January Member Monday 2024

Feb 20 2024

by Ellie Watkins

Vaughn Dorrian

Meet Vaughn Dorrian of The Red Thread Atelier

I am a wife, mother and somewhat serial entrepreneur. I live in Locust Valley, NY, where I saw a gap in the market, locally and online, for a well curated needlepoint store. 2 of my 3 children are out of the house and I knew I wanted to fill my days with something meaningful to myself, my family and my local community.  Insert, The Red Thread Atelier, New York’s newest needlepoint store.  During COVID, a younger generation picked up the centuries old craft and it is being revitalized by new artists and stitchers daily. I love being a part of the resurgence. Since opening my doors in late September, there has been an equal amount of seasoned stitchers and those completely new to the craft.  The red thread in many cultures is a symbol of connection and building a business off of a positive focus really meant a lot to me.


Why did you join TSC Membership?

I was a former member and “presenter” at a TSC Summit in Charleston in 2015.  I used to own a specialty food company, Hummingbird Fine Foods.  It was quite a success but not the right time for my family and I.  I learned so much from that weekend in Charleston. I took away so much knowledge about creating, connecting and collaborating. I knew I wanted to be involved again with my new business.  The inspiration and support really is amazing and inspiring!

What is a favorite small business you like to shop or support?

I love to support my fellow female entrepreneurs.  There are so many of us in the needlepoint industry that I can count as my friends now.  I also love to support my friends who have launched successful brands and foundations like Veronica Beard, Cartolina, Bia Candle Company, Dear Annabel, Knockout Beauty, Royal Native and Penny’s Flight Foundation.

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

Inspiration is all around.  I get it from my husband (also a serial entrepreneur) and my strong group of friends.  At the moment, my daughters (17 and 19) are the ones really inspiring me.  Watching them go after their respective dreams is really amazing to watch unfold.

What is the best business advice you have ever given or received?

Follow your gut.

Meet Catherine Dolaher of CD Arts Management

My name is Catherine Dolaher and I am a Washington, DC based artist manager and advisor. While my background is in museums and galleries, I founded CD Arts Management to partner directly with women-owned studio businesses to grow strategically and intentionally. From collection releases to inventory systems, we do it all! It’s the most rewarding work to come alongside artists to help them share their work with the world.


Why did you join TSC Membership?

A huge part of my job is managing partnerships between brands and artists, and it was through this work that I connected with many current TSC member brands. When you own your own business, you need to create your co-workers and I thrive in collaborative environments where all ships rise. I knew that TSC reflected this passion as well!

What is a favorite small business you like to shop or support?

There are too many to count and if you know me you know I LOVE to shop, especially from small, women-owned businesses. As a UGA grad, I’m also a sucker for any alumni business – Maison Venu (@maisonvenu), Mary Ball Art (@maryball_), and Shop Swells (@shopswells) to name a few. Right now I’m loving sister-founded clothing brand Melbourne (@shopmelbourneclothing) – definitely one to keep your eye on! Well + Wonder (@wellandwonder), Liz Lidgett Gallery (@lizlidgettgallery) and Meyer Vogl (@meyervoglgallery) are my go-tos for accessibly priced art!

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

I have the extremely fortunate position of being surrounded by art and artists all day, so inspiration is never in short supply! I love how artists see the world and all the beauty in the mundane. Riley Sheehey (@rileysheehey) and Shelby Monteverde (@shelbymonte) do this extremely well. I also spend as much time as possible physically in front of art – Glenstone Museum and the Rubell Museum in DC are my local favorites. It’s just better in person!

What is the best business advice you have ever given or received?

“Don’t stand in your own way.” My dad told me this during my first year of business and it has forever changed how I challenge imposter syndrome. I never want to be the first person to doubt myself. I’m so blessed to be surrounded by an amazing support and client system, and often the greatest obstacles I face are misperceptions about my own limitations. We can accomplish so much more than we can imagine!

Meet Charissa Owens of Charissa Owens Art

My name is Charissa Owens and I am an abstract expressionist artist.  I am a wife, mother, art educator, and run my own art business.  In my studio, you can find me blaring french jazz music, with my brush in hand and dancing around the room while I create.  My artwork incorporates a soft color palette that is layered & infused with a sense of elegance, peace and serenity.  I love bringing those feelings to life through my work for my collectors.  I consistently lean towards creating botanicals and heavily textured abstract work.  I often see composition and patterns on objects in the world around me that find their way onto my canvas.  

I recently launched a bespoke line of gift and home decor items, which allows me to bring art into homes in elegant and creative ways.  Every design is initially painted by hand in my studio and then transformed into luxury products. 

Why did you join TSC Membership?

