Archive | March, 2012

What We’re Reading

30 Mar

How to be Productive on a Start-Up Schedule

This informative post from Jenn at Women 2.0 gives start-up entrepreneurs a set of tools for how to manage your schedule while creating your company. I think the most useful is  #3 “Kill those things”, which reminds us to turn off the TV and all other distractions.

3 Things about Mexican Start Ups that may Surprise Investors

Angie at Women 2.0 debunks three major myths about the Mexican economy, Mexican entrepreneurs, and Mexican women in this enlightening post. The women they sight are brave and inspiring entrepreneurs who have successful started their own business – an inspiration to us all!

How to Take Photos Using Models

Click the above link to watch an interesting and informative video from Michelle at Etsy on how to take photos using models. A great resource for both photographers and creators alike!

The Hunger Games – A Hopeful Vision for the Future

Joan at Women 2.0 shares with us her insight into the hit movie, The Hunger Games. The protagonist, Katniss, has been heralded as a prime role-model for young girls and women alike. If you haven’t read the books or seen the movie yet, I would highly recommend it! (Please note: there is violence in both, and it may not be suitable for children.)

Reminder: Artist Item of the Week

30 Mar

Remember that our Item of the Week Special Discount ends this Sunday, April 1st! Spring already came, so you can get spring items on our online shop if your spring fashion is not ready yet.

Click here to acces our Etsy shop, and don’t forget to use the coupon code THISWEEKEWI to receive 15% off your purchase!


28 Mar

No other social networking website has been through more of a transformation than Myspace. Often thought of as the original Facebook, Myspace started off as a place to digitally connected with friends and share pictures. Predeceased by Friendster, Myspace allowed it’s users to find their real life (or not) friends, organize them into groups, share pictures, and eventually share music. Profiles were customizable, and the almost sole function was social interaction.

If you haven’t already, click on the Myspace picture and take a look around. Look familiar? I didn’t think so when I logged on earlier this week. Myspace has transformed into a social media platform solely focused in (legally) sharing music, movies and other forms of entertainment. Facebook couldn’t be competed with on the “friending” level, so instead of shutting down, Myspace transformed.

If you’re a musician, Myspace is definitely a site that you should explore. It’s an easy way to share your music with your fans or clients, and is also an excellent online networking platform.

Do you use Myspace? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

Artist Item of the Week: Delicate Lime Green Rose Sculpted Earrings

26 Mar



We’d love to introduce you to our Artist Item of the Week. These earrings feature a beautiful lime green color with a flower design, with components and hooks of sterling silver. Delicate and feminine.


Kata is originally from Hungary. She holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and Music from Janus Pannonius University in Pécs, where she sang in the internationally renowned Pécs University Chorus. Kata is also an accomplished pianist, has taught piano and music professionally, and was a marketing executive with Wella Hungary. She has been an EWI artist member since 2006 and is a graduate of the Career and Entrepreneur Center’s Training for Success program.

As a jewelry designer, Kata’s creative vision is an asymmetric fusion of style, harmony, and design. Drawing on everything from vintage fashion and modern architecture to classical music and nature, the sources of her inspiration are as diverse as the world around us. Kata creates wearable works of art that emphasize and accentuate the wearer’s style, personality, and individuality.


Click here to purchase. Don’t forget to use coupon code THISWEEKEWI to receive 15% off your purchase. 

QR Codes

26 Mar


Does this jumbled mess of black and white look familiar to you? Any idea what it is? These monochromatic boxes have been popping up everywhere lately: on the bus, on postcards, online. They’re called QR codes and they are yet another way to instantly connect people to your business. These codes are scannable through your smart phone (you only need to download a QR code reader app, almost all of which are free). When you scan the code, you will be automatically be redirected to a website.

QR codes can be generated through websites (like this one). The graphic can then be places on any printed materials you may produce, such as business cards, posters, postcards, and brochures. These codes are an excellent way to easily direct your customers (or future customers) to your website, Etsy store, or social media sites.

Click here for some interesting examples of QR code use.

Recipe Round Up + Loubieh

19 Mar

EWI is still accepting submissions of your recipes! We are looking for all sorts of dishes – the only requirement is that it be a dish that represents your heritage. Send your submissions to

Not sure what to submit? Well, we have an example! Below we have an example of the type of recipe that we are looking for. EWI’s Social Media intern, Emily, has shared with us her family recipe for Loubieh, a Lebanese main course. Let us know what you think!

3 lb. beef
5lb. lamb
5 cups chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. allspice
12 oz. tomato paste
3 lb. green beans, trimmed
1) Cube and brown meat in a large skillet. Remove from pan. 
2) Saute onion and garlic in the pan drippings until soft. 
3) Place meat, bones from meat, onions, garlic, and green beans in a large stock pot. Cover with water. Bring to a simmer. 
4) Add tomato paste, cinnamon, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
5) Cover half-way and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until liquid has reduced slightly and become slightly thick (like a stew). 
6) Serve with white rice and toasted pine nuts. Dollop greek yogurt on top and enjoy!

