Ladies of Liberty: A Conversation with Women of Jersey City.

Hey there! Back again with another collaborative effort with Uber! I love partnering with Uber as they strongly support and promote the advancement of women at the company. I'm especially inspired by their mission to increase the representation of women in leadership roles at Uber on a global scale, which is why I want to honor the female leaders in my own community. I decided to interview 3 amazing women from Jersey City, where I am from, who have trail-blazed the way for what this city has become. Each woman is a business owner with inspiring back stories - with varying interests/occupations ranging from shop owner, community magazine owner, jewelry designer and more. In the past five years, the city has evolved into a creative and flourishing town in which women have more opportunity than ever. These women have helped make Jersey City what it is in 2018.  I visited each woman in their respective place of work to hear their story.

Introducing you guys to Kristen Scalia of Kanibal Home, Marinell Montales of Eighty Magazine and Kerry Lynn of Love Locked.
 Here we go! I hope you enjoy!

Tell us about yourself:
Kristen Scalia is the owner of Kanibal & Co., a lifestyle store located in downtown Jersey City, NJ comprised of refurbished vintage furniture, found objects and new home decor, apparel and gift items. The shop routinely collaborates with local talent to produce an eponymous line of apparel, home goods and paper products. The shop also holds monthly craft classes taught by local artists. For more information visit shopkanibal.com or shopkanibal on Instagram.

Q: Kristen! Thank you for letting me do this! You’re one of the first shops I fell in love with in Jersey City! How does it feel being an amazing woman and having to have your own shop?
A: I don’t take it for granted that I get to wake up every morning and work at a job that I love. It’s almost been 10 years and I feel just as thankful and lucky as that first day when I picked up the keys to the shop. You walk in every morning and present things in a way that you hope your customers love as much as you do.

Q: What were you doing prior to having your own business?
A: Prior to opening the shop I was in public relations, running campaigns for fashion companies, consumer product companies and law firms. Before that I did everything from scoop ice cream at the Jersey Shore to prep bodies for science as a mortician’s assistant. I started the shop online two years before opening a brick-and-mortar, so when I was in PR I would come home from working 10+ hours and then eat dinner at my desk working my side job.

Q: You’ve been around for so long, even before Jersey City was how it is now, that is a long time!! You’re basically a trailblazer! Do you love the change?
A: Change is progress. It keeps me on my toes as a small business owner, adapting to new clientele and evolving tastes. Even though the shop has been around for several years now there’s always someone new in town who’s never been here before, so there’s always a chance to get better and make an impression.

Q: Was it always your dream to have your own shop? 
A: I always wanted to work for myself. When I was little I wanted to be a vet and I envisioned owning a practice and interacting with customers and animals every day. But I quickly realized that I love hugging animals way more than treating them! So, the shop is perfect: I still get to interact with my customers and their pets daily. Plus Kanibal & Co. has been able to give back to local charities like See Spot Rescued and JerseyCats. One of the best parts of owning my own business is being able to contribute to my local community in a meaningful way.

Q: Lastly, what advice do you have for women who aspire to open their own businesses? 
A: The best advice I ever received was to just work hard and not focus too much on micro-managing the future. It’s sometimes difficult to put in so much sweat and time without a clear path, but small business is all about sustainable risks. You’ll never be able to entirely control the future, but you can enjoy the present and work hard (and happily) every day.

Tell us about yourself:
My name is Marinell Montales. I am a 33-year old visual designer living in Jersey City. I was born and raised in the Philippines and emigrated to the US when I was 20. 
I founded EIGHTY Media, which started out in 2014 as a 16-page broadsheet print magazine and has since grown to be a media company that produces live events and podcasts, as well as additional, stand-alone digital content for the web. 

Q. You own your own magazine now! I am so happy for you!! I believe you have an everyday job as well! I find you more amazing now being able to balance both jobs, is it easy?
A. I do! Thank you! Yes, my daily is working as a mobile and web app designer for a health and well-being startup in New York City. And then I have EIGHTY on the side, which takes up my early mornings before I head to work and weeknights and most weekends. 
No, it’s not at all easy to balance a full-time job and a personal project, especially because I care a lot about doing well at both. Time management is a challenge for me sometimes because I don’t have a set staff or team at EIGHTY. It changes with each issue. It does help though that my day job and EIGHTY are both creative design jobs, which means I’m constantly sharpening my skills. I also try to stay healthy and active, whether that means taking two back-to-back yoga classes on a Sunday, or taking small retreats or day trips to decompress. Sometimes that also means you just have to let go and let your dad bod shine at a park on a Saturday with takeout pizza and some beer. It’s important for me that I don’t burn myself out. I’ve been in that situation before, and it’s a lose-lose. 

Q. What made you decide to do a magazine specifically geared towards JC?
A. I used to work as a barista at my friend’s coffee shop in Jersey City and had met a lot interesting people working across the creative landscape and producing remarkable work. At the time, I didn’t feel like there was a platform for these cool creatives to show off their work, so I thought to myself, all these cool people living and sometimes even working in Jersey City and only a handful of people know of them? That’s when I thought that Jersey City needs a print magazine — one that the city has never seen before in terms of design and top-quality content. That’s how EIGHTY was born.

Q. Any Eighty Magazine issue about women empowerment coming soon?
A. It’s on the pipeline! And I’m also proud to say that every issue I’ve put out have included stories about women of different colors and creeds, and celebrates the impact their work has on the community and the world.

One last question, any advice for other women like yourself who’s following their dreams? 
A. I say this one to myself a lot: “We’re all a work in progress. In the design world, even the “final” version is never final. Keep that in mind, especially when you find yourself doubting your purpose or comparing your journey to others”.  

Tell us about yourself:
I’m Kerry Lynn. I’m originally from New York and I’ve owned Love Locked in the heart of Jersey City since 2016. I design jewelry and specialize in wedding rings. It brings me so much joy to be a part of helping create someone’s forever ring. Love Locked is located at 353 Grove Street in beautiful Jersey City. We work with 100 handmade artists who make jewelry, home goods and apothecary. We custom make engagement rings and wedding bands too! 

Q. First, I love your shop, it’s one of my favorite places to spend money! How does it feel being a woman and having your own business?
A. Thanks Denny, we love when you come and grace us with your wonderful energy! I’m so happy to be a woman running an independent business in Jersey City. I come from a long line of independent business owners, from my great grandfather to my dad, but I’m the first woman in my family to own her own business. I’m also excited to be in a place where there are other woman business owners that help each other grow and succeed. It inspires me to see the artists that I work with spearheading their own businesses. 

Q. You live in Brooklyn, right? What made you want to open a shop in Jersey City?
A. I came here several times to visit friends and loved the energy on the streets. When you surface from the PATH, you can feel something very special is going on in Jersey City. ( I AGREE.)

Q. I’ve known you for a while now and you’ve told me you used to be a bartender, how does it feel to now be your own boss?
A. I love being my own boss but I think being a bartender helped me a lot. It showed me how to multitask and pay attention and serve many people at once. You need to wear many hats as a sole proprietor just like bartending. 

Q. Lastly, any advice for other women who want to transition to owning their own business?
A. Do it! Do something every single day towards your business to make it better. Ever since I decided to open a jewelry store I have worked every day to make it a bit better each day. I would tell other women to dive in and learn everything you can about your business

Let’s hear it again for these women and their empowered voices! A great direction of #WhereTo go next! GIRL POWER!




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