little to satisfy my sweet tooth. These choices create a lifestyle and fuel the energy that support my craft. From there, simply walking through the door at Zengo gives me energy. Teaching gives me the space and time to recharge. There may or may not be additional hidden batteries tucked inside of me somewhere!

DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
MK: Balance, for me, means staying present. I live for the day; I can’t worry about the what ifs – because that can bring you down quickly. Of course, balancing the day to day stuff with 3 kids, a husband (my 4th kid) and a job is always challenging in giving enough attention to where it is needed. But again, it’s all about balance. One day, one task, one accomplishment at a time. Allow yourself room to slip, learn and grow.

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
MK: I have had to sacrifice giving time and energy to other interests of mine like refinishing furniture, crafting and sign language interpreting. (DCF: I want to learn sign!! Such a great skill)

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DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
MK: I consider myself fortunate to work in an industry filled with powerful women, so while I haven’t necessarily faced any personal struggles, I’d like to think that I’ve inspired others to believe in themselves and discover strength that has allowed her (or him!) to overcome some of their personal struggles.

DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
MK: I wish I had listened to the “be nice to your body” advice early on. I am sure all those years of high impact aerobics, step, and plyometrics will catch up to me at some point. Zengo just feels good – it provides me with a low-impact, yet super challenging exercise format. Oh yes and it’s fun. Did I mention that yet?

DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
MK: I don’t think of things as “failures” (DCF: Which is exactly why I ask this question!), and don’t typically use that word. Instead, life is all about experiences. You learn. You grow. You evolve. Everyone has a story. My story has moments and events that were big turning points; but I don’t define them as failures. It’s in those moments that you discover true strength. You never know how strong you are until you have to be.

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DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
MK: I am extremely proud of the woman I am today. Forty-three years old, mother of 3 awesome kids (ages 16, 14 and 5 – yes you read that right!), married for almost 20 years and have a kick ass job. Lucky me. (DCF: Sounds more like awesome design than luck!!)

DCF: Currently Conquering? 
MK: The past few years at Zengo Cycle have consisted of massive expansion projects. We now have five beautiful studios in the DMV area. So now is the time to focus on nurturing our communities and the amazing group of instructors. Our instructor training program is unparalleled, allowing us to provide our clients with an experience unlike any other. Zengo is an experience first, and a workout second. It’s about the connection, the community, the empowerment, and the love that Zengo breeds.

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Let’s Get Social (Media)!!

Website: Zengocycle.com (first class is FREE);

Instagram and Twitter – @zengocycle

Facebook: Zengo Cycle

Locations in Bethesda, Cathedral Commons, Logan Circle, Kentlands and the Mosaic District in NOVA.

 

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The Funemployed Gent: Diego Gonzalez-Zuniga

For Man Crush Monday, we are going to start doing some profiles of dope dudes in DC.  This will still be a girls club for the under represented, we’ll just mix in some men from time to time.  Except in March, cause that’s ours.

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DCFunemployment: So… Who Are You?
You can find Diego Gonzalez-Zuniga at the intersection of fashion and community – an accomplished retail professional turned neighborhood advocate and marketer, he spends what free time he has left documenting his (very stylish) love affair with the place he has called home for the past 5 years – Washington D.C.

His blog, Diego Downtown, launched earlier this year to fill what Diego thought was a void in the market – a place for men to find fashion and lifestyle inspiration that felt like the eclectic, curated and homegrown creative community that he lived in. Dedicated to spotlighting local boutiques and makers alongside national brands, Diego’s point of view is always about a sense of discovery and how people truly like to shop – high and low, at the mall and on Main Street. His hope is that one day D.C. will be known not only as a city with government and political influence, but also as one of notable style as well.

Named as one of the “Best Instagram Accounts to Follow” by Washingtonian magazine in 2016, Diego has also recently been featured by Complex Magazine, DC Refined, Made In The District and Fashionista Street Style. He is also regular contributor on several local television networks as a local style expert and is an active member of the DC chapter of The Fashion Group International, where he works to advocate for local brands, makers, and emerging designers.  Most recently named a Top 40 under 40 in the DMV by Washington Life Magazine.

DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployed?
DGZ: I’ve always had a strong interest in fashion and menswear. It started in high school working as a brand representative for a large trendy teen retailer and I eventually found myself working for several different iconic retail brands post-college. I was lucky enough to move up to the Washington, DC area with one of those brands when I took over as director of one of their stores in Bethesda, MD at Westfield Montgomery Mall.

