Get ready, fellow females, because we have some celebrating to do! March marks Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to commemorating, reflecting, celebrating and taking the time to learn more about the important women who have played a vital role in our nation’s history. The festivities kick off on International Women's Day, March 8, a day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. In addition to the women around the globe who are making a positive impact, there are so many women in my home state of New Jersey who are balancing careers and families all while raising awareness for rightful causes and empowering others in their communities. In celebration of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, I'm rounding up some of the most inspiring Garden State-based female Founders, Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners to shine a light on the businesses they have built, the confidence they are instilling in others and all the ways they are contributing to their local communities.
NANCY ROSE, FOUNDER OF NANCY ROSE PERFORMANCE
Nancy Rose is the Founder of Nancy Rose Performance, an innovative lifestyle apparel brand that is all about female empowerment, taking risks and encouraging women to feel confident in their own skin. Not only is the brand serving up comfortable and fashion-forward collections each season, but they are committed to giving back to their local community. This year for International Women's Day, Nancy Rose Performance will kick off a month-long partnership with Covenant House to donate a pair of leggings for every pair sold on their website. This special event with Covenant House is a continuation of their partnership to help girls and young women feel more comfortable, confident and in control of their daily life. In 2020, Nancy Rose Performance donated 500+ pieces of apparel to Covenant House to provide women with the confidence they needed to feel their best. Now, excuse me while I fill up my shopping cart for a good cause.
VANESSA COPPES, CEO + EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF BELLA MEDIA + CO.
Let me introduce you to a woman who truly does it all. Meet Vanessa Coppes, CEO + Editor-in-Chief of BELLA Media Co, Author of “5 Steps to Fabulous,” and the Co-Founder of ETTWomen and the ETTWomen Foundation. Whew, let me catch my breath. After acquiring BELLA Magazine in 2019, Vanessa is committed to bringing a fresh and meaningful perspective to the glossy pages of this women’s luxury lifestyle publication. Sure, you'll find the latest trends in fashion, beauty and entertainment in each issue but Coppes stands behind BELLA's motto that “Beauty is Defined by You”. She works daily to ensure that her team brings the most unique voices, faces, movements and stories to the forefront in both BELLA Magazine and BELLA Latina Magazine as well as on the brand's podcast, Real Talk with BELLA. She recently created the B. Human by BELLA initiative which shines light on important causes and encourages others to be good humans. I mean, is there anything this woman can't do? She's as authentic, smart, hardworking and genuine as they come—which is no surprise why everything she touches turns to gold. BELLA will be celebrating Women's History Month with their The Women of Influence issue that hits newsstands in early March. This issue is bursting with stories of incredible and inspiring women around the US. Head to their site to learn how you can get a copy.
JEANNE GREY, CONTENT CREATOR AND ENTREPRENEUR: @THEGREYLAYERS
Meet one of the original pioneers of the digital and influencer space, Jeanne Grey. Grey, a Jersey City resident, is a digital brand consultant, entrepreneur and the creator of The Grey Layers, an incredibly popular fashion, travel and lifestyle blog. She launched her site back when there was no blueprint for influencer or digital marketing. With her dedication, determination and creativity, she was able to successfully navigate the uncharted territory of this new frontier. With nearly 450,000 loyal followers on Instagram, Grey is all about showing her fans how to break style boundaries, take risks and blur the lines between men's and women's fashion. She encourages her followers to chase their dreams and be the most authentic, natural and real versions of themselves. In a digital world dominated by filters and highly curated feeds, Grey prefers to keep it real with raw and genuine content. Whether she's bringing awareness to a cause close to her heart or serving up motivational content when we need it the most, Grey is committed to using her platform to spread positivity and love. I'm one of the lucky ones who is able to call Jeanne a friend, and can assure you that she is as beautiful, intelligent, deep and real as she comes off on her feed. So, what are you waiting for? Give her a follow: @thegreylayers
Photo Credit: @theygreylayers
DANIELLE DEANGELO AND JACEY LAMBROS FOUNDERS OF JANE DO
Meet Danielle and Jacey, the dynamic duo behind Jane DO, a NJ and NYC-based fitness brand and community of strong and confident women commonly referred to as "Janes". Jane DO is redefining the word healthy and believes that women should measure success by confidence, not inches or pounds. This is truly something I can get behind, especially after quarantine! These two former Radio City Rockettes have developed a comprehensive workout that offers a variety of FUN classes that are appropriate for women of all ages and fitness levels. I can attest that their classes will leave you sweaty, exhausted and confident to tackle anything life throws your way. This past year shows how strong and resilient these two Founders are. When the pandemic forced fitness studios around the globe to shut down, the Jane DO team sprang into action, offering livestream classes so that their Janes could sweat with their favorite instructors from the comfort of their homes. Eventually, the team was able to offer outdoor, socially distanced classes—like my personal favorite, Tramp Stamp; a trampoline class on the rooftop of the MC Hotel in Montclair, NJ. With 4 studios under their belt, these two are only getting started. So round-up your gal pals, log on to Jane DO's livestream and get ready for a musically charged, energy-driven workout.
SUSIE BERGQUIST, FOUNDER OF SALT + UMBER FOOTWEAR
Bergquist is the Founder of Salt + Umber, a Northern New Jersey-based sustainable footwear and accessories brand that not only offers thoughtfully designed collections each season but supports female entrepreneurship and local artists. On March 8th, International Women’s Day, 100% of the sales from the brand’s website will be donated to the “A Story Behind Every Pair” program. This program works directly with the brand’s factory in Mumbai India, to give back to the community of women who handcraft their shoes. The “A Story Behind Every Pair” program was created in an effort to give back to the brand’s supply chain, specifically the female artisans who hand weave Salt + Umber products. The brand is committed to providing these artisans with a sense of economic freedom, empowerment and belonging in the workforce by offering them a variety of products that are relevant to the regional needs and current events. In January 2021 the brand donated 2,200 meals to the artisans, and this Spring they will be providing the craftswomen with female health packs. Shoes that support a good cause? Sign me up.
RACHEL GORDON, PHOTOGRAPHER
Get ready to meet a true #girlboss. Gordon is a lifestyle and brand photographer based in Central New Jersey who launched her business in 2016. She started out by taking headshots for local students to help them feel confident and professional while they embarked on their job search. Flash forward to present day where she became an expert at capturing and producing beautiful imagery for product-based brands, female-founded small businesses and influencers in the Tri-State area. Gordon works closely with her clients to intimately understand their business goals and helps capture and visually showcase their story in a unique and compelling way. Gordon's ability to instill confidence in her subjects and bring out the best and most beautiful parts of themselves when shooting is the reason her clients return to her time and time again. But did I mention that this is only a side project for her? Gordon works for a non-profit organization full time, where she supports students on college campuses across the globe.