Julia’s my name, supporting female owned businesses is my game.
In the two years that I have covered the culinary scene in Charlotte, I have had the priviledge of visiting and working with a number of female owned businesses. I love the saying, “When you invest in a small business, you are investing in someone’s dream.” I have no idea where I heard that, but not gonna lie- it keeps me up at night. I am motivated to continue supporting and advocating for small businesses who have worked hard to make their dreams come to fruition. Special shoutout to these ladies who have poured everything into creating a business. This one’s for you.
“Let’s go girls.”
Lauren and Olivia are Wake Forest University graduates who first got their start in 2016 while still in college. Kombucha is a fermented tea chock full of probiotics, and Olivia and Lauren learned how to make it in their dorm’s kitchen. They first sold it to friends and classmates, and before long the demand was so great that they decided it was time to go into business. They received support and resources from the Entrepreneurship Department at WFU. Now, with an established micro-brewery in Winston-Salem their kombucha has taken over Charlotte by storm. All of their flavors are yoga-inspired, such as the brightly-hued hibiscus “Lotus” and the mojito-flavored “Sphinx”. They are quickly growing and now distributing their kombucha throughout the SouthEast. I see how hard they work each and every day, and I am so happy that I get to call them my friends. You inspire me, Lauren and Olivia!
Sisters Alena and Kristina are originally from Ukraine, and pay tribute to their roots with their company name. Birch trees are native in their homeland, and after Alena was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and heart failure they also use it as a sign of a new beginning. I’m not crying, you are. The sisters champion health and treating your body well, and their teas are a wonderful way to give a body the vitamins and antioxidants it needs. Their teas are beautiful and contain the highest quality ingredients. My personal favorite is “Blueberry Dream” which smells like blueberry pie and contains bright cornflower petals, dried blueberries, apples, and more. They also give back by donating 10% of all sales to organizations that care for vulnerable and at-risk children in the area and across the world. Kristina and Elena- you have been through so much, and I admire your strength. You took a dark time in your life and did not let it break you- you grew anew and continue to help others. Thank you for exemplifying generosity.
Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp of UnderCurrent Coffee
If you have not been to this gorgeous coffee shop in Plaza Midwood, you are seriously missing out. It is the brainchild of Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp, Todd Huber, and Erin Huber. The interior of the shop is decorated in a way that mimics calm seas with various shades of blue. There is a coffee lab in the back where Diana often teaches classes that are free to the public. UnderCurrent will also be opening up a second location in the much-anticipated Optimist Hall opening early next year. She is the Director of Operations, and she is THE coffee queen. She got her start working at local coffee shops Dilworth Coffee and The Daily Press (RIP). From there she worked at Amelie’s, training and teaching many baristas and who would later on become shop owners themselves in the area. She has caused a ripple effect of people bonding over a mutual love and respect for the art of coffee. If you ask them, they agree with me, she is THE QUEEN. She’s the co-founder of POUR specialty coffee festival that celebrates the diversity of the SouthEastern coffee community, as well as educates the public about coffee. She works with the Charlotte Coffee Collective that seeks to empower people in the coffee community and beyond. If you would like to read more, here’s a wonderful article by Daily Coffee News . Diana is so kind, but is a badass who fights for what she believes in. Diana, I admire your strength and your passion for helping others. Thank you for helping me learn more about coffee, people, and life. You are rad!!!
Jaimie is an author, restauranteur, mom, and all around amazing human. Some of the most celebrated restaurants in the city- Haberdish, Reigning Donuts, Crepe Cellar, Growler’s Pourhouse just to name a few- are her and her husband Jeff’s creations. Her book series, written with Meg Seitz of Toth Shop Creates, is called “Bea is For Business,” which encourages young girls to be entrepreneurs. She recently has discussed her journey with tackling her anxiety by going on AIP (autoimmune protocol diet) to elimate foods which trigger inflammation in the body. Jaimie, you are a rockstar. Thank you for speaking out about this subject which needs to be discussed more in our society.
I have had the privilege of being mentored by Meg. She teaches at Queens University of Charlotte, is co-author of Bea is For Business,” and is the founder and owner of Toth Shop LLC. She also writes for Huffington Post, and recently went abroad to Vienna, Austria to speak in the renowned Peter Drucker Forum. I met her when she was my professor of my Internship class at Queens. Through her coaching, encouragement, and generousity I was able to build a brand for myself. If it were not for Meg, I would not have everything I do today with my blog. She is wicked smart and so kind. Thank you Meg!
I feel strongly that we should celebrate each other and many individuals in our community. There are so many incredible people doing amazing things, and I want to recognize them for that. I can’t wait to put together another post like this, but until then much love to all of you. Be kind, be well.