Nellie & Lo: Pam White and Taylor Socci
Like a fine bottle of champagne, Charleston is popping with family-owned, women-run businesses. Although the products and services that they offer are as diverse as they are impressive, a common thread is woven throughout these entrepreneurial women’s stories, with the inspiring moral being “necessity is the mother of invention.”
For 10 years, Pam White and her daughter Taylor White Socci dreamed of opening a gift shop named after their beloved dogs Nellie and Lola. Yet, right when they were ready to take the first steps to opening the business by signing a lease, attending market, placing orders and merchandising the store, the pandemic hit. Although the mother-daughter team couldn’t find another boutique like the one they had been envisioning for years, they would not be deterred. The pair moved forward so that they could lighten up life for their customers in a tough time.
At Nellie & Lo, White and Socci, they offer unique goods at every price point. Jewelry, home accessories, candles, wine glasses, humorous cocktail napkins, bridal or baby shower gifts, and seasonal holiday décor are all part of the collections. Now, after three years of growing their boutique into the go-to gift store of Charleston, the mother-daughter team loves treasure hunting for unique pieces and working with vendors of women-owned businesses (especially those who give back to causes). Nellie & Lo is located at 976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite Bin Mount Pleasant.
Charleston Bachelorette Services: Meagan Askins and Meredith Rutland
While planning her sister Meagan Askins’ bachelorette party, Meredith Rutland kept running into the same issue over and over. All she could find were cheesy, outdated, trendy themes that were also costly. So, as Charlestonians living in this top destination city, the sisters took matters into their own hands and created Charleston Bachelorette Services.
While the duo creates custom themes and bespoke packages tailored to their clients’ desires, they also collaborate with local vendors such as private chefs, bartenders, bakers and transportation and boating companies to provide unforgettable experiences for their brides-to-be and their friends. While Rutland enjoys working directly with the client to plan the events, including decorating and stocking the fridge at local Airbnb’s, Askins’ talents include graphic design, branding, marketing, floral design and researching trends.
Charleston Bachelorette Services is already booking out for 2024, so go ahead and lock in your over-the-top bachelorette party by heading to ChsBach.com.
Success to Stardom’s Dr. Jennifer Heyward Champagne and Cez Champagne
You would never know it, but pretty much everywhere you look around Charleston, you’ll see the public relations and marketing work of Dr. Jennifer Heyward Champagne and her wife Cez Champagne, owners and senior publicists of Success to Stardom. While Heyward Champagne runs the STS magazines division of the business, Champagne oversees STS sports. Together, they blend their creative talents to design billboards, press releases, celebrity endorsements, events, websites, signages, menus, banners and product placements for leading hotels, restaurants, local businesses, nonprofits, sporting events and more. The Champagnes can be found attending glamorous events like the BET Awards, New York Fashion Week or the Grammys, or they can be found designing logos and business cards for small businesses right here in Charleston. The best part is that they can up level your career or your brand to dizzying heights, and that they’re doing it together.
When Billy Lewis Herriott, also known as Lew, passed away tragically in 2015, his daughter Antoinette Marie Herriott-Coaxum battled her grief by coming home from work each night to bake sweet treats to take to her co-workers the next day. As Herriott-Coaxumhad just made a large batch of banana pudding, her daughter Desiree Horlback brought it to a potluck at her office and came home to inform her mother that she had sold 15of the desserts.
Confused, Herriott-Coaxumsaid, “But I don’t sell banana pudding.”
To which Horlback responded, “Well, now you do.”
So, the mother-daughter business Lew’s Heavenly Treats was created, and Herriott-Coaxum triumphed over the grief she was experiencing by creating a legacy in her father’s name. While Herriott-Coaxumis the baker, her visionary daughter runs the social media marketing and creative strategizing side of the bakery located at 3316 Ashley Phosphate Rd. in North Charleston. What sets Lew’s aside from every other local bakery, is that it is also a cake supply store, a staple that was missing in Charleston when the pair were starting their grab-and-go bakery.
Inside you’ll find forty flavors of cheesecake, including the best-selling Charleston Chewie Cheesecake. There are also cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and much more. While you’re there, don’t miss picking up that famous banana pudding, which her repeat customers fondly call “liquid gold.”
Whether these family-owned, women-run businesses are operating as mother/daughter duos, sisters, cousins, or wives, they are all delivering stellar products or services by meeting the challenges that come with growing a business, while raising up their clientele who in turn help to make what was once a dream their reality.
R and R Acres’ Rebecca and Trinity Bills
As a working mom who was struggling with childcare issues, Rebecca Bills realized that she had to take her family’s future into her own hands by finding a way to work from home. That’s when she decided to turn her beekeeping hobby into a full-time business alongside homeschooling her children. Bills’ then 9-year-old daughter Trinity was growing up on the family farm among the dozens of goats, emus, alpacas, hogs, chickens, turkeys, lizards and hundreds of beehives. That’s when she took an interest in learning how to run the business with her mom. To fully enhance her immersion, Trinity Bills took a college-level beekeeper exam and passed it on the first try, winning junior beekeeper of the year at the state level. Now at 15, not only does Trinity Bills help with keeping the bees and feeding the animals, but she also creates artisan honeys and scented candles and soaps, setting up at pop-up shops and farmer’s markets around the Charleston area. She also helps with bookkeeping and social media marketing, as well as giving talks to educate other Charleston Beekeepers. She even delivered a presentation at the College of Charleston.
The Bills women are also now growing fields full of blackberries and blueberries and are USDA accredited for the chickens, eggs and turkeys they raise. Moreover, they are teaching the community about how to connect with our food supply from a micro green aspect. To learn more about how you can experience their products or book a custom class, visit RandRAcres.com.
JaNay House, Shakeeka Patton, Alexia Manigault and April Conyers of Nicht Boutique
After years of spending family time together at sleepovers, birthday parties and on holidays, three cousins native to Mount Pleasant decided to combine their skill sets and fashion senses to open Nicht Boutique. JaNay House, a fashion-conscious U.S. Navy veteran whose keen eye helped spark the idea of a family-owned boutique, collaborated with Shakeeka Patton, April Conyers, and Alexia Manigault to bring the idea to life. The collaborating cousins, adding over 10 years of managerial experience and 15 years in customer service veteran made for a solid backbone to the business.
The next steps were to combine their individual gifts, experiences and passions to establish the shop to be named Nicht Boutique, with “nicht” translating from the Dutch word for “cousin.” Their business model evolved as an online shop featuring classy, sassy and alluring styles for all women, no matter her shape or size. What sets Nicht Boutique apart from any other online stores is their customer service, with same-day delivery for local orders placed before 8:00p.m. Additionally, once a client places an order, she becomes part of the Nicht Boutique family within their social media and email marketing communications. These cousins are ready to dress Lowcountry women for business meetings, social events, or nights out on the town. Place your order at NichtBoutique.com.
Whether these family-owned, women-run businesses are operating as mother-daughter duos, sister ventures, collaborating cousins or hard working wives, they are all delivering stellar products or services by meeting the challenges that come with growing a business, while raising up their clientele, who in turn help to make what was once a dream their reality: working within their own families to build up the women around them by solving problems and meeting needs.