Four local women-owned businesses aim to give back to the community
A person can be powerful. But collectively uplift an entire community? This is the impact.
These four women-owned businesses in North Texas are funneling collaboration and finding niches to fill their entrepreneurial spirit. And although these four societies differ greatly, they are all woven together by a common thread: women raising other women.
Catalina Gonzalez was a young mother to her first son (she now has four boys) and felt the desire to cultivate a business that gives back first and foremost to children, mothers and their communities.
âThere is something magical about women supporting women,â says Gonzalez. “I believe that when we raise other women, we raise ourselves.”
That desire turned into Dondolo, a luxury children’s clothing line that grew to include women’s clothing. Gonzalez simultaneously launched the Dondolo Gives Foundation, where she is leading return efforts to her homeland of Colombia, as well as Dallas. The clothes are made in Colombia, helping the women who work there earn the funds to raise their children and create a safe place for them to thrive.
Locally, his team launched their first Dondolo Gives collection this summer, which benefits the Ashford Rise School in Dallas. Fifty percent of every purchase will go directly to the school, a program that educates typical and atypical learners in an inclusive environment.
The inspiration behind the collection came from one of her team’s volunteer sessions with the school. The fabric design was influenced by the art the kids created, and then local artist and Dondolo team member Carolina Moya created the final product.
âI also custom designed a sun applique detail for this collection to represent the love and light found in every child,â says Gonzalez. “It’s extra-significant because the sun is the logo for Rise School.”
La Digne Cie.
Sarah Bowden and Melissa Ice have provided support, recovery and rehabilitation to survivors of sex trafficking for nearly a decade through The Net, a nonprofit organization founded by Ice and which Bowden came to work for shortly thereafter. They noticed a common thread among the women they served: barriers to employment after the recovery.
The women they trained and supported could never be truly free from their past unless they achieved economic independence. This sparked the idea of ââfounding The Worthy Co., a candle and jewelry company that provides jobs for customers of The Net. The Worthy Co. is also a non-profit social enterprise, with 100 percent of its profits going to the women it serves.
âAs a company that serves and employs survivors of trafficking, we believe with all our hearts that women are more than the worst thing that has ever happened to them,â says Ice. “This opportunity should be available to all women, especially those who have survived and overcome extreme hardships in life.”
Before a survivor comes to work at The Worthy Co., she becomes affiliated with The Net, which is also the parent association of The Worthy Co. Through the program, women receive legal support, mentor, access. a survivor support group and many other services to help them on their healing journey.
The Worthy Co. opened a physical retail store at its corporate headquarters near downtown Fort Worth. The team recently launched The Candle Studio at the same location, offering candle-making classes that support the organization’s mission.
Over the past year, the founders added an Employee Enrichment Program, where women participate in survivor-led classes in professional development, trauma healing, yoga and self-care.
Babysitting with black tie
Her sister’s adult-only marriage gave Hope Oriabure-Hunter a perfect opportunity to grow her business around the need for child care at social events. She wanted to attend the event but still had her children nearby. The answer became her business, Black-Tie Babysitting.
In addition to building his business from personal experience, Oriabure-Hunter wanted his business to embody advocacy for parents, especially mothers, and enable them to have a balanced social life.
âResearch indicates that social interactions are a major buffer against depression and improve a person’s overall well-being,â says Oriabure-Hunter. “Most of the time, the holidays host events that can be a great opportunity to develop friendships, or they can be a real trust builder.”
Black-Tie Babysitting offers on-site babysitting services for social events and enables its all-female staff of caregivers to earn additional income. The past year marked a temporary halt to Oriabure-Hunter’s traditional business model of in-person events. During this time, she offered in-person child care to small groups of distant learners while parents worked.
With in-person events recurring, she reverted to her original model in April. She also just published Bring the Kids, Leave the Headache: A Complete Guide to Getting Kids to Adult Events, available on Amazon, and she plans to roll out coincident tutorials on the topic.
The Queendom Beauty Box
Bridgette Jones and Valese Jones wanted to put black and brown small business owners in the spotlight when they launched The Queendom Beauty Box last October.
The two best friends (no relationship) publish a subscription box full of items like bath salts, sugar scrubs, hair products and makeup every quarter. Each includes new products, all from minority and women owned businesses.
While beauty kits contain products from small businesses across the country, many are from Texas. The boxes contained items from Hair Scentz, owned by Jewel Sharp in Dallas; Loving Lacquer Cosmetics, owned by Kimberly Loving of Houston, and Dominica Duvall Beauty and Aesthetics, owned by Destinie Ray de Beaumont. Proceeds from sales benefit rape relief centers across the country.
âBuilding a business that uplifts women is so important to us because we rely on women who have done the same for us,â says Valese Jones. “We have to pay it up front, and The Queendom is one of the many ways we choose to do it.”
The idea of ââthe beauty box is the result of a pivot. Initially, the founders planned to build a traveling beauty bus with salon and spa services, for women who didn’t have the luxury of cruising the city for their hair and nails. But then the pandemic struck and they lost their investor, forcing them to put the brakes on. They hope the bus will be operational by 2022.
Editor-in-chief Narda PÃ©rez contributed the Queendom Beauty Box article for this report.