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Look Who’ll Be at the Holiday Gift Marketplace!

6 Nov

The marketplace is a unique shopping experience for holiday gifts and  a crowd-sourcing platform for engaging customers in providing ideas, connections and services that support local businesses.

Sunday, November 24th 
The Whittemore House
1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
(near Dupont Circle)

Mariam Mohamed
Bahari Creations

Miriam Mohamed

Miriam Mohamed

Tanzania native Mariam came to the U.S. with an independent and creative spirit.  She married her textile experience with her creative hunger to create handbags made from the East African fabric, kanga.  The handbags are as versatile and beautiful as the cloth they are made from.   In order for Mariam’s handbag business to prosper, she needs the expertise of a business minded individual like yourself, who would know how to help her copyright her designs and ideas.  Surely, someone knows a good supplier from whom she can purchase zippersScreen shot 2013-10-31 at 4.55.19 PM and closures.  Last, but not least Miriam could use a good marketing expert to help her package her handbags and sell them to boutiques and yoga studios.  EWI’s 1st annual holiday market is a great place to meet Miriam, see her lovely handbags and help her take her business to the next level.

Dinelles Sakyi


Dinelles Sayki

Dinelles inspiration for UnFORgettables came from sheer boredom during a pregnancy bed rest.  She created a diaper cake for her baby shower which resulted in others requesting her fun and lovely gift packages. Dinelles went on to expand her creativity for gift design to include holiday gift baskets

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 5.12.09 PMand  towel cakes.  UnFORgettables could soar to new heights if she could get assistance with setting up a website, serious investors and a solid business coach to build her entrepreneurial confidence.  Why don’t you stop by the EWI 1st annual holiday gift market to help lift Dinelles to new heights!


Michele Black & Kathy Kemerait
Mountain Bird Designs


Kathy Kemerait


Michele Black

An artistic duo on a mission to create with a purpose!  Meet Kathy and Michele,  two talented women who have put their ideas into action by collaborating with a fair pay textile manufacturer and are committed to partnering with eco-friendly American manufacturers in order to bring textile jobs back to Appalachia.   Using various mediums, to include textiles, beads, paper and clay, their art brings the simplest items to life. From their signature women’s business handbag to the holiday gift market promotional materials, their ability to artistically capture the true essence of womanhood is beyond amazing.  Though, what good is such rich and Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 5.15.25 PMincredible talent if it can’t be shared with the world?  Your connections to investors, high profile contacts and solid textile industry experience are where their art and your business savvy collides.   Let’s make Kathy and Michele’s artistic endeavors a successful business at EWI’s1st annual holiday gift market.

Free Admission

Let us know you’ll be there and RSVP NOW!

Written by Ciara Salg, Marketing & Communications Intern

Louisiana Night at A Show Of Hands

22 May

Please join us on Friday evening June 7 from 6-9pm at A Show Of Hands,  in Alexandria where EWI board member Hurricane Howie Feinstein will  be performing Louisiana roots music on piano and accordion for a special exhibit of arts and crafts from Louisiana.


The exhibition will feature the paintings of the late Emily Johnson Bain, a teacher and art educator who spent much of her career in Louisiana and Texas. Mrs Bain’s daughter, Carolyn Bain, is working with A Show of Hands organizing a showing of her mother’s work.

A  Show Of Hands is a delightful gallery in Alexandra’s Del Ray arts district located on 2301 Mt. Vernon Ave. Co-owners Pat Miller and Maria Wasowski have created a shop that represents the diversity of local artists by providing them with a venue to showcase and sell their unique, handcrafted artwork. They continue to be wonderful supporters of EWI.

There will be beverages and light food, CDs, Mardi Gras beads, and who knows what else? Free-of-charge for all. Pass the word on and see you there!

An Inspiring Story with our Superstar, Sharmila

17 Apr

“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. Have that faith in yourself. That is the main lesson that EWI – and this country – has taught me.”

Sharmila Karamchandani

Sharmila 2

Born into a family of artists, Indian-born Sharmila started out drawing and painting and later studied graphics. She spends a great deal of her time teaching graphic design and various forms of art and volunteering. She completed ETS in 2006 and has since helped Empowered Women International by providing client services, assisting with her graphic design knowledge and abilities, and by instructing EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success class. In 2008, she was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award by the Virginia Career College Association.

