This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating strength, individuality and so much more. We’re here to provide women with tools for confidence and self-expression so they can feel like the best and most comfortable versions of themselves. And as women in the business of empowering other women through personal style, we say “thank you, next” to one-dimensional depictions of our gender. Like you, the women of Wantable are many things: career-driven, family-oriented, independent, creative, the life of the party, bookworms and everything in between. We’re lucky to be surrounded by a team of talented, strong women, and wanted to share the stories of a few team members who are in pursuit of their passions outside the walls of Wantable. We hope you’re as inspired by these individuals as we are.
Emma / Stylist
Watch out for this triple threat–she can sing, act and dance! Emma started acting as a kid but really found her passion for it in high school. She declared Theatre as her major in college, and with the help of a supportive professor, knew it was a career path she wanted to stay on. Between rehearsals for her most recent role as Cinderella in Disenchanted and working as a Stylist, we caught up with her to hear more about her journey.
What is your favorite show you’ve ever been in? A Street Car Named Desire. It was the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. At the same time, it was the moment I felt like I had really developed as an actor. It’s a classic play, but it contains tough subject matter that we wanted to bring to the forefront. I had well over 600 lines, 4 pages of monologues, and was on stage the entire time. It was a physically and mentally exhausting show.
What does the typical audition process look like? It depends on if you’re auditioning for a specific show or doing a general audition. A general audition means that there are multiple theatres and you audition for them all at once. After that, they contact you if they want you to be in a show for them. I think I prefer auditioning for a specific show because then I can pick my audition material based on the style of the show or the characters. Typically, you have less than 4 minutes to make an impression!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start an acting career? It’s the people that work the hardest that make it. There are a lot of very talented people out there that won’t make it because they don’t put in the hours and dedication. I also think there’s a stigma with acting that you’ve only made it if you get to New York on Broadway, but that’s not the case. You can succeed in all kinds of places! The fact that I get to do it at all is amazing. If I get to do it for the rest of my life I’ll be super happy no matter where that may be.
Lauren M. / Jr. Stylist
Lauren is a multi-talented artist who specializes in wedding photography and also happens to make (and sell) killer embroidery. From the moment she got a point-and-shoot camera at the age of 12, she’s had a passion for photography and it’s only grown from there. After completing a Photography degree in college, she’s traveled the country as a wedding photographer heading to amazing places like Chicago, Phoenix, Colorado, California and of course, Milwaukee. Be sure to check out her amazing photography and sassy embroidery for a closer look at her incredible talents!
How did you get started photographing weddings? I originally thought I was going to do fashion photography and have always thought it would be so cool to travel and follow a band around, but then I got asked to do a wedding and fell in love with it. Now, I’ve been doing wedding photography for almost 6 years! I was located in Chicago but was hired for a wedding here in Milwaukee and relocated 3 years ago.
How would you describe your embroidery? Sassy needlepoint. I got started with embroidery because I wanted to make a joke cross stitch for my dad, which is now hanging in our house. From there, I started working on pieces that were unique and tend to include a lot of puns. I love checking out the hashtag #modernembroiderymovement because it’s a large community that shares my passion.
What would you say to someone who is looking to start their own business? Make sure that you’re finding a balance. You’re hopefully starting a business because you have a passion, there’s a problem you want to solve, or there’s something you want to create. Be sure to balance the creative aspect and the business side, because you can’t succeed without both.
Lauren F. / Stylist Supervisor
Every day, Lauren balances mom duty with manager duty. She inspires her team of Stylists daily with her positive attitude, and we love her refreshing outlook on motherhood. And, if we’re being honest, her 2-year-old daughter Olivia is a style icon for us ladies at the office–her wardrobe is that adorable. Aside from talking about little Olivia’s custom-made closet (jealous), we were lucky enough to learn some of her best advice, tips, and tricks from her experiences as a mom.
What’s been your favorite part about watching Livi grow up? In general, being a mom is amazing. It’s been a life-changing experience for the better. Olivia is so full of joy, and she really shows me a lot of new perspectives on life and makes me want to be a better person. I love our mommy-daughter dates like going to lunch or going shopping. My dad made a custom closet for her, so I love filling it with clothes that look like something I would wear. I’ve never been into baby clothes, and really love the trendy clothes for kids from places like Zara, Nordstrom and Baby Gap.
How do you go about balancing work and family life? For me, I always put Olivia first. But, I think it’s important to keep your friends close and make time for things that are important to you. I’ve made great friends at Wantable, so making sure I make time for them is important to me. Sometimes people have mom-guilt for going out with friends, but at the end of the day, everyone needs a break and you deserve it.
What advice would you give to a new mom? For any mom, just take a deep breath. You’re going to be okay no matter what. Just do whatever you think is right. When I was pregnant, I would read a lot of blogs, and there are so many opinions. You just have to do what feels good and go with your gut. Something that may work for you may not work for somebody else and vice versa.
Haley / Jr. Stylist
From the age of 6, Haley has been attending an annual summer camp run by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. After falling in love with attending camp, she became an active member (and President!) of an amazing organization called With a Little Help. Her constant dedication to spreading awareness and recruiting more camp-goers is truly an inspiration. With the next retreat just around the corner, it was the perfect time to sit down and learn more about Haley and the incredible organization she’s a part of.
So, what exactly is With a Little Help? It’s a non-profit that was started in the early ’80s. The Muscular Dystrophy Association puts on a kids camp every year that you can go to until you’re 17. The founders of With a Little Help realized they didn’t want to stop going, so they created an organization for adults. A camp is held every year at a fully accessible location called Camp Wawbeek in the Wisconsin Dells. We really strive to provide a week out of the year where everyone can be themselves. We provide lots of recreational activities like swimming and trail rides as well as plenty of networking opportunities.
