Inaugural Issue : January 2013
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
For this issue of OutLoud, I spoke with several strong-minded women. In these discussions, a very clear theme presented itself. No apologies. Please fill in the blank: I’m sorry, but [insert unnecessary apology here]. I’ll go first. “I’m sorry, but I believe women’s rights are important,” or “I’m sorry, but you treat me like shit,” or “I’m sorry, but I can’t dance with you, I have a boyfriend.” Add a charming smile, and we have perfected a sugar-coated version of our truth. Congratulations! This is my movement to encourage women to throw such apologies down a grinding, slicing, dicing disposal. Whether a learned behavior or innate condition, women contribute to their perceived vulnerability by apologizing when it is unnecessary and unwarranted. Saying “sorry” when insincere, or to diminish an opinion, implies that we are sorry for who we are, what we think, and what we dream. I call bullshit. I’m not sorry for making women’s rights an issue, or for calling someone out who treats me like dirt, or for the fact that I’m simply not interested in talking to a guy I don’t know. As you flip through these pages, you will encounter examples of women living life unapologetically: Melanie Guzzo sticks to her trailblazing vision. Cassie Phillips expresses deep and divulging emotions. Mary B. Relotto creates opportunities for women to light fires and keep them lit. Sarah Harshbarger worked for coffee to secure her dream job. Living unapologetically means living with no restraints, no boarders and no ceilings. It means no apologies for being and loving oneself, because living in defense of one’s beliefs is no way to live at all. Granted, there are plenty of examples where actions consequent necessary apologies. What I’m suggesting, however is to become self-aware, recognizing real apologies versus rhetorical apologies. I contest that many will find offense in this notion. Guess what? I hope some do, and form intelligent, unapologetic dialogue about the topic. Regardless, I propose a challenge. Go 24 hours without “feeling sorry” for your reflection; for your intelligence; for your assertiveness; for your opinions; for your finances; for your passion; for your hunger. With that in mind, I hope you find energy, inspiration, and vision with the help of OutLoud Magazine. And remember: no apologies. I’m not sorry for not being sorry.
With gratitude and love,
Rae Reed Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Inaugural Issue : January 2013
THANK YOU Courtney Banks Jonida Bega Caitlin Farkas Danielle Ford James Fryer Emily Hipsher Miguel Johnson Amelia Moody Ingrid Norman Liz Reed Marylia Scott Lela Van Horn
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The Leading Vegan page 4
Feature on local salon owner, Melanie Guzzo Written by Rae Reed Photography by Lela Van Horn
SHOUT OUT Collection of paintings page 7
Featured Artist, Cassie Phillips
Introduction by Rae Reed Images provided by Cassie Phillips
Purpose & Prosperity page 12 Preview of February Dames Bond Conference
Written by Rae Reed Photos provided by Mary B. Relotto
THELEADINGVEGAN With a strong vision, a positive attitude, and love for all things artistic, vegan, and cosmetological, owner of Virtue Vegan Salon made her dream a thriving reality.
Why can’t a salon be vegan? Everything be vegan? Asking herself these questions, Melanie Guzzo, owner of Virtue Vegan Salon, began an unlikely and unexpected journey. Originally dreaming of becoming an art teacher, Melanie believed she would never own a business. With natural leadership and a strong attachment to an antique barbershop chair she inherited from her greatgrandfather, Melanie started conceptualizing her own salon. The vegan perspective, vision for a more sustaining industry standard, and essence of the antique barber chair inspired Melanie to begin Virtue Vegan Salon. “I was in the industry a while before I opened this place, I mean I was 17 when I started cutting hair. I was brainwashed by the beauty industry. I just cringed at the salon I worked at because everything was thrown away,” Melanie said. A vegan herself, Melanie researched healthful and holistic products, finding American-made, eco-friendly and vegan products like All-Nutrient, Thermafuse, Soma, and Surface. In addition,
she found several creative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Everything in the salon, from business cards, to LED and CFL lightbulbs, to washable towels, supports Melanie’s goal of becoming a 100 percent zerowaste salon. Like many young businesses, however, Virtue initially struggled. “I had no investors, no partners, and a couple grand. I had enough for rent.” Melanie said of the small space she rented in Clintonville. “There were times when I could pay no more bills. I literally had no money. I wish I could go back and show you the bank statement. It took me six months to open the shop when I got it. I didn’t know how it was going to work, but I knew I was passionate, and I knew I was a cosmetologist,”
Melanie said. Sarah Harshbarger, Melanie’s first hire, was paid in coffee. Seriously. “I heard she was opening a salon, and I needed a job. I looked up to her as a mentor and told her ‘if you need someone, I will answer phones, sweep floors and work for coffee. I turned in my resume at other places, but this place is where I want to end up,” Sarah said. Virtue’s newest hire, Lexi May, also admires Melanie. “There’s not many people like her. There’s a certain relationship inside the relationship that’s professional, but there’s also a relationship outside of the salon. She knows when to keep business, business and everything else outside. You don’t have to worry about drama at work,” Lexi said. Since she initially planned on teaching art as a profession, Melanie found a way to continue that passion.