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DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
DGZ: I wouldn’t necessarily say I had one specific mentor. My parents are my biggest fans and I’ve always been very independent as I was lucky enough to have a strong network of friends that supported and encouraged me throughout my professional career which eventually led me to launching my menswear and lifestyle blog a year ago.

DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
DGZ: I really think it has a lot to do with the people and culture you surround yourself with. They really help influence and shape the person you are or hope to become. The one key piece of advice I always share with anyone I meet is, work on what your passionate about and the rest will come. You will never achieve the best version of yourself doing something you don’t love or aren’t passionate about.

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DCF: Where do you get your energy?
DGZ: Lots and lots of coffee! I’m a huge night owl and find myself getting lost in my work sometimes. I get so caught up working on a blog post, writing e-mails or typing up a proposal that time sort of stands still when I’m not keeping close track of it. (DCF: As I edit this in the wee hours, I know exactly what you mean!). Time will only work against you if you let it.

DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
DGZ: This is honestly something I’m currently trying to work on the most right now. Maintaining a full-time job, a blog, and a personal life is not an easy task. My calendar is how I’m able to keep track of commitments, but also allows me to allocate time for my personal life. Having a personal life is very important. (DCF: Starting to realize I need to schedule my personal time lol!).  I always remind myself that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of the people closest to me.

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DCF: A meeting is cancelled and you now have an hour free, how do you spend it?
DGZ: I’ll usually pop into the La Colombe across the street or stumble upstairs to the WeWork to keep working away. Sometimes I’ll stop in to visit some of my favorite local boutiques that carry some of my favorite menswear items such as Federal DC, Redeem, and Whiskey Ginger too.

DCF: What struggles did you overcame to get where you are today?
DGZ: My biggest struggle was actually pushing my blog live. (DCF: YASSSSSS, the struggle is real!).  I got so caught up in the overall design, look, and feel, that I found myself hanging on to the small little details when I should’ve just launched and tweaked and edited as I went. I’ll always remind myself to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture when working on a project. Don’t get so bogged down by the details that you forget that life is a learning experience and an experiment.

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DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
DGZ: Rome wasn’t built in day and success doesn’t come overnight. In today’s digital and real world, you only see the finished product and not the story about how it got there and it’s conception. I love reading and learning about how different projects come to life. It’s the piece that interests me the most. But, again, products and experience take time to grow and aren’t necessarily going to be a success overnight. Be patient. Be persistent. Success will come.

DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
DGZ: My biggest failure is also my biggest weakness. I’m a “YES” man. In the middle of last year, I found myself saying “yes” to too projects and collaborations and in turn, my personal life suffered. I had to eventually learn and remind myself that it’s ok to say “No”. Your sanity isn’t worth compromising. It affects your creativity, energy, and motivation. It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance and learning to not say “yes” to every opportunity or request.

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DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
DGZ: Recently, I think my proudest moment was being featured on the #202Creates “We, the Creatives” website. It’s truly an honor to be recognized as a creative in the DC community. The District is such an amazing city with strong creative & cultural story to tell. I love living in a city where there are so many different kinds of storytellers sharing stories of success and struggles. It’s a close-knit community that grows stronger each day.

DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?
DGZ: There have been so many talented photographers that have reached out to me lately and I want the opportunity to work with all of them. To my previous point, the District is full of creative talent which includes photographers. In the coming months, I’m looking forward to launching a YouTube channel and hope to switch over from static content on my website to content that my followers can engage in! I’ll be hosting “live” video chats, Q&A’s, and other great ways to engage with my followers. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

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DCF: Let’s Get Social (Media)!!

Website: http://www.diegodowntown.com

Facebook: Diego Downtown

Twitter/Instagram: @diegodowntown

Snapchat: diego_downtown

Tumblr: Diego Downtown

Posted in Bloggers, Fashion, FunemployedMent, TheFunemployed | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Funemployed: Claudia Diamante & Andréa Vieira

DCFunemployment: So Who Are You?

Claudia Diamante, nailsaloon, co-founder
CD: I am an optimistic and self-motivated person who wants, essentially, two things in life: to continually challenge myself to be a better version of me, and to have a balanced life close to family and friends. I began my corporate career in Argentina, where I grew up, and eventually moved to the U.S. to get my master’s degree, after which I continued down the corporate path. But I was always intrigued by the idea of having my own business. Prior to nailsaloon, I started a line of leather handbags, but that didn’t turn into a long-term project. The combination of the right timing and identifying an exciting niche, gave Andréa and me the push we needed to act on our entrepreneurial spirit and create the nailsaloon!

