March is Women’s History Month and Rhode Island has certainly had its share of female pioneers. They have made their mark on higher ed (founding both Johnson & Wales and RISD), the arts (do yourself a favor and Google Sissieretta Jones), and on our map (thanks for founding Portsmouth, Anne Hutchinson).
In the modern era, there are plenty of incredible women who are running businesses, families and pretty much the whole world. Here are few of Providence’s successful female entrepreneurs.
Ellen Slattery – Owner of Gracie’s Ventures
Ellen’s eye for detail and commitment to extraordinary service has been a hallmark of her culinary career. She opened her first restaurant, Gracie’s, in 1998 and it quickly became a favorite of locals, visitors and food journalists. That same dedication to every delicious detail propelled her next venture, Ellie’s Bakery, to success. Downtown denizens pack the tiny space, while enjoying everything from colorful macarons to wholesome sandwiches. Next up will be Ellie’s, a French-style bistro slated to open in this spring.
Christine Francis – Carmen & Ginger Vintage Goods
You can’t stop a woman with a dream. Tired of the corporate culture, Christine took her love of all things vintage to Etsy in 2009 and it grew into a brick-and-mortar store, which opened in the Arcade in 2013. Carmen & Ginger is cozy and quirky — about 80 percent of the wares are carefully curated vintage items (clothing, accessories, jewelry, housewares, etc.). As the reigning Queen of Providence Vintage (as proclaimed by me), Christine also started the Urban Vintage Bazaar. The next one is on Sunday, April 7 and features more than 20 vintage vendors, as well as a Vinyl Lounge. Can’t make it? Then pick up the “Guide to Providence Vintage," which includes a map and listing for all the vintage shops in the area created by ... guess who?
Kristin Stone – Providence River Boat Company
Captain Tom McGinn may be at the helm on the water, but Kristin Stone is equally charting the course of the Providence River Boat Company. In the past six years, her responsibilities have steadily increased to include Operations Manager, Customer Service Manager, Marketing Director, Finance Manager, HR Manager and Queen of Getting Things Done. With her business acumen, the company has flourished and expanded to now include the Providence Kayak Co. (a partnership among Kristin, Tom, and Matthew Haynes of La Gondola).
Jen Simpson – Whole You Beauty
Just call Jen Simpson “the Bride Whisperer.” This Providence-based hair and makeup stylist has more than 15 years of experience and is a one-stop-shop for brides, specializing in on-site bridal hair and makeup, as well as in-studio hair, skin and reiki. With a lengthy list of regular clients, Jen is in high demand for expert customized coloring, as well as cutting, hair extensions, skincare and more. Don’t miss her signature yoga, meditation and reiki nights, which she does to remind all her busy, alpha-female clients of the importance of recharging and balancing.