The ladies of the107 are dreamers. They’re artists and therapists, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Associate Publisher @jenkieta interviewed these inspiring women, read their stories here.
These eight unique, entrepreneurial women, who are experts in their field, have created a product or started a practice to help make a difference right here in our community and even the world. One afternoon, I had the absolute privilege of sitting down with each one of these beautiful women to hear their stories about their passion and how it evolved to where it is today. You, dear reader, get the privilege of hearing about some great art, crafts, and businesses available to you practically at your back door.
Jill Black – Amada
First, let me introduce you to Jill Black, owner, and manager of the 107. I met Jill over a year ago when she stepped into my spin class for the first time at ZYN22. Since that time, I have not only known Jill as a riding warrior but have also come to admire her passion for her community and desire to help support local entrepreneurs right here in Fort Worth.
One of the ways, Jill said, she is trying to curate vendors for the space is by “finding unique products that support your local community, and in that, you’re supporting an entrepreneur.” Besides the ten private rooms that are leased out to vendors and small business owners, there is a larger flex space in the building, which allows for pop-up markets. This is yet another way Jill likes to bring in creative artists and retailers who may not have a space of their own to sell their craft.
Jill, herself, has an affinity for eclectic home decor and art, especially Mexican Folk Art, so she is opening one of the spaces at the 107 to start her business called “Amada”, the Spanish word for beloved or a treasured item, where she will sell “beloved artisan goods”.
Part of the inspiration for having this retail business after working in real estate for the last 18 years was because of an extraordinary man named Charlie. You see, Jill is hoping to market her own business by telling Charlie’s amazing story. Charlie was born with a disability yet has demonstrated that there are no limits when passion is involved. A man with a big heart, he seeks to help other disabled people like himself by showing them how to do great things. Out of about 50 employees, 25 percent of them are disabled. Jill showed me a picture of one of his employees with no arms, etching glass by holding the glass between her feet! Incredible and amazing, isn’t it?
Charlie and his team make candles that many of the Catholic churches use in their churches, but he also makes glasses. If you have ever been to the Hotel Emma in San Antonio, you may have seen these beautifully etched glasses. Charlie helps his local workers learn this amazing trade and as a result, gives them purpose, meaning, and a way to provide for themselves and their families. My friend Jill likes knowing she can offer her customers a unique item that also helps her friend Charlie and the rest of his team.
CHOKE – Resident Artist and Brooha
The first person to join the space at the 107 was CHOKE (Creating Her Own Kinetic Energy). This is the name she gave herself at the age of 10. She grew up in Washington, DC, and had always wanted to be a graffiti writer. She says there’s no real story to it, but I would beg to differ. She said she needed a graffiti artist name, so Choke took a dictionary and blindly pointed to a word that would end up serving that very purpose. We laughed at the fact that it could have been ANYTHING!! “At first, I didn’t like it, but after a while, I liked the way the letters started to flow together, and now it has metamorphosized into what it is today. The acronym came after several years. I had people tell me that I have an energy about myself where I just don’t stop, I just keep going for it, no matter what my circumstances.” So, Choke stayed as her name.
Graffiti was like a moving gallery to her, but soon that love of art morphed into other opportunities for painting. While living in a studio apartment in California, the tenants, including Choke, got a call from the city that they were shutting the building down, and everyone had ten days to move out. It was then that she put her stuff in storage and decided to move to Asia. She was in a place of trying to figure out her life and what she wanted to do. Asia had been at the top of her list. She lived in Japan first and then went over to Thailand. She had her sketchbook and a backpack and met some local Thailand people her age that quickly befriended her and wanted her to meet their tribe. It is from this established relationship that Choke started buying directly from them and selling their goods here in the states. As a result, every time she goes back to visit, she sees the fruit of their labor together, whether that is in the form of a new roof for their home or tile on the inside. Choke gets to pick the colors and items she wants to make and then brings them back to here to sell. I must say, sitting in the interview with Choke, I saw so many beautiful items that I would love to purchase and knowing that it was going to a tribe that would help sustain their livelihood, made it even better!