Andréa Vieira, nailsaloon, co-founder
AV: I am driven by joy, really. Joy in spending quality time with friends and family, joy in pursuing life’s passions, joy in connecting with the world, joy in the small things… and every once in a while, the really big ones. I am from Brazil, but grew up bopping around nine cities (in four countries) before finally realizing that DC is my home. I chose journalism as my profession, probably because it aligns with what ultimately moves me: getting to know others, hearing their stories and sharing unique life experiences. After 20 years working in broadcast journalism and TV production, I embarked on this adventure with Claudia. It’s funny to realize now that it wasn’t all that big a pivot. As it turns out, owning a business heightens all your senses, experiences and connections. For better or worse!

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DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?

Funemployment results from having the freedom to decide our own destiny. We love that we can…
Claudia: It means the freedom to decide our own destiny. It means we can choose the path we want for our business, in both growth and impact, whether it’s impact on our team, our clients or our brand. Equally importantly, being funemployed is having more control of our schedule and being one step closer to achieving the balance we so seek.
The path to funemployment happened when we decided we’d work for ourselves. Making the decision and taking that first step – essentially, committing to executing it – was one of the hardest points in the journey. It’s when you assess risk, weigh options and choose to dive. After that, it’s sticking to the task and honoring one of the reasons you did it in the first place: to have greater balance between your available time and your desired quality of life.

DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?

Andrea: Owning a business takes a village, that’s for sure! But I think we’re both very lucky to have had such supportive friends and family, cheering us on along the way. I, for one, know I could not have done it without my parents, my dear friends, our team and even our very first clients, many of whom are still regulars and who have become a part of our urban family. Our managers are simply put, spectacular. They care about the nailsaloon like it’s their own. Our team is the best in town – in talent, in disposition, in personality. We joke that we’re only “mean” at the nailsaloon about how nice everyone has to be. [Laughs.] “Nice” is part of our brand. We want the nailsaloon to be a place that’s inviting, warm, and friendly and frankly, it’s because we’ve been on the receiving end of that from so many loved ones throughout our lives.

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DCF: What’s your happy place?

Andrea: I think my happy place is around a table with friends or family. Nothing makes me happier in life than sharing a long meal with the people I love, and spending hours – literally hours – after, over coffee, talking about anything and everything.

Claudia: Both Brazilians and Argentines love to turn meals into these very lengthy affairs, where people sit around the table after they are done eating, and drink tea and coffee while they talk non-stop for hours. In Spanish, we even have a name for it. It’s called “hacer sobremesa” which can be translated loosely into “have the post-meal.” The post-meal is where you really just relax into the moment after eating and just hang out. But it can, no joke, go for hours. (DCF: We could use more of this around the world!)

DCF: Where do you get your energy?

Claudia: Seeing the vision we had for our company come to life, and witnessing our brand gradually become a strong part of the DC landscape is more rewarding than we can describe. My daughter inspires me to be a better person, a better mom, and to leave a legacy of impacting others in a positive way. My husband inspires me to bring about change one step at a time. And Andréa is a strong source of inspiration and positive energy, especially when things don’t go as planned. We joke that in times of despair, we have to take turns to cheer each other up. We’ve been lucky that when one of us is down, the other is usually up enough to carry the weight for both of us. [Laughs.]

Andrea: It’s true. [Laughs.] Claudia and I are mega-complementary in that we are different, but have a very solid sense of how to find the middle ground, and even more than that, do it laughing. Claudia helps me see things from new perspectives, and pushes me to be a better person. I’ve learned a lot from her and I’m so grateful that we can still have a good time together, whether we’re reviewing spreadsheets, or kicking back as friends, over a glass of wine, after having put a moratorium on work talk. I also want to mention something that has been an unexpected source of inspiration. We wanted to open up the cleanest, freshest and friendliest nail salon in the city. But we didn’t realize we were building, in some ways, an oasis for people, that third space that’s not home or work where everyone can experience something unique. We are shown every single week that people come see us because they love the feeling they get when they’re at the nailsaloon. And honoring that feeling is a tremendous source of motivation and what keeps us on our toes, more than anything else. (DCF: What a beautiful thing you have built, it must be incredible to hold that space for people).

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DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?

Claudia: For me, balance means being grounded and having harmony in everything I do. It means that I devote my time to being a better version of myself and it also means spending quality time with those I love. I also meditate, exercise and try not to take things too seriously.

