Source: Tasnim Shamma, 90.1 WABE
A website for small business owners recently used census data to rank Georgia No. 1 in the United States for women-owned businesses.
But a key challenge for women in Georgia is raising money.
The iwi fresh spa in downtown Atlanta smells nothing like your typical nail salon. It calls itself a “Farm-to-Skin” spa, and employees are called “farmers.”
The spa is covered in greenery, and there’s a wide range of smells, including cucumbers, beet roots and turmeric, because all of the products for pedicures, manicures, haircuts and massages are from local farms and gardens.
Employee Shantae Robinson has a farmer name of “Dragonfruit.”
“We go out and pick fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs and bring them here to iwi kitchen, where the skin care chef, Yolanda Owens, juices all the fruits and veggies and mixes them to create skin care recipes from her grandmother’s home remedies,” Robinson said. “If you can’t eat it, you should not put it on your skin.”
Her boss, Yolanda Owens, started the business in Atlanta about 14 years ago. She credits her success to Southern hospitality.
“I can always tell my Southern women because they just have a more supportive and caring and loving piece, and I think that’s what you get in Georgia,” Owens said.
In addition to this informal mentorship network, she also found financial and technical support through statewide programs and local programs like SCORE Atlanta. Owens said she mostly used her retirement savings to fund her business from her previous career as an engineer, but for most women, obstacles remain.
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