What’s your best memory from camp? I’ve been going to camp forever. I still go camping with a lot of the same people I started at the kid camps with. It’s not necessarily a memory, but with camp, I’ve gained a second family and a support group. It’s cool to see volunteers come not really knowing what they’re getting into, and then see them return year after year. With counselors and campers combined, we have about 80 people, and I would love to see that continue to grow.
How did you become President of With a Little Help? I have been on the Board of Directors for 3 years. I started as a Secretary but hated taking notes. Then, I was nominated for President. I’m the youngest person on the board, so I’m striving to gain membership through social media. We didn’t have an Instagram account until two months ago, so it’s a huge opportunity and area of growth. In addition to that, we have five main goals: sending reminders, raising hype about the camp, getting more campers and volunteers, spreading awareness about Muscular Dystrophy and highlighting members that are doing awesome things.
Sophie / Assistant Merchant
Born and raised in Wisconsin, it was a no-brainer for Sophie to name her adventure-seeking blog My Sconnie Life. Always dreaming of food, more food, and her next weekend getaway, she’s constantly seeking all things unique and loves to support small businesses along the way. Take one look at her envy-inducing Instagram and trust us, you’ll be craving a tasty treat or booking your next trip in a matter of seconds. Lucky for us, she’s always recommending her favorite spots and sharing inspiring photos along the way.
What gave you the idea to start your own blog? After graduating from college and starting my job, I wanted a creative outlet. In January of 2017, I started my blog and chose to focus on mostly food with a dabble of travel. I really love exploring new restaurants and businesses in Milwaukee as well as other cities.
You’ve done some cool collaborations. How did you come across those opportunities? City Tins and JettSet Local are both Milwaukee companies that get you food and drink deals around MKE. City Tins reached out to me to create a partnership, but I actually reached out to JettSet Local. I was interested in what they were doing and wanted to be a part of it. It’s been fun to work with both organizations and get to know other Milwaukee food lovers along the way.
What would you tell someone who’s looking to start their own blog? Whatever you want to do, do it for yourself and not to get likes or gain followers. If you make it about that, you may lose your passion for it. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the double taps and waiting for that number to climb, but as long as you enjoy what you’re doing, that’s what matters. Also, eat all the food! Life is too short not to get those tasty fries!
Lindsay / Jr. Copywriter
For the past 4 years, Lindsay has been honing her skills for all things hand-lettered. Growing up, she would catch herself doodling in class and eventually became fascinated with watching slo-mo lettering videos on Instagram (we have to admit, they’re addicting). Fun fact: she has an obsession with really good pens and hides her favorites in a secret stash so they’re safe from the pen-borrowers of the world. We caught up with her to learn a little more about how her hobby turned into a passion project.
How did you get into calligraphy? A friend of mine was getting married and needed help bringing some of her Pinterest visions to life. I started with addressing the invitations and it stemmed from there. I ended up working on all sorts of things for her big day. After that, I just stuck with it and branched out to working on lots of miscellaneous projects.
What are your favorite kinds of projects to work on? I really love hand addressing envelopes. It’s fun to play with different styles and designs. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to throw on a good podcast while I work. I think my favorite project I’ve ever done was a Disney Scavenger Hunt for my sister’s bachelorette party. I’d never done anything like that before, and it was exciting to step out of my comfort zone. It’s also great that I’m able to share my passion through projects at Wantable. I’ve been able to create custom canvases at an MKE Moms Blog Event and even make props for social media photos.
Do you do everything freehand? No way! That’s too much pressure. Even if it’s a large paint project, I always trace it out in pencil first. Also, if it’s not something that has to be handwritten, I love working on my iPad. It’s so easy to move things around and fix any mistakes. Plus, it’s definitely a bonus to be able to print multiples of everything instead of doing them all individually.
Kayla / Director of eCommerce
Even before starting her own family, Kayla has always had a special place in her heart for taking care of little ones. When she signed up to volunteer at the Aurora Sinai Medical Center in the NICU department, she had no idea her sweet little Cora would soon be in her life. After several months, she was finally moved off of the extensive waitlist. But between balancing a full-time job and having a baby at home, she almost passed up on the opportunity. We sat down with her to hear about what changed her mind and about her powerful impact in the NICU.
What does volunteering at the NICU entail? The primary purpose of NICU volunteers is to hold babies in need of some extra love and attention, especially those struggling with NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome) from opioid addiction. Nurses are assigned to more than one baby at a time, so they’re always happy to have extra help to comfort a fussy baby while they’re tending to another. We also help restock supplies, wipe down equipment, fold baby clothes, get water for the families and color pictures to decorate the nurseries.
How did you decide that you wanted to volunteer at the NICU? The waiting list for NICU volunteers is usually fairly long, so I actually signed up around the time my husband I were thinking about starting a family as a way to calm my baby fever. Once Cora was born, I almost said “no” when I found out I had been moved off of the waitlist. Then I thought about how I would have felt if she had been in the NICU and I wasn’t able to be with her all the time. I would have wanted someone to hold her and give her comfort and love when I couldn’t be there.
What are some of the challenges that you face? While my attention is fully on providing comfort to the babies, I wish I could do more for their families. They’re going through such a difficult time. Many of them are juggling work, family and other obligations in addition to trying to spend as much time as possible with their baby.
Who inspires you? What have they taught you about strength, creativity or supporting their community? Share their story in the comments below!