Lifestyle // April 8, 2015

Every year, executive business women from around the world go to great lengths to attend the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit. Why? The event boast a slew of career workshops, morning workout sessions on the beach, lunch banquets and executive panels -- just to name a few of the appealing agenda items. This year the event took place on March 2nd in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the beautiful Marriott resort and spa. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm Florida afternoon and a gift bag filled with free products, books, and coupons.

The summit agenda was packed with awesome activities, but some of the standout sessions and keynotes included Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, Lisa Nichols, CEO and founder of Motivating the Masses, and Susan L.Taylor, Editor-In Chief of Essence Magazine.

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One of many discussions that really resonated with me was the session with Judy Smith, founder and President of Smith & Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm. Judy is also known as “the real Olivia Pope,” since the show Scandal is based on her career. Judy discussed her top eight tips for managing a crisis for personal and professional matters. Here are her suggestions for how you can manage when a crisis occurs:

  • Know the Facts. The real ones. Every story has multiple sides and layers. Get down to the bottom of what is actually happening.
  • Trust your gut. If you have a feeling about something, even before it has happened, take measures to protect yourself and your assets. Usually, your first decision is your best.
  • Tell the truth. Lying during a crisis won’t help your situation. It might even make it worse. Be honest so that you can access and recover.
  • Know the landscape. Know the environment you're operating under. What's really going on?
  • What's the endgame? Where do you want to end up? What do you want to happen and come out of this situation? This is important because once you know what you want, you can work towards getting there.
  • Admit when you're in trouble. And the sooner the better. Once you can access the damage, you can overcome it.
  • Listen to people. They could give you a different perspective on your situation and help you figure out solutions.
  • Have a plan. 90% of people and companies that have a plan recover well. There are usually warning signs when trouble is afoot.

The discussion wrapped up with a Q&A from the audience, led by Judy. As she circled the packed banquet hall, her playful and fun manner was a delight to the audience. She had a great story or analogy for every encounter, and made very impressive points about how you should handle crisis situations of all proportions. And although the crowd was very intrigued with the character of “Olivia Pope,” the real Judy Smith won them all over with her wit, intelligence and charm. This was definitely one of the most beloved events at the summit.

The Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit is a unique experience for business women of color, and is surely a fun-filled and enticing event for all in attendance. For anyone planning to attend in 2016, registration usually begins in August, once the lineup is announced. It is highly suggested to bring a friend to share in the costs and the experience. Plan early, as ticket do sell out prior to the event.

Published in Lifestyle

Style // September 2, 2014

If there are two things every Made Woman loves it’s travel and fashion. Now there’s one app that brings the two together: 1st Class Fashion. Designed by Cindy Nkem, co-founder and creative director, 1st Class Fashion marries the love of style with the love of travel. More than just an app, the lifestyle brand has expanded to include events and merchandise. The company is a family affair as Cindy works with her brother Dr. Collins Ezeuka, who came up with the idea while traveling over the holidays. The company grew and Cindy eventually left her job in public relations to sign on to 1st Class Fashion full time.

Made Woman Magazine is excited to be a media partner for 1st Class Fashion’s Luxe Lane event this Thursday. Get more details here and learn more about Cindy and 1st Class Fashion below!

Co-Founder of 1st Class Fashion Cindy Nkem 

Serena Watson : The idea for 1st Class Fashion is pretty unique. Can you tell me about it in your own words?
Cindy Nkem: 1st Class Fashion is a revolutionary and interactive social media platform designed to provide sartorial and travel related content to style savvy consumers around the world. Through the platform, we strive to foster luxe, in-person experiences for our online users. Fashion lovers connect online by sharing photos of their daily style, then their friends and other community members "like" the photo. At the end of each month, those who receive 300 likes or more are awarded a 1st Class round trip ticket to anywhere in the world. This unique experience is designed to empower members to showcase their style and inspire new trends, while celebrating their individuality.

SW: How do people enter?
CN: Participation in the platform is easy, just upload a photo of your daily style to our Style Cycle and get your friends, fashion community members and family to like the photo.

SW: Where are some of the places you've sent people thus far?
CN: We’ve had winners from all around the world travel to culturally rich locations like Istanbul, Ghana, Tokyo and England.

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SW: We are so looking forward to your event! What are your goals for the event and what can people expect?
CN: We’re super excited as well, and we have so many fun things in store. There will be unique vendors offering exclusively discounted merchandise, complimentary cocktails, a premier screening of our latest promotional video, sounds from LA’s finest DJ’s NoMBe and Ariel, and last but not least, the official presentation of our new 1st Class Fashion mobile app.