“It is important for me to see that they have the materials for their looms, they have their string, and whatever else they need to dye…whatever they need.” Choke considers this every time she goes back to visit. She will also begin to work with other artists in other countries to do the same thing. Choke has a strong understanding of where she has been, especially experiencing homelessness. She understands the value that anything is better than the dark places where she has been and experienced. She uses those hard things like a flame to ignite a passion in her that she never wants to go back there again. She has gratitude for how her life has evolved and allowed her to bring hope across the ocean and using her inspiring artwork (her paintings are also for sale, and they are AMAZING!) to grace the walls of anyone willing to buy them and take them home.
“I want to empower myself, but I have found that empowering other women is even more empowering. It’s an amazing cycle! I think in America, it is our duty to travel around the world to be able to know who your neighbor is, so we know how to coexist.”
Denise Acebo – One Tiny Acre Soaps
Denise is a one-woman show where she makes handmade soaps from natural products. She prides her craft on being vegan, so there are no animal fats and no palm oil. Everything from the soaps to how she packages them is earth-friendly. The trade was handed down from family, and Denise adjusted the ingredients to fit her vegan lifestyle. “I prefer to do everything by hand,” she said. “I even prefer to sweep rather than vacuum the floor.”
Denise gets some of her inspiration by whatever is growing in her garden. She grows all of her botanicals in her backyard on “one tiny acre,” hence, the name of her business! Going back and talking about how she got started, Denise said that when she made it for herself for the first time, she was fascinated by the chemical process: “to watch oil and lye water chemically bond before my very eyes was just so cool!”
Of course, family and friends of Denise receive the gift of beautiful soaps for holidays and birthdays! Thanks to Jill’s pop-up market outreach to local artists, Denise was one of the first to participate, and it was then she realized just how valuable space like the 107 could be for her business. No longer would she have to deal with the unpredictability of Texas weather for outdoor markets.
I had to inquire as to which soap scent was her favorite. Although she likes whatever she is making at the time, her favorite at home is the green tea and ginger. She says it has a crisp fresh scent! Lavender and vanilla are a customer favorite, as well as the “man bar” which has a manlier scent or the upgrade from “man bar” is called “Husband #2”. This name came from her daughters as they felt the second version of the manly smell was even better than the first!
Denise also does hand-knit washcloths. After her first son was born, her mom taught her how to knit. Her mom died at an early age, so it became very personal to her, so she likes to think of it as keeping her memory alive by making them. The furniture in her space was made by her father and was hers as a child, which makes her soap business even more meaningful. The items from “One Tiny Acre Soaps” would be fabulous gifts. Stop by and see Denise! Tell her I said, “Hello!”
Renee Segars – Massage Therapist
Renee Segars is a relatively new massage therapist whose story starts a few years ago when she was going through some significant life changes. Overweight, suffering from adrenal fatigue, and chronic illness; she realized she had to make some major changes.
“On this path to wellness, I discovered a wealth of resources available to everyone in primarily Eastern medicine and spiritual modalities. Although, a long-time meditation practitioner to alleviate anxiety; it wasn’t until I began studying meditation and yoga in earnest that I began to clearly see the definite mind-body-spirit connection. Massage just seemed to be a natural extension of these practices and was the perfect foundation.”
Coming from a family with a strong medical background and always wanting to know everything, she began researching the hows and whys of why these modalities work. “I often found the spiritual “woo-woo” explanations for these modalities didn’t satisfy my curiosity or my questions. It frankly often felt a little too “snake oil”, for me. Being able to explain it to my 88-year-old grandfather is helpful too.”
Now, it is her intention to make these modalities as readily available and easily understandable as possible while allowing her clients to take and apply these practices to their everyday lives in a practical, well-grounded way.
“I really enjoy working with clients who are passionate about and ready to take ownership of their wellness.”
Renee refers to herself as an “anatomy geek” and has done extensive learning on the effects of stress on the body and what it is about massage therapy that helps. Some of her modalities for relieving stress are cranial sacral therapy and acupressure. She also does barefoot massage, which is a deeper form of massage. “My goal is for my client to feel relaxed. We are so busy and if for one hour our body can learn to relax and our mind have some space, I hope that once they leave, they want to have that again. I want to be an anchor for someone’s healing.”