Item of the Week: Yellow Crocheted Beaded Necklace

19 Mar

A unique design, featuring layers of yellow glass beads and stones strung together in a beautiful crocheted net. This beautiful hand-crocheted necklace features beautifully delicate strands of crocheted thread with white glass beads. The craftsmanship and quality is stunning as well as the way the glass beads are intertwined throughout this statement piece. The clasp and accents are silver in color.


When asked to describe herself as an artist Mercedes stated “I am Ecuadorian with all my heart”. Mercedes is a talented jewelry, bag, and scarf artist from Ecuador. She has been with EWI for several years and is an unstoppable force of creation! Her signature line is her gorgeous hand crocheted, beaded necklaces and bracelets. Her passion is to create beautiful things to inspire and add to the lives of those touched by her art.

Purchase these earrings (and others) at our Etsy shop. Make sure to use the coupon code THISWEEKEWI to receive 15% off your purchase!

What We’re Reading

16 Mar

10 Rules for Brilliant Women (Women 2.0)

 This post, by Tara Sophia Mohr (Founder & Principle, Wise Living) gives us 10 rules for brilliant women to live by. My favorite? #7 – Don’t wait for your Oscar. Mohr encourages us to bring ourselves to other people’s attention instead of waiting for recognition.

Top 10 Blogging Tips for Beginners (BlogHer)

 I guess we’re on a theme of 10 this week! This post, by the author of Or So She Says, shares with us 10 tips for blogging beginners. She encourages us to write the same way that we talk, make friends, and be humble. Good advice!

How to Get Found in Search (The Etsy Blog)

 This incredibly helpful post, by Michelle from Etsy, shows Etsy users how to get found more often while people are searching on Etsy. This is a great source for anyone who sells on Etsy to take a look at!

What did you read this week?

Tweet Tweet

15 Mar

Follow EWI on Twitter @EmpowerWomenInt

Spring has nearly sprung, and we’ve already started to hear the symphony of “tweet tweets”. No, those aren’t canary’s you’re hearing; it’s your phone or desktop alerting you of a new Re-tweet or Direct Message on Twitter.

Twitter's Registration Homepage

Twitter is an excellent social-media resource that allows individuals and businesses to communicate with their friends and clients in a casual, but intimate, way. Registration is free and use is easy. You simply compose a message (“tweet”) in 140 characters or less to publish to your followers. Your followers (and the people you follow) do not necessarily have to be people you know; people with interests in your business can find you on Twitter and follow you, making Twitter an excellent tool to gain new customers.

EWI's Twitter Homepage

Like most things, the more you put into Twitter, the more you will get out. From the outset, you ought to make sure that people can easily find your Twitter profile. Make you handle something that people will recognize and be able to find quickly when they search for you. Change your background (like EWI did!) to your logo or pictures of your products.

Hashtags are a cultural phenomenon that Twitter has brought about. Hashtags serve two purposes, one of which is the intended purpose and the second being that which Twitter-world has created. The original intended purpose of a hashtag was to create a searchable term so that other Twitter users could see who was tweeting about what. For example, if I was going to a concert I would tweet “Waiting in line for the #DaveMatthewsBand Concert. Can’t wait!” In that tweet, “#DaveMatthewsBand” is the searchable term, and anyone could see that I was tweeting about that topic.

However, hashtags have turned into a form of subtext in the Twitter universe. So, while they still serve their original purpose, they have also allowed Twitter users to express sarcasm or wit in their tweets. For example, if I was having a rough day at work I could tweet “About to pull my hair out. #marchmadness”.

In terms of gaining more followers, first focus on the followers that you already have. Tweet at someone (to do this, type @ then the users Twitter name into the message field). If someone Tweets at you, tweet back. Or, if someone mentions you in a post, Re-tweet it.

Timing your tweets is also incredibly important. As David Meerman Scott writes in New Rules of PR and Marketing, think of social media (especially Twitter) as a cocktail party. You don’t want to bombard those attending with information and then remain absent until the next attack. Instead, find a schedule that works for you to publish your tweets. There are many online resources (some free!) that can help you organize and schedule your tweets and other social media output, such as HootSuite and Tweet Deck.

As you can see, Twitter can be an extremely lucrative tool for a small business. For more examples of how Twitter can turn your business into a success, click here.