SW: What's next for 1st Class Fashion? Tell me about some of your other initiatives.

CN: If there’s one thing you can say about 1st Class Fashion, it’s that we’re always progressing and on the move. We’ve got a number of exciting projects in the works, including a unique and ultra luxe line of luggage, small leather goods and accessories. While this line is still in the development stage, the gorgeous materials we’ve been sourcing for the products already have us eager to see the final pieces!

Entry in 1st Class Fashion Style Cycle

SW: What has been the response from your user base?
CN: Audience reception has been extremely positive and enthusiastic about the platform, and we find those that engage with 1st Class Fashion to then become loyal followers of the brand. There is an appreciation for a company that is willing to give more in return to its users than any other photo-sharing platforms on the market.

SW: Why do you think it is important for young professionals to travel?
CN: Travel and self-discovery are important in the development of an individual. As a team of young professionals ourselves, we have each personally benefited from our international travel experiences. Our travels have taught us greater understanding of different cultures and points of view, which in turn have made us better real-world communicators and listeners.

@AvantBlargh Winner From Current 1st Class Fashion Style Cycle

SW: How long did it take to develop your app?
CN: The entire process has been a labor of love. We’ve gone through numerous iterations and design schemes over the past eight months or so, and started putting the technical development gears in motion about two months ago. The app is currently going through Beta testing to be ready very soon for our 1st Class Fashion members who are always on the go! Look for it in the iTunes app store on September 5th!

Published in Current

Current // June 16, 2014

It takes a village to start a company—or maybe a tribe. A successful company requires the investment and dedication of many to get it off the ground. Tribemint, a branding, digital communications and experiential marketing agency, has keyed into this principle by working to to foster connections among a company’s employees and consumers to create engagement and meaningful conversations. Tribemint focuses on vision, culture and engagement to revamp female-owned companies targeting millennials. Put simply, the results are “Companies made fresh.”

Photo courtesy of General Assembly

This past Friday, I checked out Tribemint’s very first event held in Santa Monica at the General Assembly. Hosted by Tribemint CEO Julie Thorne Engels, Managing Director Lindsey Heisser and Creative Strategist Michelle Spinale, the event was a great mashup of networking and a “TribeTalk” with CoolHaus Co-founders Natasha Case and Freya Estreller. Business partners and partners in life, the two told the story of how they started CoolHaus, combining Natasha’s architecture background and creative drive with Freya’s business know-how. The duo discussed the challenges they faced and surpassed to become a well-known brand with eleven trucks around the country, retail stores, and distribution in grocery stores such as Whole Foods. They’ve even created a CoolHaus cookbook. CoolHaus has come a long way since it’s launch at the Coachella Festival in 2009 from an old, repurposed ice cream truck. But sticking to their vision allowed the partners to maintain their passion and creativity through the ups and downs.

Hearing the duo talk about their entrepreneurial journey was enlightening. The atmosphere, the great food, the sparking wine—and of course the ice cream—made the event even more enjoyable. In addition to their branding and marketing services, Tribemint plans to offer quarterly events focusing on topics like vision and culture. I plan to be at the next one! Follow Tribemint on Twitter for more news on their events.

Published in Current
Monday, 21 October 2013 03:38

Current | LA Fashion Week Review

Current // October 21, 2013

Being a lifestyle writer in Los Angeles, it's fairly regular that grand opening emails, new nightclub invitations or tweets about a creative new restaurant concept find their way into my inbox. Most recently, an invitation to LA Style Fashion Week found its way into my email... HELLO?! This is LA Fashion Week! I was excited to channel my inner Anna Wintour, put on a pair of heels and waltz into the venue like I belonged there because after all I was press… INVITED press.

So what exactly was I invited to? LA Fashion Week is a two week long collaboration of various designers hosting debut fashion shows at different venues across the city. They hold the event two times a year to preview fall/winter fashion in March and to showcase spring/winter looks in October. There are so many shows for so many different types of fashion. There's independent designer shows like M Dot Design Fashion Studio and collaborative presentations like Men's Fashion Week or Africa Fashion Week that encompass a general theme from a collective of designers. I attended LA Style Fashion Week - the 6 year old highly anticipated event that's also one of the biggest and most influential of LA Fashion Week shows. LA Style Fashion Week ran Oct. 13-18 and featured innovative fashion from high energy designers looking to display their must-see looks. I was looking forward to finding out what those 5 days in fashion had in store for me.

Are You On The List?

I arrived to the LA Live Event Deck for day one of LA Style Fashion week and was met with immediate chaos. People with headsets and clipboards carefully searched for names on RSVP lists while security guards inspected wristbands to determine who had what level of access.