I heard amazing things from Colleen Waguespack about TSC.  She spoke so highly of the organization and that made me want to check it out.  Everything I learned about TSC was all so positive and encouraging, so I decided to join and I am SO GLAD I DID!  The best part of being a TSC member would have to be the connections I have made.  I love sharing this space with other creative female entrepreneurs.  It has been a supportive & vibrant community that has not only cheered me on, but also been a great space to bounce ideas off of each other and ask advice from other women who are in the same place of growing a creative business.  Those weekly zoom calls have been full of wonderful tips to simplify my job as a business owner.  

I am excited for my first trip to The Summit this year and looking forward to the deeper friendships and relationships that will grow from that event.  I am looking forward to applying what I hear from the expert presenters during the business development sessions that we will have access to.  Cannot wait! 

What is a favorite small business you like to shop or support?

Oh goodness!  This is a hard one…how do I choose?  I love supporting other artists & female owned small businesses that are growing and successful. I shop from many of the interior design stores that carry my art.  I also love some of the small businesses that I have had the privilege of connecting with that are part of The Southern C.  Following along and watching these ladies & their businesses flourish and accomplish great things has been such a joy. @suncookery  @luna.marketing.studio   @figanddove   @thecuratedcoupe   @audrey.adele    @courtneysaltonfineart   @melissa.s.smith   @krissa_rossbund   @johnwardinteriors

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

I am inspired by interior design, fashion, graphic design, and the beauty in the colors and textures in the world around me.  If I have learned one thing about life from being an artist, it is that you must enjoy the journey and collect moments of pure bliss along the way to fill your cup of inspiration.  Each of my pieces is thoughtfully created using the elements of art and principles of design, but they also carry notes of…watching a cotton candy sunset, feeling the late evening breeze on a walk, sitting in the rose garden enjoying heartfelt conversation with your friends, or watching the fireflies dance in the night.  Not only does painting come from mixing paint and your practice in the studio, but also from a love and pure enjoyment of life.

What is the best business advice you have ever given or received?

I am so thankful that I have pursued this creative life and didn’t give up.  I never want to be the person that looks back on life and wonders…WHAT IF….?  I want to be the person that looks back on my life and says…I have truly lived, tried my best, and pursued my dreams! Anything you want to pursue in life takes determination, ambition, hard work, and patience.  Be a dreamer and dream BIG… just GO FOR IT!  Put it out in the world and grow with it over time.  Do your best & don’t get bogged down in the weeds of perfection, perfection is the death of progress.  Be authentic and consistent in what you offer and people will love you for it.

Meet Jennifer Lunsford of Rahab’s Rope

My name is Jennifer Lunsford and I am the Director of Sales for my family’s company, Rahab’s Rope. Rahab’s Rope exists to empower women and children in the fight against human trafficking. Profits from product sales fund the mission. I am married with two boys, Forrester and Fletcher. Our family lives in Clarkesville, GA. As the Director of Sales for Rahab’s Rope, I oversee many areas of the business, but my main focus is product development and our wholesale distribution. One of the highlights of what I get to do is traveling overseas to India and Bangladesh working hands on with artisan partners on the design and development of new product.


Why did you join TSC Membership?

My favorite part about TSC is the weekly zoom calls. I have learned so much from them. I love connecting with other entrepreneurs and getting that sense of validation ie: “I’m not the only one dealing with this, I’m not crazy…” 🙂 So much of entrepreneurship is trying to figure it out on your own because there is no manual and things can seem like they are behind closed doors. One of the most valuable things I’ve gotten out of the zoom calls was the straightforward answer to a question I asked Sandra Campos about margin goals for scaling. It was one of those questions that I was almost afraid to ask because I felt like I should know it as a business person. But the “all are welcome” feel of TSC, along with Sandra’s candor and generosity made me feel comfortable enough to ask. Having access to that kind of expertise is invaluable. I’ll always be grateful for that!

What is a favorite small business you like to shop or support?

My mom’s! Galerie Bonheur www.galeriebonheur.com I grew up traveling with my mom for her international folk art gallery – now in its 44th year – and it’s where my love of global textile art began. Lenora – www.shoplenora.com If I’m not wearing Larkin Lane or workout clothes, I’m probably in my pajamas. Luckily my friend (and one of my earliest LL supporters), Claudia Garrard has the most beautiful line of pajamas and nightwear.

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

Creatively, I’m always inspired by travel, of course! Motivationally, I’m endlessly inspired by my artisan partners. Despite challenges such as lack of infrastructure, support, or government stability, they are incredible entrepreneurs. My partner in Ukraine is the perfect example. She has been so determined to keep working despite the conditions in her country. We even have to have her pieces driven out of the country to ship because their airspace is closed – but she keeps going! And Haiti. The definition of resilience! I always think of the way my partner there phrases her answer when I ask how she is… “Par la grace de Dieu…” By the grace of God, I am here!

What is the best business advice you have ever given or received?

“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely

This advice has given me permission to not follow “big” fashion launch schedules. I’ve let go of that pressure and learned to embrace our hand-made, heirloom quality process, and let that set me apart as a slow fashion brand. I once read that “the future of luxury is hand-crafted”, and I could not agree more!


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