September 2021 WILMA

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SEPTEMBER 2021

WILMINGTON’S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN

T H E

STYLE I S S U E

Of Cloth & Canvas Art-inspired looks

Time Machine Updating classic beauty looks

Creatives Consulting

Hands on with Alisha Thomas



ISOMETRIC AND HIIT WORKOUTS

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910 832 9679 • hotworx.net/wilmington 6756 Gordon Road Suite 150 Wilmington, NC 28411

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25 8 SPOTLIGHT

46 SCENE: Give it a dye

10 TASTE: Coffee calling

47 TAKE 5: Friends School’s outside educator

12 HEALTH: Waterfront workout

48 MEN'S ROOM: GQ aspirations

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14 14 I NSPIRATIONAL THREADS: A gallery of looks 25 C REATIVE ACCOUNTING: Alisha Thomas, from needle to numbers 31 D ECADES OF DOs: Hair and makeup through the ages 38 O N POINTE: US International Ballet’s Alexandra Gosiengfiao

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Wilmington’s style vibe, in general, has typically been laid-back. It wasn’t uncommon for sandals or boat shoes to be part of business casual, even before working from home became more widespread and leisure workwear became a thing. But sometimes, you want to up your game a bit. For this year’s Style Issue, we tap into the creative side of fashion and bring you inspiration from the colorful and the abstract to break out of those monotone sweat sets. Playing off the works of area female artists, the outfits in “Off the Walls” (page 14) reflect a broad palette of colors and styles. Reimagined looks from the recent decades – sigh, when did the ’90s become vintage? – make up the shoot for “Déjà View” (page 31). And Alisha Thomas is no stranger to textiles and production. She has her own leather accessories line, started on the ground floor with Freaker USA, and now helps other creatives on their business through her consulting business, Wait. What? Consulting. Read more about Thomas on page 25. Whatever you’re wearing this season – from flip-flops to stilettos, joggers to sequins – remember that confidence is the ultimate accessory.W

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NINA BAYS COURNOYER is design

director for the Los Angeles Business Journal and style intro writer for WILMA magazine. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she was previously co-editor/art director of WILMA and art director for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and is happy to still be part of the WILMA team, even while on the opposite coast. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bryan, and their two cats, Oskar and Bucky. She shares the info on the art and artists behind “Off the Walls” on page 14.

BETH A. KLAHRE retired from a major

Pennsylvania chocolate manufacturer where she held leadership positions in engineering, IT, and global business services. Now relocated to Southport, she spends her time writing and has been published locally and nationally. She is learning to play the harp, loves walking the beach with her dog, and serves on the board of directors of Friends of the Library Southport & Oak Island. This month, Klahre talks with business owner and designer Alisha Thomas on page 25.

MELISSA HEBERT is a Wilmington-based

photographer who has had her work featured in national campaigns and magazines, including WILMA. Hebert studied photography at the Cleveland Institute of Art and specializes in editorial, portrait, and wedding photography. Hebert photographed this month’s cover and our art-inspired style shoot on page 14. melissahebertphoto.com

DREWE SMITH and KATE SUPA own

a creative studio – Drewe and Kate – that helps companies elevate their brand and digital presence through photography, brand styling, logo design, and website creation. The creative team styled and photographed our style through the decades spread on page 31 and profile on Alisha Thomas on page 25. dreweandkate.com

LYNDA VAN KUREN, a transplant from the

D.C.-metro area, is a freelance writer and content marketer whose work has appeared in national as well as regional publications. She loves connecting with others, whether through writing, ballet, or training her dogs for agility competitions. She talks with trainers and workout warriors at Axis Fitness Training for this month’s Health feature on page 12.

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Publisher Rob Kaiser rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com President Robert Preville rpreville@wilmingtonbiz.com Editor Vicky Janowski vjanowski@wilmingtonbiz.com Senior Account Executives Maggi Apel mapel@wilmingtonbiz.com Craig Snow csnow@wilmingtonbiz.com Account Executives Courtney Barden cbarden@wilmingtonbiz.com Sydney Zomer szomer@wilmingtonbiz.com Marian Welsh mwelsh@wilmingtonbiz.com Office & Audience Development Manager Sandy Johnson sjohnson@wilmingtonbiz.com Events Director Elizabeth Stelzenmuller events@wilmingtonbiz.com Design/Media Coordinator Molly Jacques production@wilmingtonbiz.com Contributing Designer Suzi Drake art@wilmingtonbiz.com Digital Editor Johanna Cano jcano@wilmingtonbiz.com Fashion Stylist Drewe Smith Contributors Meghan Corbett, Nina Bays Cournoyer, Amy Kilgore Mangus, Beth A. Klahre, Dylan Patterson, Lynda Van Kuren, Elizabeth White Contributing Photographers Drewe and Kate, Aris Harding, Melissa Hebert, Terah Wilson Founder Joy Allen Subscribe For a one-year subscription, please send $26.00 (check or money order) to: WILMA, 219 Station Rd., Ste. 202, Wilmington, NC 28405, or call 343-8600 x201 www.WILMAmag.com


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LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE FOUNDING SPONSORS

CORPORATE SPONSORS

“Women are masters of overcoming challenging

Poonam Kahlon Director, Talent Development, CastleBranch

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moments, and Wilmington stands strong with women leaders as its backbone. At CastleBranch, we are privileged to continue our partnership with WILMA to mentor and nurture our next generation of women who will lead with courage and compassion, ensuring that we emerge from challenges stronger and more resilient in the future.”

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W2W UPDATES WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative has updates to share as we continue to work on the effort’s core mission of helping develop more women leaders in our area. Here’s what we’ve been up to with various W2W Leadership Initiative programs and what’s coming up next: LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: During each monthly session of WILMA’s Leadership Institute, the class of thirty-two women meet with their peer advisory board. Through a structured format, members get feedback and advice from other women in the group on issues they’re navigating as leaders. The class, shown above during August’s session at Genesis Block, meets monthly through December. For info on the class, flip to the back page of this month’s issue. Info: WILMAmag.com/women-to-watch WILMA NETWORK: Members of the WILMA Network, made up of sponsors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, meet monthly for 2nd Tuesday outings to welcome new members, catch up, and expand their networks, including August’s meetup at LivCBD. GETTING SOCIAL: Check out WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative social media pages, where you can find the latest info about leadership program announcements, applications, and updates on women who have been involved with W2W. Follow us at facebook.com/WILMAsWomenToWatch and on Instagram @WILMAsWomentoWatch. IN THE LOOP: Keep up to date with these and other Leadership Initiative programs as well as applications announcements by going to WILMAmag.com or signing up for the WILMA Leadership email at WILMAmag.com/email-newsletter. - Vicky Janowski and Maggi Apel, Co-directors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative W2W@WILMAmag.com

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The Women to Watch logo: When you see this throughout WILMA’s pages, it means this is a woman on the rise to know, an experienced leader to learn from, or a local program worth checking out. W

10 COFFEE ON THE GO: Lucky Coffee Trailer hits the road 25 A COMMON THREAD: Alisha Thomas stitches her creativity and business sense into her work 47 NATURE'S CLASSROOM: Take 5 with outdoor educator Karen Linehan

DIRECTORY

women’s professional groups Besides WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, there are a number of local groups to help women grow professionally. Here is just a sampling of some of them.