I’m signing up as soon as possible for her signature massage! This massage 90 minutes in length and includes an introduction of cranial sacral therapy and acupressure for the first 15 minutes to help the client get into that space of relaxation. Renee believes clients will then be able to take deeper tissue pressure when they are in a relaxed state. Sounds amazing and just like what you need about now, right?
Go see her. Now.
Gabi & Liz – Modern Meets Vintage
MMV Boutique is owned by sisters Liz and Gabi. We are Latina boss babes who like to share our eye for the trendy fashion to local women through affordable clothing and accessories.
We are a women’s clothing and accessories boutique that carries trend-right clothing at affordable pricing because we believe you shouldn’t have to break the bank to look good. We specialize in curating the right assortment for stylish women, with affordable price points and creating personal connections with our customers. We are honest, honorable businesswomen who care about our customers and their happiness.
We are proud of our commitment to make the customer our #1 priority through quality and value in our product. We also provide styling services for any customer to add a touch of personalization to their shopping experience.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mmv_
Website – https://modernmeetsvintage.com
Marni Reecer – ReecerMedia & BossDog Hosting
After 10+ years of freelancing as a web designer and digital marketing specialist, Marni moved her home office to WeWork in 2017. Two years of steady growth gave her the confidence to go bigger. Specifically, she wanted a space that not only would accommodate two desks but would offer ample wall space to display her husband, Chris Reecer’s artwork.
“There are so many beautiful oil paintings hanging in our house, and in Chris’ garage studio, it was time to get them out in the open. the107 is the perfect home for them,” Marni explained. (Visit chrisreecer.com to view his work.)
Aside from being her husband’s biggest fan, Marni is busy running two businesses at the107.
- ReecerMedia offers business consulting, web design, WordPress care, creative, SEO, and digital marketing services. http://www.reecermedia.com
- BossDog Hosting allows Marni to bring a “boutique-style” of web hosting to her clients, who want a more personal experience compared to the larger “Godaddy’s” out there. http://www.bossdoghosting.com
The name came from her desire to be a strong female leader (hence the pink in the logo) and the fact that she holds her own at home with three strong-willed Alaskan Malamutes, Ringo, Rainie, and BB.
Doing business for good.
Marni offers US Veterans a substantial 20% discount on all services and hosting plans, in memory of her father, Lt. Col. J. A. Getchell, USMC, a Vietnam veteran who fought his last battle against Alzheimer’s with grace and dignity.
As part of ReecerMedia’s growth, Marni recently added stepdaughter, Joanie Reecer, to the team. Marni treasures Joanie’s creative skills, social media, and Shopify experience for added support. Who else is behind the curtain at ReecerMedia? Marni spoke highly of her team of designers and developers in Romania, with whom she has known for more than ten years. “Our relationship became a more official partnership just over a year ago. I am their official US office, and they support me in building custom WordPress sites and superior ongoing care for my clients.”
It’s all about connecting with people.
Connecting with her clients is super important to her in building a successful business. When you meet Marni, you will understand just how easy it is to connect with her. She’s a calming soul with way more knowledge than I could ever fit into my brain regarding website development and more!
You HAVE to stop by the 107 and meet these women and experience the passion of their trade. Okay, you don’t HAVE to, but I HIGHLY recommend it! Not sure of when the best time to stop by would be? I have a list of Holiday Market dates happening at the107. Certainly, one of these dates will fit your busy shopper schedule:
- Saturday, November 30th, from 10-5 (Small Business Saturday!)
- Saturday, December 7th from 10-1
- Saturday, December 14th from 10-1
- Saturday, December 21st from 10-1
Jennifer Kieta is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. She graduated from Texas Tech University and has lived in Fort Worth since 1996. After marrying her husband, Brian in 1998, Jennifer worked as a Child Life Specialist at Cook Children’s Medical Center for 9 years before becoming a full-time mom to her two daughters. Her passion for helping people in healthcare transitioned into the fitness world in 2014. She now teaches spin and HIIT classes at Zyn22 and Pilates at Studio 180 in Pop’s Gym. December of 2017, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her journey through a double-mastectomy and being able to call herself a Survivor and Overcomer has allowed her to have an even greater passion for helping people embrace every day and take care of themselves one day at a time.