When I entered the tent, I was wide eyed and ready to go like a kid hitting the gates of Disneyland. The event venue was HUGE. There was a white draped tent on the top level of an outdoor parking deck that housed two runways, a VIP lounge, a bar and several vendor booths hosting artist paintings, hair and nail demonstrations and other designer's fashions. I made my way to every booth, and I even had a chance to talk to some of the designers about their upcoming line. It's really impressive to run into owners/operators at events; I appreciated that they were still humble enough to make an appearance for the sake of their own brand.

You. Better. WORK.

My whole purpose for being at LA Style Fashion Week was to attend the shows and preview the upcoming clothing lines from the hottest designers. Once the shows began, I was in awe of how beautiful the selections were. Here's a breakdown of some of my favorite shows:

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Bettie Page - The retro inspired designer is known for her sugary sweet and ultra feminine style highlighting a fabulous time in women's clothing design. A niche designer, Bettie Page's spring/summer '14 line was an absolute hit on the runway. An updated take on the Pin-Up girls of the past, Page's ode to the 1940's included nautical patterns, polka dots, pearls, a Sunday hat and of course the most lady-like of accessories, a pair of white gloves.

Michael Costello - From Project Runway to fashion week, Michael Costello is proving why his clothing line demands attention. A couture designer, the Project Runway alum took daring risks with his fabric, symmetry and texture choices. Combining geometric structure with elegant silhouettes, Costello showed his high fashion sophistication through gold embellishments, lace and muted color palettes.

Malan Breton - The British are coming and honey, they are fabulous! Although he creates women's wear as well, Malan Breton was admired for putting his menswear front and center. Bold colors, high gloss fabrics and a tailored suit, ruled the runway in the London inspired designer's collection. Crisp, black, Easter-toned pastels, fire engine reds and electric blues were donned by the dapper gentlemen, while exposed corseted waists over the typical LBD were the uniform for the ladies. It's apparent that menswear is Breton's forte, and as a lady who loves a sharp dressed man, I was definitely pleased with what he had to offer.

The Wrap Up

Fashion week went on to showcase looks including a swimwear line, LA street wear, red carpet ready designs and even a fetish/lingerie line. The beauty in fashion shows is connecting to a designer’s vision in some way, which validates all the work they put in to their craft.

I'd say my foray into LA Style Fashion Week was a success. Getting a sneak peek into spring/summer fashion while mixing and mingling with the in-crowd was definitely an experience I'll never forget.

Published in Current
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:10

#MWSummerSocial -- Meet The Experts

Meet The Experts // August 20, 2013

On August 22, Made Woman Magazine is taking networking to the next level. We are bringing together an intimate group of business professionals, entrepreneurs and experts to mingle at the Culver Hotel for our Summer Social networking event. This time, we are giving our readers the opportunity to get up close and personal with experts in personal finance, career development and entrepreneurship. Read about the experts who will be in attendance below, and then get your tickets for the #MWSummerSocial!

Eventbrite - Made Woman Magazine Summer Social

Brittney Castro - Certified Financial Planner CFP®, CRPC®, AAMS®

Certified Financial Planner
Certified Financial Planner

Personal finance can be tricky to navigate, especially for women. In past generations women weren't expected to know anything about money. That was a man's job. But as more and more women are becoming the breadwinners in homes across America, and Brittney Castro has made it her mission to educate them on money matters. I attended one of Brittney's workshops, and hearing the facts and figures on how many women go broke due to sheer financial ignorance was eye-opening. Listening to Brittney speak in a straightforward manner about IRA's, savings goals and retirement planning made a light bulb go off for me. Her planning tools and worksheets helped me to take control of my own financial plan because the truth is, no one else was going to do it for me. I asked the questions I feel too scared or dumb to ask before. And my bank account is looking a lot better because of it. If you need financial questions answered by someone who won’t talk down to you and who has the experience to guide you in the right direction, Brittney Castro is your gal!

Visit Brittney's Site Financially Wise Women

Read Brittney's work on Made Woman Mag

Charla Baker-Jackson - Career Development and HR Expert

When I was fresh out of college I took the first job I knew would allow me to cover my rent. Career planning? Goals? Waiting for the right opportunity?... I didn't have time for that. But six months in, I was miserable. I started desperately seeking something less...horribly wrong. Then a friend of mine connected me with Charla, a career development and human resources rep for FOX. I was intimidated at first but that didn't last long. In the most down-to-earth way possible, Charla helped me navigate the opportunities available and was honest about my aspects and prospective employers. I applied and wound up with a job at FOX. I stayed there for three and a half years and when I was ready to advance in my career, I knew I could go to Charla for advice on the right moves to make. Everyone there respected her for her talent and ability to connect. You knew that you weren't another case file to come across her desk. She was actually invested in your progress.

