TSC Member Monday: May 2023

Jun 13 2023

by Katelyn Whelan

Meet Anna Garcia of Varnish Collection

Hey! I am Anna, co-owner of Varnish Collection. My sister, Mary Lovett Beck and I founded our rattan wicker furniture and accessories line a little over a year ago. I have been attending the Summit for over four years and love this wonderful group of people more than I can adequately describe! I live in the MOST under-rated creative city in Georgia (Columbus) with my husband, Nick and kids, Mary Helen and Will. If I am not working, you can find me with my kids or one of my four sisters! 


Why did you join TSC Membership?

I joined the membership after attending the Summit the second time. I was a little hesitant at first because I didn’t know if there would be actual value given to me for the work I was doing at that time. I was doing social media consulting and did not have Varnish yet! But, after seeing the connections between the people more involved in TSC and the membership, I thought I would give it a try! Flash forward two more years and it is one of the best decisions I have made for my career. I am not even sure that Varnish would exist without it, solely because of the relationships made through TSC. I don’t always make it to the weekly calls, but when I do, they are almost like mini summits to give you that extra boost of energy you need to get through the week and stay focused on your tasks. The bottom line is, you simply can’t grow a business organically these days without a community and this membership is one of the best. It’s laid back, fun, and full of surprises. You never know who you will meet next or who will connect you to the person who opens the next door for your business.


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

Please don’t make me choose!! Okay, I will say someone new. This year, I met @Hart_studio at The Summit and I am really loving her jewelry. Plus, she had her sister with her and I love any sister duo. (obviously). And then locally, the women in Columbus are just making. it. happen. – @libbierothschildsculpture, @molliejenkinspottery, @collierezellinteriors, @shulerstudio, @parkplacemidtown, @coucilstudio @thecolumbusite and @shoplumilane

– And there are so many more where that comes from.

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

I don’t pour too heavily into one thing because I think you can get creatively boxed in if that makes sense. I still do social media marketing for a couple of brands that I feel connected to because working for other people is such a great way to continue learning. I am also inspired by my children, gorgeous interior design, fashion, my community, other favorite women entrepreneurs like @shopburu and @mollyfienning and last but not least, my sisters and mother! My mom is the hardest working woman I know and has built one of the most successful real estate businesses in Columbus. She even started this career very late in life and is the epitome of the word “hustle.”

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

I wasn’t given this advice necessarily, but I watched it first hand. My old boss and owner of a legal start up called Case Works never met an obstacle she couldn’t overcome. From her, I learned that no door is ever closed and there is ALWAYS another way to get something done. Pushing through hard times and adopting a “scrappiness” is how businesses succeed and my sister and I are seeing this daily. Oftentimes, it’s about who can adjust or dare I say “pivot” the quickest who takes their business to the next level.


Meet Sybil Godwin
of Shain Gallery

Sybil Godwin was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and has 20 years of experience in the art world. She attended North Carolina State University, and upon graduating, moved to Atlanta to begin her career in galleries. Sybil worked in galleries in Atlanta for close to ten years, and moved to Charlotte in 2013. She became owner of Shain Gallery in 2017, after almost five years as Gallery Director, and continues to cultivate relationships with artists and clients within Charlotte and across the country. She is always keeping an eye out for up and coming, emerging artists and loves having the opportunity to support her artists and witness their work finding forever homes. She is an avid collector of all art. Sybil has two daughters, and two Labradoodles, June and Johnny. She loves traveling and visiting art galleries along the way.


Why did you join TSC Membership?

I joined the TSC to connect and stay connected with all of the other members and friends that I have met at past Summits. I also love learning about how other people run their businesses and do their marketing. In Charlotte, I don’t often get to spend my time with other working moms. So being with 250 other working women for a week is absolutely so inspiring, and it gives me a renewed energy when I get home. 

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

A favorite small business I love to shop with is Charlotte’s in Charlotte, and Laura Park Design’s flagship store here in Charlotte.

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

Inspiration in the art world comes from all directions! Right now we are having a open call for all North and South Carolina artists to participate in our upcoming Emerging Artist Show this summer. I am getting emails daily, and I am loving what I see. I am so inspired by young artists just starting their journey into the art and gallery world.

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

My dad, who passed away suddenly this summer, was my biggest business supporter. He was a master salesman himself, and he taught me to be humble and to never get too proud. I would sometimes call him and brag about a big day in sales, and he would say, “Sybil, that is great, but what will you do tomorrow?” In other words, keep going and never get too full of yourself.

Meet Nicole Nevill
of Instant Shoot

My early professional career was rooted in non-profit administration.  Learning to do more with limited resources, event and volunteer management, and nurturing relationships to progress your mission were significant traits that were key in my start up. I spent most of my 30’s trying to start a family. Coping through years of significant infertility challenges and heartbreak, I immersed myself in stress relieving hobbies, including yoga, dance, and photography classes. It was during this time that I crafted my personal aesthetic for photography.  In 2019, my husband accepted a new job and our family relocated to Charleston. With a yearning not to miss my daughter’s early years, I leapt into creating a small business that would provide me with flexibility. Creating an accessible and affordable photography experience is an endeavor that fills a huge hole in the industry. Instant Shoot is women owned and operated and has photographed over a thousand happy clients, with their support and faith in us, we hope to reach even more people and capture priceless moments as we expand to more vacation destinations.


