The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Authors Posts by Jessica Kopena

Jessica Kopena


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See how a social experiment to help people with their plants turned into a blossoming business and growing online community.

Lucrecer Braxton likes growing things. As a marketing manager and creative director by day, she understands how to grow a concept, brand and community around it. Braxton is also a proud plant parent, which led her to start SoulSista Plants a year ago and it’s grown into much more than she ever imagined.

“SoulSista Plants started as a social experiment. I wanted to see if I could grow a community from zero to where it is now based on something I love, which is plants,” says Braxton. “Now, SoulSista Plants is my vision for helping people not kill their houseplants. I also host a weekly show called Hella Plants, where I talk to people who have hellaplants about hella plants and whetever else they want to chat about. The conversations are organic and I love having that hour or so to laugh and have fun.” 

Braxton has been running SoulSista Plants for a year now. The inspiration behind starting the business came from a desire to connect with other women. “I wanted to connect with more Black women and found myself quickly embraced by the plant community within a few months of starting my Instagram account for SoulSista Plants,” she says. “I was inspired to share my love of plants and also connect with people who also had a similar passion.”

The name, SoulSista Plants, came from music she listened to. “I was listening to a playlist and I heard a song by Bilal, Soul Sista,” Braxton says. “I have always loved that song and I didn’t want to overthink the name.”

Braxton’s love for plants started in her home. “I grew up in a home that always had some kind of houseplants. My father also had outdoor gardens and my grandparents did, too,” she says. “I’ve continued to have plants in my home and my collection continues to grow.”

SoulSista Plants provides a variety of services. “I offer plant consultations, as well as styling and plant care for new and seasoned plant parents,” she says. “I do video and written consultations and follow up for my clients. I also host plant classes and conversations.”

The business defines success by not having any dead plants. “Seriously, success is getting up and still loving what I’m doing. It is fans, clients and my community sharing their plant success stories with me because they know I care,” Braxton says. “Success is seeing someone who thinks they have a black thumb, keeping a plant alive and thriving.”

The ultimate goal for SoulSista Plants is a brick-and-mortar store. “Ultimately, I have a vision for a plant shop, but not your typical shop. I also see SoulSista Plants creating opportunities and access to plants for marginalized communities. Since the pandemic hit, the price of plants has skyrocketed and the plant industry has been whitewashed,” she says. “One of my goals is for Black youth to see themselves in me. I want them to see they can find and have success in a non-traditional job and passion. Anything is possible.”

Braxton says running the business by herself is what makes her business so unique. “I am it and it is me. I freely share and engage with my community and I make sure everyone feels like they belong,” she says. “I make it possible by bonding over plants and everything grows from there.”

SouSista Plants is important for the community because it provides education. “Plants and plant knowledge should not only belong to those who can afford it. What I do is important because I have found a way to bring people who would not normally connect with each other together through their love of plants,” Braxton says. “I take the time to teach and educate people about the plants they own or educate people about the plants they own or are interested in. I also do it with humor and make everyone feel like they belong and they matter.”

Her advice for not killing plants is: “Don’t overwater your plants. Invest in a water meter to help with that. Also, mist your plants daily. Most of the plants in your home are tropical and you can create better conditions for them simply by giving them what they need,” Braxton says. “Finally, low-light plants does not mean no light. Plants still need some sort of light, be it natural or grow lights to thrive.”

If you want to know what SoulSista Plants is doing, follow the business on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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A popular plant shop in College Hill grows with new location in Walnut Hills. Read on for all the green thumb details.

A store in College Hill that fosters a love for all things plants is opening a new location. 

“Fern is an interior plant design studio and home goods store,” says Megan Strasser, Owner of Fern. “We offer a carefully edited selection of beautiful and unique objects and a large assortment of houseplants.” 

Fern currently has six staffers and is celebrating seven years in business. Their store is currently “in an old gas station on Hamilton Avenue in College Hill,” Strasser says. “Our second location will open in the Ashby Building on East McMillan in Walnut Hills.”

Strasser’s love for plants started 20 years ago when she started collecting them. “She has always believed that plants are one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to transform an environment,” Strasser says.

The inspiration behind starting Fern actually came from an architect’s long-lost plans. “I had come across an architect’s original storyboards for a mid-century modern home and noticed that he had included plants in his plans for each room. It struck me that plants could be as thoughtfully considered in the design of a home as the furniture that went into it,” she says. “I wanted to create a store that allowed customers to do the same.”

