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. 

Happy American Craft Beer Week

As you may know, Crafted in Carhartt has been in Seattle this week gathering stories about the amazing women of the Pacific Northwest. On Monday night, Pike Brewing Company hosted an event to celebrate Women in Beer. Talented folks from all over the Washington area showed up with plenty of beer to share.

Pike Brewing is located in Pike Place Market, Seattle’s original Farmer’s Market. Crafted in Carhartt did a shoot with the talented women who work and brew there 5 years ago. (click here to see the photos)

Here are a few of the people we met this week while celebrating the hard work women are doing in the American Craft Beer Scene.

Cheyenne Weishaar of Dru Bru, aka @brewingbabe

American Craft Beer / Seattle Women in Beer / Crafted in Carhartt

Cheyenne is a nature junkie who lives in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. In college, she was a biology major–so the science behind the beer is the passion that drives her craft. Her first job in the industry was a floor scrubber and keg washer–since then, she has worked her way up to Professional Brewer. Follow her on instagram for an inside scoop on the scientific side of brewing, pictures of her sweet pup, and other beer adventures.

“The most valuable lesson I have learned as a woman in the brewing industry is that creativity and critical thinking are your two most important tools. The job is tough—tanks are large, kegs are heavy, and brew days don’t always go as planned—so a willingness to step back from a problem situation and find an innovative solution is immeasurably valuable. Modifying your surroundings to fit your needs is often the best possible solution. Sheer physical strength doesn’t always make a great brewer, but creativity and the willingness to be flexible about your surroundings does.” –Cheyenne Weishaar

Gay Gilmore of Optimism Brewing

Gay and her husband met while working at Microsoft, they left and started a popular recipe website, Recipezaar. Eventually, the two sold it and started a brewery. Gay and Troy now use techniques they learned during their time in the tech industry to set their latest venture, Optimism Brewing in Capital Hill, apart from the rest.

“We’re trying to bring more people to beer, and not just make something that is for beer snobs. I find it a great success whenever I’m working the counter and someone comes in and says, ‘I’m usually a wine drinker. What should I have?’…and I’m like, great! That’s a challenge. That’s fun–and tasting them through all of these beers and they’re shocked because normally they’ve only had one kind. All they’ve ever had was macro beer in college, and that doesn’t have the same kind of flavor of what they are looking for. Exposing that is fun for us.” –Gay Gilmore

Holly Ihrig of Sumerian Brewing

Holly and her husband, Mark, founded Sumerian Brewing in Woodenville, Washington. They opened in 2015 and have been making a name for themselves ever since. With a background in marketing and design, Holly drives the branding of the brewery.

“Our commitment is to brew great tasting, quality, and impressionable West Coast style beers. Big, bold in character and flavorful.”

Holly Brieger of Icicle Brewing Company

American Craft Beer / Seattle Women in Beer / Crafted in Carhartt

Holly works at Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth, Washington. As a company, they are devoted to using local ingredients in all of their products. Follow Icicle on instagram to stay up to date on this family owned business in the heart of the Bavarian-style village in the Cascade Mountains.

“Do it even though it’s scary. Get outside of your comfort zone and don’t stop.” –Holly Brieger


Jen Nicosia of Georgetown Beer

American Craft Beer / Seattle Women in Beer / Crafted in Carhartt
Brewer Jen Nicosia has been in the beer scene for many years. She moved to Seattle in 2014 for more opportunities in the industry. As a member of the Seattle chapter of the Pink Boots Society, an organization of female brewers created to inspire and encourage, she is a champion for women joining the beer workforce.
“My advice for others looking to get into the beer game is to learn as much as you can all the time – read, attend seminars, try sensory evaluations, get on a canning line. This game is ever evolving and learning about every part of the job, from keg cleaning to mashing in, is incredibly important to maintaining a great product. Always try to be more efficient every day, too.  It is super helpful and will get you brownie points. But most of all, be in this game for the beer – not to prove a point. At the end of the day, the beer doesn’t care who you are just as long as you take care of it.” –Jen Nicosia


Robyn Schumacher of Stoup Brewing

American Craft Beer / Seattle Women in Beer / Crafted in Carhartt

Robyn is an owner of Stoup Brewing in Ballard’s Brewing District. She is a brewer and a certified Cicerone. Her refined palate, love of science, and commitment to the traditions of the trade set her skills above and beyond.

“I love creating something that makes people happy. It’s really fulfilling to work with your hands and produce a product. At the end of the brew day, the taproom opens and I get to finish brewing while watching our beer drinking community enjoy themselves, and each other, over a beer.” –Robyn Schumacher

As American Craft Beer Week is drawing to a close, make sure to thank a brewer while you kick off your work boots and relax this weekend. If you ask me, all fine people working in the beer industry are quite deserving of an entire week of recognition. Cheers!

American Craft Beer / Seattle Women in Beer / Crafted in Carhartt

Look Out Detroit, The Drought Girls Are Making Raw Juice Waves

DROUGHT / Crafted in Carhartt DROUGHT / Crafted in Carhartt
I got to catch up with my favorite Detroit sisters this week as they test drove the Carhartt Women’s Spring 2016 line. Caitlin, Julie, Jessie and Jenny James are leading the way in women run businesses in the Michigan area.

They started small, but have grown their cold pressed raw juice company, DROUGHT, into something big and full of potential. Read more about this amazing family venture on Detroit Free Press.

Seaweed by the Seashore

Visiting the quaint Maine community located on Gotts Island is like stepping back in time. There are no cars and the only way on and off the island is by ferry service. The Weinberg family is one of the last families to live there year round. They grow their own food, raise their own animals, and even use wood to heat their cabin in the winter.