Cape Fear CREW Year Founded: 2010 Description: “Cape Fear CREW is the leading organization for commercial real estate in the Cape Fear region in North Carolina … Members represent every aspect of the commercial real estate industry, including, but not limited to, law, leasing, brokerage, property management, finance, acquisitions, and engineering.” Info: capefearcrew.org or info@capefearcrew.org

Cape Fear Women in Tech Year Founded: 2014 Description: “Our vision is to make the Cape Fear Region the No. 1 employer of women in technology careers per capita in the country. We do this by championing opportunities for women in technology, empowering women to strive for these competitive positions, and inspiring women to lead in those roles.” Info: cfwit.com or capefearwomenintech@ gmail.com

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Coastal Women Attorneys

The Junior League of Wilmington

(N.C. Association of Women Attorneys) Year Founded: 2013 Description: “CWA was formed to serve women attorneys in Southeastern North Carolina in the Fourth, Fifth and 13th judicial districts, which includes New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Duplin, Onslow, Sampson, and Jones counties. CWA is committed to increasing the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession, protecting the rights of women under the law and promoting, and improving the administration of justice.” Info: ncawa.org/cwa or cwa@ncawa.org

Year Founded: 1952 Description: “The Junior League of Wilmington is a women’s organization designed to empower women and to improve the community through the leadership of women as trained volunteers.” Info: jlwnc.org or info@jlwnc.org

The Inspiration Lab Year Founded: 2015 Description: “The Inspiration Lab was built for working women passionate about personal and professional development. We offer teachings and tools to improve your skills, productivity, creativity, emotional intelligence, and well-being. We also provide opportunities for networking and connection. We represent a variety of backgrounds and careers, but we’re all like-minded in being serious about success, maintaining a manageable work-life balance, and supporting one another’s growth.” Info: theinspirationlab.co

Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County Year Founded: 2011 Description: “WIN is a collective philanthropy nonprofit that makes yearly grants to nonprofits within the county. The focus of these grants rotates annually among four areas: education, health and wellness, the environment, and arts and culture.” Info: winofnhc.org

YWCA Lower Cape Fear Founded: 1914 Description: “The YWCA Lower Cape Fear is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.” Economic advancement programs focus on educational assistance, job training, and short-term and long-term planning skills. Info: ywca-lowercapefear.org

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BROADWAY RETURNS TO WILMINGTON

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Cats photo c/o CFCC's Wilson Center

The PNC Bank Presents Broadway series returns to CFCC’s Wilson Center with shows ranging from classics to musical tributes. The touring productions kick off with Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville on November 2 and 3, the Wilson Center announced last month. Other shows in the upcoming lineup are An Officer and a Gentleman; SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hairspray, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific. The series also includes going into next year, Beautiful-The Carole King Musical, CATS, and Blue Man Group. Info: wilsoncentertickets.com


WHQR NAMES BOARD MEMBERS, OFFICERS

WHQR announced new members to the Friends of Public Radio Inc. Board of Directors. The new members are JOSEPH CASARES, radiology manager at Novant Health; TERRI EVERETT (above), former deputy director of the Intelligence Staff of the Director of National Intelligence; BRIAN VICTOR, a clinical psychologist and associate vice chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; and ROB ZAPPLE, a New Hanover County commissioner. The board officers are JON MCLAMB, chair; KELLY LUCKHAUS, vice chair; STEPHANIE MEYERS, secretary; and NICOLAS MONTOYA, treasurer. Other board members are KATHLEEN BERKELEY, ANDRE BROWN, JOSEPH CONWAY, TIM COSTELLO, SAMANTHA DOOIES, BRENDA ESCH, CHRISTOPHER FIKRY, STEPHEN FORTLOUIS, KRISTINE MOORE, and JOHN SCHERER. WHQR Public Media is a nonprofit, member-supported, community-based public radio station, broadcasting from Wilmington.

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GLOW WELCOMES TAYLOE AS PRINCIPAL

The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington announced this summer that KATE TAYLOE is the school’s new principal. GLOW Academy is a single-gender charter school and has an enrollment of 450 students in grades 6-11. It opened in 2016 and will graduate its inaugural class in 2023. “Tayloe has been a top-performing principal in the New Hanover County school system, implementing programs to improve school performance, enhance faculty professional development, and lead school communities through remote learning,” school officials say. Tayloe was the former principal of Alderman Elementary School, a role she had since 2017. She has worked with New Hanover County Schools since 2001 as a principal, assistant principal, and educator. “Kate is a natural leader for today’s educational demands and GLOW Academy’s unique culture,” GLOW Academy CEO Todd Godbey says. “Her instructional and strategic leadership reinforces GLOW Academy’s vision that ‘She will graduate, go to college and succeed in life.’”

ant more WILMA? Check out our daily emails, which include even more profiles and stories for Wilmington’s successful women. To sign up for the free emails, go to WILMAmag.com

UNCW NAMES INTERIM CIE DIRECTOR, DEAN

HEATHER MCWHORTER is serving as interim director of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is filling the role after the recent departure of former director Diane Durance, who announced she was stepping down to move to Michigan. McWhorter (above), the regional center director of the UNCW Small Business and Technology Development Center, will keep working in that position while a search is on for a new CIE head. “Heather and the SBTDC have been strong collaborators with CIE, so she has intimate knowledge of many of the existing CIE initiatives and programs,” says Stuart Borrett, UNCW associate provost for research and innovation. The university also recently named MICHELLE SCATTON-TESSIER as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) for this school year. Scatton-Tessier, professor of French in the CAS, brings over 11 years of UNCW administrative experience including as director of the Women’s Studies and Resource Center and department chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures. “Dr. Scatton-Tessier is a skilled leader and valued member of our university community,” says Provost James Winebrake. “I am confident she will be successful in providing the leadership and advocacy that will allow the college to thrive in the upcoming academic year.”

Have a suggestion for a local woman or group to spotlight? Email us: wilma@WILMAmag.com WILMAmag.com

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COFFEE ON THE

THE LUCKY COFFEE TRAILER HITS THE ROAD by AMY KILGORE MANGUS photos by TERAH WILSON

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or SAVANNAH LOGAN, coffee shops are more than just a caffeine fix.