The decision to open a second location all came down to perfect timing. “The timing aligned with the right space in the right neighborhood,” Strasser says.

There are a variety of products and services offered through Fern, including:

• Houseplants: Tropical plants, succulents, cacti and airplants. They even have their “own plant design creations such as: terrariums, mounted epiphytic plants, succulent gardens, aeriums and kokedama,” Strasser
• “Hancrafted Ceramic Planters in a large size range from over 30 makers and artists,” she says.
• “Small batch apothecary, including our own candle line,” Strasser says.
• Artist-Led Classes: Floral arranging, calligraphy, wreath making and watercolor
• There are also Fern-led plant design workshops such as: terrarium, succulent garden and kokedama making.
• “We host small markets yearly and invite other small businesses to popup in our space regularly,” she says. “For example, we have Proudhound Coffee’s coffee truck every Sunday and Daisy Janes Flower Truck every Wednesdsy at our College Hill store,” Strasser says.

Fern wants to see their community experience security. “Success for Fern is creating a space where our customers and staff feel safe and welcomed and growing the community of plant lovers while supporting makers, artists and the causes we believe in,” Strasser says.  

The mission of Fern is to not only provide great customer service, but also education to the community. They want “to merge plants with design, offering indoor houseplants that are carefully selected and styled with handmade ceramic vessels and to provide straightforward and complete care information,” she says. 

Fern’s approach to their business is unique. “We may sell plants, but our business builds relationships through our strong commitment to being a space of inclusivity, collaboration and community,” Strasser says. “I am proud to exist in two vibrant and diverse residential communities and to be able to offer plants and vessels for every budget, so that anyone who comes in has the opportunity to use plants to help create a feeling of warmth in their own home.”

To keep up with all things Fern, follow them on Facebook and their website.

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See how a local entrepreneur‘s journey to health - and the pandemic - inspired this new digital health coaching service.

Rebecca Geiger started her business, Karma Wellness Studio, to help people on the road to getting healthier. Recent improvements in her own well-being, coupled with the pandemic, inspired her to launch a new online health counseling service.

“Karma Wellness Studio is a local business offering holistic health services, including Medical Massages, Reiki, Reflexology and Health Coaching,” says Rebecca Geiger, LMT, CPNMT Owner and Health Coach of Karma Wellness Studio. The studio opened nine years ago and is located at: 2067 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45230. “We are located in the heart of Mount Washington, two doors down from Creamy Whip,” she explains.

The business was really affected because of the pandemic. “We were closed for almost three months, but continued to serve our clients by offering distance Reiki sessions and creating free self-message videos,” Geiger says. “We did lose two practitioners and are in need of massage therapists to be fully staffed again. We are just grateful to be open and to have most of our clients returning and to be accepting new clients again.”

The pandemic has helped to birth Online Health Counseling. “I want to help people simplify holistic health and well-being, and I want to help them achieve it. But the truth is that I struggled to lose the ‘baby weight.’ I had just given birth to my daughter, Taylor, six weeks earlier, while starting the business and purchasing our first home all at the same time. At that time, I just didn’t feel that I represented health being 60 pounds overweight and felt I couldn’t share my knowledge to help others in that way. So, I just practiced Medical Massage for years, while working on regaining my own health. It may have taken me a while, but I did finally lose the weight and have kept it off,” Geiger says. 

“While taking time off due to the shutdown, I decided to go after that love helping others become truly healthy in a balanced, realistic and sustainable way. So, I decided this was the perfect time to pursue a certification in Health Counseling. I am so excited that I can finally offer these services being confident in my own skin again and having quite a bit more empathy now that I have had to walk through what I am helping others with.”

The Online Health Counseling is a 12-week plan that is customized “to help individuals achieve their health goals, including weight loss. It is a collaborative partnership between me and my client with my client being in the driver’s seat,” she says. “I provide education, accountability, support and guidance that helps to facilitate the behavior changes needed, in order to reach your health goals and live a truly balanced and healthy lifestyle.” 

These counseling sessions take place on the phone or through video chat and last between 30 and 60 minutes. “During these calls, we evaluate your goals, celebrate your wins and collaboratively plan the next step to get you closer to your goals,” Geiger says. Along with the 12-week program, there are ‘Optional monthly extended care programs’ after you finish the initial program. “The program is individual to each person. There is no one size fits all. I cater to your specific needs and create a program-based on that,” Geiger says. “However, all coaching clients receive an initial set up call to establish goals and create a plan, two follow up calls every month to celebrate wins and make changes to plan as needed, weekly email check ins to monitor progress and unlimited messaging for other related purposes.”

