Photography by Katie Finnerty // Recap by Mackenzie Piccarreto
It’s a spring-like January morning here in Rochester as women of all ages and backgrounds pile into Radio Social for what’s expected to be another incredible morning. Whether you come with your own personal girl gang or waltz in solo, you feel the same the minute you enter: inspired, connected, and wide-eyed. Being in the same room as so many creatives and entrepreneurs (some that I know IRL and others that I’ve instagram-stalked enough to think I do), is just plain exciting. The energy is palpable.
Linh Phillips, of Sir Rocha Says, greets everyone with a notepad and a huge smile that would make anyone feel the most welcome (even if I’m biased as her friend). The infamous Becoming Boss signage, which should basically be known as the “Instagram area”, is immediately to the left. Hannah Betts, from Lives Styled, does it again-- the colors, textures, and overall vibe perfectly fit RGG & Radio Social.
Although we’re at a bowling alley, you’d probably never know it by the modern, beautiful decor. The bar is laid out with donuts from BXCR, Glen Edith coffee, and mimosas/bloody marys to order. Sarah Knight sure knows how to throw a party. A few minutes after 10 am, she gets on the mic and starts to round up (read:quiet down) the 150+ chatty guests. “Getting women to stop talking is hard”, she jokes. Sarah welcomes everyone and congratulates us on being “on top of it” as the event sold out in less than 2 hours. Woah! She thanks their sponsor, Tiny Fish Printing, who waves in the back beside a fun paint can photo wall and free beanies. Sarah introduces keynote speaker, Stacy K Ercan, of Stacy K Floral, who immediately reciprocates with a bouquet of flowers. Adorable.
Stacy takes the floor and you immediately feel like she’s an old friend. She shares the top 10 things that helped her build Stacy K Floral into what it is today. A few highlights include:
- Following your passion is very rewarding, but it’s also very hard.
- When you start to get too big for your britches, you make mistakes. Thinking that you know everything is never a good idea.
- There’s only one you. Stay in your lane and know that your uniqueness is your gift.
- Know your worth and the value of your time. Clue in to what you’re good at and delegate the rest.
- She wraps up by reminding us to support one another, even (and especially) if they’re in the same industry as you. There’s room for all of us.
Stacy is joined by Sarah and the rest of the all-star panel, Catherine Costanza of Catherine Rising, Jacquie Daley Parnell of Jacquelyn Daley and Simone Boone of Apogee Wine Bar as they take their seats and settle in for an intimate, but lively conversation. Even though the place is packed, you can’t help but feel like you’re in a friends living room with wine in hand.
There were two panel discussions, broken up by a “mix & mingle” session halfway through where we were encouraged to meet 5 new people. As someone who has a hard time not talking, I think I made the quota just in time. The women answered questions about how they got started, how they handle criticism, and how they’ve changed from day one. They were transparent, humble, and funny. From accounting and social media to hiring and firing-- they kept it completely real. While they may come from different industries, one thing these boss babes could agree on is that starting a business takes hard work, a lot of which goes completely unnoticed behind the scenes.
Jacquie talked about knowing your worth, taking risks, and surrounding yourself with only those that lift you up-- all while making the audience crack up with every other word. Simone reminded us, “The thing that’s really scary is what we should most likely be doing.” She touched on how she fell in love with wine, asking for help on the things you don’t know, and not paying attention to what others are doing.
Stacy spoke about pushing through fear, learning to become a boss, and trusting in what the universe drops in our laps. When asked about the social media comparison trap, Catherine explained that she doesn’t follow people from her industry, but instead pulls inspiration from different fields. “I don’t have time to doubt myself, I have to get to work.” #micdrop
If there’s anything I walked away with that Saturday, it’s that everyone faces similar challenges in business. Yet if you can keep both your sense of self and your sense of humor, magic happens. There was an overwhelming feeling of community and as Simone put it, “I think there’s enough room in this town for all of us.”