She realized after working in, then managing a coffee shop in the Wilmington area, that the environment was refreshing. “Customers became regulars, then became friends – and they brought their dogs,” Logan says with a laugh. Logan’s family moved a lot when she was young until settling in Wilmington, where she finished high school. The once-shy teenager found her community. “I enjoyed the human connection and really came out of my shell,” she says. When the pandemic forced the shop to close temporarily, Logan was miserable. She knew she didn’t want to pursue a typical office job. “I love to work towards something that is going to benefit myself and others, something that has an authentic human connection. I enjoy being

outdoors and I wanted the freedom to travel, meet people, and explore a creative career path,” she says. She noticed business was booming for food and beverage trucks, so she researched coffee trailers, pinned ideas on Pinterest, and saved money while managing the coffee shop after it reopened. By March, Logan’s dream had been brewing for a while, and she was ready to start her own business. “I quit my job, used all of my savings and stimulus money, sold a few things, and bought a used horse trailer,” says the twenty-one-year-old. Logan and her boyfriend, Wesley, did all the work themselves to convert a 5’x10’ trailer into a traveling coffee bar – complete with 100-year-old shiplap wood siding, a folding bar, sink, stainless steel table, refrigerator, and a water dispenser. They found most of their materials secondhand – the shiplap from her boyfriend’s father and the sink from a home goods resale store. Logan paint-


ed a cheerful mural on the brilliant dark blue exterior. She dubbed her new endeavor the Lucky Coffee Trailer, named after Lucky, her family’s seventeen-year-old dog, a spoiled beagle/ Australian shepherd mix. “I’m also pretty superstitious. I believe in knocking on wood and manifesting what you want,” Logan says. Two months later, it was time to debut Lucky at MegaCorps Logistics, where Logan’s mother works. “I was very nervous,” Logan says. It was a success and soon the Downtown ILM Night Market asked her to be a vendor. Word quickly spread, and Logan now hooks the trailer up to her Subaru Outback and shares her love of human connections and coffee at offices, markets, and events all around town. “After being inside so much during the shutdown, people just want to be outside,” she says. “I am just excited to take it to ... anywhere and everywhere.” Sustainability and affordability are important to Logan, so she sources her coffee from Counter Culture Coffee, a wholesale specialty coffee roaster founded in 1995 in Durham. Counter Culture focuses on supply chain sustainability and provides wholesale partners with educational programs on coffee brewing, origin, and history. “I also want to maintain reasonable coffee prices,” Logan says. “It’s not all about the money. I want to share an experience – and coffee – with others.” Pricing products and creating her own website were a challenge for Logan. But working in such a small space might be the most difficult. She stays organized by storing supplies in bins in her car. Then she assembles and disassembles the coffee bar on-site. Logan continues to learn a lot about how to run a business. “I’m giving myself grace and room to grow,” she says, adding that she enjoys the flexibility of being her own boss. “It’s given me time to reconnect with old friends. Now my friend Emily, who sells plants, and I work markets together.” As for the future, Logan hopes to own a brick-and-mortar coffee shop one day. “It’s hard,” she says, “but none of it feels like work.” W Info: @luckycoffeetrailer on Facebook and Instagram WILMAmag.com

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MAKING

MOVES

MIXING UP YOUR WORKOUTS

by LYNDA VAN KUREN photo by ARIS HARDING

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ake a stroll along Wilmington’s riverfront, and you might come upon an unusual sight – a bunch of folks working out to some jammin’ music with an up-tempo beat. And the exercisers are not just getting in a great workout, they’re having fun while doing so. These community workouts – an offering from Axis Fitness + Training’s new downtown gym – are just one of the ways the fitness center provides unique and interesting workouts. The outdoor classes, which are announced on social media, are free to members and nonmembers alike, and people of all fitness levels can partake. “We bring the energy outside,” says MEGAN TATUM, a strength coach at Axis Fitness and its business operations director. Though Axis Fitness’ exercise programs are fun, they are intense and based on exercise science. By employing exercise physiology, heart rate monitors, and data tracking, cli-

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ents safely push beyond their perceived limits in the gym. As a result, they meet – and often exceed – their fitness goals, all while gaining confidence that leads to achievements in their personal and professional lives, according to MIKE BARNHART, owner of Axis Fitness Training. “So many people don’t realize their potential,” Barnhart says. “You allocate one hour in which you work out in a progressive way that is relevant to what you want to experience, and you’ll understand how success in the gym transfers to other areas of your life.” That success comes from a finely calibrated program developed for each Axis Fitness client. It starts with an assessment where trainers learn the clients’ fitness level and goals, which range from weight loss and toning to being able to move better. Then, a trainer creates an exercise program designed to help the client succeed. “Our goal is to meet people where they are and get them where they want to go,” Barnhart says. “We have the tools and understanding to give them a ton of confidence. Our goal is to say, ‘Let me hold your hand. Let me


give you a program you can do.’” Though individualized, all Axis Fitness exercise programs are made up of three parts: strength training, endurance, and cardio. They are also designed so that exercisers get maximum benefit out of their workouts without getting injured. First, Axis Fitness trainers use their knowledge of biomechanics to ensure exercisers use proper form and, when needed, provide modifications. Second, the trainers, and the clients themselves, use heart monitor data, which is displayed on a TV, to check exercise intensity levels. Though the heart monitor data often shows a client that she is capable of more, even when she feels like she’s giving her all, it also tells her when she needs to ease up, according to Barnhart. “Everything in our training protocol is based on exertion,” Barnhart says. “People can think they are working hard and have no idea they are capable of so much more. They only have to look up on the TV to see what their heart rate is and where it needs to be. It’s actually possible for them to understand what’s happening inside their body and how that transfers to the effectiveness of the workout.” Though Axis Fitness’ classes are intense, its clients, who range from teenagers to seniors, find them well worth the effort. BLAIR SALLING, who has been going to the gym since it opened six years ago, says the trainers’ encouragement and the feedback from the heart monitors gives her the incentive she needs to perform at her best. “The workouts are always a challenge, and you never get bored,” Salling says. “It’s the hardest type of workout I’ve done. I get the best bang for my buck.” Despite their intensity, exercisers have a good time while putting forth all that exertion. Each exercise session is accompanied by invigorating music, and the trainers, who know each client by name, joke with them as they offer encouragement and support. That’s one of the reasons LAURIE MCQUEEN, who also has been working out at Axis Fitness for six years, fell in love with it. She also appreciates the fact that within about two months of going to the gym she lost 15 pounds, went down two sizes, and got stronger – results she has maintained and improved upon. Along the way, McQueen says she gained the confidence and energy for any challenge. “I never have to wonder, ‘Will I be able to do that?’” she says. “I know I can.” W WILMAmag.com

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off the A

walls

nd here we are… The moment that all the fashionistas wait for: the release of the revered ‘September issue.’ But here’s an idea. Instead of us rehashing what’s “in” from that known fashion bible, we want you to toss that style rule book and just go with what inspires you. To get you started, check out works from these local, female artists who all share a love of nature and a keen eye for color and how each of their aesthetics are paired into masterpiece looks. You may spot a brush stroke echoed in a textile or tap into the energy flowing between canvas and cloth. Or you may just sit back and dig the allaround creative vibes. And if these pages leave you longing for more, you can get yourself to the Fresh: exhibited to exhilarate exhibit at Kristen Martinez studio / exhibits and experience this artistic feast for the senses in person. W F R E S H : E X H I B I T E D T O E X H I L A R AT E Featured pieces are for sale as part of Fresh, up through October 3 at Kristen Martinez studio / exhibits, 910 Castle Street. Info: kristenmartinez.art

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Marisol DRESS by Tanya Taylor and polka-dot JEWELRY by Lizzie Fortunato, both available from The Julia; retro green HEELS, available from Jess James + Co. Artist: Maya Murano (lemon and lime paintings)