The Online Health Counseling at Karma Wellness Studio is unique, Geiger says, because: “1) It is an individualized approach based on a client’s specific needs. 2) It is convenient since it’s online, but it is with a local health and wellness professional. 3) It is guided by a woman who has the knowledge and who has the personal experience to truly help others realize their health potential.” 

Geiger says Karma Wellness Studio is important for the community on many levels. “We take care of the individuals that make up the community. When we help these individuals feel better, live the life they deserve and create true well-being, they carry that with them as they interact with others in the community and in the world,” she says. “It is a powerful and positive domino effect of care, compassion and connection.”

To keep up with Karma Wellness Studio, follow them on FacebookWebsite or follow Geiger on Instagram.

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Learn about a wellness center in Kenwood that’s all about whole-body wellbeing and inspiring a deep sense of hope.

Being aware of your health, and having a sense of hope, is more important than ever. That’s the idea behind recently-expanded Anchor Wellness Center in Kenwood.

“Anchor Wellness is an integrative healthcare collaborative that brings highly specialized providers into the same space to deliver client-centric care,” says Dr. Sarah Crawford, PT, DPT, COMT, CMTPT and Founder of Anchor Wellness. 

The company, Anchor Wellness, Inc. was established in 2019, but they grew their business and opened up the Anchor Wellness Center last month. It is located at: 8044 Montgomery Road, Suite 160, which is inside the Towers of Kenwood. The center offers a variety of different expertise, including: nutritional therapy, health coaching, physical therapy, clinical pilates and yoga therapy.

The inspiration behind starting the business came from a passion for giving hope to people. “Prioritizing health and wellness can be daunting. Deciding where to start is overwhelming for some people,” Crawford says. “The Anchor Wellness Center is intended to provide individuals the power to direct their own care in an efficient manner with a team behind them.” The anchor is significant because it is “the international symbol of hope,” she says.

There are a variety of different services offered through Anchor Wellness. “All of our services are aimed at finding root causes. The human body is extremely complex and oftentimes, traditional medicine misses that part,” Crawford says. The vision of Anchor Wellness is to “break the cycle of dependency on external interventions for optimal health,” she says. “We want to educate and empower individuals to realize their capacity to heal, feel well and meet their goals.”

Anchor Wellness defines success through seeing their clients experience success. “Individuals have become extremely dependent on traditional healthcare providers for their well-being,” Crawford says. “We strive to empower our clients to be autonomous in their health and wellness by educating and guiding them towards independence.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people have made their health more of a priority. 

“COVID-19 has posed an opportunity for people to face the reality that their health must be prioritized, but it also requires reassurance that they feel safe wherever they go,” Crawford says. “One of the many blessings of these last few months is that access to care for those who prefer to stay home became readily available. While we have always provided virtual appointments, clients weren’t as aware of those options. This is great for people who travel (pre-COVID) and people in more rural, where getting to our center is sometimes challenging.”

The business is unique because it provides “an intimate settingthat puts clients at the center of their care without having to jump through hoops to get the care they need,” she says. 

Anchor Wellness wants connection with their community. “Health promotion is a community issue. The Anchor Wellness Center aims to build connections and create a network where individuals have resources to answer the problems they or their community face,” Crawford says.

Crawford’s favorite part of her job is seeing her clients experience breakthrough. “Seeing the light bulb go off for our clients,” she says. “When they connect the dots and realize how things have happened and that they have the opportunity to re-write their future, that’s what keeps us going.”

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Anchor Wellness, follow them on Facebook and their website.

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Read on to learn about an event that wants to educate people on good breast health.

Over the past several months, we’ve all been at home focusing on staying healthy. There’s an upcoming event — the Virtual Holistic Breast Health Open House — that aims to help you focus on your breast health at home as well. 

“Pivoting with the current situation, we decided to create an online experience to teach and empower women to learn all about how they can achieve and maintain breast health,” says Jacky Greonewegen, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Thermography Technician and Owner of Mindful Wellness Medical Thermography. The event runs from September 21-24 with the main event being on September 24 at 7pm. 

