The Wharf Celebrates Its Women-Owned Businesses

The Wharf is honored to have 18 women-owned businesses. In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day (Marth 8th), The Wharf recognizes these talented women by sharing their stories and experiences.

 

You can support our women-owned businesses by shopping at their shop or restaurant, following them on social media, or by referring them to a friend. 

A Beautiful Closet: Pamela Sofola

Pamela Sofola, a Certified Public Accountant by profession for over 25 years, has always nurtured an artistic expression through clothing. She has travelled the world of fashion in Europe, the Americas and Africa, and has grown to appreciate the innate trans-cultural desire of individuals to express themselves through the way they dress.

What piece of advice would you give to women who want to start their business?

"My advice to women who want to start their own business is to just go for it! Don't put off today what you may not be able to do tomorrow. Life is full of risks, just take a leap of faith and don't live your life saying what if."

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Chopsmith & Toastique: Brianna Keefe

From a young age, Brianna has been passionate about food, nutrition and fitness in all its forms, which overtime transitioned into a passion and love for clean living. In high school she made smoothies & juice everyday, this sparking the dream of owning her own health cafe. In college, being a D1 athlete, she quickly learned how important it was to have wholesome meals throughout the day to keep her energy up while on the go. Day in day out, Brianna expanded her original avocado toast, to various toast creations to accommodate her busy schedule anytime of the day.

After opening Toastique at The Wharf in 2018, Brianna expanded her footprint and opened Chopsmith, a fast-casual salad restaurant, at The Wharf in 2020.

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Diament Jewelry: Libby Diament

Libby Diament started selling her designs in 2008 at craft fairs in NYC, while still working for MAC Cosmetics. She completed a Comprehensive Jewelry Training program in the evenings while working at MAC. In 2010, she embarked full time as Diament Jewelry. 

What piece of advice would you give to women who want to start their own business?

"Don't get weighed down by the small stuff. Get that shop (or book or project etc.) open or started, and make a tangible baby step! You can always upgrade, tweak and improve along the way. Print those business cards and just get started! Don't let the feeling of being overwhelmed stop you. Get going now!"

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Hank's Oyster Bar: Jamie Leeds

Chef Jamie Leeds is a pioneering and tenacious female entrepreneur who has spent her career fostering community, mentoring other female business owners and culinary professionals, and supporting sustainable practices across her restaurants and the seafood industry at-large.

In May 2005, Leeds opened her first restaurant, Hank’s Oyster Bar, in D.C.’s Dupont Circle, serving what she coined “urban beach food.” Leeds’ expansion of her flagship brand began in 2007 with the opening of the second Hank’s Oyster Bar location on King Street in Old Town Alexandria, Va. A third location followed on Capitol Hill near Eastern Market in 2012 and Hank’s Oyster Bar on The Wharf, the fourth and largest location, opened in October 2017, quickly becoming an area favorite.

What does it mean to be a women-owned business?

"It’s important for women to see an example of what can be accomplished by other women.  Given that there are few sole woman owned restaurant groups, I am honored to be that example!"

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Martha Spak Gallery: Martha Spak

Martha Spak is an artist and creative entrepreneur based in Washington, DC. She is the founder of Martha Spak Gallery located at the Wharf in downtown Washington, DC. She specializes in creating original artwork for private residences and businesses throughout the country. Martha is an artist best known for her ethereal landscape paintings and soft abstract paintings.

What influenced you to start your business? 

"I started my art business over 20-years ago creating and offering art that was unique to the market.  I continue to seek out local artists and provide a platform where they can share their art perspectives."

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Praline Bakery: Susan Limb

Praline Bakery started in 2006, when former White House pastry chefs Susan Limb and Patrick Musel opened a full-service bistro and bakery in a Bethesda shopping center. With its menu of sweet and savory patisserie items, Praline developed a loyal customer base that helped it open shops at the Mosaic District in Fairfax, Virginia, in 2016, and at The Wharf in Southwest D.C.

Limb graduated from the L’Academie de Cuisine pastry school in 1998, got a job as a pastry chef at the White House that year, and worked there until 2005. She met the French-trained Musel there, and the two worked at Filomena in Georgetown before opening Praline.

Name a women who has inspired you and explain why.

"My mom has always inspired me. She always has a positive, can-do outlook on life and has instilled in me those values.  So while running my own business is not easy, especially now during the pandemic, I am motivated to keep going and doing everything I can to make my business successful. I am certain this attitude will help me and my business get to the other side of this."

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Shop Made in DC: Stacey Price

Founded by Stacey Price of People Make Place and Michael Babin of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Shop Made in DC is a retail initiative with a mission to grow DC's makers and artists. As the first store dedicated to only Made in DC products, our four locations in Dupont Circle, Georgetown, The Wharf and Canopy Embassy Row, are home to over 200 makers and nearly 5,000 MADE IN DC products including apothecary, apparel, art, furniture, jewelry, home decor and stationery.

What influenced you to start your business? 
"I have worked for the last 2 decades in small business development.  Shop Made in DC was launched as an experiment to see how much money we could put back into local economy if we created a space that only sourced local.  It turns out that we can make big impact while creating jobs and bring DC entrepreneurs to market in a variety of neighborhoods."

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Colada Shop: Daniella Senior

What influenced you to start your business? 

