Empowered Women Empower Women!
Every year on March 8th, International Women's Day is celebrated around the world. This day is dedicated to recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere. We asked some of the inspiring women in our county to share their best advice, inspiring messages, or stories of success to help highlight the many different ways women are phenomenal. From small business owners, to professional chefs, to artists and more— this is how women change the world.
Nothing beats the delicious, homemade dishes from Jade King's southern cafe. Mz. Jade's Soul Food Cafe in Middletown serves her famous ribs, seafood platters, strawberry-banana pudding, and more of Jade's incredible creations.
"The difference between getting somewhere and nowhere is the courage to make an early start. The fellow who sits still and does just what they are told will never be told to do big things," — Jade King
Owner of the boho-chic gift shop, Wildfire Hygge Goods, Sarah opened up her business in Hamilton selling gifts and home decor. She has a love for products with inspirational messages— the pieces in your home and everyday that make you stop and remember why life is so good.
"The name Wildfire was given to me in prayer in 2015 and it had nothing to do with owning a business. Bewildered by the foreign word... I started researching wildfires. And what I learned made a very difficult spot in life make sense: that devastation was sent to my life to clear my path. God was up to something, and a big forest was eventually going to sprout. But first, I had to be leveled of the life that was never meant to be. Over the coming years, my family would experience wildfire moments again— when we thought we were on the right path but everything fell apart. Still, my heart held on to the promise of the forest that would grow after the fire," — Sarah Dankhoff
Chef Michelle Brown
A mother, wife, philanthropist, mentor, chef proprietor and owner of Jag's Steak & Seafood in West Chester. Michelle has defined and built the Jag's reputation as one of the region's premier dining and entertainment venues.
"In my 29 years of restaurant experience, I've had the honor of mentoring over 100 aspiring chefs. Many of these students have been women. Letting them see firsthand that it is attainable to achieve a work/life balance of running a successful business, maintaining friendships, and enjoying time with your family, has been one of my greatest pleasures. It is important for them to understand that you must also surround yourself with like-minded individuals, creating an uplifting environment of support," — Michelle Brown
Sara Vallandingham & Maria Peckinpaugh
This wonderful mother-daughter duo are the brilliant minds behind the boutique, Sara's House, in Hamilton. Their shop specializes in the unique and celebrates in the repurposed— offering one of a kind furniture, accessories, women's clothing, gifts, home decor and more.
"Now more than ever, I believe in the power of knowing your passion. Find a way to live it out! Pull together with other creatives, learn from them and give back as well," — Sara Vallandingham
Creating art for the young at heart, Cassie is the artist and owner of JellyDoodles in Middletown. Her creativity has blossomed over the years, creating a series of whimsical characters and extremely popular stickers, buttons, accessories and more.
"The bravest thing anyone can do is to learn something new. Sharing your progress can inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, too," — Cassie Dryer
Chef Charlotte Akoto
As the chef and owner of Divine Appetite Cafe in West Chester, Charlotte tells her stories through her culinary creations. She has been cooking up traditional African soul-food for nearly 50 years, and is also a world-class baker with delicious cookies, cobblers, and homemade pies.
"My business is built on four strong foundations! The first and most important is faith, then hard work and perseverance because sometimes in life we will encounter difficulties. Last but not the least is the quality of the food we cook and serve. That keeps our customers coming back for more," — Charlotte Akoto
Marina is the owner of Le Macaron French Pastries located in Liberty Center. Try her true French macarons (made with the perfect delicacy), original French gelato, delicate French pastries, European style beverages and more!
"Behind every successful woman is HERSELF!" — Marina Amaral
Crafting the most decadent, artisan chocolates in West Chester, Karma is the owner and master-mind behind Karma in the Kitchen. Customers rave about her buttery caramels, creative truffles and life-changing fudge— all made the old fashioned way, from scratch in the kitchen.
"I love to meet other women chocolate shop owners. By and large, they’re very willing to open their kitchen, show me how they do things, and discuss common challenges. They’ve been a huge support to me and what an example of women helping women. We’re technically each other’s competition, but we’re so different in our skills and approach that we can be really helpful and open with each other. We should be like that with all the women we meet. We should help lift each other," — Karma Decker
Mika started her own bubble tea shop to bring her favorite part of her childhood in Beijing to her new home in Liberty Township. As a long time aspiring business owner, Mika combined her passion for tea and business skills to open Lil Cuppa Tea in Liberty Center.
"One of my favorite quotes that inspires me is by Lewis Carroll... 'One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others,'" — Mika Kabbes
What started as a hobby in her home kitchen, has developed into a popular chocolate shop in Fairfield Township (and now a second location!) Melinda opened up her own chocolate shop, Ruby's Chocolates, named after her grandmother and biggest inspiration. Her signature truffle cakes are a must-try!
"The first thing I would tell anyone is to listen to your gut feeling. Because your gut feeling, I believe is your God feeling... He gave you your gut feeling to let you know what path to choose. Believe in yourself always and never give up on your dreams," — Melinda Mueller
Below are a few other beautiful and inspiring women in our county! Click here for the full list of Woman-Owned Businesses here in Butler County, Ohio.
Happy International Women's Day!