Coco Chanel charismatically quipped “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Taking a cue from her illustrious determination, five fabulous Buckhead women thought aloud and set out to network themselves — and their businesses — into success, with style.
The “Fab 5” (a moniker they dubbed themselves) consists of female entrepreneurs in their 30s who juggle marriage, family, business, friendship and life–all while keeping their style and wit about them. The female networking group consists of Mary Elizabeth Ellenburg, president and majority owner of Ellenberg Chair Company; Kelly Baskin McGill of Baskin McGill Tennis Academy; Shannon B. Reynolds of Charmed Jewelry and Accessory Auctions; Callie Burnette of Calliespondence (an Etsy shop for personally designed invitations and paper goods); and Jaquilin B. Phillips, founder of The Little Nook on Pharr Road.
The group was inspired out of necessity and a common love of style.
“We say that our husbands understand food, clothing and shelter but do not understand Chanel,” laughs Ellenburg. “We decided if that’s what we want, we’d go to work for it. I just hope that when I die my husband doesn’t sell my bags for what I told him they cost!”
Supporting each other was an easy next step. The women utilize an online system to chat weekly and discuss business ideas, struggles, networking and their appointed philanthropic endeavors. They also lift each other up with positive thoughts along with good PR and business referrals. The group has a few ground rules that keep the peace including the mandate that everything discussed amongst the group is confidential. Additionally they support one another’s philanthropic choices. The system works; the group consists of businesses that do compete. Perhaps their underlying thread that holds the women together is their love of fashion, a theme that keeps them working hard.
The atmosphere is one of symbiotic admiration. Burnette personally loves getting to garner advice from women who have been in the same situation or struggle: “It’s wonderful to have a sounding board full of other entrepreneurial moms.”
Phillips is inspired by all the women in the group: “If you can take the initiative to start a business, then run it and manage a family and a household, you inspire me.”
McGill wants women to believe that we can have it all: “Women are great at multitasking and we can balance our career, family and service to others. Being a working mom gives me confidence and financial security knowing that I depend on no one but myself for my success.”
Ellenberg hopes that as women network and grow they, like the Fab 5, see one another as supporters and not competitors: “It is sort of like fishing in a pond. If everyone else is catching fish all around that pond, I am encouraged that at some point, I am going to catch some too. I love seeing another woman succeed. It means there is hope for the rest of us.”
Reynolds backs up the sentiment, while offering advice to the next generation of women: “Don’t be afraid to take risks, pursue adventure and your business ideas along with your dreams. If you are passionate about something, pursue it with confidence and an unstoppable determination to be successful in it.”
Surely, Chanel herself would approve.
For additional information on the above businesses visit MEE Studio South (on Instagram @meestudiosouth), The Little Nook (TheLittleNook.net), Baskin McGill Tennis Academy (BaskinMcGill.com), Charmed Jewelry & Accessory Auctions (Facebook.com/charmedjewelryauctions), Calliespondence (Calliespondence.com).