Archive | May, 2012

Optimize Your Business Online

30 May

I attended an amazing workshop at the Art Works for Virginia Conference this past winter. It was on using social media to promote your organization. They gave us all sorts of resources for finding funding, optimizing communications, even finding volunteers, all online. Some of these may pertain more to nonprofit organization’s, but they’re all still worth a look!





33 Needs:


Marketplace Member Spotlight: Rabia Naeem Pervez

29 May

“Rabia’s resourcefulness, creativity, and drive, along with the excellent support she received from her family, allowed her to use what she learned from EWI and finally take the next step and then the step after that.”

My Love Letter to the Sun, Passion, Aspirations–vibrant colors swirl across their silk homes, creating emotion in each scarf.  The hands behind these silk treasures belong to silk artist, Rabia Naeem Pervez.  And, like most mothers, Rabia resists naming a favorite piece, admitting only that she has a special fondness for her heart-spotted ‘Be Mine’ collection, aptly named with her husband’s help.  Sifting through her scarves, it is hard to believe that not long ago, Rabia’s path was uncertain, her art barely a seed in her mind.

“Be Mine” Scarf, Item of the Week!

Rabia left Lahore, Pakistan in 2002, immigrating to her new husband’s home in the United States.  In Pakistan, Rabia had earned a business degree and worked in the corporate world before moving into a successful teaching career.  Yet, in the U.S., this successful and educated woman struggled to find professional and personal footing.  Having a different religion than those around her was, at times, isolating, and new cultural and social customs caused Rabia discomfort.  Even having to shake men’s hands proved difficult.  Perhaps most challenging was the U.S. review of Rabia’s educational credentials.  Rabia quickly discovered that teaching in the U.S. would require time and resources for more education.

Starting a family and rebuilding a career with limited professional, personal, and financial resources is hard.  Even after contacting everyone she knew for advice, Rabia felt lost.  In Pakistan, she used her love of art to make and sell clothing, providing Rabia with a viable option for working in America.  But, the clothing she was accustomed to making would be expensive to produce in the U.S. and would not exactly translate to an American audience.

Find an assortment of scarfs at EWI's online store!

Find an assortment of scarfs at EWI’s online store!

Rabia wandered shops and art galleries looking for ideas.  She experimented at home, gaining confidence from the praise of those who saw her work.  Reaching the next step, however, eluded Rabia.  Then, after nearly two years of searching, Rabia found a door to opportunity.   While exploring the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, she met an artist who advised Rabia to contact Empowered Women International (EWI).

Rabia completed EWI’s 12-week ‘Training for Success’ program and took advantage of their business coaching.   She created an artist’s statement, learned how to market her work, and built a rich portfolio.  EWI helped her choose price points and refine her art, even working with her to shorten her scarves inch by inch to maximize their appeal to U.S. clients.

With determination, Rabia pored through silk painting books and worked on pieces at home while her toddler daughter played.  When needed, Rabia relied on her network of former students, now scattered across the globe, to help her find the perfect supplies.  Rabia’s resourcefulness, creativity, and drive, along with the excellent support she received from her family, allowed her to use what she learned from EWI and finally take the next step and then the step after that.

EWI Intern Sarah modeling the Item of the Week

Six years later, Rabia is a successful artist, business owner, and entrepreneur.  Her Web site, Silk ‘n Paint, brims with finely-painted silk scarves, beaded shawls, and hand-embroidered bags.  Rabia is branching out into making jewelry, working both independently and in collaboration with EWI when she needs product development and marketing advice.

When asked how EWI influenced her growth and success, Rabia quickly responds, “EWI took me to a new level.  They helped me move from being a vendor to a true artist.”  She also credits EWI with enabling her to reach goals beyond her art — Rabia now serves as President and Marketing Strategist for the IT company, Velocity Zone, which her husband founded.

As far as what the future brings, Rabia envisions her daughters growing up to fulfill their goals too, and smiles as she describes how they, having watched their mother work and grow, now create their own masterpieces and dream of being artists, businesswomen, and mothers.

Written by Samantha Crowe

Samantha Crowe has her doctorate in neuroscience from Georgetown University and is currently a neuroscientist and freelance writer.  She researches the impact of trauma on men and women, and has a vested interest in promoting social and economic stability through education and empowering women.  Samantha lives with her husband and daughter in Rockville, MD.

