The previous JWI events I have attended could not prepare me for the evening of inspiration and connection I experienced at the LA Women’s Leadership Network’s recent event, “Passion for Fashion.” I knew that we were gathered to hear Esther Brozin Feder, philanthropist and JWI supporter, talk of her journey in the fashion industry. What I didn’t expect was to share a powerful evening with other young, Jewish, female entrepreneurs.
By Jackie Kossoff
Esther’s path to starting her own clothing line, A World Curated, was anything but linear. She related how she moved from her home in Johannesburg, South Africa, halfway around the world to pursue a career in the fashion industry in the United States. She met her husband here and started a family. The love she has for her husband and children extends to the community: for many years she has been involved in philanthropic endeavors close to her heart, including JWI.
The one thing missing from living the life she’d always dreamed about was a clothing line of her own. After decades of fantasizing about what her fashion company would look like, a few years ago she decided to take a leap of faith. Today, her company offers a line of unique and sophisticated clothing and accessories for the modern woman. She works with a dedicated team of like-minded stylists to handpick items from around the world and recently celebrated the grand opening of her showroom in New York City.
If Esther’s story wasn’t inspirational enough, when she invited questions from the audience, one-by-one women began sharing stories about their own entrepreneurial journeys. Nearly one-third of the 30-plus women present had already taken the leap of faith and started their own businesses. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been in the same room with so many women entrepreneurs my age.
As the women spoke about their experiences, struggles, and questions still unanswered, I felt compelled to share my story as well. In fact, I was practically jumping out of my seat with the desire to talk about my own journey and to answer some of the questions the others had posed concerning digital marketing. Even though we had just met, our shared entrepreneurial experiences created a palpable sense of connection and understanding that permeated the room.
When the time came to move on to the shopping portion of the evening, I was still completely absorbed in speaking with my fellow entrepreneurs about ways we could help each other on our journeys. However, as the other women began to leave, I found an adorable knit top that I just had to buy. I’m wearing it as I write this article!
I realized the very next day that I didn’t want a single evening to be our only shared experience. For the last month, I had been thinking about starting a local young women entrepreneurs’ support group with three friends. The JWI event showed me that my idea needed to happen. I am happy to report that the entrepreneurs I met at this inspirational event have agreed to join my group. Amazing things are possible if like-minded women come together to share their dreams and aspirations! I plan to hold our first meeting in June 2018 and will report back with our successes.