Women in Business


Article by Madeline LeBlanc

Photography by Madeline LeBlanc

Everyday people are finding their passions and achieving their goals. This year has hit hard on small businesses and it is important for them to stay in business and thrive. We cannot let these creators lose sight of their dreams and we must protect them. Recently, in Westfield MA, there have been a lot of new businesses in town that not a lot of people are aware of. It is my duty to shed some light on them.

Here is a list of my top 5 favorite small businesses in town who are all women owned and run!

1 - Madison G. Calligraphy

Owner: Madison Gage

"I started Madison G. Calligraphy after seeing the success of so many local small businesses, and wanted to give it a go myself! Creating custom handwritten pieces that bring happiness to others and captures something special for them is the reason why I continue to do what I do.

Being a part of the small business community means so much to me; I have the opportunity to connect with people within my local area, I get to collaborate with other creators and support their growth and success, and I get to be a part of special moments and occasions in the lives of many people!

Despite the uncertainty of covid and what it brings each day, these times have reminded us how special human connection is. Having an outlet where I can decompress and be creative has brought a lot of positivity to my days. I can still connect with those around me, just in a different way!"

2 - Sweets by Mahlia

Owner: Mahlia Reyes

"I started my business so I’d be able to be a stay at home mom and spend as much time with my daughter as possible as well as making money and contributing to my family and bills. Having a hobby keeps me feeling positive and happy, as my mental health isn’t the best and it’s hard to keep a positive mindset at times. 

Over the summer of 2020, I was out of work due to being pregnant and started making chocolate covered pretzels to pass the time, eventually it became something I enjoyed doing and over the months things just started to grow! In the beginning it didn’t mean much it was just something I was doing to pass by time, but as I continued to get better at it, and create new things eventually I even put myself out there on social media which for me was a huge deal as i’m not very confident in myself.

It means the world to me to know that I can provide for my family still, and that so many people support me in doing something I’ve definitely come to love. It’s helped me gain confidence in myself, be more social with new people, and overall just a happier and more positive person!"

3 - Callie Co.

Owner: Kailey King

"I Started my business because I got laid off from work due to the pandemic and wanted a form of passive income while in nursing school. From a young age I would always do fun craft projects with my mom and since then I’ve loved doing anything crafty.

The best thing about owning my business is being able to make people happy by bringing their ideas to life. With covid it has been hard, some weeks are better than others but just knowing that my work is getting out there for people to see keeps me motivated to continue!"

4 - Mad Distressed

Owner: Madison Fernandez

"My name is Madison Fernandez, and I am a 22 year old business owner from Westfield. At a young age I was inspired by clothing, shoes, and any accessory. Everyone has their own style and that’s what I admire about fashion. The outfit you have thrown on represents yourself more than you’d think. Clothes aren’t just materialistic, they’re also a tool of expression. Unfortunately as the years have gone by I have noticed the current style is based solely on trends. More so than ever, trends created by social media. I knew it would be expensive and time consuming to build something from the ground up to gain any exposure and make a name for myself.

After brainstorming how I could bring my out of reach vision to life, I got to work in creating my very own brand, Mad Distressed.  Nearly six months ago, Mad Distressed was born to be out of the box. I created a system where we’d only release a design or dye pattern in very limited quantities. This keeps the clothing unique, as I intended it to be. The goal was to bring your individuality back. I started making my own designs for everyone. These designs are hand printed or dyed by me. We also offer a beautiful selection of hand beaded bracelets, each one of a kind. Owning this business has been such a great experience.

It is tough, but fun and extremely rewarding. Sharing my passion and creativity with everyone is a dream that I quickly made into a reality. Seeing customers walk around in the clothing I have created, with a brand that I have worked so hard on there is no better feeling than that. Currently we have sold over 120 hoodies. We do not have the largest following on our social platform, but we do have supportive, kind, and satisfied customers. Unlike a big box business each order is celebrated. We neatly hand pack your items to perfection and a handwritten note is placed in each package. Customers continue to repurchase and talk about our small business. That will never go unnoticed."

5 - Frosted Swirl Cupcakes

Owner: Valerie Hansen

"I started Frosted Swirl because I have always had a passion for sweets and baking. Some of my earliest memories are from baking with my Mom in her kitchen. We would flip through recipes that have been passed down from generations and spend countless hours making them. Now I take those recipes and put an updated spin on them to make them my own.

When the cupcake craze hit, I become obsessed! I wanted to create cupcakes that had the classic flavors but also with a modern twist. On my menu you will find the classics but also some fun and adventurous flavors as well. I am always thinking about and brainstorming new flavors.

Lately, my favorite baked item to create has been French Macarons. They are a very challenging cookie to master but it's fun incorporating a variety of flavor combinations into them.

The most rewarding part is all the amazing people I meet and being able to be a part of their special celebrations. Over the years I have been able to form lasting relationships with my customers."

These are some of my favorite local businesses, run by the sweetest and kindest women. I hope these products bring you as much joy as the owner feels when when they do their happy dance after making a sale. As a business owner myself of Hello Coaster Co. I can verify that it is hard getting through COVID but with the support of family, friends, and the community it makes it a lot easier.

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