5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Found Their Passion Amid the Pandemic

Photo courtesy of Jessica Moyer, owner and CEO of The Ice House Wellness and Community.

These Delaware women became entrepreneurs during the pandemic by creating businesses from their fitness, painting and crafting hobbies.

The Coronavirus pandemic taught everyone the art of the pivot.

For some, that meant turning a side project or hobby into a paycheck. And for the women of the First State, there was no better time than the present.

Delaware Today spoke to five women who turned their part-time passions into full-time businesses.

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A Woman for Women

Photo courtesy of Jessica Moyer, owner and CEO of The Ice House Wellness and Community.

Jessica Moyer can do it all. She’s a mom, a wife, a fitness instructor, a life coach and a soon-to-be author. In May 2019, she opened The Ice House: Wellness and Community in Wyoming, Delaware. But this is no traditional gym, rather, it’s a safe space for women to grow and learn together in an uplifting environment, Moyer says.

“What makes me feel so good is that I’ve created this environment that women feel so comfortable coming into with no judgment,” she says.

Moyer and five other trainers run classes throughout the week. The Ice House offers a variety of workouts in individual and group settings including yoga, Pilates, barre and bootcamps. However, Moyer’s mission doesn’t stop at helping women improve their bodies, but also their minds and souls. She runs wellness workshops for couples and families, and tries to create a sense of community and openness at the facility.

Moyer says that women tend to prioritize everyone but themselves. The life coach sees that tendency in her own past, caring for her late father and then her son who died at 9 months old of a genetic disease.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Moyer, owner and CEO of The Ice House Wellness and Community.

“We’re taking care of everyone for ourselves and so that’s kind of where my mission came from, to really create the self-care aspect, so we could be better humans and better moms and better, you know, whatever,” Moyer says.

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The Ice House; 200 Southern Blvd., Wyoming; 233-3795; Instagram: @302icehouse; purposefullifewellnesscoach.com

From Hobby to Business

Photo courtesy of Shantiyyah (Tia) Hobby, CEO of Clutch By Tia Dash.

Tia Hobby spent the last four years turning a pastime into a full-blown business.

CLUTCH by Tia Dash is Hobby’s clutch handbag brand. The Delaware native’s business idea became a reality during her junior year at Salisbury University. In May 2020, she won $1,000 in the university’s student entrepreneurship competition which she used to find a manufacturer for her products and fund an official business license. Hobby received another $10,000 in October 2020 in the Shore Hatchery competition, which she also invested back into the business. She plans to enter both competitions again this spring.

Currently, Hobby is a one woman venture. Her previous release was sewn solo and by hand. Overwhelmed with orders, she had to shut down her website while people were still shopping.

“I literally sat in front of a sewing machine every day for a month and a half, give or take, and then I closed my website down because people were still placing orders,” Hobby says.

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Moyer, The Ice House Wellness and Community.
Photo courtesy of Shantiyyah (Tia) Hobby, CEO of Clutch By Tia Dash.

Hobby is currently working on logo brand apparel and a gender neutral style to broaden her consumer base.

“I have received support from all genders whether it’s buying gifts for somebody or they contact me through [direct message] and just say, ‘I love what you’re doing and I’d like to support,’ and that’s when I started doing logo apparel,” Hobby says.

Hobby’s shop website has several clutch purses available, all priced under $30. The CLUTCH brand is inspired by designers like Michael Kors, Chanel and Gucci, and is branded with her logo.

CLUTCH By Tia Dash; Instagram: @clutchbytiadash; clutchbytiadash.com

Trendy 4 Everyone

Photo courtesy of Carmela Dow, Designer and 4TMRW Co-Founder.

Like many others, Carmela Dow was laid off due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But the recent University of Delaware graduate always planned to open a business that applied her fashion merchandising background. The timeline for that dream hit the gas when Dow suddenly needed another source of income. She started making face masks for her friends and family. Seeing an ever-growing need, she created 4TMRW.

Dow sells a variety of masks in different colors, patterns and sizes, all for $10 on her website. She recently began selling scrunchies and T-shirts and will be releasing a spring collection in late March or early April.

Dow’s style is colorful and creative. She describes herself as a “quirky, artsy woman,” but in college was often in business classes dominated by men.

Photo courtesy of Carmela Dow, Designer and 4TMRW Co-Founder.

“I always felt like it was so much effort for people to take me seriously … because I was a woman, because I was a fashion major, because I always chose to dress up for every presentation, because I was engaged and interested in class and I wasn’t in a fraternity,” Dow says.

She has a lot of future plans for her business, including debuting at local boutiques and releasing a line of Pride merchandise.

“As a Black woman and as a queer woman, all those parts of identity are always relevant in all the work that I do. I don’t think that there’s any way that I can deny that,” she says.

4 TMRW; Instagram: @trendy4tmrw; 4tmrw.com

Anything Boys Can Do, Girls Can Do Better

Ashley Sommer moved to Delaware less than six months ago and has already found a community through her business.

Our Ladies Paint is an all-women’s painting company aiming to bring even the most creative and intricate customers’ visions to life. Several of Sommer’s customers complained that other painters just “weren’t listening” to what they wanted. While trying to find help to paint her own home, she was frustrated with other businesses’ responsiveness.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Sommer, CEO of Our Ladies Paint and My Sommer Glow.

“It was not like a level of professionalism that I thought should be there and I [thought], I can do this way better than what they’re doing,” Sommer says. “I’m going to do this because no one’s doing it the way I think it should be done.”

Photo courtesy of Ashley Sommer, CEO of Our Ladies Paint and My Sommer Glow.

Our Ladies Paint takes on interior paint projects like floors, walls, trims and furniture, as well as murals and custom artwork. Sommer says that she saw a demand for creative interior designers since so many people are working from home and are looking to spice up their environment. Once she started advertising on social media, the business took off. So far, they’ve finished 10 homes, with more planned for the future. Sommer currently has four other women helping her paint, but she’s planning on growing her staff soon.

“I really design with them and listen to what their interests are, as opposed to just, you know, walking in and saying what’s your what’s your paint color and then just walking out,” Sommer says.

Our Ladies Paint; Instagram: @ourladiespaint; ourladiespaint.com

Taking Crafting Seriously

Kathy Galvin was a stay-at-home home mom for 14 years, but when she tried to re-enter the workforce, she felt as though she wasn’t being offered what she was worth. That’s when Craft Central LLC was born in 2018.

Galvin started the business with the intention of doing crochet, her “first love” of crafting, but soon found herself hosting paint parties and experimenting with other crafts. Now, Craft Central’s shop not only has several handmade crochet items, but DIY kits, decorative wooden painted items and gift baskets.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Galvin, owner of Craft Central, LLC.

Galvin also hosts virtual crochet lessons, which are typically capped at 10 people to create a more personal environment. She wants to show people the physical and mental of crafting and bring them “back to the basics” of handmade crafts.

“Crafting is a universal language, everybody and anybody can do it,” Galvin says. “It transcends any age group. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from or what school you went to, it’s just something that everybody would love to do.”

Galvin makes each item by hand and does custom work too. Her biggest seller is the “Mermaid Blanket.”

“My grandmother used to [crochet],” Galvin says. “She always used to make us a million things when we were younger and I always used to love receiving something from her so she’s sort of my inspiration.”

Craft Central LLC; yourcraftcentral.com

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