Fairfield resident Ashley Langer just has that IT factor. So, it's no surprise she uses that magnetism to connect people. Business Socialistas is a networking community offering events and resources to help support women in business.
Q: Tell us a little about your background.
A: In 2007, I moved to NYC on a whim and got a job as a personal assistant for a news anchor. It was part Devil Wears Prada and part Party Planner Extraordinaire (which I loved). I gained a lot of experience working alongside some of New York’s most celebrated event vendors, hosting celebrity guests. It was a blast, but working 24/7 wasn’t for me, so I joined a marketing team at a finance company. There, I planned intricate company annual meetings around the country and was solely in charge of an annual networking luncheon at an industry-wide conference in Las Vegas… But those networking events are much different from the ones I plan now!
Q: Talk about the concept of Business Socialistas. From ideation to launch - what was that journey?
A: After becoming a stay-at-home mom, I wanted to start a health coaching business but honestly didn't know where to begin. I didn't have friends who were entrepreneurs and simultaneously had moved back to CT, where I didn't know anyone. Instead of starting the health coaching biz, I created an Instagram account to "find my people." In June of that year, I hosted my first networking event with the mission of elevating the networking space and making it feel like a girl's night out with a business twist. I wanted the vibe to feel fun and easy, something that people looked forward to but also benefited from.
Q: You recently started to grow your community even more by adding a membership program to your offerings. Can you expand on the concept and how it compliments your events?
A: For the first two years of business, I hosted one-off networking events and miscellaneous workshops, but I really wanted to create a platform for women to connect between those gatherings. It was important for me to help women cultivate relationships - not just contacts - so they could learn from one another and support each other’s journeys. Not to mention, from a business perspective, people buy from people!
I also found through my journey that hiring professionals is costly and who to hire feels confusing. So, an arm of the membership brings experts into the group to teach monthly trainings on an array of topics. I vet them ahead of time and record all the trainings so that members get immediate access to a Rolodex of education upon joining.
What is the one piece of advice you can give to small biz owners regarding networking - whether it's coming to one of your events for the first time or bumping into someone while food shopping?
A: Don’t overcomplicate it! Networking is simply telling other people what you do and finding a mutually beneficial way to work together. You don’t need to use fancy words or list your accolades to make a good impression. It’s essential that whomever you’re talking to understands precisely what you do and feels connected to you on some level.
Also, networking doesn’t always bring immediate satisfaction, so don’t get discouraged! It often requires relationship building and follow-up. It’s important to remember that the right person for your business may not be who you’re talking to, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t know your person. Get those referrals, baby!
Q: Meeting so many female entrepreneurs must also have an impact on you and your own business. What something that's inspired you recently?
A: Taylor Capuano, co-founder of Cakes Body, Society member, and friend, once told me, 'You don't always have to know what the right path is, but just start, and you'll make it right with each step as you go.' I've found that really liberating - to think of starting and growing a business as small steps that will right themselves in the journey. It's much less overwhelming that way! I also feel wildly inspired by this community. Watching these women's determination, perseverance, and success is so empowering. I love seeing other female entrepreneurs succeed because it's proof I can, too. There's so much power in that.
I love how you use social media as a tool for your business, staying true to your brand, and as yet another way to support others. Your charm, warmth, and authenticity come through. I’m curious: where does that creativity come from?
A: I've always been creative; I'm into dance, crafting, writing... I'm also confident and don't have a problem with "not being for everyone." Blending all of those characteristics makes me a good personality for social media. I'm passionate about people and what I'm doing here, so it's fun - and, dare I say, easy for me to create content and express myself.
Q: You seem like a true extrovert and a real girl’s girl. Were you always a natural connector? Was networking your thing before it became a thing?
A: Oh yes, I am a social butterfly, as grade school teachers noted on my report cards. I've always had large friend groups, made a point of blending those friend groups, and I've worked hard to keep in touch with everyone. I've been in TEN wedding parties and was the Maid of Honor in 5. So yeah, I'm a girl's girl, and at a young age, I started to really value the strength and support from the people I surround myself with; the buzzword now for that is community!
What is the most rewarding part of Business Socialistas? What’s next?
A: There honestly isn't a part of Business Socialistas that is not rewarding. It is very exciting to watch women connect, form friendships, collaborate, and grow their businesses. I'm also fortunate enough to run a business that is truly an extension of who I am. What's next? I have a few things up my sleeve, so you'll have to follow along to find out ;)
For info on networking events and more follow @business.socialistas on Instagram and visit business-socialists.com
Ashley shares a little local love of her Fairfield Favorites:
Family fun: Jennings Beach
Sweat Sesh: F45 and Yoga Synergy
Me time: Fairfield Tennis
Date night: ESH Modern Mediterranean
Sweet treat: Isabelle et Vincent
Recharge: Rose Buatti Facials
Design Inspo: The BeeHive
Retail Therapy: HomeGoods
IG must follows: @inspoandivy @chelseapeachtree