The inspiration behind the event was a passion for spreading the awareness of breast health. “As Massage Therapists and Thermography Technicians, we are always looking for ways to educate women on the importance of breast health and care and how there is so much we can all do to nurture our breasts. One day, when doing a web search on Breast Health, all that came up was pages and pages of listings for Breast Cancer Treatment Centers! I was appauled,” Groenewegen says. “I was looking for information for healthy breasts, not cancer centers. Then it hit me, we have to be the ones to provide this service for our community. Game on! We are excited and honored to be the ones to take up this torch.”

Not only is the event going to raise awareness of breast health, the event is raising funds for the locally-based Women’s Health Initiative Foundation. “Their mission is to empower and guide women to the truth about natural options, which prevent, treat and defeat cancer,” she says. “It also provides financial support for New Hope for Cancer, as well as offer a grant program that helps pay for four initiatives not covered by insurance, including thermography screenings amd holistic cancer coaching. We will be running a fundraiser campaign throughout the event.”

From September 21-24, there will be professionals talking about Breast Health. “A few different Holisitic Practitioners that have breast health treatments, education and/or services will be spotlighted each day. They will each have a short video describing what they have to offer with posts and then online conversation with the participants,” Groenewegen says. All this will lead up to a Free Live Event on September 24 at 7pm. “We will highlight each holistic practitioner/vendor and their information, let you ask questions and have fun with each of the vendor and sharing their knowledge about improving your breast health,” she says. Groenewegen hopes that people get “Education and reassurance that our breasts are NOT ticking time bombs just waiting to come down with disease or pathology,” she says.

With the event, she defines success by having a fruitful online environment for people to have fun and gain new information. “Our hope is to create an online educational atmosphere of people having fun and, feeling that they have gained helpful information and how to care for their breasts while feeling comfortable to share this info with other people they care about, all this while having raised funds for a very worthy cause,” Groenewegen says. 

This event is so important for the community because it raises awareness of a topic that doesn’t have much education to offer. “We hear of and personally know of women every year who get breast cancer. The statistics are way too high and we can educate women to be proactive so that they don’t have to be a statistic,” she says.

Here are some statistics to think about:

• “One out of eight women have breast cancer.” (ACS)
• “26 percent of breast cancer cases occur before age 50,” Groenewegen says.
• “Estimated in 2020: 276,480 diagnosed with breast cancer (15 percent of all cancer cases).” (NCI)
• “Estimated in 2020: 41,170 deaths from Breast Cancer (Seven percent of all cancers). (NCI)
• “By 2020, 26.4 million new cases of breast cancer and 17 million deaths.” (W.H.O)

Groenewegen wants to see more women love and care for their breasts. “When women have a loving relationship with their breasts…via self-breast massages with or without nurturing and beneficial essential oils, self-breast checks, diet, the do’s and dont’s of brawear and a relationship of gratitude and connection with our breasts and so much more,” she says. 

To learn more about the Virtual Holistic Breast Health Open House, follow the event on Facebook. You can get free tickets for the event at:

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A new local company just launched to put yummy food in bellies and smiles on faces despite trying times.

This year has been all about enjoying the simple joys at home. That’s the idea behind a new locally-based business, Britton Boards.

Launched July 23, 2020, Britton Boards “creates custom cheese boards, candy boards, dessert boards and theme boards for any occasion,” says Stephanie Sheakley, Owner of Britton Boards. 

The inspiration behind the business came from her education. “I went to school for Interior Design, so I have always been interested in making things look pretty, which includes making food look pretty,” she says. The Britton part comes from her name. “Britton is my middle name that comes from my dad’s side of the family,” Sheakley says. “I thought it sounded catchy!”

Britton Boards provides a variety of different food boards, according to how many people there are. There are cheese and charcuterie boards, candy boards and theme boards. “I can create them with any special requests or color themes, etc.,” she says.

Sheakley got her experience for making food boards from hanging out with her family. “I have been making cheese boards for family get togethers for several years and people always complimented them, so I thought it would be a fun business,” she says. 

This business venture is unique in the Cincinnati area. “I have turned the standard cheese and charcuterie board into a whole fun experience through themes, color schemes and all sorts of goodies that many people may not think to use,” Sheakley says.

The business is important for the community. “I bring people together, whether it’s two people or several people,” she says. Her favorite part of her job is “creating new and fun ideas that make people smile,” she says.

Sheakley’s most memorable moment of Britton Boards so far is being recognized for her business. “Honestly, it all has been so amazing in this brief period of time, but being asked to be in an article has been a really amazing moment for me,” she says.