S T Y L E D BY D R E W E S M I T H P H OTO S BY M E L I S S A H E B E R T I N T R O BY N I N A B AYS C O U R N OY E R

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Dipa Garden SHIRT by Mii, green Mona SKIRT, Philosophy BELT, and flower EARRINGS by Lizzie Fortunato, all available from The Julia; SHOES (stylist’s own) Artist: Elizabeth Sheats

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In Earnest DRESS, handpainted BAG by Kristen Martinez, and CC + Co pearl earrings, all available from The Julia; SHOES (stylist’s own) Artists: Ella Friberg and Kristen Martinez

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LEFT: Alba DRESS by Pia Wood in barley and neutral NECKLACE by Lizzie Fortunato, both available from The Julia; SHOES (stylist’s own) RIGHT: Alba DRESS by Pia Wood in green, available from The Julia; SHOES (stylist’s own) Artist: Daisy Faith

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Clarisia organic cotton DRESS by Malene Birger and rectangle EARRINGS by Lizzie Fortunato, both available from The Julia; L*Space BIKINI TOP SHOES (stylist’s own) and BOTTOM and Artist: Brooke Eagle Bantry BRACELET available at Très Bleu

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“Let the food speak for itself” - Chip Pridgen Chef Chip Pridgen is back in charge and working his culinary mastery! Chip’s return also brings back his take on seafood and southern cuisine. We can’t wait to welcome you back. Call (910) 777-2363 for reservations. Hours Lunch: Tues-Fri 11 AM-2 PM Dinner: Thurs 5-8 PM Brunch: Weekends 10 AM-12 PM Illustration by Haley Branner

CAMCafe.org 3201 South 17th Street Wilmington, NC 28412 (910) 777-2363

Mallorie DRESS by Tanya Taylor, gold imperial HOOP EARRINGS, and gold script CUFF BRACELET by Sylvia Benson, all available from The Julia; Artist: Kelsey Howard (paintings) and Mark Krucke (sculpture)

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MODELS: Kristen Martinez, Kate McDuff & Leah Young HAIR & MAKEUP: MANE Studio 1319 Military Cutoff Road, Unit EE STYLING ASSISTANT: Kelsey Hawkinberry WARDROBE: The Julia, 7220 Wrightsville Avenue LOCATION: Kristen Martinez studio/ exhibits, 910 Castle Street

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Drewe and Kate BRANDING CO. www.dreweandkate.com

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PHOTOGRAPHY | SOCIAL | BRANDING | WEB DESIGN


A Common Thread by Beth A. Klahre photos by Drewe and Kate

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Alisha Thomas stitches her creativity and business sense into her work SEPTEMBER 2021

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LISHA THOMAS thought life would always be screen printing T-shirts and sewing dresses. As the owner of Ruby Assata – maker of handmade leather wallets – Wait. What? Consulting, and one of the original founders of Freaker USA, her three seemingly unrelated career pivots surprised even her. Thomas grew up in the rural farmlands of Missouri. She loved textiles and fashion from an early age. As a young girl, she drew sketches of clothing for her grandmother who did the sewing. Her grandmother taught her to sew, and Thomas eventually became so good at it, that years later she made her own wedding gown. Her father worked in NASCAR and built race cars, a job that frequently relocated the family, landing them in North Carolina in 1998. Thomas became fascinated with the industrial sewing machine that he purchased in 2008 to sew leather car interiors. In 2011, Thomas raised $5,419 on Kickstarter and purchased her own industrial sewing machine. She made leather handbags that she sold around town. Best friend COURTNEY BRIDGES joined Thomas in the early days of Ruby Assata. Thomas remembers this time as magical. “I didn’t know anything about business. I didn’t have a plan. We were just making bags, no worries about making money. Ignorance is bliss.” Looking back on these years, Thomas contemplates, “I never saw myself doing anything except something creative.” But in 2011, Thomas’ friend ZACH CRAIN launched the now globally recognized Wilmington-based business Freaker USA, which makes beverage insulators. Crain asked Thomas to help with his Kickstarter. Having that experience, she agreed while continuing to make leather bags and teach sewing in the costume department at her alma mater University of North Carolina Wilmington. When Crain took the product onto Shark Tank, the business exploded.


Thomas became the first employee and part-owner of Freaker USA. Recognizing that the entrepreneurs needed help with the business side, Thomas took over responsibility for accounting and operations, a role that extended for the next seven years. Then, she says, “I needed a change. I was burned out. I gave a six months’ notice.” Thomas’ plan was to work full time on Ruby Assata, making bags and going to tradeshows. It wasn’t long until an artist friend asked for help with financials for her business. “I helped her. Then I helped someone else. And then, someone else,” she says. “It was easy for me to talk about bookkeeping, bank accounts, and sales tax to other creatives. And I began to think this could be a real business.” As more requests for assistance came in, Thomas found herself impulsively exclaiming, “Wait, what?” to descriptions of poor inventory management and deficient financial tracking. In August 2019, she launched Wait. What? offering bookkeeping and consulting specifically for creatives. Through a one-hour zoom call, Thomas answers questions and subsequently provides a report pointing clients WILMAmag.com

back to references discussed during the consultation. Thomas also teaches QuickBooks, general bookkeeping, and best payroll practices. While Thomas still handcrafts and sells Ruby Assata wallets online, it’s Wait. What? that has become most exciting. “Making leather goods keeps me isolated. Wait. What? enables me to talk to people all over the country,” she says. Last week, it was a breadmaker in Brooklyn. Before that, a dressmaker in Los Angeles. Thomas has coached many different creatives including potters, photographers, graphic designers, screen printers, jewelers, artists, and painters. Thomas is currently developing small business training courses. “I go over the same information in most of my consulting engagements,” she says, adding that she plans to put the content into courses at price points lower than her one-on-one consulting fee. In mid-August, Thomas spoke at Triangle Pop-Up in Raleigh, an event that brings together creatives and vendors. She hopes to do more in-person speaking in the future. While the creativity of the fashion industry and the clear-cut rules of financial management appear to be quite opposite, Thomas says working with financials is a

lot like sewing. “It’s problem-solving; putting things together,” she says. “It’s the same as figuring out how to put a sleeve in a dress.” Multiple career paths help accumulate a lot of wisdom. Thomas says part of that is perseverance. “Keep going. If something doesn’t work, keep going,” she says. “Don’t get so wrapped up in work that you lose yourself. I’m setting boundaries with Wait. What? and making a healthy working environment for myself.” W

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keep it local WILMA’S

SPONSORS’ CONTENT

CLEAN BEAUTY & WELLNESS

Find curated, organic beauty products that are ocean friendly and sustainable at Wilmington’s newest Eco-luxe boutique, Lala & Elm. A proudly mother and daughter owned boutique, come see what clean beauty is all about! Visit Lala & Elm at 1437 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 105, Wilmington, NC or visit their website at LalaandElm.com. SEPTEMBER OFFERING: GIFT WITH PURCHASE OF ONE LOVE ORGANICS ITEM! PHOTO: Amanda

Richardson photography

ART BY GABRIEL LEHMAN

Gabriel is a humanitarian by nature and uses his gifts to enhance the lives of people across the country. From donating paintings for charity auctions to muraling homeless shelters and church nurseries, if he can help, he will. He sees the light all around him and brings this light into his work and, in turn, into the hearts of those who view it. Find Gabriel’s art at The Gallery of Fine Art in Mayfaire Town Center. Schedule an appointment online at GalleryofFineArtNC.com to visit the gallery at 970 Inspiration Dr., Wilmington, NC 28405 in Mayfaire Town Center.