The mother and daughter team of Claire and Carly Weinberg, source natural products from the earth and ocean to make various skin care products for their family run company, Dulse and Rugosa. From homegrown roses to local seaweeds, Claire and Carly hope to bring a bit of Gotts Island’s goodness to others. Their skincare products would make great Christmas gifts. Check out what they have to offer.

“I have loved Carhartt clothing for years and really do believe that it is the only outwear worth wearing in Maine.  I love the fact that I can move in it without loosing warmth, which has been super important especially during a Maine winter.  I want to thank you for providing clothing that I know I can count on.  Clothing I know won’t fall apart.  Clothing that I feel strong in.  Clothing that I put on everyday and which still makes me smile, even though I have had it for years.”  -Carly Weinberg

Carly is wearing the Carhartt Women’s Sandstone Sierra Jacket.
(if you have a Carhartt fan photo you’d like to share, submit it to

Carhartt Fan Photo

Lisa of Pot & Box

Pot & Box / Crafted in Carhartt
Pot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in CarharttPot & Box / Crafted in Carhartt

Creativity is the root to any flourishing business. The idea is to grow a seedling of inspiration into something bigger that gains traction and draws people in. For Lisa, the fondness for flowers in unexpected locations was the fuel that started pot & box.

We’re certainly used to the idea of buying ice cream out of ice cream trucks, but what about flowers? Lisa drives her truck around to holiday markets and street fairs in the Detroit area, selling flowers and arrangements. You can keep on eye on the pot & box truck’s activity through the twitter page and follow it around the city if you so please.

When Lisa isn’t touring the city à la flower truck, she’s working on floral designs for weddings and other events. We caught up with her as she was setting up for one such happening. Her ingenuity shines through yet again, as she hung ginkgo tree branches from the rafters.

Here’s a bit of advice from Lisa to anyone hoping to turn a creative idea into a successful venture:

“Owning a business is all about being able to pivot. Trends, moods, and weather can change what I offer, and how I offer it. I used to want to have a traditional retail flower and garden shop, but I realized I have more flexibility to tackle different projects if I have flexibility in my schedule. That was a giant pivot. So, as far as advice, I’d suggest being open to change is really important. But also, go ahead and be stubborn when you think it’s important.”

Lisa is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Ravenden Sweater, Women’s Dodson Shirt, Relaxed-Fit Denim Jasper Jean, & Carhartt Weathered Wildwood Jacket.

Glass Artist Ona Magaro

Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt

Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt
Ona Magaro / Crafted in Carhartt

In a time when men outnumber women in films 3 to 1 on screen, unequal pay based on gender still unfairly affects females on a day to day basis, and social media and advertising outlets are repeatedly beating women down with unrealistic and often times contradictory expectations about beauty, health, and happiness; it’s time we stand together and let out stories and experiences bring about an era of change. Let’s applaud the women who are out there defying stereotypes and pushing forward in careers and fields where they are outnumbered. From one woman’s triumph shared to another’s inspiration spurred, small changes will amount to larger ones that can eventually redefine what it means to be a working woman.

Ona Magaro’s glass creations and her life story are quite the achievements to admire. She has turned her passion into a thriving business. After years of fine-tuning her craft, her work is breathtaking and unlike any I’ve seen. Take a look at the glass sculpture Ona created for us, from start to finish. She envisions the body of a bird by utilizing the simplicity of a single color and an elongated curve, free flowing and elegant. But don’t let the airy nature of her art fool you. It’s hard work, requiring a tremendous amount of physical strength and a heaping load of creativity. Her advice to anyone hoping to follow in her footsteps is to study marketing, accounting, and writing to build a successful business around the artistic talent.

As Oscar Wilde would say, we live in a world where “life imitating art” is an everyday occurrence. May Ona’s art and experiences be something that young women can look up to and hope to emulate as they grow and discover what path they’ll pursue. When I asked Ona what she wanted to teach her children about the arts, and how she hoped her work will affect the way they interpret the world around them, her simple response is what I hope to share with you, “That anything is possible.”

Ona’s workwear: Carhartt Women’s Long-Sleeve Signature T-Shirt, Women’s Series 1889 Slim Double-Front Dungaree, & C-Grip Knuckler Glove

last photo above taken by Jessie Moore

Caitlin Kerr of The Foxglove Studios

Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt
Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt
Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt
Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt
Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt
Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt

Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt

Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt

Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt

Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt

Foxglove Studio / Crafted in Carhartt

After leaving the music industry to find a creative challenge, Caitlin Kerr founded The Foxglove Studios. She started small, maintaining part time jobs and freelancing while building her skills and learning the craft. Each gradual step made it a more manageable task to jump into a whole new career. With time her clientele grew and running the studio became a fulltime job. Starting over can seem daunting and even downright impossible, but Caitlin put aside those fears created her own dream job.
Another important part of starting a new career path is to remember your roots. The years you spent at your old job weren’t pointless. You put in time an effort that helped make you the person you are today. Music plays a large role in Caitlin’s job. She listens to songs, bands, and composers reminiscent of the mood she’s aiming to capture in her creations.

Floral Arrangement Tips from Caitlin of The Foxglove Studios:
1. Use chicken wire, floral tape, or both to create a base. Avoid the Styrofoam filled with toxic chemicals.
2. Use it all. The greens of a flower can also be utilized. Don’t strip off the leaves, they create texture and fill out the arrangement.
3. When arranging, start with the base of greens and foliage. Then add focal flowers and whimsical flowers (the whispy, airy, smaller, and more wild types of flowers like scabiosa and ranunculus).
4. Allow the focal flowers to stand taller. It creates a more interesting arrangement.
5. Make sure to cut the stems of your arrangements and change the water everyday.