Marketplace Item of the Week: “Be Mine” Hand Painted Silk Scarf

29 May

Read more to receive 10% off!This lovely 100% silk scarf is the perfect accessory for the hot summer days. Light enough to breath, strong enough to highlight you’re beautiful outfit!


Rabia is originally from Pakistan. She is a renowned Silk Artist, aspiring teacher, and budding entrepreneur. Rabia graduated with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Education with a focus on ESOL, and operates a small IT management company with her husband. She is a mother of two beautiful daughters who share her love for colors. Rabia has been an EWI artist member since 2004 and is a graduate of the Career and Entrepreneur Center’s Training for Success program.


Colors and fabrics have always fascinated Rabia and she is continuously amazed by the elegant yet striking effect dyes have on silk. Her designs celebrate the changing seasons, life events and experiences, and the wide range of human emotions. Rabia takes special requests; she can do commissioned work, as well as personalized scarves for those who want to buy a special and unique gift for someone.

Receive 10% off the item of the week, this week only by using code EWITHISWEEKSITEM at checkout!

Between Women: Gates of Ballston Community Center Event

24 May

Hellina, Alexandra, Velma, Marga, and Perri

On Saturday, May 12, 2012, Marga Fripp was the featured guest speaker at the event ‘Between Women’ organized by the Arlington, Virginia Community Outreach Program. The event was held at the Gates of Ballston Community Center. The main themes of the program dwelled on self-defense class, arts and crafts project, healthy relationships, and how to take care of you. The program was attended by more than 50 participants. The majority of the participants were from the Hispanic community.

In her speech, Marga shared her inspiring life experiences beginning with her journey to the US and the challenges she faced in the processes of integration into the US community as well as the coping mechanisms she used to become successful at the level she is today. From the lessons that she learned from her own experiences, she stressed on the importance of language and education as a vehicle of integration. And therefore she urged everyone to begin learning the English language as a first step to enhance their communication skills and eliminate the stumbling block to integration.

Marga speaking at the Gates of Ballston Community CenterMarga further talked about the works and programs of Empowered Women International. She explained to the participants that the program is there to empower immigrant, refugee and low-income artist women through entrepreneurship training, mentoring, coaching and micro-enterprise services to make them self-reliant and self-sufficient. She also stressed that to be enrolled in the program a woman should have creativity and talent in art (paining, jewelry making, dancing…) must be passionate about it, and motivated to transform dreams into reality and to change the talent/passion into business. Following a detailed presentation of the program, Marga invited one of EWI’s graduate, Velma Crawford, to make a brief presentation in sharing her own experiences.

Velma spoke about how she first came in contact with EWI with her own passion and hobby of making her grandmother’s aprons. She further shared her life changing experience by mentioning how the entrepreneur training and personalized mentoring with EWI has helped her transform her passion into business. She is now a successful business woman selling her aprons and is now giving back to the community by donating money out of the proceeds of her sales to support other causes.


Meet EWI’s Spring 2012 Entrepreneur Graduates!

23 May
Meet EWI’s Spring 2012 Entrepreneur Graduates!

Addie Gail, US

Business: The Gail Consulting Group, a women owned consulting firm providing tailor-made services for businesses

What Addie says…

“I love EWI not for what it teaches about business and the pursuit thereof, but for how as individuals we are going thru this program with different types of businesses born from different cultures and experiences and we have and are bonding together. Encouraging and supporting each other! love it!”

Aida Mady, Egypt
Business:  Cooking and Beyond, a cookbook of Egyptian recipes and its influences from history, culture, family heritage, religion, social life, and humanity.
What Aida says….
“EWI is a good way to help others and myself in establishing a career. ETS is a perfect way to make us discovering our abilities to go forward with our dream. ETS classes, is a deep learning experience and good exposure to other aspects needed in order to transform a vision to a reality.”

EWI at “Managing Volunteers: Understanding the Legal Impact”

23 May

Alexandra and Perri

On May 22nd, Perri, EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success Coordinator, and Alexandra, dedicated EWI volunteer, attended Pfizer’s Strategic Legal Thinking Seminars for Nonprofit Executives on Managing Volunteers: Understanding the Legal Impact. The conference was held at the Pfizer Conference Center in New York City and broadcast to fifteen videoconference sites across the country, including DC (where we attended). Speakers included representatives from DLA Piper, Lawyers Alliance for New York, Habitat for Humanity International, Inc., DOROT, and Pfizer Inc. Topics ranged from understanding the differences between employees and volunteers to liability issues and mitigation strategies. All of the speakers provided excellent information about how to effectively manage volunteers in the non-profit sector. EWI was happy to have the opportunity to attend the conference and we took away very valuable information!

