Insights from the Incredibly Hardworking Women of 2019

Every year I’m lucky to spend time with hard working women across the globe. I get to see where they work and learn why they love what they do. Without fail, each woman has something important to share. Here are a few of my favorite moments from 2019.

Brewers Fenna van Strien and Tessel de Heij

Advice from Brewer Tessel de Heij to Starting Your Own Beer Company:

  • Just start brewing and you will be motivated by all the positive reactions from the people around you!
  • Write everything down very carefully.
  • Clean Clean Clean! One bacteria can destroy your beer.
  • It is important to be able to share your successes and failures, so bring at least 1 partner into your business.
  • The people you hire are your most important asset.
  • It is really, really hard work, so you HAVE to like what you do, otherwise you won’t be able to keep going.

Mijs and Runa van de Griek, Amsterdam Houseboat Residents

“We think Amsterdam cannot be without houseboats. It’s part of the scenery. Most of the people who live on a boat are handy people, who are kind and would love to help each other. We are a bit more independent than people who live in a ‘normal’ house, because we need to do more things.

My grandfather taught me how to build things with wood. My father taught me how electricity works and what you can do with that. And I’m a bit handy myself, so I don’t really ask people to come and make stuff at our ship, I just do it myself. I built us a cupboard. I wanted to have more light in our ship, so I’ve taken the jigsaw one day and sat on our roof and sawed two large windows in our roof. We also wanted a fireplace, so we made that ourselves as well. I’m used to fix things myself and don’t ask for help, and I kinda like that.” -Mijs van de Griek

Mother-Daughter Ironworkers, Carolina and Kat in Seattle

Ironworker Carolina Taylor’s Advice for Aspiring Tradespeople:

  • take good care of yourself
  • spend quality time with your family
  • continue making goals to achieve the next positions as a union member (ie: business agent, organizer, union president, apprenticeship instructor, coordinator)
  • be a dream-chaser, goal-reacher, and butt-kicker

Woodcarver Silje Loa

“If you want to become a carver, get carving. Looking at carvings at museums and in historical buildings is amazing inspiration and can even give you an understanding of how they were made, but really just find a piece of wood, a chisel and begin.” -Woodcarver Silje Loa

Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

“Creating something so permanent in the world is such a satisfying thing to do, and to have the chance, as I often do, to work on historic buildings is such an honour. Things that I have made with my hands will live on long past me. To be part of a trade that is so old, using methods that have not changed that much in hundreds of years is something that is wonderful. I also feel really lucky to have a job that could take me anywhere in the world, there is so much to explore!

It isn’t all rosy though. I can often work in pretty harsh environments, using an angle grinder all day, having to wear masks, goggles, gloves etc. Often I work outside, I’ve worked in snow, and sleet, and rain. Working in awkward places high up on scaffolding, lifting heavy loads, and working long hours.” -Stone Carver Miriam Johnson

Woodcarver Zeinab Harding

“Learning a traditional skill is a continual learning process. The more mistakes you make the more you will learn!” -Woodcarver Zeinab Harding

Stone Carver Sue Aperghis

“In my career when I first started, I tried to hide the fact I was dyslexic but I came to realize (and I would suggest it to others) that you should embrace the things that you find most challenging, and work hard and smart to get round your difficulties. Maybe try a different angle on how to learn. The most successful things I’ve done in art is when I confront my Demons the most.” -Stone Carver Sue Aperghis

Rachael Messner of Messner Bee Farm

Rachael’s Advice for Running a Small Business:

  • Work for other small businesses first. Most of it is not glorious work. It is moping the floors, crunching numbers, and getting stung. Before running the Bee Farm, I worked for 6 small businesses and I got to see behind the scenes. I’m grateful for the experience so I had the right expectations.
  • The transition that made us happiest was moving the business out of our actual house. It’s so nice to have a place to retreat to for rest. If it’s not possible to move your business out of the home, try to put it in its own space. It’s exhausting to feel like you’re always at home and always at work.