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LIV CBD’S PAIN MANAGEMENT PACKAGE

CBD can take from 2 weeks to 3 months to build up in your system, where you can start to feel the potential benefits. Combining a high MG dose Topical lotion with a Tincture will give you the relief you need immediately in a localized area while the Tincture builds up in your system. Come stop by Liv CBD at 320 Castle St. and see our CBD Certified Coach to learn more or visit their website at LivCBDnc.com


HAND BEADED JEWERY

Accessorize your everyday with this exquisitely hand-beaded jewelry. From necklaces to earrings, these simple, boho-chic accessories will elevate any outfit with their luminous color, distinctive design, and bold style. Find this unique jewelry at Big Sky Shop + Studio or online at www.bigskyshoponline.com!

MID-CENTURY MODERN

Find one of a kind art and decor at Port City Peddler like this beautifully restored mid-century modern style recliner. Their multivendor store is located at 6213 Market Street, and open 7 days a week. They have a large selection of new arrivals, from candles to vintage furniture, decor and more. Visit their website at PortCityPeddler.com.

COOKIE CRUMBLES

For office parties, birthday parties or even parties of one, Crumbl Cookies offers fast, fresh and warm gourmet cookies for takeout, curbside pickup or delivery. With new flavors on the menu every week, you’ll want to be sure to stop by their new location at 311 S. College Road in Wilmington and pick up a pink box full of oversized delicious cookies. Download the Crumbl app or visit www.crumblcookies.com to schedule delivery or curbside pickup! Open Mon-Thu 8am10pm and Fri-Sat 8am-midnight.

SPONSORS’ CONTENT WILMAmag.com

FLORAL INSPIRED ANTIQUES

Give personality to your home with antique home décor and accessories from Madie’s Finds. This curiosity shop is bound to have items for every savvy and fashionable shopper. True quality antiques, art and more can be found at Madie’s Finds, located at 2825 Castle Hayne Road, Unit 6 in Wilmington or visit their Facebook @MadiesFinds for more info.

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Déjà View 70s

e

verything old is new again. But that doesn’t mean things can’t improve along the way. Taking inspiration from looks across the decades, these style experts share their takes on hair and makeup that’s classic but not costumed. KATE THOMPSON, founder of SET Blowout Bar; TESS WHEATLEY, lead makeup artist for Meraki Beauty; and DREWE SMITH, WILMA Stylist and coowner of Drewe and Kate takes us through the fashion time machine. W

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80s 90s

Photography + Styling by Drewe and Kate Branding Co.

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Join us

24 Speakers

Luncheon September

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September

26 Hall of Fame Inductees

Inductee ceremony at the WILMINGTON CONVENTION CENTER

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Phyllis Mason TRIATHLON RUNNER

Donnie Bowers USGA RULES OFFICIAL

Joe Robinson RETIRED COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACH

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DISCO DIVA

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Channel your inner Saturday Night Fever. STYLE: “It doesn’t get more ’70s to me than a maxi dress, huge gold heels, and an exposed neckline,” Smith says. “Keyholes have

made a comeback, and we are here for them this fall.” Model: Kiana Davis (Directions USA) Green maxi DRESS with tie front available from Jess James + Co.

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HAIR: “It’s about glamour – center part, soft curls,” says Thompson, who adds that she was inspired by Charlie’s Angels (pre-remakes) for this big-waves look. “I curled the hair using a 1-inch iron all going away from the face.” Finish the look with R+Co Zig Zag root teasing and texture spray to add body.

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MAKEUP: “Make this ’70s look

your own by sweeping shadow from crease to temple to create a softer version of the Studio 54 vibe,” Wheatley says. “Finish the look with lots of mascara and a nude lip.”

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1980s

s l r i G a nn a j us t w

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STYLE: “Living at the beach, we all know that a bathing suit tucked into a cute pair of jeans is the perfect summer to fall transitional look,” Smith says. “Pro tip: Look for bathing

suits that can double as a bodysuit in a clutch.”

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MAKEUP: Embrace the neon glow of the ’80s. “Don’t

be afraid to play with some color,” Wheatley says. “Choose a fun liner or pop of color on your lips to channel a modern ’80s look. Don’t forget the blush!”

HAIR: “This model has naturally beautiful curly hair, but you can recreate the same look by using a chopstick curling wand,” Thompson says. “We lifted the roots using a mini crimper, just add the roots, and Oribe’s Swept Up volumizing powder.”

Model: Lilly Kinney (Directions USA) Vintage ’80s BEBO highwaisted “magic pants,” Aerie Modern black BODYSUIT, lavender BANGLE, and white and gold circle EARRINGS, all available from Jess James + Co.

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1990s

POWER moves

STYLE: “We are back in the office, and power suits are making a real comeback,” Smith says.

“Modernize the power suit by losing the undershirt, adding a belt, and going subtle on jewelry. If you are ready for a little something extra, then we highly recommend embracing the shoulder pad or switching out your traditional bottom for biker shorts.”

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HAIR: “This look was inspired by Cindy Crawford. This

look is a little more advanced to achieve at home,” says Thompson, who recommends booking an appointment for a blowout for this one. “For the brave among us, I prepped the hair with Oribe’s Tres Set and then blew out the hair and set it with rollers.”

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MAKEUP: “Moody brown nudes will give you the ’90s supermodel vibe you’re after. Keep this look matte and well blended using warm browns on lips and eyes to enhance features and get an edgy yet very wearable makeup look,” Wheatley says.

Model: Kiana Davis (Directions USA) Navy gingham POWER SUIT, Escada navy BELT, and gold EARRINGS, all available from Jess James + Co.

