March Member Monday 2024!

Apr 17 2024

by Ellie Watkins

march member Monday
Monica farmer

Meet Monica Farber, Photographer and Videographer

My name is Monica Farber and I am a photographer/videographer based in Atlanta, GA. I have partnered with an array of noteworthy brands in food, fashion, lifestyle, and creative industries.
Now, let’s face it, “Storyteller” has become somewhat of a cliché. But in all honesty, there’s no better word to describe what I do. My work is designed to captivate, ignite curiosity, and inspire action. Whether I am traversing backstage at New York Fashion Week, immersing myself in the world of a Sonoma winemaker, or elbow deep in the kitchen of an Atlanta Chef, my approach is consistent, producing an inspiring, wanderlust inducing collection of work. I love to travel and look forward to spending the next year in Italy shooting everything that I see, taste, and experience, of course with my husband, Michael and our sweet Weim, Vannah Banana.

Why did you join TSC Membership?

I joined The Southern C in 2020 and this month will be my fourth Summit! I have always known the value of networking but also the value in helping others rise… what goes around, comes around, ya know?  Beyond connecting with potential clients and gaining insights into diverse industries, I’ve cultivated authentic, real-life friendships with truly remarkable women. I look forward to the Summit like one would a girls weekend vacation, seriously! I like to strive to be the least successful person in the room, as it inspires me to aim higher and learn from those who have achieved more.  It’s certainly not a difficult endeavor at TSC.

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

OMG, too many to mention here, but I’ll throw out a few… I love @CBGrey. Courtney’s scarves are so unique and she stays true to her goal of working with other female artists in each design. I see her collaborating with someone amazing every week!  @Inthecuriouskitchen has a very lovely story, and I am super impressed with MK’s food styling skills.  @HeirloomedCollection has some really great vintage pieces, perfect for styling photoshoots. @hollyshae is super inspiring and she makes me laugh every time we speak.  

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

I love to travel.  Whether it be an old dilapidated church in Croatia, or a roof top in Brooklyn, I am gathering inspiration everywhere I look. Music is a huge inspiration, I love to experience it live, in person. I also love to rewatch old episodes of “Parts Unknown”, Bourdain was a force and his storytelling skills were unmatched. I like to visit art museums and galleries, large and small.  And finally, my grandmother is a great source of inspiration.  She has written down many stories from her experiences living around the world with the Army and I hope to tell my own stories as well as she does one day, but through imagery.

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

A few years ago, I interviewed with Sara Blakely. At the end of our conversation, she told me I didn’t need to be working for anyone, because she believed I could do it on my own. A couple months later she sold the majority stake of her company and that role never came to fruition. I did end up doing some contract work for her though. I’m not sure if that is a piece of advice or just the right amount of encouragement/validation I needed from the right person, at the right time. I haven’t considered working for anyone else since.  Also shout-out to Sallie Holder with @growwiththebrimm, if it weren’t for her, I may have never had the guts to say “Screw it!” and go for what I really want to do.

Mary pat weiss

Meet Mary Pat Weiss of Trip Vingnette

I’m a full-time corporate lawyer and a part-time travel and lifestyle blogger. I live in Birmingham, Alabama. I relocated back to my home state of Alabama after spending 20 years in Washington, DC, working in politics. I launched my newsletter during Covid as a way to share my love of travel. I’m married to Todd and a mother of twin boys and travel companions, age 11. My second hobby is renovating a 100 year old home in Birmingham.

Why did you join TSC Membership?

Laura Cox Kaplan and I were friends from Washington, DC – she has been so kind and supportive and reached out to me after I launched my blog and recommended that I join The Southern C.  Also, one of my oldest and closest friends, Mary Clayton Carl Jones and creator of True’s Gourmet Hot Mustard also encouraged me to join. I attended my first ever TSC summit with her last year. I started writing this newsletter on a whim during Covid to cure my wanderlust and made a promise to myself that if it ever felt like a “job” I would stop writing but that was three years and 96 posts ago and I’ve just kept going.  It is a labor of love to share with family and friends – old and new!  Travel can be overwhelming and frustrating – I love figuring things out and making recommendations that take the mystery and stress out of travel.  The best part about being a TSC member is hearing everyone’s stories about why they started their businesses and being inspired to keep going even when you feel discouraged.  

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

True’s Gourmet Hot Mustard, Sissy Light Hats & Accessories & She Said She Said Podcast !   

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

I research every Instagram account, magazine, blog post and podcast that I can get my hands on.  I am constantly taking notes for future trips on places I would like to visit as well as ways to enhance a repeat trip to somewhere I’ve already been.  London is a favorite destination.  Indagare, Passport to Everywhere and Birmingham-based Veranda magazine are in constant rotation on my Instagram and podcast feed.