Years later, we have both moved on in our careers but have stayed good friends. She is still known for her great career advice and drive. If you are unsure about the next steps in your career -- ask Charla your questions!

Read Charla's work on Made Woman Mag

Serena Watson & Lindsey Day - Co- Founders of Made Woman Magazine

Lindsey and I started Made Woman Magazine out of a desire to own our own business and to connect other female professionals. We wanted the representations of women in the media to reflect the amazing, motivated young women we encountered in our jobs and at networking events. So we started the magazine and networking platform and taught ourselves everything from the bottom up. Social media, marketing, content management… No realm was left unconquered. The outcome? A site with daily visitors from around the country, a growing network of empowered women and company we are both passionate about. We hope to inspire others and share what we have learned on our journey.

Read More about Made Woman Mag

Published in Current
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 18:24

Made Woman Magazine Summer Social!

Join Us For The Made Woman Summer Social!

Special Invite For the Made Woman Network

Are you looking for a better way to network? Made Woman Mag is dedicated to providing opportunities to network and make real connections -- while having a great time. Now we are taking things to the next level and bringing together an intimate group of business professionals, entrepreneurs and experts.

Join us August 22, at the Culver Hotel as we network with LA's best and brightest and get up close and personal with industry experts!


Brittney Castro                                                              Charla Baker-Jackson

CEO & Founder of Financially Wise Women                Career Development & HR Expert (TMZ, FOX)


Serena Watson & Lindsey Day

Made Woman Mag Co- Founders & Entrepreneurship Experts

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For details and to get tickets click the button below!

Eventbrite - Made Woman Magazine Summer Social

Check out photos from our last event!

Published in Current
Monday, 29 July 2013 03:00

Current | #MW2Year Photo Gallery

Made Woman 2 Year Celebration // July 29, 2013

On July 25th, the Made Woman Network gathered in one room for a night of fun and networking with fabulous people. Also known as #MW2Year. Hopefully you were in attendance and made some amazing connections, took some photos and said hello to co-founders Serena Watson and Lindsey Day. We've selected a couple of hot pics below, and uploaded the rest for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! Click to view full gallery.

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Made Woman co-founders Lindsey Day (left) and Serena Watson (right) ham it up for the camera!

The co-founders with a handful of the Made Woman writers (left to right): Amber Wilson, John Reid, Amanda Szalasny, Marnie Epstein & Trisha Duvivier.

Co-founders with three former Made Women of the Month: Kelley Raleigh, Leading by Example (May 2013), Barbara Sealy, SB Music Management (March 2013) & Shelly Ulaj, Women Empowered (June 2013).

Published in Current
Thursday, 04 July 2013 17:52

Made Woman Magazine 2 Year Celebration!

Join Us For The Made Woman 2 Year Celebration!

Special Invite For the Made Woman Network -- July 10, 2013

It's time to celebrate two years of Made Woman Magazine's success! In two years, we've experienced 700% growth in unique visitors and 600% growth in our presence on social media. Join us July 25th at The W Los Angeles - Westwood as we celebrate and kick off our summer networking series. Don't miss a thing! Arrive early and enjoy food, fun and fabulous people. Come out and network with LA's best and brightest.

For details and to RSVP click the button below!

Eventbrite - Made Woman Magazine 2 Year Celebration

Published in Current

There’s nothing like a good weekday workout. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Jamba Juice Fit Trends Expo at the Annenberg House in Santa Monica.  The Fit Trends Expo is part of Jamba’s Team Up For a Healthy America campaign, aimed at combating obesity and encouraging healthy living. Venus Williams, professional tennis player, designer, and Jamba Juice franchise owner, was the keynote athlete at the event. Trainer, Samantha Monus, and nutritionist, Tara Gidus, also provided their insight on taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. On a local level, the Expo’s goal was to encourage community fitness, health and nutrition, as well as to expose people to workout opportunities in their area.

Our day was jam-packed with great activities. From 9:30am-1:30pm, Jamba Juice held an array of fitness classes and nutritional samplings. Among the local fitness studios present were: Broadway Bodies LA, Piloxing, and LA Blast. Fitness guru Tony Horton of P90X even stopped by the event and took a lucky few through an impromptu exercise outside. I did my best to keep up with the routines, but as a girl who usually runs and lifts weights, I felt super uncoordinated! Despite this, the atmosphere was fun and relaxed. It was quite inspiring to be around a group of people dedicated to getting fit and staying healthy. In between each class, Jamba gave everyone the opportunity to try their array of juices, smoothies, and food products.