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Britton Boards, follow the business on Facebook and Instagram. You can also contact them through email at:

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Learn about a new local business that‘s helping to boost body confidence with a variety of noninvasive procedures.

Whether through fashion, social events or aesthetic services, Nakkiya Groomes‘ entrepreneurial path has been paved with various ways to boost self confidence. That’s why she was inspired to launch Bodied by GG.

“Bodied by GG is a company that specializes in aiding women and men with inch loss around the belly, back, sides, thighs, arms, chin and face using noninvasive techniques,” says Nakkiya Groomes, Owner and CEO of Bodied by GG. “We also provide other services, such as teeth whitening, butt and breast vacuum lift, vaginal rejuvenation, Pre-op and Post-op cosmetic surgery care.”

The inspiration behind the business came from Groomes seeing someone getting a procedure done on social media. “I actually saw someone receiving the service on Facebook Live and considered getting it done myself, but as I began looking into it more and the unique effects it has on the body without having to go under the knife,” she says. “I then became interested in providing the services myself.”

Groomes already has her own event management business called Glam Gods, which is where the GG came from. “I didn’t want to deter the men from getting services with too feminine of a name. All are welcome,” she says.

There are a wide variety of services offered through Bodied by GG and they include: 

• Ultrasound Cavitation: “Uses ultrasound waves to help burst and break down fat cells, while emptying through the body’s lymphatic system,” Groomes says.
• Laser Lipo: “Uses LED pads that emit laser technology deep into the skin to help burst and break down fat cells, while emptying through the body’s lymphatic system,” she says.
• Radio Frequency: “Uses radio frequency technology to tighten the skin,” Groomes says.
• Vacuum Suction: “Uses vacuum therapy to reduce the appearance of cellulite,” she says.
• Wood Therapy: “Used to sculpt the body, reduce inches off the body and used in post-op care,” Groomes says.
• Sauna Blanket: “Used to detox, good for weight loss, muscle pain ad high blood pressure,” she says.
• Teeth Whitening: “Self-assisted teeth whitening up to 5-10 shades lighter,” Groomes says.
• Vaginal Steaming: “Uses yoni herbs to help aid in good vaginal health and pH balance,” she says.
• Vaginal Rejuvenation (Coming Soon): “Vaginal tightening good for new mothers and aging women,” Groomes says.

Eventually, she wants to turn her business into a full medical spa.

The mission for the business is to provide services and have people understand how to maintain their bodies when they go home. “My mission is to ensure that every man and woman that has an experience at Bodied by GG, leaves with knowledge of the services received. Whether they get one session or 10, they know what to do to maintain their results,” Groomes says. 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t allow walk ins, but you can make appointments, “so that we can maintain control of the number of bodies in the establishment,” she says.“I believe this business is important to the community because during this COVID-19 era, we all need something that makes us smile and feel good, that’s exactly what our services provide.”

Groomes’ favorite part of the job is seeing her clients experience results. She loves it when “after a few sessions, the customer starts noticing their results and their self-esteem starts beaming through and they begin to plan their dieting and exercise routine without me having to say a word,” she says. 

The business is unique because the services “are just now becoming a hot commodity,” Groomes says. “Work can be done under a knife and weeks of recovery time can now be done in weeks with no pain or down time.” 

Bodied by GG is located at: 1212 Sycamore Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229. To learn more, call 513-952-1500 or email

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See how an OTR brewery building is being transformed into a commercial mixed-use hub focused on innovation, diversity, inclusion and creativity. 

A former OTR brewery space is now bubbling over with innovation as a rentable space for urban manufacturers. 

Felsenhaus is “a 45,000 square-foot history brewery building being transformed into a commercial mixed-use hub in OTR with a focus on innovation, diversity, inclusion and creativity. It has both small and large offices, retail and commercial spaces available. It’s used by photographers and videographers for shoots and we have had feature films and commercials shot on site,” says Shane and Dena Neuringer, who both serve multiple roles at Felsenhaus. 

The business started three years ago, when they purchased the Felsenhaus property. “The property was partially owner-occupied and had several third-party tenants and we’ve been working on re-tenanting and upgrading the building,” Neuringer says. “We’ve been in the commercial real estate development, architecture and construction business for over 20 years. As entrepreneurs, we’ve been at it for almost 10 years. Shane’s background is more in acquisitions, development and finance, and Dena has an architectural background and has been working in construction management with firms like Turner Construction.”