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

Promptly return phone calls and emails – the golden rule of professionalism. Always follow through on what you commit to do and learn how to communicate effectively!

susan kelly

Meet Susan Kelly of Milly Kate Designs

Hello! I am Susan Kelly, Owner of Milly Kate which is a line of classic handbags with charming details perfect for busy women who want to look their best. I am originally from NC and I lived in NYC, Philadelphia and Atlanta before settling down in the beautiful beach town Ponte Vedra Beach in 2010. My background is in fashion retail and traditional consumer brand marketing which I blended together when I started Milly Kate in 2020. 

Why did you join TSC Membership?

Being a solopreneur and starting my business during Covid meant I was looking for ways to connect with other business owners for support and ideas. I was thrilled to learn about TSC and I have enjoyed the weekly calls and attending The Summit in Sea Island last year. I can’t wait to go back this month and meet more talented women!

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

We have some darling boutiques in the Ponte Vedra area and I love to shop at Model Citizen (@mcheartsu) for clothes and Coastal Elements (@coastalelementspv) and Palmetto (@palmettoshopnb) for local gifts. I also love to travel and two brands I always like to pack are @sidecarlove_ which I use to clip my hat to my Milly Kate Straw Tote and @cabanalife for cute dresses that are wrinkle free and even have sun protection built in!

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

When designing bags my general inspiration comes from the way I live my own life….on the go with the need for bags I can take to a girls’ lunch, kids’ games or on an airplane that will be durable but also make me look my best.  Nothing makes me feel better than when someone asks “Where did you get that bag?” and I can answer that I designed it!

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

The best advice I have received and can give is “Don’t wait for perfect – it never arrives”. If you have an idea you want to launch or pursue dip your toe in the water and get started rather than wait for the time to be right because that may never happen!

dee and Holland Fava

Meet Dee & Holland Fava of Persnickety Grace

I’m Dee Ann, married to Mark, the mother of three daughters, and living in Charleston, SC. I worked at the most charming Pappagallo shop in college, reminiscent of an elegant grandmother’s attic, followed by a few years with wonderful companies like Estee Lauder and Chanel. I loved retail! My dream was to have my own retail shop one day but instead of pursuing that I stayed within the proverbial box and chose more “safe” careers. I was an interpreter for deaf children, first in Atlanta and then Charleston, for several years. Then, I became a teacher and taught kindergarten for two years, until our first daughter, Holland, was born. I became a stay-at-home mother which is where you would have found me for the past 25 years. My dream of having my own “elegant attic shop” never left me though. So together, in December 2023, Holland and I became business partners and started Persnickety Grace, A Charleston Boutique.

Why did you join TSC Membership?

I don’t remember ever trying to decide if to join or not.  I just remember reading about Cheri and Whitney and The Southern Coterie on Instagram, perhaps from Lydia Menzies, and knowing then I had to become a part of it.  There wasn’t any hesitation from my typically indecisive self!  

I love hearing the stories of the many TSC members.  Young or older, it doesn’t matter.  I find something to admire and learn from with everyone I’ve met, read about, or heard speak.  I came to TSC for the help I hoped to receive but am staying for the wonderful community and inspiration that I have found here.

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

A few years ago my answer would be different since two of my most favorite small businesses sadly have closed their doors.  This has shown me the sometimes fragile side of the small business world.  However, all I have to do is look to the TSC members to find others who are learning and growing, like me, and flourishing and are oh so creative.  I believe the future is promising for small businesses.  I see such beautiful talent and strength of heart in so many ladies here that picking one favorite small business would literally be impossible for me.  

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

Foremost, it is from my mother who passed away four years ago and memories of watching her create a beautiful life for her family.  She was an original “romanticize your life” believer without knowing it and before it became a social media trend.  

For me, it has come with age, but if I love something, then I trust myself.  I’m no longer engaged in the age-old battle of should I listen to my head or to my heart.  I simply follow my heart.  If it should fail me, then I know I’ll still have peace.  

Also, my beautiful (formerly Hearst/now Hoffman Media) Victoria magazines, old and new, never cease to inspire me.  I’ve saved every issue from their inception.  I knew Victoria before I was introduced to my husband and they have followed us with every move our family has made since then.  Mark knows that those dusty boxes of old magazines aren’t an option, they go where I go.  On any given page, there is something lovely that inspires me and lures me down a dreamy rabbit trail!

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

“Where you are now is where you are supposed to be.”  As an older lady now, I know I could easily become disillusioned with the late start to pursuing my dream but with my faith in God and belief that there is a perfect and appointed time for everything, I have peace. Instead of perhaps feeling bitterness over lost time, I have utter joy as I look to the future. 


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