A big thank you to Semira, a wonderful EWI volunteer, for letting us know about this event! We had such a great time!

The ABC’s of Corporations

23 May

Have you heard of the new classification of business, the B-Corp? According to their website, a B-corp is “a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems”.

If you haven’t registered your business with the IRS yet, why not check them out? It might be a good fit for you!

You’re Invited: From Buds to Blossoms

22 May

From Buds to Blossoms


*  Entrepreneurs Graduation Gala  *  Business Showcase  *

Marketplace of Handmade Art and Gifts

 With Special Participation of  

Ten Thousand Villages Alexandria, EWI Partner 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Durant Center

1605 Cameron Street  Alexandria, VA 22314

Complimentary Appetizers & Drinks

 Delicious Homemade Egyptian Dishes by Aida, EWI Entrepreneur Graduate 

 Free Parking

Free of Charge. RSVP Required

Join us to learn how each woman has blossomed into a confident business woman and entrepreneur. Hear their inspiring stories about how they’ve followed their dreams,faced their challenges, and overcame their fears.


3 – 3:45 pm – Showcase of Graduates’ Businesses, Art Exhibition and Marketplace Shopping

3:45 – 5 pm – Graduation Ceremony

5 – 6 pm – Reception and Marketplace Shopping

Check back on the blog tomorrow to meet our graduates!

This program was made possible with funding from:

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia  *  The Alexandria Commission for the Arts

The Mason Hirst Foundation  *  The Washington Forrest Foundation
The Giving Circle of Hope Reston   *  AmeriCorps Vista
The Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation
and many individuals who contributed scholarships in support of our low-income students

Thank You, EWI!

21 May

Thank you EWI for empowering me!

​My experience as a Micro-Enterprise Marketing Intern at Empowered Women International (EWI) was the best present in my life. I have accomplished more than just the completion of an internship – I say I have been empowered.


​My major responsibilities were to develop an online marketing plan and social media campaign to promote EWI online store and to assist in maintaining the store. I learned real work by developing my knowledge learned in class in a real business and improved my potential ability. Among the jobs I did over the course of the semester, the most memorable one was creating the Facebook Tagging Event, which was all through my hands. I strongly believe that this internship at EWI provided me a great chance to develop my professional skills for achieving a long term goal in my career.


​Every day, I enjoyed working at EWI as it was not only work, but happy events. I could meet empowered women from many different countries and they inspired me to become an empowered woman myself. I had so many different experiences like Open House, Staff Retreat, or even the many birthday parties with cupcakes. There are a lot of good memories from EWI and every moment with EWI still stands out in my memory.


​I consider myself as a lucky student to work with people at EWI, as they were really friendly, supportive, and considerate with open minds. They stood behind me and trusted me with a wide variety of tasks. I enjoyed being involved with EWI and the time I spent as the Micro-Enterprise Marketing Intern.

Pinterest: Where is it now?

21 May

When Pinterest arrived on the scene, nobody was quite sure what it was, how it was going to be used, or even who would be using it. Spring Social Media Intern, Emily, wrote about Pinterest, her obsession with it and how it is a great tool for business owners to promote their products. Fast forward a few months later and Pinterest has climbed to become the third most popular social media site with over 17 million users


The site isn’t just for individuals to use- companies have begun promoting their image and products through boards, news channels have gotten their name and stories out there, and the site is being used to promote causes and promotions that various organizations are having. I found a list that has the top 10 corporations using Pinterest. It breaks down how they use it and why they’re successful doing what they’re doing. Even if you aren’t a multi-million dollar corporation, you can look at the strategies they use and tweak them to fit your needs.

Brunette woman on computer

The final lesson in all of this is that social media can change overnight and the nature of technology and the Internet is to adapt to the demands of the consumer. You never know where a new website or application can go- just look at Pinterest. As a small business owner or someone learning to use all of the current tools and platforms available, it is a great idea to study the trends and always be learning about how you can use the newest craze to your professional advantage.