East Passyunk honoring women business leaders

Photo by Moore in Focus

South Philly will come together to celebrate women business owners.

The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District is bringing back its popular Women Mean Business event on March 26 in celebration of Women’s History Month. The inspiring, interactive event, in conjunction with She Rocked It, will feature a panel and mixer honoring may women-owned businesses along East Passyunk Avenue. It runs from 6-9 p.m. at Society Hill Dance Academy at 1919 E. Passyunk Ave.

Women Mean Business is a panel discussion, community conversation, Q&A opportunity and networking event featuring local women business owners sharing their experiences, challenges and successes.

The event will once again be emceed by Karen Gross, a celebrated performer, communications pro, creative entrepreneur and the founder/host of She Rocked It – a media and mentorship platform where creative, courageous women rock it together.

“As a longtime fan and former resident of East Passyunk, I’m thrilled to collaborate with the Business Improvement District to host an evening of women supporting women in sharing their stories,” said Gross. “The She Rocked It podcast pulls back the curtain on the lives of creative, courageous women entrepreneurs, and we couldn’t be more excited to hear and learn from women business owners who are rocking it on the Avenue.”

Photo by Moore in Focus

Women Mean Business welcomes all and is designed to inspire women around the region who are in business, starting a business or thinking about going into business. And East Passyunk Avenue seems the perfect spot to host the event as half of the 160 independently owned businesses in the district are owned by women. 

Four of those female business owners will speak on the panel: Chef Tova du Plessis of Essen Bakery (1437 E. Passyunk Ave.), Monica Nguyen of Meraki Luxe Spa (1605 E. Passyunk Ave.), Christina Rosso-Schneider of A Novel Idea (1726 E. Passyunk Ave.) and Emily Rodia of Good Buy Supply (1737 E. Passyunk Ave.). 

Each woman has a special story to share. 

After working in several iconic restaurants, Chef Tova du Plessis went back to her roots in opening her first bakery, taking inspiration from the fresh-baked bread and pastries she would make alongside her mother as a child. Her dedication and innovation earned her four James Beard nominations and propelled Essen Bakery to success. She swiftly adapted to the challenges of the pandemic by implementing new ordering and delivery services and transforming the bakery’s setup to ensure customer safety and satisfaction. She is expanding her vision with a new, spacious location in Kensington while simultaneously revitalizing the original bakery.

Nguyen is a professional cosmetologist and has been in the beauty industry for more than a decade. Through her experience as a nail technician, she was able to establish herself as a business owner and lash technician, opening Meraki Luxe Spalast summer. She is hoping to help others gain the knowledge and skills she’s acquired over the years.

With two of her own published books (CREOLE CONJURE (Maudlin House) and SHE IS A BEAST (APEP Publications) under her belt, Rosso-Schneider is the co-founder and co-owner of A Novel Idea. She lives and writes outside of Philadelphia with her two rescue pups and husband while running the independent bookstore and event space. 

With a painting degree from the University of the Arts, Rodia worked for numerous small businesses over the last decade before opening up Good Buy Supply, a Sustainable General Store and Bulk Refillery located in the heart of East Passyunk. Founded in 2020, Good Buy Supply is a one-stop-shop where you can find bulk soaps and quality reusable products.

Photo by Moore in Focus

The four panelists are a prime example of the hard work and determination displayed by many other female business owners in the area that inspired the event. The panel will give women business owners an opportunity to candidly share their stories with an audience interested in launching a business of their own, getting an inside glimpse into the careers of some of their favorite local entrepreneurs and meeting with like-minded individuals.

There will be a community Q&A session for attendees. In addition, panelists from previous Women Mean Business events will be in attendance to share updates about their businesses.

Throughout the evening, complimentary light bites courtesy of P’UNK Burger and libations courtesy of East Passyunk will be available.

Tickets are $10 at visiteastpassyunk.com/event/women-mean-business/ and will be limited to 200.

“East Passyunk Avenue embodies the authentic spirit of independently owned businesses throughout the city,” said East Passyunk Avenue BID Executive Director Rebecca O’Leary. “Here, the majority of business owners are women of diverse ethnic backgrounds, ranging from local to international origins. They are resilient entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams and challenging stereotypes across the board.”