I want to continue to be violently original.
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“I do a lot of new hires. I hire them right out of school with no experience. Sarah started as a brand new stylist, and now she is a lead stylist. I went to college to be an art teacher, so it’s nice to be outside of the school setting and be able to mentor and teach,” Melanie said. “I want our skills to be refined. I want to be pristinely trained beauty professionals, disciplined to beautiful extreme. Just keep doing what we do and do it better.” Melanie believes the biggest misconception others have about owning a business is that she can make her own hours. “It’s not like that. I eat breathe and sleep what I do,” Melanie said. “If you’re meant to be a leader, you will. You just can’t control it. I’m always thinking about how to better my business; it’s just natural. Coming from the artist in me, it’s just a masterpiece that’s never finished.” With persistence, determination, support from the community and loyal employees, Melanie grew Virtue into what it is today. Among the array of vegan product, eclectic selections of vintage and refurbished furniture (over 30 pieces on which one can sit), assorted wall colors, checkerboard floors, and hollywood vanity mirrors, the Virtue voice screams through from every nook and cranny. Nearly two years after opening, and the appointment book stays busy. “I run this place a very specific way. Our team, we are all friends. If someone doesn’t fit, they don’t work here. Our clients, we know their names. Unity and community is very important. We’re community based. We’re relationship based,” Melanie said. “When you have a vision you invite other people to be a part of it, so you risk them not understanding it. But you have to share your vision. It’s hard, but it makes a community within a community.”
PURE PRODUCT: Melanie enjoys the launch of their new cosmetics line. It is this mentality that helped motivate Melanie to stay true to her vision and goals, even though she’s been offered compromising deals from time to time, like opportunities to sell products that stray from the Virtue vision. “It’s tempting, but I think of my team and remember that I’m motivating them. There has to be unity. I don’t want to be just another salon in the strip. I want to continue to be violently original. If you’re not, there’s nothing that sets you apart,” Melanie said. As for the future, Melanie is considering to revitalize an old Columbus building, turning it into
a salon and gracing it with the Virtue touch. “I want to show the community we’re loyal to Columbus, and hope they would like that we would rebuild a part of the community,” Melanie said. In retrospect, Melanie often wonders ,“how did I do that?” Along with being goal-oriented and planning ahead, starting a business also took immense bravery, which is something she didn’t know she had. But being a leader felt right to Melanie. “Once I believe in something, there’s no stopping me. Nothing stands in my way.”
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Confusion. Disgust. Glee. Arousal. Desire. Freedom. Anger. Shyness. Lust. Impatience. Hunger. Power. Cassie Phillips, photographer, painter and overall badass woman paints the dynamic range of female expression. Claiming to be incapable of being verbally expressive, Cassie filters her feelings on canvas. “It’s relatable. People have felt that way. Everyone can relate to a certain feeling, and I just try to portray it without saying anything, because I really can’t,” Cassie explained. In the morning hours, coffee in hand, wearing pajamas, listening to powerful fe-
male musicians, Cassie creates the images of raw, unfiltered, expressive women. It is her natural high. Photographer by profession and waitress by necessity, Cassie paints for the love of it. “Painting, I’m more passionate about it. Photography was my only passion until I started painting. Photography I could do as a job, but painting I don’t want to do as a job. I want to always want to do it. Painting, technically, is more of a challenge, but it came naturally to me,” Cassie said. Because of her fluency in living loudly and powerfully, Cassie kicks off OutLoud’s “Shout Out” series. Prepare to get on her level.
PICTURED ABOVE: “I Had the Itch to Fly and I Flew,” 2012
When did you start painting? Right before I moved to Chicago, my boyfriend at the time, and now current, had a gallery opening, and he pushed me to hang something. I was horrified. But I did it. When I moved to Chicago, it became an outlet and I became addicted to it.