Helena from Happy Acre Farm

“It’s a lot of hard and dirty work, early mornings, late nights, and learning curves. We don’t get off the farm much during the season, unless you count doing farmers markets, and our date nights are usually spent in the fields with leftovers and a cold beer. But it’s worth every moment, to do something we’re both truly passionate about, and we’re excited to watch our family grow and raise our children to follow their own path, wherever it may lead.” -Helena of Happy Acre Farm

Farmer Nikolette Barnes

The best part of my work is being surrounded by the next generation of food revolutionaries! I absolutely am blessed to be able to teach the babies how to grow, cook, and love the food that they grew for themselves. I also love completely transforming the mindset of someone who didn’t think they could grow food or enjoy fresh vegetables. It’s pretty rewarding.

The most challenging part of my work is dispelling the myths and breaking down the walls that result from misinformation about healthy eating and agriculture. It’s also very difficult to do this work while actively fighting against the system of oppression that creates tangible barriers to families having access to fresh locally grown food.” -Nikolette Barnes of Keep Growing Detroit

Anita Singh, Youth Programs Coordinator at Keep Growing Detroit

Drawing from her background as a high school science teacher, she runs the farm education program. Anita has developed youth programs in many different cities, including Cartegena, Columbia.

Lindsay Pielack is a Co-Director of Keep Growing Detroit

“I would recommend that everyone, young or old, try their hand at growing something. You don’t have to commit to growing all your own food, just get connected to where your food comes from. There are lots of ways to do this, as simply as starting a container of herbs in your window or volunteering at a garden or farm near you.” -Lindsay Pielack of Keep Growing Detroit

Imani S. Foster, Farmers’ Market Coordinator at Keep Growing Detroit

“The food a person sustainably grows is so much better than what’s bought in the supermarkets. Placing your hands in the soil is healing. A person can reestablish relations with family and friends by working together…

One of the best parts of my work is helping the small gardener earn capital. Of course, I love that our customer base continues to grow. There is something so exciting about folks coming to the table and sharing how glad they are that we are back for the season. I know that the work I’m doing as the Grown in Detroit Market coordinator is retooling the culture that this is their (the gardeners’) business to grow.” -Imani Foster of Keep Growing Detroit

Molly Hubbell, Farm Operations Coordinator at Keep Growing Detroit

Farmers don’t have superpowers, we rely on intuition. That intuition comes with time and patience, and can be learned by anyone willing to put the time in.” -Molly Hubbell of Keep Growing Detroit

Lola Kristi Gibson-Berg, Community Education Coordinator at Keep Growing Detroit

“Farming makes me feel hopeful. It’s a privilege to be connected to a community of people in the city who know how to grow food, enjoy doing so, and are cultivating and growing their communities.” -Lola Kristi Gibson-Berg of Keep Growing Detroit

Crane Operator Apprentice, Jessica Knight

“I do not keep my head down. I make others know my presence at work. I befriend my coworkers of all trades. We are here for one common goal: finish the job and go home safely.

Never be afraid to look at any piece of equipment and say, ‘Yeah, I want to learn this!’ Give ‘em hell ladies!” -Jessica Knight

Operating Engineer Elizabeth Kavanagh

I think any young woman that wants to get in the trades should go for it. You can always change what you do. If you think you are interested, give it a shot. You can’t tell if you like it or not if you don’t try.

Being in a union is a good thing. They will have your back. Also, I joined when I was 20, so I started getting benefits and started my pension before most people my age. Sometimes it is hard work, but it can be very rewarding in the future.” -Elizabeth Kavanagh

Operating Engineer Ashley O’Grady

“I went through the operators apprenticeship program. The training from that gave me the confidence and skills I needed to be successful in the field. I have found support in all my brothers and sisters I’ve met through my union… I feel a great sense of pride when I get to see the finished product, knowing I played a big role helping build it.” -Ashley O’Grady

Operating Engineer Christi Smith

“You work with a lot of great people on great jobs. And you always have a support system. The union takes care of you, keeping up to date with technology and providing a place where you can improve your skills. You’re a part of a group of people who are proud of their work and what they do.” -Christi Smith

Operating Engineer Danielle Athey

“In one year, I see myself getting close to graduating the apprenticeship and eventually becoming a journeyman. In five years, I see myself traveling the country with my work. In ten years, I hope by then I have my own house and property…

My advice is don’t be afraid of anything. Have confidence and don’t ever think you can’t ask for help. The support from my coworkers helped me more than anything.” -Danielle Athey

Operating Engineer La’Tasha Smith

“Honesty, I never had any interest in the trades. I went to a career fair and one of the female coordinators approached me and was able to convince me to give it a shot.