Felsenhaus is located three blocks from Findlay Market at: 242 W. McMicken Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The business was inspired by projects going on around the country. “We’ve seen very creative and innovative projects all over the country act as catalysts for the revitalization of neighborhoods and local economic development. We’ve seen neighborhoods all over the country where industry faded away and left behind urban blight transformation into thriving districts. Places like the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea/Highline and Williamsburg in NYC, Wynwood, South Beach and Downtown in Miami, Downtown LA, The Distillery District in Toronto and RiNo in Denver. The list goes on and now places like Cincinnati have the opportunity to have once-blighted neighborhoods thrive once again by bringing back small businesses, innovation, entertainment and housing to walkable urban areas,” they say. “The Midwest is experiencing a Renaissance and as a small development group, we see an opportunity to be part of something where we felt we could make more of a difference in the community. Also, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of change in the way people live, work and socialize. A lot of the old models of how real estate worked and how people do business are outdated. There is tremendous opportunity to provide flexible spaces, cater to the gig and sharing economy, provide interesting experiences and help the city to embrace its historic industrial past as an anchor to creating the next phase of innovation and economic success.” 

The name of the business came from being part of the Clyffside and Redtop Brewery building complexes. “One of their premier beer was called Felsenhaus, which is painted on the front of the building,” Neuringer says. “We wanted to pay tribute to the heritage of the building and the historic industry of the neighborhood and put fresh perspective on it.”

Felsenhaus offers different kinds of space, including: office space, photo and video shoot locations, storage and especially space for entrepreneurs and small businesses we call ‘urban manufacturers’- artisans, makers, and fabricators who are making things here, warehousing, shipping/receiving, etc.,” they say. 

The business’s spaces are unique because they have a lot of amenities available under one roof. “You can roll up your sleeves and get your work done. The most valuable aspect is being immersed within an inclusive and innovative community of other makers, urban manufacturers and creatives,” Neuringersays. “We also have a really convenient location right across from a park, great views and the historic character of the building really seems to inspire people. We have shared amenities like on-site parking, a full kitchen, conference roomand podcast room. We also have four loading docks, a freight and a passenger elevator.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there hasn’t been as much leasing activity and less shared worspaces at the moment. “We are now focusing more on private workspaces, but still offer shared amenity spaces so the aspect of community is still very much part of what we are all about,” they say. “Our initial plan included a much larger component of event and food and beverage space. We look forward to coming back to that in the future, but our emphasis now is much more on providing space for people to get to work: urban manufacturing, studios, office space, warehousing, storage and fulfillment. We are also wearing masks in common areas and in meetings and providing hand sanitizer to help reduce the risk of COVID.”

Inclusion is so important to Felsenhaus. “You would be surprised by how hard it is for makers, these urban manufacturers and creatives, to find a place they feel is a good value, where they have a sense of feeling included, part of a community and feel inspired,” Neuringer says. “We operate in an area of OTR that has not seen the same amount of investment from the city and the large local developers. That may change in the future, but right now, we are offering a place where people can make a living for themselves, provide employment opportunities, especially for people right here in the neighborhood.”

To learn more about Felsenhaus, follow them on FacebookInstagram and their website.

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Ever just need some personal space with none to be found? A local woman designed a new solution that offers comfort wherever you need it.

Whether it’s a loud house, long plane ride or busy hospital room, there’s not much peace and quiet to be found most places. That’s what inspired the creation of locally-designed Harbor Hood, a wearable pillow that dampens light and sound to offer you peace and quiet wherever you need it.

“Harbor Hood is a versatile hood with an eye mask that helps people in uncomfortable places find a quiet, supportive personal space,” says Kate Brandy, Founder of Harbor Hood Co.. “You can wear on your head or fold flat to support your lower back. And it’s designed to be 100 percent washable to keep you safe wherever you take it.”

Launching in November of 2019, Harbor Hood is an eCommerce website that ships from Cincinnati. “While I am the sole employee, Harbor Hood relies on a variety of suppliers, manufacturers and consultancies to operate,” she says. 

The inspiration behind starting the business came from her grandfather. “He describes unpleasant environments in hospitals. They are cold, bright, loud and usually overcrowded, making it hard to get into a comfortable position to rest,” Brandy says. “It’s a period where you need to get rest but feel the worst. I thought that other people might feel the same way as my papa.” 

