Women take on local businesses
By Catherine Brown, Photo Editor and Business Editor
Whether it’s winning our hearts over by flowers or food, local women are running and operating businesses. Women are not only a crucial part of global society, but they also have a special place on the island.
Cara Briskman is the shop manager at Herban Bloom, a local flower shop. She has lived on Vashon for 20 years and has been working at the shop since it opened six years ago.
“The owner is a friend of mine and he called and said he needed help,” Briskman said. “I came over to help and I loved it so much. I told him I was staying and he had to pay me.”
Herban Bloom provides flower arrangements for both individual people and events such as weddings and funerals.
“It’s all about making people happy and the beautiful thing about the flower shop is that we change people’s lives every day and when we send flowers out the door, we impact someone’s life,” Briskman said.
Along with Herban Bloom, Mica’s Kitchen is a woman-operated business.
“You have to be dedicated and I knew I didn’t have the cushion other people had so I personally did what four to five people would have to do in a day,” Michaella Olavarri said.
“I do have a part time staff and my son helps me, but I carry probably 75 percent of the weight.”
Mica’s Kitchen is a comfort food restaurant, featuring made-from-scratch meals.
“I would describe Micah’s Kitchen as going to your favorite aunt or grandmother’s house to eat, and having food prepared for you,” Olavarri said.
Another restaurant that provides handcrafted food to the community is Island Queen, owned and operated by Jennifer Harvey.
“I never wanted to own a restaurant, but what I wanted to do was be a part of a business that was extremely tied to a community,” Harvey said “I couldn’t find a better way than be in a restaurant, especially with younger kids.”
Being a restaurant owner means working till you drop, especially as a mom.
“You can run a business and not do very much,” Harvey said. “The question is what’s entailed to run it well? … I think for me it is a constant exercise in humility and boundaries. It takes some kindness to yourself for all the mistakes you have made and are going to make.”
Holding a solid relationship between the customers and workers is the key to a good business.
“One of the things that the customers tell me all the time… is that … the employees still continue to foster this open, greeting, warm experience for customers even when I’m not around, and for me, that’s such a great thing,” Harvey said. “It means that [the employees] are having a really great time at work but [are] really focused on the customers.”