I was 28 and broken—lost, homeless, and defeated!! Life had run me over with a truck and backed up to finish the job!! I felt hopeless. So I told her that there was no way I’d ever make it into that career, especially with no experience!! But she was convinced I could, and I actually did!

The training is very intimidating and fast paced. The obstacles I faced were being able to quickly adapt to the new career culture which is made up of predominantly males, learning new machines quickly and safely, remembering all the rules and regulations, schedule changes, and weather conditions affecting work.” -La’Tasha Smith

Farmer and Woodworker Brit McCoy

“Working with family is incredibly rewarding. You’re working looking towards the same goal, the same future and are focused on the same dream. However, it does have some challenges when the family doesn’t see exactly eye-to-eye.

Urban wood is an incredibly beautiful way to share our stories with future generations. The urban trees we use in our shop have incredible ties to family stories and we love helping other families let their stories live on through fine furniture. We are honored to be a part of that process, tree to table.” -Brit McCoy

Sheep Breeder Rebecca Krinsky

“First time sheep owners should seek out information from current breeders to help find the right breed for them. Different breeds require different housing, grooming, and feeding routines. No two breeds are exactly the same. If you do your research, there will be one breed that will fit your personality, needs, and wants better than the others. If you pick the right one to start out with, you will be hooked and possibly find other breeds to connect with over time.” -Rebecca Krinsky of Slack Farms

Thanks for following along with us. I can’t wait to introduce you to even more hard working women in 2020. 

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Angelica Ruiz of Flowers for Dreams

In today’s fast paced economy, there is a racing hope to become the next great app developer or CEO of a startup company to put you on the path toward riches and quite possibly even fame. Stories of success and brilliant ideas float around in the business world, and rightly so.

However, in this highly competitive space, there have been a few companies deviating from the standard of inwardly focused advancement, seeking to do good for the community and maintain a profits. Personally, those are exactly the kind of organizations I want to put my money behind—and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

Steven Dyme & Joseph Dickstein started selling flowers at high school graduations as a college project. The goal was simple, to make a little money and to make a difference. Half of their earnings went toward buying backpacks for low income students in the area. After a few years, their efforts snowballed into a full fledged company, Flowers for Dreams.

Now they have a bustling staff, a well thought out service, and continue to give back to others on a daily basis. One fourth of all their profits go to local charities.

A couple weeks ago, I got to hang out with Angelica Ruiz. She manages the flower truck. That’s right! I said flower truck. Much like a food truck, Angelica drives all over Chicago, selling bouquets at markets and various events. (Follow @F4DTruck on twitter for more info.)

Angelica Ruiz & Flowers for Dreams / Crafted in CarharttAngelica Ruiz & Flowers for Dreams / Crafted in Carhartt

Angelica Ruiz & Flowers for Dreams / Crafted in CarharttAngelica Ruiz & Flowers for Dreams / Crafted in Carhartt

What better way to brighten the world around you than with a bundle of flowers doing a bundle of good in your own neighborhood?




From Aqua-Woman to Ceramic Artist

Monica Wilson / Crafted in Carhartt


The path to your passion is different for every person. I asked ceramic artist, Monica Wilson, what sparked her interest in the field.

“I have always been interested in making things, or thinking up things to make. I asked my mom to make me an aqua-woman suit when I was small, she wasn’t sure where to start. She put me in pottery classes as a kid and gave me a small home studio. Later I ended up in fashion school, then art school where I worked with various materials, welding, casting cement and plaster but found clay to have the most immediate response to touch, and I love that. I also love the ceramic art community – great cooks, honest people. To run a clay studio you have to know how to do everything from mixing glazes to repairing and firing kilns, these people are problem solvers and can make just about anything with their hands.” –M. Wilson

It’s not easy to see the end result when you’re in the middle of discovering your voice. All you can do is plug away until you’ve found your match. And often, the steps that lead to your calling give a beautiful depth to your next venture.


Painter Molly Manor

Flipping through the pages of a book about color as a child, little Molly was fascinated by the magic of making your own colors. You add a bit of this hue to that hue, and you’ve created one all your own. For that precise reason, Molly has formed a passion for painting over any other medium. As the color wheel spins, so does the inspiration.

