Tuesday honestly sucked. It was one of those days where seconds pass like hours and you have to eat Halo Top at 3pm to keep from a mental breakdown. We all have low points and sad moments. And they never not suck.
It can be hard to pull yourself out of a funk like that, but luckily I attended Pineapple DC x Salt and Sundry‘s event with Cherry Bombe about women in the DC food scene. The second I walked in I was surrounded by strong, enthusiastic women and their accomplishments. From girl power vendors like Gordy’s to t-shirts that read “Doughs before bros” (doughnuts, duh), it was so uplifting to actually see the success I strive for every day.
The panel featured four women: Suzanne Simon, founder of Chaia, Krystal Mack, owner of the 3 Wheels Food Group in Baltimore, Amanda McClements, creator of Salt and Sundry and Little Leaf, and Ann Yang, co-founder of Misfit Juicery (who I’m meeting with early next month to talk entrepreneurship, marketing strategy, and post-college!!!). The entire event was moderated by Kerry Diamond, editor in chief of Cherry Bombe Magazine.
They discussed three main topics: risk, roadblocks, and the void. Risk focused on entering the industry both financially and socially. There’s room for a lot of failure in starting a business. Roadblocks were difficulties faced due to being a woman. You can imagine the list was endless, but what was most prominent was being considered “cute” rather than serious. And finally, the void that each woman saw and filled with their idea. For Misfit Juicery, it has to do with reducing food waste. Chaia, a purely vegetarian concept. They also discussed voids that still exist and need to be acted on. By women. Now.
When it was over, there was a Q & A session. You know me. Of course, I stuck my hand in the air and asked a question.
“What advice do you have for a young professional entering the food world, trying to figure out what she wants to pursue and experience?”
Their answers were super helpful. From sending handwritten notes in networking to aiming to work alongside my idols rather than fangirl over them, I learned a lot in the moments that followed my question. But, the bigger impact came after the session concluded.
Women started stopping me on my way out. Complimenting my eagerness to learn and offering their assistance. Handshakes were replaced with hugs and business cards were passed around with smiles. It was the perfect combination of #girlbossing and supporting. Everyone was there for a reason (food, networking, learning) but there was still time to build community on the side.
I think that ability to connect is something that comes more naturally to women. While we’re often stereotyped as jealous and eager to prove ourselves, I felt nothing but pure power in that room. There was a hunger to ignite change, sure, but also a passion to celebrate the accomplishments of ladies taking over DC food one forkful at a time. It was united and invaluably inspiring. Both as a woman and as someone that appreciates a good meal.
So, to finish Part One, I want to thank the defiant, empowering women that are making it easier for me to achieve my goals. It was a night I will never forget.
And that, plus the bread pudding I ate, turned my day around real fast.
Stuck in my head: The Love Club // Lorde
Snap it: Pineapple DC x Salt and Sundry presents Cherry Bombe
In case you missed it, don’t forget to read Female: Introduction.