Columbus has been named the seventh best city in the country for female founders, a top 10 city for small business and the best city for working mothers. Whatever you call it, there's no denying that we have some mighty talented, badass, creative female founders in our midst -- and they're not only doing great business, they're doing great things for the Columbus community.
If you haven't met these ladies, you should. If you don't know them by name yet, you will.
Allie Lehman, Death to the Stock Photo Something about Allie Lehman's photography makes me feel like we're all living in an eternal state of autumnal bliss on a never-ending Saturday morning. She has such a gift for capturing the subtle, intimate, meaningful moments of daily living most people miss by rushing through life. Not only is Allie a super-talented photog, she's also an author, an entrepreneur and the founder of Death to the Stock Photo, a movement that is changing the way the world views stock photography.
Lisa LaMantia, Willow & Wren Color Free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor (aka: the really bad stuff) Willow & Wren is doing nail color in a newer, better way. Alongside classics like Sticks + Stones (a creamy, vampy red) and the perfectly peachy Fizzy Pop (a personal fav), you'll discover an ever-evolving palette of now-inspired shades that rotate and retire with the changing of seasons and trends. From All That Glitters (a gorgeous, glittering rose gold) to Maine Attraction (a vibrant, emerald green that will make you want to get in the car and hit the road), W&W offers a signature color for every style and taste. The passion project of Lisa LaMantia, a local City Planner (and good friend), Willow & Wren has become a permanent fixture on my toe tips and my go-to gift for lady friends.
Allison Chapman, Igloo Letterpress If you've never had the opportunity to lay your hands on a letterpress, drop what you're doing and head to Worthington. Look for Igloo Letterpress situated squarely at the intersection of history, wordology and design (39 West New England Avenue). Allison has brought a magical thing to the central Ohio community, and invites visitors to put down their technology and take a step back in time by creating something beautiful and meaningful with their hands.
Heather Whaling, Geben Communication Thought leader. Crisis averter. World changer. Do gooder. Of all the things I could call Heather Whaling, I'm most thankful to call her my friend. As Founder and President of Geben Communication, a German Village-based boutique public relations firm, Heather leads a savvy PR team that is kicking ass and taking names on a daily basis. (And moving the needle in a big way for their clients in the process.) With a guiding mantra of "Doing well by doing good," you'll find Heather giving of her time and talent as a tireless philanthropist, mentor to many and friend to the community.
Danielle Evans, Marmalade Bleue As I mentioned in a recent post, when it comes to my list of likes, food and typography rank near the top. So it should come as no surprise I’ve got a serious creative crush on the woman who brings both of these things together to create magical, storybook-worthy works of art. If your brand is a foodie brand, drop what you’re doing and call Danielle. If your brand isn’t a foodie brand, after you see her work…you’re gonna wish it was.
Mollie + Kelly Fankhauser, Kittie's Cakes There are cakes...and then there are Kittie's Cakes. It's easy to tell the difference. Kittie's Cakes are the kind of thing that compel a person to get out of bed, put on real pants and drive across town on a Saturday morning because you know the rest of the city is going to see today's Instagram and race to German Village to buy up whatever is left. (Not that I would know anything about that.) When it comes to these former-golfers-turned-bakers, it would be easy to love Mollie and Kelly based solely on their product, but the love doesn't stop there. This duo somehow manages to run an awesome business, support several community initiatives and rule the Instagram world on behalf of both Kittie's and their golden child, Linus. Living proof that you really can have your cake and eat it too...and have a meaningful impact on the world in the process.
Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams No list of Columbus female founders would be complete without mention of our Patron Saintess of Creativity, Jeni Britton Bauer. What can be said about Jeni that hasn't been said before? (Probably not a lot, given that her name yields over 91,000 hits on Google.) As she suggests in her book, anyone can make great ice cream. Inspiring an entire city to fall deeply in love with a better way of doing things, however, takes a special person, a tireless spirit and a true passion. For those of us who live in Columbus, we've bought into Jeni's story and better way with each scoop and spoonful. Jeni's isn't just a story about great ice cream; it's the story of the spirit of our community -- innovative, creative, passionate, fun and relentlessly focused on doing, not just being, good.