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CENTER STAGE

Meet US International Ballet’s principal dancer by Elizabeth White photo by Terah Wilson

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LEXANDRA GOSIENGFIAO has been dancing her way through life. The third-generation Filipina American dancer began her ballet training at the age of six, but “my real love and passion for ballet began when I was just two years old,” she says. She recalls her mother taking her to The Nutcracker, which went on to become a family tradition. Gosiengfiao inherited a love for music from her mother and watching ballet performances only increased her love for music, and then eventually, dance. The fact that Gosiengfiao could sit still through a full-length, two-act performance at such a young age impressed her mother. “I was definitely not your typical toddler,” she says. “As my mom recalls and shares all the time, I sat comfortably in the mezzanine section of the San Francisco Performing Arts Center for two hours all to my heart’s delight without making a fuss.” Gosiengfiao started taking classes and tried other activities such as gymnastics but longed for something with more artistic expression. She continued with ballet at a pre-professional level training five-plus days a week alongside her high school curriculum. After following one of her instructors to a new studio, Gosiengfiao became

WILMAmag.com

fully committed to pursuing a ballet career. Making a full-time commitment to any sport can be time-consuming and take you down many paths while deciding who to train with and where. That was the case with Gosiengfiao. Eventually, her training led to numerous summer opportunities. She trained for four to six weeks at such prestigious camps as the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, American Ballet Theatre’s Austin Texas program, and the Boston Ballet. “These opportunities were critical and segued into a professional dance company,” she says. “It truly gave me a realistic glimpse of what my life could be as a professional ballet dancer.” After graduating high school in 2013, she auditioned for Ballet San Jose in hopes of receiving acceptance into its trainee program. “My life as a trainee was very strenuous and extensively stressful but further catapulted my skills and artistry to a higher level as a ballerina,” she says. Gosiengfiao tackled a grueling training schedule and suffered an injury halfway into the season. This halted her training for almost two months. With high hopes and a renewed spirit to continue her training, she accepted a trainee offer with State Street Ballet in California. Gosiengfiao’s next step was pursuing a dance contract with an actual company. She opted to make the 3,000-mile move to Wilmington as a founding company member for the local US International Ballet (USIB). She was cast in multiple soloist roles, and within two weeks of arriving, was asked to dance a solo variation as Mercedes from Don Quixote.

Her solo roles continued through the season playing the fairy godmother in Cinderella and the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. “I chose to dance for a smaller company versus a big ballet company,” she says. “The multiple opportunities to do this as a newly appointed company member are rare in a larger ballet company.” In February 2020, Gosiengfiao was promoted to principal ballerina of USIB in Wilmington. Her role as a principal ballerina includes not only dancing, but she is a role model for the company, her peers, and the students she instructs. After years of practices, classes, different camps, and companies, perhaps this is the role Gosiengfiao cherishes most. “I love giving back to the company, the community as I believe dance is meant to be shared and can be taught,” she says. “Teaching has helped me reach greater levels in my own technique. Ballet is a beautiful way to express art on stage and teaching this art is truly a privilege.” Gosiengfiao believes strongly in spreading her love for ballet but also sees the need for creating awareness beyond the studio. “I have also had the opportunity to help market and brand USIB even before becoming a principal ballerina,” she says. “I created and developed numerous sponsorship programs, special USIB promotions, and events and partnered with local businesses to further create excitement and support in the arts for our community.” W Alexandra Gosiengfiao’s profile appeared in a recent WILMA Downtime email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to WILMAmag.com.

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WILMA ONLINE

Keep up with WILMA all month long, through our website, daily emails, and social media.

Sign up for WILMA’s new daily emails at wilmamag.com/email-newsletter. Here’s the weekly lineup: MONDAY IS WILMA LEADERSHIP with profiles on the region’s leading women, their business, personal, and career advice, as well as highlights on women who are making moves. TUESDAY IS WILMA ROUNDUP, a focus on stories published on our monthly print issues and a look behindthe-scenes at the magazine. WEDNESDAY IS WILMA WELLNESS where you can read about the latest fitness and health trends, as well as profiles on women in the wellness industry and get recipes and workouts from chefs and trainers in the community. THURSDAY IS KEEP IT LOCAL, a collection of shopping finds from local retailers, sponsors’ content brought to you by the WILMA marketing team.

FRIDAY IS WILMA DOWNTIME, where we give you a backstage pass to upcoming shows and events in the community. You can also expect profiles and Q&As with local artists and highlights on the latest entertainment and leisure activities around town to get ready for the weekend.

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Learn about the YWCA’s initiative TALK ON RACE

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A grant helps brings MUSICAL THERAPY to nursing homes

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SEPT. 21, 2021 WILMINGTON CONVENTION CENTER

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REGISTER NOW @

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Registration open until day of event. To Benefit Going Beyond the Pink.

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DIGNITY MEMORIAL

NEW MAUSOLEUM DESIGNED TO MEET GROWING DEMANDS

I

n an effort to meet the growing demands of the Wilmington market, Greenlawn Memorial Park is building a new mausoleum. The new space, which will be located nearby the new funeral home on the grounds of Greenlawn cemetery, will have 348 crypt spaces and 150 niches. With a design concept and approach that is consistent with our new cremation gardens and other memorial facilities, along with a covered area for services and protection from the elements, this represents a significant investment into the Wilmington community from Dignity Memorial. Part of the reason we are anticipating increased demand for our services is that Baby Boomers, which total approximately 78 million people nationwide, are getting into their senior years. This group was generally born in between 1946 and 1964 and was one of the largest

population groups in history prior to the advent of the Millennials. Considering the broad date range in which they were born, it is possible that Baby Boomers could be starting a new family, caring for aging parents, retired, or paying for children to go to college. From the many articles I have read about this age group, a common thread is that they are often tasked with caring for their children, their parents, or both. Also, something that is important to them is working to make the world a better place, whether caring for the environment or local charitable groups. Generally, the Baby Boomer generation is proactive in the way that they care for the world and for other people. The proactivity of this generation is a major reason why we are encouraging those who may have an interest in our services to pre-plan their final arrangements. The youngest Baby Boomers will

turn 65 in 2029, which doesn’t seem too far away to me at this point. This will take the percentage of people aged 65 or older as of 2029 up to a shocking 20 percent. To provide a reference, it was 14 percent in 2012. In Wilmington in 2021, there were 19,880 seniors out of 98,773 adults. This shows that the senior population was already over 20 percent, and with the influx of retirees and seniors moving into our area, it is likely that number will only continue to grow. With substantial numbers and more interest in being proactive about things, we believe the Baby Boomers will present a growing demand for our services, so the importance of pre-planning cannot be understated. Aside from alleviating the financial and emotional burden experienced by those who are left behind, pre-planning makes it possible to lock in services at current rates.

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After understanding that the cost of funeral and cemetery services doubles every eight to 10 years, it is easy to see why pre-planning makes sound financial sense. To connect with someone who can help you create a plan that will save the people you love and care about unnecessary pain and an increased financial burden, call 910-799-1686 or visit www. dignitymemorial.com. Michael Higgins is Sales Manager for Dignity Memorial®, which cares for more than 300,000 families each year through its network of more than 2,000 providers throughout North America. Learn more at www.DignityMemorial.com, or call Greenlawn Memorial Park, Oleander Memorial Gardens and Coble Funeral and Cremation Services at Greenlawn Memorial Park, (910) 799-1686.