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Overall, the energy at the event was extremely positive. Jamba Juice did a great service for the community by generating increased awareness of local health and fitness outlets.  Venus Williams, Samantha Monus, and Tara Gidus had some extremely helpful information to share.  For those of you seeking guidance on how to stay disciplined with your workouts, Williams insists that you keep it fun and not worry about perfection! I think I can abide by that! I hope everyone in attendance was activated to carry the spirit of the day beyond the event and incorporate what they learned into a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re interested in learning more about Jamba Juice’s commitment to healthy living, check out their health campaign website: My Health Pledge encourages everyone to make a pledge to change their daily habits. It’s free to participate, and for each pledge, Jamba donates $1 to local schools and organizations to support their athletic and fitness programs.

Published in Current
Friday, 22 March 2013 22:28

Current | Pamper Me Fabulous Event

Current // March 25, 2013 

There are few things that are better than a day of pampering. Those who attended the Pamper Me Fabulous event Sunday in downtown Los Angeles at the historic Vibiana Event Center were treated to spa and beauty treatments, the latest in health and wellness treatments, shopping and more!

Along with the latest products and services, visitors got a chance to hear experts talk about the latest developments in fashion and beauty, and get tips on love and relationships. I had a great time perusing the stands and meeting the business owners. For those who wanted a more hands-on experience, the current fitness trends were offered, including sample yoga, zumba and fitness dance classes from local studios.

Health and wellness was a big focus of the day, with brands offering the latest in energy bars, juices and vitamin technology. Walter Faulstrogh, one of the co-founders of Hum Nutrition, aims to provide a full-service customized diet and vitamin plan. “Many times you don’t need everything in the multivitamin or might be needing something that they are missing,” said Faulstrogh. “[At Hum Nutrition] we ask you about all kinds of life factors and make diet and supplement suggestions based on you, cutting out all the guesswork.” Participants are also able to access dieticians and psychologists 24/7 with questions and for help. “It’s a holistic approach to your health,” said Faulstrogh.

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Another stand out company at the event was the new athletic line, Capo Nata, whose aim is to make women feel a little sexier and more comfortable while working up a sweat. For many women, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. For curvy and plus sized women, finding active wear that fits and is flattering is often adds to this struggle. Founded by Hollywood stunt woman Natascha Hopkins, Capo Nata is designed for women who are on the go. Fueled by her background in gymnastics, Natascha has been doing stunts for movies and TV for more than 8 years, doubling for people like Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Natascha designed the line to help every woman get support and utility from her workout gear, while rocking stylish pieces. “It encourages women to want to work out because it’s trendy; it's fashion forward, but it's functional,” said Natascha.

The Capo Nata brand offers everything you need for your gym workout or running errands: sports leggings and sports bras, t-shirts, tanks and hoodies; but the jewel of Natasha’s collection is her patented Lean Body Bra. The Lean Body Bra is made from neoprene (think wetsuit) and is fitted like a corset, supporting your bust, back and waist. The material is designed to supercharge your sweat while working out, targeting fat loss in the midsection while supporting your bust.

The Lean Body Bra was inspired by Hopkins’ sister and the need she saw for large chested women to have adequate support to run and work out comfortably. “My sister is small, but large on top and I would encourage her to go to the gym or go run and she would tell me that it was uncomfortable to run and that she had to wear 2 or 3 sports bras for support,” said Natascha. “I knew that this was something we had to change; every woman should be able to run and work out comfortably.”

Debuting what TLC style editor Bobbie Thomas calls a “beauty must-have” were husband and wife team Erin and Guy Balogh, founders of the Hot Iron Holster. Almost amazingly simple, the holster’s silicone flap sticks to nearly every flat surface, even the backs of chairs, to provide a protected pocket for flat and curling irons, blow-dryers and more.  “Erin would be getting ready in the morning and at the same time making breakfast for our 3 kids," said Guy, “She would step out to flip a pancake or get juice and sometimes a straight iron would fall and break. She made a prototype with a silicone oven mitt and then the Hot Iron Holster was born”

Although the Hot Iron Holster was made to address the needs for a safe place to hold hot hair tools, Guy shares that men can also find uses for the holster. “I use it for the barbeque and my dad uses one in the garage when he’s working on his car,” he said.

Between snapping some photos at the photo booth, getting a mini facial or new makeup look, and shaking it at the fitness dance party, Pamper Me Fabulous offered a look at the latest fashion, beauty, and health businesses, as well as an ultimate pampering experience.

Published in Current
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