“I’ve always dabbled in many different things and this is, I can say confidently, one orginization that has utilized all my talents and put it to good use.”


Watch this personal and powerful account by Sharmila on how EWI has helped her become EMPOWERED!

(Read more about Sharmila by visiting EWI’s website and reading her “Success Story”)

EWI Graduate Entrepreneur Turning Scraps to Treasures

17 Apr


“I live through art. My worthiness, I’m building back up but at this age, I’ll be 65 in a couple of weeks, I have renewed strength, renewed hope.”

Artistic expression has always been key to Sandra’s identity.  Coming from a long line of strong women, dating back to 1861 in Washington D.C.; Sandra attributes nature as her introduction to art.  “Watching and appreciating the different ways that nature reveals itself.”

As she progressed through life, Sandra found beauty in all things.  Reminiscing upon her time as a lab technician at the National Zoo, she recalls the beautifully dynamic colors and shapes of living tissues, as she viewed them through electron microscopes.  She now maintains the perspective that “everything within the universe is art.”   This perspective is clear in her unique style of upcycle artistry, where she “view[s] the world and life in its many forms… and the universe [as] a vehicle for inspiration.”

Within the past 10 years, Sandra has refined her artistic ambition.  She now focuses mainly with textiles, metals, found objects, clay, brass, copper, paper, and thread; creating designs in a recycled, “up-cycle” design.  Appropriately, her business name is From Scraps to Treasures.

Sandra Art

“Always strive for the best, stay focused, keep a plan, network, produce quality, and never give up.”

Click the YouTube video below to hear Sandra’s insight on the importance of feeding your passion as an artist!

“My products are created from discarded items.  From Scraps to Treasures has a three part mission; one is to inform, inspire, and to implement the process of reuse, repurposing, and up cycling as a way of living; the second part of the company’s mission is to reintroduce the importance of making quality handmade items , thus creating a sense for pride for items made in America by individuals and families; and the third portion of the company’s mission involves  introducing hand sewing and the process of making handmade items, through creative individual instructional kits.”

Much like many other ETS students, Sandra joined EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success class “to gain an understanding of how to start and organize a business”.  She has truly excelled in the class, and would receive the “Ms Congeniality” award, if we offered one.

“I am still amazed at the quality and the expertise the program provides.  Everyone involved with EWI has a unique exceptional gift and a passion to share.”


Kudos to Kathy Kemerait for her Art Collection of Empowered Women!

16 Apr

Artists, Kathy Kemerait and Michele Black of Mountain Bird Designs Raise Funds to Empower Women!

A heartfelt thank you to Kathy Kemerait for allowing us to use one of her wonderful artworks in our Spring2Action April 17 Day. We are so excited about how the campaign turned out that we want to share her powerful art with you all.

Kathy’s artistic style is a unique combination of free flowing whimsy and a joyful spirit unbound by convention. Her reverence for the natural world and her respect for the feminine spirit are reflected in her art.

Her creative energy flows freely from her imagination without constraint in a seemingly endless stream of delightfully intricate and loving details that appear in each of her wonderously unique creations. Kathy and her business partner, Michele Black, are proud to announce the launch of their new business, Mountain Bird Designs.

Mountain Bird Designs offers a variety of pottery, drawings (originals and prints), handmade and one of a kind business and travel bags, all of which may be purchased through EWI.

Mountain Bird Designs is located in Western North Carolina.

Afriqu’enjeux- The Africa Memory Game by Paulette

23 Apr

Afriqu’enjeux- The Africa Memory Game by Paulette

Challenge your knowledge of Africa by playing Afriqu’enjeux, The Africa Memory Game! The game guides its players through the different countries of Africa while offering trivia on African culture, history, and geography. Written bilingually in English and French. Great fun for the whole family!
Read below to find out why creator Paulette Mpouma designed the game!

100 Trivia Questions about the different regions of Africa
A board, 4 tokens, and 1 regular dice
Play money called “Hega”
Rules of the Game and Glossary of African terms
*Small parts not suitable for children under 3 years old.