According to her research, patients were feeling uncomfortable in the ERs, treatment chairs, many waiting rooms and exam rooms. “Obviously, I could not address many miseries associated with illness or injury. I could, however, work on ways to shield them from some of the lack of privacy, the chillness, the noisiness and the brightness, and give them relief from the awkward resting positions they were enduring on top of their medical concerns,” Brandy says. “Harbor Hood was created to meet these needs for comfort and personal space.”

The research with Harbor Hood helped find the product’s purpose. “People told us over and over again that they would use Harbor Hood in healthcare settings, but also, and perhaps more often, for travel, mass transit commuting and while at home quarantining with their whole family,” she says. “All these environments produce a need for comfortable personal space and that is what Harbor Hood creates.”

The Harbor Hood provides you with personal space. “Personal space quiets the mind and allows your senses to accept stimuli at a more comfortable rate,” Brandy says. “Softness and support allow you to focus on what you want to, even if that is rest without the distraction of pain or discomfort.” 

The name of the business came from Brandy living close to the Boston Harbor. “There is something really nice about the ships coming into the harbor for a safe, quiet place to rest before going back out for a day’s work,” Brandy says. “That metaphor holds true for Harbor Hood pillows. They are a safe harbor of quiet, supportive personal space wherever you may be.” The Harbor Hoods are available in adult sizes in the color dark gray. 

Brandy wants the products “to make adults more comfortable in uncomfortable environments through innovative products,” she says. Originally, Harbor Hood was created for healthcare workers in uncomfortable settings at their job, but “customers have found the product useful in much broader applications from home and travel environments,” Brandy says. 

With the COVID 19 pandemic, Harbor Hood has been negatively impacted because of their supply chain, but there have been good things that come from it. “We have raised funds to donate Harbor Hoods to hospitals around Ohio to give much-needed comfort to patients.” 

The uniqueness of the product is in its shape. “Harbor Hood’s unique shape provides coverage over your ears and include a hood with a face mask, so that you can lean back or lean on your side to fit how you get comfortable,” Brandy says. “It’s also unique in that it transforms to fold flat to double as lumbar support. A pillow that can do so much is something that is really hard to come by in a sea of ineffective and cumbersome travel pillows.”

Your mental and physical health will be positively affected by this product. “It is just as important to allow yourself to take that personal space for yourself, as it is to give it. That’s what Harbor Hood is all about,” she says. 

If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Harbor Hood, follow the business on Facebook and Instagram.

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Learn about a local organization leveraging volunteer tutors to help students stay on track in the new educational environment.

There is a company in the Cincinnati area that wants to provide help to K-12 students with help in the midst of the pandemic we are in. Tutor Teens “are volunteer high school tutors helping to keep greater Cincinnati students K-12 engaged and learning,” says Erin Finn, Tutor Teens Coordinator and Sophomore at The Seven Hills Upper School. Starting late March of 2020, Tutor Teens has 40 tutors, but are expanding all around the Greater Cincinnati area. 

The inspiration behind starting the company was Aidan Finn, Tutor Teens Coordinator and Senior at Saint Xavier High School, and Erin’s cousin asking for help with math. “On top of this, we had also been hearing stories on Facebook about parents who were struggling to teach their kids and work from home during school shutdown,” Erin says. 

The business offers three different services and they are:

▪ Subject Tutoring: “We help students with specific school subjects (think traditional tutoring),” Erin Finn says.
▪ Homework Buddies: “We help the students stay focused on their homework/packet by working alongside them to help motivate,” she says.
▪ Big Sibling: “We keep students engaged (read, play games, etc.) and provide them more social connection,” Erin says. 

Success with Tutor Teens is defined by helping as many families as they can in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is unique because it’s free of charge, virtual and led by students. “We are also local, which helps us better connect with our students and other tutors and allows our tutors to help in their community,” Erin says. 

Tutor Teens is important for the community because it helps students stay on track in school. “We help students stay ahead in their learning and help take some of the work and stress off the parents,” she says. “We also provide a source of connection and community for our teen tutors.”

Aidan and Erin love their jobs. Aidan loves to joke around with the students. “I love making my students laugh at some bad joke, which they think was some masterful wordplay,” he says. “In general, I love making my students smile and helping them learn something new.”

Erin loves connecting with the students. “I love the connections I make with the students I’m tutoring,” she says. “You know you’re doing something right when they are sad to see you go.”

To keep up with what Tutor Teens in doing, follow them on FacebookInstagramTwitter and their website.