MARKRAFT CABINETS

EASY UPGRADES FOR YOUR MEDIA ROOM

I

t is often said that the kitchen is the hub of the home, and it is one of the spaces that usually gets the most attention when it comes to design. A quick tour through a new home community will illustrate the importance of the kitchen, as nearly all newly built homes have the kitchen open to the family room. But after last year and all of the forced downtime, many of us are realizing that the media room is one of the most important spaces in our homes. After all, if you’re going to binge-watch seven seasons of a TV show, you might as well be comfortable right? Though the ideas and suggestions listed here may not improve the content you’re watching, they can definitely enhance the look of your space and make the experience more pleasurable: • Use artwork to conceal

the TV - If your media room doubles as a family room or living room, having a sliding art panel or a set of custom bifolding doors to conceal the TV can make the room feel more intentional and sophisticated. • Bring the theater home - Painting the walls a dark color, bringing in plush, movie theater-style seats and blackout curtains are relatively easy, inexpensive changes to make. • Use built-in cabinetry Having custom cabinetry built around, under and beside the TV can be a great way to enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal. By creating a space to hide speakers, DVDs, remotes and game controllers, a clutterfree design concept can be achieved. • Increase surface space Integrating a corner side table into your design can help ensure that the popcorn, soda

and candy is never too far to reach. It can also allow for the use of a big comfy ottoman instead of a coffee table. • Home network upgrade - That giant brand-new 4K TV may not be very enjoyable to watch if the network is constantly freezing up. Most of the new content requires a lot of bandwidth to stream it without a problem, and who wants to wait for a video to load? Upgrading the Internet can be a simple way to improve your home viewing experience. • Use custom accent lighting - Having a few small accent lights that are dedicated solely for movie watching can make it feel as if you are inside a theater instead of at home, but with technology being what it is these days, it is now possible to control everything from the shades, lights, speakers and TV with as little as the touch of

one button. For some practical ideas for enhancing the aesthetic appeal, comfort factor and technological capabilities of your media room, living room or family room, contact the professionals at Markraft today. They are excited to have the opportunity to help create a design plan that meets your needs and talk with you about how to begin renovations and/ or make the most or your current space. President and General Manager Cee Edwards and his team of talented designers invites you to visit Markraft’s Design Studio, 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road. Markraft’s professional kitchen and bath designers consult by appointment.

910.793.0202 | MARKRAFT.COM

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MCKEE HOMES

MCKEE HOMES - SUMMER 2021

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e’ve Moved! Being the rapidly growing North Carolina born and bred homebuilder we are, McKee Homes has relocated our headquarters to the North Hills area of Raleigh, NC. In addition to the new corporate office, construction is currently underway for the opening of a brand-new Raleigh Design Studio in November. McKee Homes Wilmington Design Studio is getting an upgrade as well. Beginning later this year, our design studio in Wilmington will be remodeled to showcase all the latest and greatest features offered by McKee Homes. These positive changes are to better serve our Raleigh, Fayetteville, Pinehurst and Wilmington-area based homebuyers!

New Communities Update Our newest coastal community, Colbert Place, features 45 boutique style homesites offering upscale living in the heart of north Brunswick County. Located in Leland, just across the Cape Fear River you can enjoy historic downtown Wilmington shoppes, the popular Riverwalk, your favorite seafood restaurants as well as some of the best beaches in North Carolina. Colbert Place just recently released its first few homesites to the public with prices in the $300’s and will be move in ready this Fall. McKee Homes has released several new home opportunities in our current Wilmington communities. Seaside Bay, located in Supply, is a beautiful, wooded, gated new home

community with direct access to the Lockwood Folly River from its own community boat launch. Seaside Bay is perfect for entertaining the whole family with outdoor living in mind including a community fire pit, gas grill and gazebo. Just a few minutes away is New South Bridge, our single-family home community with tons of amenities and quick move in homes opportunities. For those looking for a 55+ community, check out The Courtyards at Scott’s Hill Village, Bellaport and The Courtyards at Mallory Retreat. These neighborhoods offer several maintenance free features and are sure to impress. Don’t forget to check out our website at www.McKeeHomesNC.com to keep track of our expanding

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footprint in the coastal region. We have several communities coming to the market later this year.

Coastal Community Involvement As part of our Community Embrace initiatives, members of Team McKee were excited to participate in the annual Brigade Boys and Girls Backpack Campaign. This campaign provides children with backpacks that are piled high with school supplies to begin their school year. McKee associates banded together and raised over $1,200 and 10 backpacks for these children, with the generous support from Julie and Pat McKee matching all employee donations to the cause! Best of luck to all the students headed back to school.


PATHFINDER WEALTH CONSULTING

I

FINANCIAL LITERACY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ROCKET SCIENCE

n past generations, financial literacy was simple. If you did not have the money in your pocket, you didn’t buy it. Credit, loans, and other financial products have all come about as consumer habits have changed. This means financial literacy has also changed. Financial literacy is an understanding of your financial situation and the options available to you. This knowledge equips you to manage your current assets and income, and to build a framework for future decisions. It is not just about the money you are spending; it is about the choices you are making every day, with a focus on the future. While the level of financial education varies across education and income levels, evidence has shown that highly educated consumers with high incomes are not immune to financial illiteracy. We have worked with a couple who had an annual income of about $1million. Most people would assume that family was very

financially literate. However, despite this impressive income, the family’s net worth was not increasing, and their savings rates were unimpressive. It is not simply a matter of how much income you are bringing in, it is about how much money you are putting away. The focus cannot just be on growing your income but growing your net worth in the most efficient way (a combination of increasing assets and reducing liabilities). Simply put, it is about living below your means and investing the difference. A good first step is taking an inventory of your financial situation and knowing where you are today, so you can connect the dots to where you want to go. Creating a household income statement, balance sheet, and budget, is a great first move. From there, identify the differences in your needs, wants, and wishes so you can prioritize and balance your current lifestyle with the future you want. Your financial situation

also includes your resources, net worth, insurance policies, etc. You should be able to conduct a cash flow analysis to understand your savings rate, contributions to retirement accounts and other investments, and your future potential for social security and pensions. On the investment side, financial literacy goes beyond knowing what you are invested in; it is also understanding the risk associated with your portfolio, the potential upside and downside, your rate of return, and income potential. As you approach retirement, there will be even more factors to consider: navigating insurance and Medicare, establishing an income stream and portfolio withdrawal rates, understanding your Social Security options, and maximizing your tax situation. Major transitions are when all the work gets done; therefore, it is important to plan ahead, so the execution is seamless, you aren’t playing catch up, and you avoid major mistakes.

The good news is that you do not need to be an expert in all these areas. A basic understanding will give you the knowledge to speak with a trusted advisor to create a long-term plan and be your guiding light for important decisions. At Pathfinder, we pride ourselves on providing that sense of security for our clients. Everyone needs to have a role in their financial life, but you do not have to walk the path alone. If you are ready to take the first step, give us a call at 910-793-0616. We are here to guide you forward. Katie Henderson is Marketing Director for Pathfinder Wealth Consulting, an independent financial planning and investment management firm in Wilmington. Pathfinder’s comprehensive financial planning process is driven by a step-by-step process that will direct each individual down the path of developing their financial goals and putting them into action.

910.793.0616 | PWCPATH.COM 4018 OLEANDER DRIVE, SUITE 102, WILMINGTON, NC 28403

Advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, a Registered Investment Advisor. WILMAmag.com

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C HUB

COMMUNITY

WB MUSEUM HOLDS MONTHLY LADIES NIGHTS by ELIZABETH WHITE photos by ARIS HARDING

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alling all ladies. Who would like to up their blackjack game? Learn Shibori tie-dye? Or just have a chance to meet new people? Then free up your calendars the fourth Thursday of the month for Ladies Night at Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. The get-togethers take place at the museum’s recently renovated 1924 Bordeaux Cottage, one of the last surviving examples of original Wrightsville Beach architecture. The building opened to the public this year. “Community has always been an important part of who the museum is, but after 2020, we knew we wanted to take a more active role in helping folks come together,” says newly hired Executive Director CHRISTINE DIVOKY. The Ladies Nights, which started in April, evolved out of trying to find ways to connect the museum even more so with the local community – especially during the pandemic.