The Africa Memory Game was created by Paulette Mpouma, a refugee from Cameroon. Paulette initially designed the game to educate her own children about the remarkable facts of the African continent, but soon realized her game was applicable to all children and their families. Paulette designed the game as a fun, interactive pastime that challenges its players on African trivia. Find out more about the game at Paulette’s website,

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

Artist Item of the Week: An elegant gold and red glass necklace with matching earrings by Deborah

16 Apr

This beautiful and elegant necklace features gold and red colored glass with matching earrings and a silver chain. Beautiful for spring, this piece is sure to make a statement!

EWI is a non-profit organization that helps immigrant and refugee women in the Greater DC Metro area integrate, participate as new citizens, and become self-sufficient by using the arts as an economic driver and a catalyst for social and cultural integration. All of the work available in the EWI Etsy Shop is handmade by immigrant and refugee women artists who are members of our organization. Learn more at

Deborah Schran is a graduate of EWI’s Training for Success Program. She started out as a painter and print maker, and found that fused glass lends itself to similar interplays with light, color, design and creativity. She stated, “It is great fun to work in this medium – every time the kiln is opened, it is an exciting event”.

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

Artist Item of the Week: Blue and Black Tartan Florette Headband with Pearl Accent by Tiffany

9 Apr

This beautiful headband with a blue and black tartan rosette is the perfect accessory for your little black dress!


Tiffany Carter, a fall 2011 graduate of EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success Program co-owns the “Thinking in Cups” boutique, an accessory and beauty care company dedicated to whimsy and fun. Each piece is handcrafted and has a story of its own! Tiffany’s line of beautiful handcrafted hair accessories is called Vesica’s Splendor.

Tiffany co-owns “Thinking in Cups” with Breann Whitcomb, another graduate of EWI’s ETS program. Tiffany stated: “At EWI, I was not only asked to learn to perform the technical tasks such as business planning, budgeting, marketing, etc., but I was asked to face my personal fears in order to grow and excel as a woman and a business owner. My most prized possession that I walk away with is a newly found confidence that I can carry with me in all areas of my life.” In less than three months, Tiffany and Bre developed a strong product line, a solid business plan, an online shop and marketing materials to promote their business. They are now networking with boutique owners, sell their work through EWI’s events and continue to work with EWI’s staff and mentors to develop effective marketing strategies.

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

An Interview with EWI Graduate, Nadia Janjua

3 Apr
  • Why did you join EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success(ETS) program?

“I had recently become Coordinator of a MD-based group called Muslim Women in the Arts in January 2011, and it was the first time I found myself in an Arts Administration position. Marga was led to me through a mutual friend, and after a conversation and interview with her, I was convinced that the ETS program was the perfect place for me to gain and refine the skills I needed to successfully lead a non-profit arts group. “

  • How has your business grown/changed since graduating from ETS?

“Well, first of all, in the time that I was enrolled in the ETS program, I had a major shift of focus from wanting to start a non-profit arts group, to building my own professional career as an independent artist. I started making jewelry and other hand-made items featuring parts of my paintings for the first time in my life, and the initial success of sales was extremely encouraging. Towards the end of the ETS program, I had already started setting up and selling items at my “NJARTitecture” art booths at various venues and events. Since graduating the program, I have been extremely prolific in production, sales and marketing. I’ve had a steady calendar of events mixing my interests of the business side of the arts, with the spreading and education of the necessity for the arts. My fan base has widened from continued social marketing on the web, and from attending countless events all over the East Coast and in Canada. Just recently, I was able to take a hiatus from accessory production to focus uninterrupted time on producing paintings for my first solo show in Washington, D.C. last month.” 

  • Can you share any of your favorite moments from your time in training?

“One of my favorite moments from the ETS course was a class where we broke up into small groups of four students, and one mentor. Each student was given the opportunity to present what they felt was their main challenge or hindrance in their personal pursuits, and as a group, we offered solutions or tools for that student to reach their own solution. That exercise was extremely enlightening for me because prior to that, I don’t think I realized just how overlapping our struggles were, despite the fact that one of us was an artist, a fashion designer, a cook and a house cleaner. It was incredible to have been reminded of the benefit of learning from your classmates, no matter how different they were from you.” 