SHOUT OUT PG 8
So, why women? And what women stand out to you? Most of what I paint is personal and emotional. I can’t express myself verbally, so for the most part, that expression, how that woman is feeling, I’m drawn to it. Portraits of women are relatable. It’s mostly a specific expression, not a type of woman, but her body language. It all goes back to the specific mood I’m in. What do your paintings mean to you? It’s how I validate myself, personally. When I finish a painting, that’s what makes me high. It’s an outlet. It can start with an intention and it will turn into something different because I had to get it out.
PICTURED ABOVE: “I’m scared you won’t be waiting on the other side,” 2012
When do you create the best pieces?
Definitely when I’m inspired. If I’m not, I can’t even pick up a paint brush. When it’s not forced, I do it because I want to or need to, especially if I’m pissed off.
What messages do you try to convey? Well, a lot of them have been inspired by the guy I’m seeing at the time. So a middle finger in the air, it might relate to that guy. I try not to care what other people think-- it’s about me. PICTURED ABOVE: “Disclaimer,” 2010
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What inspires you? Women. Like bad ass women. A lot of times musicians. I get inspired by watching powerful women express themselves.
PICTURED ABOVE: “Bored with Pretty,” 2011
PICTURED ABOVE: Selections from “Burbs” series, 2012 PICTURED BELOW: “I wanna make him breakfast,” 2011
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Is art your ‘true love?’ I consider art true love. Even through me and my stuff, it can’t let me down. Love is what inspires. I love love. I’m a hopeless romantic and I’ve finally accepted that.
PICTURED ABOVE: “Feeding Time,” 2012 PICTURED RIGHT: “Trophy Series 1,” 2012 PICTURED BELOW: “Shelf Life,” 2011
How do you live OutLoud? For me, personally, I am annoyingly passionate. If I’m happy or whatever, I have no poker face. It’s attitude and gratitude. I’m grateful and I want to tell you I’m grateful.
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PURPOSE & PROSPERITY
Professional women will benefit from the Dames Bond conference, which is sure to entertain, educate and inspire. From the dramatic location to the unique agenda, the second annual Dames Bond conference will certainly inspire. Taking place at the downtown Columbus Shadowbox Live on February 5, the When Dames Bond Dames Prosper conference supports women who “need a fire lit,” Dames Bond founder, Mary B. Relotto explained. “Bottom line, Dames Bond is there to help improve the economy, and this conference is about concrete shit that will help you in business and make money. We have a responsibility to women in business and the community. If we help her prosper, we help he entire family thrive,” Mary said. “We say ‘have a safe and
prosperous new year.’ We’re always looking for opportunities to better and grow and learn more and prosper in a way that makes us strong, not just as an individual, but as a community and people who reside in the community,” conference panelist Robbie Banks said. The first Dames Bond conference sold out. Mary expects the same this year, with an estimated 200 professional women attending. Young professionals, new business owners, and recent college graduates who are struggling to find purpose, passion or opportunity can get “years worth of Dames Bond in one day,” Mary said. Robbie’s panel will discuss the
importance of gathering, focusing on how to remain connected. “A lot of successful women will be in attendance, and I think [young women] will draw inspiration from meeting and interacting with them. The networking aspect is going to be huge and I hope that everyone comes prepared with business cards and is ready to share their ideas as well as going with an open mind to make one valuable connection while they’re there,” Robbie said. After the morning activities, which include a welcome address by local news anchor Kristyn Hartman and Keynote Address by Women Generating’s Suzanne Roberts, the conference shifts to the ProAction Cafe.
“The ProAction Cafe is like brainstorming on steroids. You’re not going to get fluff,” Mary said. Attendees gather in groups by common interests, which are designated by calls to action, such as “How do you start a non-profit?” or “How do you balance work and life?” Facilitators guide the conversation, ensuring everyone at the table participates. When the allotted time ends, attendees move to a new table with a different call to action. “No one can do it alone. Who wants to repeat the same mistakes?
has. You can come and have expertise and shed a great deal of light to these women and share wisdom. Everyone is an expert at the table because living makes you an expert,” Mary said. Tickets are $109, can be purchased at DamesBond.com, and So when it comes to best practices, include breakfast, lunch and a sharing and having collective power female-focused performance by of women, I think it will inspire and Shadowbox Live. All proceeds go drive young women to the same to the Women’s Small Business level of career success. Even more, Accelerator. veteran attendees will draw a lot “It’s contemporary enough that from younger attendees,” Robbie it’s going to be so much fun,” Mary said. said, “I’m going to feel bad for “This conference is about women who hesitated and miss this celebrating expertise everyone experience.”
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EXPERT NETWORKER: Mary connects with Naila Chauncey Hughes at a March Dames Bond event. The conference covers topics like the importance of networking, as well as provides opportunities to make such connections.
Inaugural Issue, January 2013