Now she finds painting to be therapeutic, to sit in the studio and work from sunrise to sunset as if no time has passed. Molly draws from real life. The natural world with its ever morphing organic shapes and perfectly placed patterns and colors bring her a vision and mood to aspire towards. With every new season, a new palate. With every new hour, a new shade.

Molly has a bit of advice for beginning painters out there:

“Don’t be afraid to copy. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve taught myself or learned just by trying to emulate someone else’s work. I think the biggest hurdle for a lot of people have is that they don’t feel “creative enough.” Or they stare at a blank page, not knowing where to start. Pull up a piece of your favorite art or something that caught you eye on the internet, and make your own version. When you’re done, you’ll realize you have your own style and your own perspective. Also, don’t worry if your expectations are not matching what you’re making. I’ve learned that’s a good thing! It keeps you working toward.”

The piece Molly painted in the photos below is truly inspired by nature, as you can see. Sure she may have had to trudge through the snow with painting supplies in tow, but what better way to find your peace and translate an authentic winter scene? This piece is available for sale on Molly’s Etsy page. Take a look for yourself here.

Molly is wearing: The Amoret Jacket, Series 1889 Slim Double Front, & Watch Hat.

Michigan Painter Molly Manor / Crafted in CarharttMichigan Painter Molly Manor / Crafted in CarharttMichigan Painter Molly Manor / Crafted in CarharttMichigan Painter Molly Manor / Crafted in CarharttMichigan Painter Molly Manor / Crafted in CarharttMOLLYpainting1Michigan Painter Molly Manor / Crafted in Carhartt


Peaceful Power in Sculpture

Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt
Stephanie Revennaugh / Crafted in Carhartt

Stepping into the front room at Stephanie Revennaugh‘s house, I knew I had happened upon a tremendous artist. Her work thoughtfully placed among her beautifully Montana inspired living space played a melody between rich colors, textures, and elements of nature. Different projects were sprawled out, not quite finished, but still breathtaking. She captures a perfect moment of movement in her sculptures, full of life and resounding with a peaceful power.

Stephanie began her career as an artist in oil painting. After a few years, she took a sculpture workshop and felt she’d finally found her native medium. In the thick of the thrill of starting a new piece loaded with endless possibilities, she relishes the challenge of embodying the clay with a spirit all it’s own. Then in turn, seeing the finished work speak to and affect others.

Stephanie’s advice for other women hoping to get into the arts as a full time career is to “start right now clarifying your desires and acting on them consistently.  The road is guaranteed to be full of challenges. Keep showing up through them. Build the best support network around you that you can (which often starts with family) and stay dedicated. The most challenging part for me is balancing creating work with running the business end of an art career. My Mom has stepped into a business manager position for me, which has been wonderful. I’m all about hiring people who have skills in areas I don’t. It relieves frustration, saves time and usually money as well. “

That being said, if you’re dreaming of it now, get after it! There’s no sense delaying when you could be finding your way and building skills as you go. Focus and hard work can get you places. Take it from Stephanie and “trust your creative instincts and passionately create what is in your heart.”

Stephanie’s workwear: Carhartt Women’s Hayward Henley, Carhartt Women’s Sandstone Mock-Neck Vest/Sherpa-Lined, & Carhartt Women’s 1889 Slim Double Front Dungaree

Free Fall DIY-ing

Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt
Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt
Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt
Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt
Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt
Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt
Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt

Bringing the Outdoors In / Crafted in Carhartt

There is so much to appreciate about fall: crisp air and crunchy footsteps, soft earthy tones and speckled foliage. It marks the start of bonfire season and cuddle-up in-warm-blankets season. I’m a big proponent of surrounding oneself with the great outdoors. That being said, it feels natural to pluck up a few flowers from the yard and put them in a vase, but what about leaves? They can be just as lovely, with free flowing branches and freshly turned hues. Why not give it a try? It’s a free way to decorate for the season and it challenges you to see the beauty in what most consider mundane.

what I wore: Carhartt Women’s Belton Shirt & Carhartt Women’s Series 1889 Sim-Fit Double Front Denim Dungaree 




