‘It’s Her Business’ Celebrates South Orange, Maplewood Biz Women

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jean sim  It's Her Business

Alyson Monaghan Levy and her sister, Brynn, co-owners Brynn Hudson Jewelry, noticed something last spring: They weren’t the only dynamic local women entrepreneurs in South Orange and Maplewood.

So they decided to do something about it.

“This spring we partnered with local photographer, Ananda Lima, to do a project on some of our amazing business-owning SOMa women,” reported Levy. “So far, we have released three of our 11 photographs.”

Brynn is the designer behind Brynn Hudson Jewelry, a recently relaunched jewelry design company. Alyson, her sister and business partner, recently joined Brynn as director of marketing and sales.

However, they started the photographic series with the spotlight on other local entrepreneurs.

One of the three photographs released thus far features Jean Sim, a Maplewood resident and mother of three who has launched Fresh Monster, a safe, non-toxic children’s shampoo line available now at Toys R Us and in more than 500 other retail stores.

“I was honored to be selected and floored when I met the other amazing women of our towns doing incredible things,” said Sim.

“It’s Her Business” is the first part of an ongoing photographic series that will spotlight women in all “jobs,” some entrepreneurial and some working at the role of being a mother.  “It’s Her Business” spotlights women who own their own businesses. Future (and upcoming) installments include mothers who work from home and a photo exploration of mothers and daughters.

For the “It’s Her Business” series, local women were asked about the struggles and hardships of growing a business, what women have served as role models for them as they rose to owning their own business, and what significant barriers exist for entrepreneurial women.

Some participants include celebrated wedding dress designer and South Orange resident, Kelly Faetanini, who spoke of the hurdles she faced in her first year after deciding to go out on her own, and how determination eventually led to her business gracing the cover of The Knot magazine after only two years. Gabriella Risatti, owner of an upscale bridal boutique in Manhattan’s desirable SoHo district, spoke of her struggle to overcome the fear of failure:

Gabriella  It's Her Business


Co-owners Lynda Rountree and Sue Rexford, owners of Maplewood’s, Wellspring Health Collective, shared their experience about who they credit as positive role models and the familiar juggling of balancing work & personal life.

Maplewood resident, Emmebeth Mischel, shared her story of being raised in an orphanage in Ethiopia to starting her nonprofit, Ethiopia’s Tomorrow, which funds the building of schools and the gathering of school and medical supplies.

Maplewood resident and freelance French horn musician & piano teacher, Mary Roberts, talked about being a woman in the male-dominated brass section of a Broadway orchestra.


Mary It's Her Business

Other participants who will be photographed and will share their experiences in building their own business in “It’s Her Business: The Woman & Her Business,” include Betsy Ames, a wardrobe stylist and owner of Mindful Style, which works with clients to be mindful of their clothing choices by paring down their wardrobe; Becky Williamson, creator and writer of the wildly popular children’s food blog, Food for Harper, which has thousands of followers; and Kerstin Diehn, owner of KV Design, a graphic design business whose clients include American Express, the Brooklyn winery, and UNICEF.

Read more about the project and see the released photos at www.brynnhudsonjewelry.com/itsherbusiness.


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