Nicole nevill

Why did you join TSC Membership?

Finding a community of women that are unapologetically ambitious was extremely important as we enter our growth and expansion phase. After researching several groups and organizations, I felt drawn to The Southern C, as their ability to uplift women entrepreneurs through authentic connections was apparent and candid.

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

I live in downtown Charleston, SC, so supporting the small businesses that line our gorgeous streets is my favorite weekend activity: Hampden, Maris Dehart, Hart, The Tiny Tassel, Beau & Ro, and Under the Almond Trees are some of my favorite women owned boutiques.

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

Creativity and inspiration is something that has been constant in my life, so I feel most comfortable in the creative process, and I love seeing my vision evolve into reality. However, I often seek inspiration and knowledge on how to be a better operator. I enjoy listening to podcasts that highlight women entrepreneurs and have begun reading business strategy books to seek inspiration. I find it fascinating to hear other’s success stories and it provides me with hope and faith to continue pushing forward as a small business owner.

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

I had to learn these two things the hard way but my advice, especially to new business owners, is to ditch perfectionism and invest in yourself.

Donna Burke

Meet Donna Burke
of Forme

Donna is the owner and founder of FORME, a fitness and nutrition program for women, as well as High Street Sporte, a size-inclusive activewear store. She has a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Exercise Science along with certifications in fitness and nutrition from NASM. She also created, PRTCL, the only sports nutrition products formulated for women in 2020. Donna is driven to bring equality for women in every industry and women of all sizes. 


Why did you join TSC Membership?

I joined TSC through my friends, Nicole Letts and Megan Roth. They had such an amazing network of female entrepreneurs around them and I knew I needed to be a part of that. I love that TSC members offer their help and expertise without expecting anything in return and purely is a community of women supporting women.


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

My entire retail store is focused on independent brands owned and operated by women. I love buying my antiques from Shop Grandmillenial. My favorite yoga studio, Yonder, is female owned and local to Atlanta. I’m also obsessed with water bottles from BKR, a woman owned company based out of San Francisco.


Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

My inspiration comes from things that I struggle with every day. I gained 60 lbs during covid and couldn’t find clothes to fit me in stores and plus-size brands aren’t usually very fashionable. I used this experience to create a size-inclusive clothing store which will push smaller brands to expand sizing, but also hope to launch our own brand by the end of 2023. My nutrition company was also based on my experience of the first time I lost 40 lbs (and cried in Whole Foods because I was eliminating everything I enjoyed). Now, I teach women how to enjoy life and hit their health and wellness goals. You can literally have your cake and eat it, too! 


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

Nothing is every over until the moment you stop trying, but you also have to be smart about when to roll with the punches and when to fold and move on. Sometimes the numbers just don’t lie.

Meet Michelle Robertson of Michelle Bradley Robertson

Hi! My name is Michelle Robertson. I am an abstract impressionist artist  from eastern NC. Growing up the daughter of a fourth generation NC cotton and peanut farmer, I have a heart for the beautiful landscapes and culture from field to sea. 
Painting from fond thoughts and memories of the land and a love of home, I enjoy painting with a vivid and eclectic approach and believe each painting should  be timeless, tell a story, and spark joy. 


Michelle Bradley Robertson

Why did you join TSC Membership?

Being a TSC member has been a great experience. The community, resources and best of all the passionate entrepreneurial spirit of fellow members is refreshing and inspiring. It is a beautiful community of like minded friends.

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

I love to shop small! There are so many small businesses that I love, I couldn’t begin to choose only one. Supporting all of my friends and family that have their own businesses and are out there making it happen brings me so much joy. I am particularly proud of one of my family members beginning her own clothing line Miles B and can’t wait to see where she takes it!

Where do you go to get your inspiration now?

Color and nature inspire me. I look at a tree line and it becomes an entire story of color pairings and paths. Color is so powerful and I find it hard not to utilize in my work as it warms and connects in beautiful ways.

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

The best business advice I could ever share is to simply and wholeheartedly be you. The person you are, not what you feel like success should look like. Success grows from truth, passion and determination. Share your gift and passion boldly and remember what makes you stand out is your super power.


Katelyn Whelan View More Blog Posts from this Author

Katelyn is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a dual degree in Marketing & Visual Communication Design. Settling in her hometown of Savannah, GA, she has spent the past 5 years building a career working with female owned small businesses. From events to retail, she has learned the art of translating ideas into action. Specializing in digital marketing, she seeks to bring the passion of her clients to life through the power of social media & e-commerce. She is the digital arm of a design firm founded with her two sisters, The Whelan Girls.

When she is not working, you can find her at the beach. She loves spending time with her family and can whip up a killer batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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