Artist Success Story of the Week: Sharmila

15 Mar

Written by Kaylee Kobert

Sharmila Khushalani Karamchandani calls herself “the survivor.” Sharmila – a native of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India – struggled for years to overcome post-Sept. 11 prejudices and find her niche in American society. Salvation finally came in an unexpected form: a craigslist advertisement.

Empowered Women International (EWI) was looking for someone who could create handmade cards, and Sharmila responded. What she didn’t know, however, was that she was about to begin a complete transformation as an artist – and as a person.

Of course, her journey began long before her craigslist job hunt. A member of a very artistic family, Sharmila had always been more an observer of art than an artist herself. But then high school charcoal and oil painting classes awakened in Sharmila a passion for the arts. She went on to earn an undergraduate degree in advertising in Bombay, then traveled to the United States to visit her brother, Sunil Khushalani, in 1998.

While staying with Sunil in Georgia, Sharmila became interested in the graphic design program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. “I’ve always been a knowledge seeker,” she said, “and I wanted to get a higher degree.” So Sharmila converted her tourist visa to a student visa and started work on her master’s degree – which Sunil was kind enough to help finance – in January 1999.

Though Sharmila “naturally blended” with the school’s diverse student population, the treatment she experienced changed dramatically after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. “There was a lot of prejudice against people who looked like me,” Sharmila said. “I used to be stopped on the streets and asked if I was from Afghanistan. I could feel the hatred. That was very, very disturbing.” This change in attitude hurt Sharmila professionally as well – she said that though she went to thousands of interviews, five years passed without any opportunities in her field.

Sharmila finally discovered the craiglist advertisement in 2006 while living in Virginia with her husband, Girish Karamchandani. Her subsequent involvement with EWI did in fact begin with card making, but EWI staff members suggested Sharmila complete the “Training for Success” entrepre-neurial program once they saw her portfolio.

Sharmila said she was skeptical in the beginning – she wasn’t earning an income and the program’s $150 cost seemed too steep. “But something said that I should do it,” she said. “And ever since I took that program, my life completely changed.” Sharmila cultivated a more professional approach to her art and also learned to work under pressure, schedule her time and promote herself and her work. Sharmila now sees her training as a finishing school of sorts. “I had the talent, but didn’t do anything about it,” she said. “But now with the combination of this training, I feel more complete.”

EWI continued to provide Sharmila with opportunities even after she completed the program. She began doing graphic design work for the organization and was eventually introduced to others who could also use her services. She got involved with EWI’s microenterprises, and began creating and selling jewelry.

In addition to her passion for art, Sharmila’s interest in teaching has also been satisfied by her involvement with EWI. She worked in an after-school program at Mount Vernon Elementary, and eventually received a teaching position at Westwood College after learning about the opening from another EWI artist.

Sharmila said she is very grateful to have the opportunity to hone so many of her abilities through just one organization. “I have a personality where I dabble in many things,” she said. “So a place like this – where we’re also evolving, trying to figure out how to fundraise, how to make money – has tapped most of my potential. It has pushed me and made me excel in all of those things that I love.”

While she is happy to have learned so much about her craft, the most important lessons Sharmila has learned are more universal. “No matter where you come from, you’re going to have these patches in your life that are going to be a struggle. But how do you overcome it? You do whatever it takes,” she said. “Have that faith in yourself. That is the main lesson that EWI – and this country – has taught me.”

Though Sharmila said she is finally comfortable in her own skin, she plans to continue her evolution as an artist and as a person. She would like to nurture her interest in fine art and continue to teach. She also hopes to give back to others who may be struggling as she once was. Fortunately, the hard times that Sharmila and others at EWI have endured allow them to do just that. “All of us who work here are very intuitive and experienced, and we’ve gone through a lot,” she said. “So we have the ability to lift a soul. It gives others a lot of strength. Like, ‘OK, if you can do it, I can do it too.’”

Sharmila especially encourages female artists and immigrants to check out EWI, but said the organization has something for everyone – including Americans and non-artists. “Not everyone who works for EWI is an artist,” she said. “We utilize all kinds of talents. Whoever comes here will get something out of it, whether a contact number or a new way of life [through the completion of training]. We’ve never turned anyone away.” Sharmila certainly has no regrets about her own involvement with EWI. “It has made me very grounded and stable,” she said. “It has nurtured my soul. Really, as the name suggests, I feel empowered. I feel like there’s nothing I cannot do.”

Sharmila’s earrings are available for sale in our Etsy Shop!
Other Success Stories can be read on our website
Examples of Sharmila’s graphic design work
One example of graphic design work Sharmila has done for our organization

Kaylee Kebort is originally from Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Gannon University in Erie, PA in 2009 with a degree in Criminal Justice and minors in Spanish and Forensics. Kaylee then moved to the DC area, after procuring a job with the federal government. She currently lives in Arlington with her one-eyed rescued cat, Sammi.