  • What was the most valuable lesson?

“To follow your gut. In listening to the stories of how other women were led to the ETS program, and in my personal struggles and meetings with mentors at EWI, I was reminded time and time again — follow your intuition — you already know what’s best for you, you already know what you  have to do, stop holding yourself back and don’t be afraid to turn your passion into a daily reality!”

"And Then It Came"

  • What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs like yourself who are interested in taking their business to the next level?

Every time you come up with a reason to talk yourself out of doing something you really love, tell yourself three more reasons for why you should do it, and remind yourself of those three things over and over in your moments of doubt.
Every honest, sincere thing you do will take an amount of risk, and faith — you have to be your biggest believer. Don’t worry about how others will respond or if they’ll like what you’re selling — an act done in harmony and love will be transparent all on its own, and those that are their to support you will somehow find their way to you. 

“Even if you feel downtrodden by financial woes or wavering motivation, never stop creating, designing or producing — everything is a potential muse, and what better way to channel energy than to use it constructively and positively in developing the thing(s) you love.”

"Delusional Sunset"

“Humble yourself. Meet the people you need to meet, speak what you need to speak, reward yourself for your accomplishments, but get up the next morning and get back in the grind. Don’t lose your sense of self. Be critical of yourself, constructively, and be kind to yourself. “

“Think big. Be your own mentor, but also confide in a mentor(s) more experienced than yourself. Let them be your cheerleaders. Don’t ever let money stifle how big your dream is. The money will come, and it is not the most important currency of life.”

“Work hard. Work hard. Work hard.”

  • Where have you showcased since ETS? Any upcoming events?

“A few too many places to list, to be honest, but if interested, you can visit my “Art Shows” albums from 2011-2012 on my Facebook fan page “NJARTitecture” to see the variety of events that I’ve been present at. As I mentioned before, I recently had an opening night for my first ever solo show at BloomBars in Washington, D.C. in March, entitled “She Comes With A Past :: The Art of Healing.” A really exciting event that’s coming up for me is a showcase this month sponsored by a group called RAW Natural Born Artists ( Basically, this group helps emerging artists gain exposure by hosting a showcase that lasts 4-6 hours on a Thursday night of each month, and each showcase features 15-20 different artists. Other artists, gallery curators, directors, professionals, etc. are invited to help the featured artists network and meet potential customers or gain gallery representation. This also happens in twenty other cities all over the US, and interestingly, the February opening showcase in Washington, D.C. this year had a record-breaking 500 people attend — most people ever to attend the first show of the year in any city in the US, which is really exciting! “

“My showcase will be on April 12, from 8PM-12AM, at Cafe Asia in DC, and I’m going to be exhibiting new paintings, jewelry, and an exciting new product — phone and laptop cases featuring my art work! Tickets are only $10 pre-event, and you can purchase them here ( I would love to see some of the EWI women out there! 🙂 It’s such a great place to meet other emerging artists in the area; please be sure to check out RAW DC’s main page — there are some really great musical performances and even a fashion runway show that’s going to happen at the event as well! “

 Remember!  Nadia’s Dream Earrings are the Item of the Week, receive a special discount of 15% off this week only using Code: THISWEEKEWI 

Artist Item of the Week: Dream Beaded Rectangular Resin Earrings by Nadia

2 Apr

Artist Item of the Week: Dream Beaded Rectangular Resin Earrings by Nadia


All of Nadia’s earrings and necklaces are handmade by herself. She basically takes reprints of her paintings and make jewelry out of them. Each design is unique and both front and back of all pieces have distinct designs. Jewelry is wood-based, extremely light-weight, and coated in high-gloss resin.


She is a practicing Architect and professional Artist based in the Washington, D.C. area, working under the business name NJARTitecture. Born to Kashmiri-Pakistani parents, Nadia grew up in the forested mountains of Western Maryland with her three siblings, strongly influenced by the solitude and beauty of her natural surroundings. She started drawing before she could write, and she started painting with oils in adolescence. Over the past fifteen years, she has explored different paint mediums, photography, graphic design, ceramics, and printmaking, eventually spending the majority of her time on nurturing her painting ability

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