"I was influenced to start Colada Shop because of a lack of diversity in café spaces. I wanted to share a beautiful piece of the Carribean with the DMV, bringing together great flavors, music and a bright space to transport people."

Name a woman who has inspired you and explain why.

"Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor- being the first latina to hold such an important role is incredibly inspiring and always reminds me to keep focused and follow my dreams"

What does it mean to be a women-owned business? 

"It means that you have to constantly have to prove yourself, I take it as an opportunity to keep growing and find ways to always keep improving."

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Maggie O'Neill Fine Art: Maggie O'Neill

Maggie O’Neill is an artist, designer, and creative entrepreneur based in Washington, D.C. She is the co-founder of SWATCHROOM, a creative design firm, whose design portfolio scales from notable commercial spaces and private residences throughout the Mid-Atlantic, including more than 40 restaurants and a variety of commercial spaces in Washington, New York, Colorado, Atlanta, Paris, and Dubai.

A native Washingtonian, Maggie is an artist and creative entrepreneur best known for her iconic pop impressionist paintings of Washington, D.C. landmarks and influential leaders. In 2012, Maggie had the honor of personally delivering a portrait to President Obama, and in 2014 her “DC Uncle Sam'' was featured on the front page of The New York Times. A two-time winner of the design category for DC Inno’s 50 on Fire, an Woman of influence by Capitol File Magazine and the 2018 Official Artist of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, she has been a trailblazer for artists locally and nationally. 

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Twisted at The Wharf: Amy Fredenburg

What influenced you to start your business?  

"Given the lack of post high school employment opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, my husband and I decided to try and make a difference. We opened Twisted at the Wharf with the goal of creating opportunities that could lead to future careers in food services or hospitality for such individuals who participate in our internship program."

Name a woman who has inspired you and explain why.  

"Paula Newby-Fraser. The multiple Ironman Champion was one of the first women to be successful at the sport and is considered one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time.  She is an inspiration to female athletes of all ability levels and helped open the door to a male dominated sport."

What does it mean to be a women-owned business? 

"Progress. I was incredibly impressed to learn there are close to 20 women owned businesses at the Wharf and I am proud to be part of that group."

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GLO30: Dr. Arleen Lamba

Glo30 is founded by Dr. Arleen Lamba, who spent two decades researching cosmetic, cosmeceutical and medical-grade treatments to build a program that focuses on the best approaches from all sides of the aisle.

What influenced you to start your business?

"My own personal struggle with adult onset acne. I struggled with finding things or treatments that worked, that fit into my budget and time! I created GLO30, which creates your perfect facial every 30 days, because I found a solution that worked! Now almost 7 years later we see how many people it has helped to achieve their best skin!

Name a women who has inspired you and explain why.

"My mother. She is my champion, my cheerleader, and I am in awe of what she did for us as kids....now that I am a Mom I recognize that more than ever. She is the hardest worker I know, and she does it all with a smile. She has taught me resilience and she has believed in me even when sometimes I didn’t believe in myself."

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Politics & Prose: Lissa Muscatine

Owners, Lissa Muscatine and Bradley Graham, opened Politics and Prose at The Wharf in 2017. Locally, they are active members of the community, widely respected for their thoughtful approach to their civic involvement. They are engaged in education and in their neighborhood, and they are devoted parents. Both are intimately acquainted with the craft of writing and accomplished in their fields; Lissa collaborated on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s memoir Living History, and Brad’s biography of Donald Rumsfeld, By His Own Rules, was a monumental work of research and journalism.

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SW Soda Pop Shop: The Jones Family

Southwest Soda Pop Shop is a family owned and operated business serving sweet treats and refreshing drinks to guests at the District Wharf in Southwest Washington, D.C. Owner, Darryl Jones, has been a staple of Washington D.C. food service industry since 1977 beginning his career at the Meat Company in the historic shops at Eastern Market. After 17 years of service, Jones accepted a management position at the Virgo Fish House at the Southwest Waterfront where he would later become part-owner.

In May 2018 the Southwest Soda Pop Shop opened it’s window for service. Jones’ daughters, Brittany, Brianna, Andrea and Lena are all vital parts to the success of the shop. On any given day at least two if not all four of the sisters are there to greet customers with a smile and top-notch service. It is truly a family business that looks forward to serving you.

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Array Floral Design Studio & The Press: Dianne Lee

The Press is a family-owned dry cleaning and laundry shop that has served DC neighborhoods for more than 40 years. Known for its expert knowledge and impeccable care, The Press promises customers thoroughly cleaned garments, friendly service, tailoring, and expert alterations.

Array Florals brings affordable and unique arrangements that are statement pieces to celebrate all occasions. Array also offers floral classes so that everyone can interact with flowers on a regular basis. 

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Carefree Boating Club: Jessie Clark

Carefree Boat Club was founded in Virginia in 2002 by Jessie Clark. Since then Carefree Boat Club has become the premier boat club operator in the US and Canada and are continuing to grow. Everything they do is based on operating at the highest standards in the industry. Their goal is to provide members with the highest quality boating experience, to provide a safe and easy intro into boating for new boaters and to offer the best variety of boats and ports possible. Their ultimate goal is to make boating fun, easy and affordable.

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InStyle Nail Bar: Lynn Ngo

Lynn Ngo opened InStyle Nail Bar at The Wharf in 2018. The salon offers full range of nail, eyelash, and waxing services.

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