Jennifer Philipps of ERA Test, LLC in Montana

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt

ERA Test / Crafted in Carhartt Wake up early. Analyze lab results. Prepare reports for clients. Go to scheduled air inspections in commercial and residential environments. Submit samples to a lab in Washington. Then back to office work and equipment maintenance. That’s the typical day in the life of an Indoor Air Quality Inspector. Meet Jennifer Philipps of ERA Test, LLC in Montana. She and her mom, Lisa, own and operate the business. They test air to detect threats like mold, asbestos, radon, and methamphetamine. Together they are able to work across the entire state. The dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship in a work environment have brought the family closer together. They are able to lean on and learn from one another. It’s much more common to come across family businesses that are passed from father to son. I must say, it was really exciting to come across a multi-generational family trade that not only involves the women, but is entirely run by them. What an awesome gift of knowledge and skill to bestow. Jennifer’s work wear: Carhartt Women’s Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt & Women’s Sibley Denim Cropped Pant  

Shaking Up Social Media and How Women Are Portrayed

Women Run the World / Crafted in Carhartt
Women Run the World / Crafted in Carhartt
Women Run the World / Crafted in Carhartt

Women Run the World / Crafted in Carhartt

Let’s take a minute to think about women in media and how we’re portrayed. It’s a common enough topic these days. Many of us are aware that our society is continually bombarded with gorgeous glamazon women, thin and flawless, with glowing skin and shiny hair, perfectly positioned, sitting, standing still, just waiting to be admired.
We all know the wonders of Photoshop, the great works of make-up artists, and the phenomena of calorie counting. Even once the smoke and mirrors are revealed, it can still be hard to shake the conditioned image of what women are expected to be in this day and age. Of course what we need is an adjustment of those expectations. We say we’ll think differently and react on a more educated level when we see these constant reminders of what our culture demands of us. But it can be tough to stand strong against the nonstop barrage.
We need to start consuming media that shows us the real strength and beauty of women. Watch movies and read books that pass the Bechdel Test. That’s simply a work of fiction that features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Quite shockingly, there are few contemporary pieces that pass. Seek out the ones that do. Toss out the magazines that tempt you into the never-ending chase after a newer, thinner, fitter, happier, sexier you. Trust me, once you find your true path in life and do what it takes to follow it, you’ll be the better version of yourself that everyone hopes to be.
Don’t buy into the misconception that women are catty with each other and just want to compete at all costs. Stop perpetuating that behavior. We need to build each other up. Be inspired by the strong trailblazers who have left a wake that shakes things up. That’s my ultimate goal with Crafted in Carhartt. It’s a place in social media, where women are portrayed as the strong, capable, creative, and awesome people that they truly are. Let’s focus on the good we as women can bring to the world. Be challenged by women making art, building skills, making things, and getting business done. We can all learn from each other’s stories and advice.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather see images of women, who are masters of their trade, proficiently swinging a hammer, shoveling coal, and accomplishing something great than someone who is dead in the eyes, forcing a smile as just the right amount of wind tousles her hair. How about you?

Pictured above is Detroit artist, Kate Silvio. Read more about her and her work here.


DIY: Mossy Bookend

DIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in Carhartt
DIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in Carhartt
DIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in CarharttDIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in Carhartt
DIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in Carhartt
DIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in Carhartt
DIY Mossy Bookend on Crafted in Carhartt
If there’s a word that epitomizes Portland, it’s green. There are so many different shades everywhere: in the tree line, on mossy rocks, bushes, grass, and natural growth.  That’s only heightened by the human eye’s ability to differentiate shades of green more than any other color. I got back from my week long trip to Portland, and I found myself missing the intensity of the hues I saw in Oregon. I challenged myself to bring back the moss from last week’s very Portland-esque DIY and incorporate into my own home. I loved the sharp contrast of the marshmallow colored Carhartt Women’s Minot Shirt and the ever vibrant greens, so I carried the theme even further and let them play off one another once again.

I’ll walk to you though the steps to make your own mossy bookend. You’ll need a cross section of a tree, self-adhesive moss paper, clumps of moss, baby’s breath, mini diorama trees, hot glue gun, scissors, and a pencil. Take the tree section and trace the top of it on the back of the moss paper. Cut the circle out and stick it to the top of the wood. Then glue the trees and little clumps of moss in the center. Cut off little bits of baby’s breath and add it in where you think a pop of buds is needed. You’re ready to use it! Enjoy the feeling of mother nature while you’re hanging in your home.