Andrea: I think balance is a daily exercise. I have a dear friend who, instead of doing new years’ resolutions, picks a word that she uses to frame her entire year. I often join her and this year I chose “presence.” In a way, it’s mindfulness, with an added burst of energy… because it’s about staying in the moment, but also, showing up for life in a bigger way. For me, that’s been a personal challenge, but I am determined to staying present so I can have more balance this year. (DCF: I love that idea, picking a focus word is a wonderful way to shape your year!)

DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?

Claudia: Opening the nailsaloon was not easy. Our operation is larger than we expected, more complex than we imagined and we had tons of hiccups along the way, as most business owners do when they’re opening their first store. The challenges are constant, and the sacrifices are many: time, resources, vacation, sleep. [Laughs.] In the first year, it’s a lot of trial and error in an unknown territory. After you pass that first year, you have a good sense of the terrain. But you never let up.

Andrea: Yeah. There’s no such thing as “the business manages itself.” That’s a bit of a myth. Now, we didn’t think we were going to get a free lunch…but that’s probably a good thing, because there is no free lunch to be had, that’s for sure. [Laughs.] (DCF: Nothing runs without fuel and maintenance so yeah that’s a total myth!)

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DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?

Andrea: It’s interesting. I used to avoid certain labels. Yes, I’m a woman, Latin American, and I’m an immigrant but I never wanted to believe any of it would prevent me from having an equal seat at the table. This experience, however, has showed me first-hand that women still have to face a lot of things men don’t. I can’t tell you how many times mansplaining comes into play in our world. Even from male friends who, mind you, are not business owners, randomly giving us advice on how to run our business. When we never asked. Once in an important meeting, while one man was disagreeing with us but being really condescending, I had to interrupt him and say: “Please treat me like I’m one of your male colleagues, not like I’m a little girl at the schoolyard.” No joke. And he got it right away. I still can’t believe I ever had to say that. (DCF: Unfortunately I’m learning sometimes you have to teach people how to treat you and it sounds like you took him to school!)

DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?

Claudia: One piece of advice that has stuck with me is “Always follow your heart….when there’s doubt, there’s no doubt.

Andrea: It’s true. She’s said that for a very long time. Even when we were roommates, in our 20s. It’s solid advice.

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DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
Andrea: I have worked in quite a few places and, naturally, every job has had its good and bad. But the last job I had before coming back to DC to open the nailsaloon was, in particular, really tough. I had amazing colleagues, but worked for an organization that left me quite faithless. From the outside, it was a cushy, glitzy, sexy job. From the inside, the place was making me pretty miserable. I failed fast…and knew that accepting that reality and leaving was going to be the quickest way to find my joy. I’ve never looked back.
Claudia: Yeah, we’re big believers in accepting sunk costs. If it doesn’t work, recognize it, stop pouring resources into it and go in a new direction.

DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
Claudia: When we got our first checks from the nailsaloon! It proved that our idea had officially materialized into a working business, and that the future we envisioned was closer than we thought!

Andrea: Yeah, that was pretty great. I’d also add when Yelp flew us to go to San Francisco for a conference with 99 other business owners, from companies all over the U.S. that they deemed “model.” That was really validating. And humbling. And all-around fantastic.

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DCF: What are you Currently Conquering?

Claudia: We are so happy to have just launched our brand new polish line, called “O by nailsaloon.” Our polishes are 5-free, cruelty-free and vegan, and we are so excited by our formula – it took us more than a year to get it just right. The coolest part though, is that all our colors were carefully curated, then named after our wonderful team. We had a party last summer and each colleague got to pick the color that would have their name. You can see some pictures by following us on Instagram (@thenailasaloon) and liking us on Facebook. (/thenailsaloon) Or, by coming in for a mani-pedi.

Let’s Get Social (Media)!!
Instagram: @thenailsaloon
Facebook: /thenailsaloon
Twitter: @thenailsaloon

Thanks for reading!! This week we partnered with nailsaloon to offer a fun thank you for checking them out this week.  To enter to win, comment below with what you love most about the nailsaloon – either from a visit or from their interview, follow the nailsaloon and follow DCFunemployment.  For extra entries – share on twitter, facebook or instagram with #nailsaloonOnDCF.  Winners will be randomly selected for a manicure at the nailsaloon!!

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Posted in Art, Artist, Beauty, bestofDC, GirlBoss, GirlPower, TheFunemployed | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments