Woman Wednesday: Annie A.


Q and A with Annie A., South Carolina

“Vulnerability is beautiful.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am interested in people. I love intense connections and people who overshare. I’ve also always been drawn towards the spiritual—and I’ve always been an artist. All of those things seemed to funnel me into launching Sweetgrass & Sage.

This year, as violent as it has been for all of us, has been a major catalyst for change for me. I found myself going through an amicable divorce with two sweet babies who I needed to be able to keep at home (both because I am high risk and because my son has special needs), a cross country move, and a 10 year gap in my work history. It was a make it work moment, absolutely. More than that, though, I am a helper, and I realized that I had the opportunity to help other women who are also trying to make it work. We rise by lifting others, and right now so many can use a lift. I believe that the work of women’s hands is it’s own kind of magic, and it is valuable.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and grew up in and around Orangeburg. I went to both public and private schools, my dad was a Methodist minister, my mom was an attorney. They’re both full-time grandparents now.

I was adopted at a day and a half old. I always knew it—my birth mother was a phenomenal woman and force of nature; I met her when I was 16. She was also a pagan, something which kind of spurred on my own quest for understanding, for lack of a better way to put it. I was an anxious child and have always found peace in nature and through working with my hands. I love the smell of sawdust; I think it takes me back to working on projects with my dad as a child.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Don’t try to fit a mold that wasn’t made for you. Authenticity is contagious. Vulnerability is beautiful. Give yourself permission to be you, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Just be as kind as you can along the way.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: I come from a long line of feminists. My grandmother was quite an athlete. She had mostly brothers and thought that she could do anything they could do and refused to be told differently. My mother, her daughter, was the first female sports editor of a daily newspaper in South Carolina. She was the first woman in the Clemson Press Box and in Clemson basketball locker room, and remembers the then coach, Frank Howard, as saying, “They’ll let anybody up here now!” She went on to become an attorney. My aunt, Kate Salley Palmer, was one of only three syndicated political cartoonists in the nation—she worked for the Greenville News. Feminism, to me, means the freedom to follow your happy, however you find it. It means the ability to follow your authentic self, whoever you are. You love traditional gender roles? Excellent! You’re a woman welder? Rock on! My focus was on woodworking in college. Want to mix it up? You do you. Women are strong and capable. The badass in me recognizes the badass in you. Feminism means being able to do your thing and supporting other women doing theirs.


Q: What would you like others to know about Sweetgrass & Sage?

A: Sweetgrass & Sage Box has different business model from others because I find the traditional subscription box model to be a little predatory. Integrity is super important for me. I believe, whole heartedly, in the value of artisan quality work, and whereas most of the big name subscription boxes make the businesses pay to be in the box AND provide their product for free, I pay for the product, and my promotion of the woman-owned small businesses I work for is free. They get a little stimulus from box sales, and new people to try their product. The box recipients get a great deal on things they actually want, and each piece is intended to be something they can have as a tangible reminder of their own inner strength. I’m focused on people over profit, and the quality of each piece is top-notch. You’re not going to wind up with 400 jars of moisturizer you’ll never use.

Spring boxes will be fully customizable and tailored to you so that you only get what you want.

Thank you for reading!



Check out Sweetgrass & Sage here.

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Chelsea

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Chelsea, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

If you don’t have a plan, don’t fret! Try new things. Travel. See things. Do things. Live. And it will come to you, babe. And when it does, just go for it!” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about creativity and connection! I do my best to use these passions to guide me in my business and in my life in general. I’ve always been interested in art, DIY, lettering, costumes, decorating, any means of creating. I love hand-lettering and watercolor painting and had always dreamed of finding a way to make it into a viable business.

I tried a number of different career paths before realizing that I just don’t fit into a box, and it suits me best to think outside of it. The career I truly wanted wasn’t really a traditional job option, so I made it up! I am now self-employed as a virtual and creative assistant, which means if you’ve got a business, a project, or an event on the go and you need some help, I’m your girl. My clients are so diverse, and I love that so much. I may be creating websites or designing content, expense reporting or scheduling meetings, hand-making wedding favors or greeting cards, personal shopping or managing social media, planning parties or working on audiovisual projects, or anything and everything in between. I get to coordinate and be creative, while also creating meaningful connections and providing much-needed support to my clients. I love the feeling that my passion helps others to fulfill their passions.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I have always felt a bit different from those around me because it took me a while to find my path. I still feel like I’m “behind” in my life, and it’s a daily challenge not to compare myself to others. 

I went to university immediately out of high school without much of a plan. I wanted to go to art college, but I couldn’t envision a fine arts career, so instead, I bounced around trying to find what felt right. Everything seemed driven by a nagging voice telling me I had to be practical and choose something safe that would provide a stable career. Teaching? Too many teachers in our province. Clinical psychologist or English professor? Too expensive to do a Ph.D. Could I become a famous children’s author? Not likely. 

 

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I worked full time and went to uni part-time. I ended up graduating with an arts degree in English and psychology and still not much of a plan. I was proud of myself for getting that piece of paper, but I was essentially qualified for nothing. I did learn a few things though, like the value of money, how to balance school and work, administrative skills, insight into the human psyche, sweet bartending and barista skills, proper grammar, and the gravity of really listening to oneself. 

But now what? I tried moving to another city, then to South Korea to teach English, then I returned to Halifax. I helped my sister with her wedding, then did an internship with a local wedding planning company, and from that point on, I focused my attention on planning and coordination. I began a position as a post-production coordinator for film and television, and I loved it! I loved being the one to organize all of the stray parts of the post. I moved into a producer role at an audio production boutique and wore many interesting hats, but I still wanted to create! 

 

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A close friend of mine, Tonya, had launched her career as a virtual assistant and she became my mentor. She encouraged me to offer lettering services and sell greeting cards. She sort of opened my eyes to the world of the create-your-own-career mentality, and I began to take on VA client work during evenings and weekends. I began to attend a quarterly gathering of women in business called Leading Ladies Networking, and it was so inspiring to meet local women who had followed their passions and made their own success. Meeting all of these wonderful women gave me the push I needed to venture out on my own, and here I am!

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have a wonderfully supportive family, partner, and close friends, and I feel so incredibly lucky for that. I know I would not have even attempted this journey without these special people in my world who have helped me to see my own potential. But ultimately, your drive has to come from within. Don’t waste time doing what you think you should do or doing things that don’t make you happy. 

If you don’t have a plan, don’t fret! Try new things. Travel. See things. Do things. Live. And it will come to you, babe. And when it does, just go for it!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means 100% equality. It totally means girl power in a rockin’ Spice Girl way, but to me that doesn’t mean “down with men.” Have I experienced “mansplaining?” Definitely. Have I felt the burning cheeks of rage and embarrassment when a male co-worker labels me “bitchy” for having an assertive opinion? Many times. Have I had “me too” moments? Oh, girl. Too many. Do I wish our society wasn’t still dominated by white males? Absolutely. But, does this mean that we must condemn all males? I think not. Many are our allies. Many, despite their societal conditioning, agree with us. 

So, feminism to me means we are all equals, ♀ women, men, and ⚨ genderqueer alike, we all have value. The sooner we can truly embrace that, the sooner we can all thrive.

 

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

I’m currently working on my online presence and polishing up my website.
Please stay tuned, and follow me @chelseajanecreative on Instagram or facebook.com/chelseajanecreative.

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