SEPTEMBER 2021

“The past year was really difficult for us,” says JOETTA COBB, museum board president. “We wanted to find ways to encourage a whole new audience to visit the museum.” Cobb, referred to as a “super-human ball of energy and passion,” says the new goal is to reinvent the museum. She also feels strongly about wanting people to see it as a place beyond just a building that houses artifacts. “We are building a new sense of community around the museum,” Cobb says. “For example, we want people who can’t make it during the day to feel there is a reason to come in the evening.” After having many discussions about ways to make that happen, the Ladies Night idea was born. “These evenings are a chance for women to come together to laugh, to support, to learn something new,” Divoky says. “They come with friends or to make new ones.” A different theme is designated each month, and each event has not looked the same. SANDI KEITH, a local blackjack expert, taught the ins and outs of the game from beginners to experienced players at a recent gathering. At another recent event, participants learned to stamp market bags using recyclable, sustainable materials. The next Ladies Night is a windchime-making class slated for September. The class will be taught by LORI ROSBRUGH, a board member who will share her expertise. Women come from all over the community, and most classes have about twenty-five attendees. There is a fee, which varies with the evening’s project, to cover costs only. “It’s important to us to keep this event as low-cost as possible,” Divoky says. “We want to make it as easy for women to come out and enjoy these nights.” A popular trend is mothers and daughters coming together. “It is great to see ladies coming not just from the beach who are visiting,” Cobb says, “but (also) great crafters from our area, who are bonding and taking home something special they have made together.” W Info: wbmuseumofhistory.com


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by MEGHAN CORBETT photo by TERAH WILSON

The topic of education has certainly been at the forefront of many in recent years, and the environment has been up there as well. They are not often discussed simultaneously, but the Friends School of Wilmington has found a creative way to merge the two with the purchase of 2.8 acres of green space next to the school to expand its environmental education program. Tasked with leading this endeavor, KAREN LINEHAN, an eighteen-year veteran teacher, serves as the school’s environmental education coordinator, a role she recently moved into. WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME A TEACHER? “When I was a young girl in love with the natural world, I dreamed of being a ‘nature teacher.’ After studying zoology in college, I began my career as a natural science educator working with teachers and students across North Carolina. These meaningful experiences inspired me to become a classroom teacher. I joined the Friends School faculty in 2003 where I continue to learn from my students and the gifted educators around me.” WHY DID YOU DECIDE THE FRIENDS SCHOOL WAS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR YOU? “Our family joined the Friends School community in 1999 when our older daughter began attending the middle-school program. We knew our children would thrive in a school that fostered respect and compassion for individuals within a strong community of lifelong learners. As a parent, I observed firsthand the value of a Quaker education, which led me to seek a teaching position at Friends School.” HOW MUCH INVOLVEMENT DID YOU HAVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE DECISION TO EXPAND THE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM? “As a Quaker school, we believe that environmental stewardship is one of our most important missions. As we worked towards campus unification and saw the exciting potential in purchasing our new green space of 2.8 acres, we began to imagine the possibilities for expanded environmental education. There were many conversations across our community that led to this momentous decision as it all came together in April.” WHAT WILL YOUR MAIN ROLE BE AS THE NEW ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION COORDINATOR? “My role is multifaceted and collaborative. In addition to supporting teachers and facilitating weekly lessons for students in grades PreK-5, I’ll work with our community to envision our new green space and Environmental Education Center. We’re also excited to partner with local nonprofits and expand our outreach into the lower Cape Fear region.” WHAT SHOULD READERS KNOW ABOUT THE FRIENDS SCHOOL? “We are accredited by SAIS and serve children eighteen months of age through eighth grade from a broad range of backgrounds. Our mission statement best conveys our presence in the Wilmington community: ‘We believe the world needs passionate, lifelong learners who act with courage, integrity, and love. Inspired by that need, and the Quaker values of peace, equality, and care for the earth, Friends School of Wilmington is a vigorous academic community committed to educating the whole child.’” W KAREN LINEHAN’s full profile will appear in an upcoming WILMA Roundup email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to WILMAmag.com.

WILMAmag.com

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GRADE by DYLAN PATTERSON illustration by MARK WEBER Dylan Patterson is a writer and filmmaker who teaches English at Cape Fear Community College.

I

I bought my first copy of GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly) when I was twelve because I figured it was the kind of magazine James Bond would read. I studied the pages for how to be a fashionable man of the world. As a suburban adolescent, I had few models for Bond-like cosmopolitan style. My father was certainly no help. On weekdays, he dutifully wore the suits my mother picked out for him, and on weekends, he donned the traditional suburban dad uniform: polo shirt, khakis, and Topsiders. But I knew that as he wooed international ladies, won hands of baccarat on the French Riviera, and saved the world from the likes of Goldfinger and Dr. No, 007 wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of Topsiders. So I ventured to the mall and searched the young men’s departments until I found a mannequin wearing an outfit similar to one I’d seen in GQ. In the suburbs of the 1980s, preppy was fashion, but this mannequin wasn’t a prep. He wore two shirts (a striped over a solid) in muted pastel purples, browns, and pinks and loosefitting, light gray pants. The whole ensemble had an early Miami Vice vibe. I desperately wanted it, so conjured my best Bond charm and persuaded my mom to buy me the entire outfit. But when I showed up to school the next morning, my buddies, all in T-shirts and jeans, were aghast. What in holy heck was I wearing? And just who exactly did I think I was all of a sudden? Of course, they didn’t understand, I comforted

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myself, they weren’t the kind of men who read GQ. They were, like my father, ignorant of high fashion. I also learned from GQ that style isn’t just about clothes. One photo spread featured the medicine cabinet of a wellgroomed man. White toothbrush in a cut crystal glass. Silver cup neatly packed with cotton swabs. Fancy tubes of moisturizers, shaving cream, and emollient. I was struck by how absolutely paltry my father’s medicine cabinet was, the entirety of his grooming products consisting of anti-dandruff shampoo, English Leather aftershave, and soap on a rope. My father, a physician and self-styled amateur comedian, referred to my new reading material as “GC” (the abbreviation, he explained, for gonococcus, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea). I took no offense because I was confident the men of GQ knew something he didn’t. GQ men had more particular and urgent needs and therefore required more rarefied and expensive products to fulfill those needs. The men of GQ (like the chauffeured devotees of Grey Poupon mustard and very unlike my father) had what is known as “discriminating taste.” Eventually, I realized that James Bond actually wouldn’t read GQ. He wouldn’t have to. Bond is GQ. You never see 007 trying on pants or picking up shirts from the dry cleaner. Bond’s cosmopolitan style is effortless, but mine wouldn’t be. Staying on top of the latest fashions felt like way too much work. So I quit reading GQ. But I still don’t wear Topsiders.


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