Guest contribution by Stefanie Call
When women support each other, incredible things happen.
This is definitely the spirit that Aesha Shapiro, founder and creator of Ladies Artisan Market Networking Group and Ladies Artisan Market, has embodied. A local girl, born and raised in Hilo and Kona, Shapiro has spent time traveling abroad and attending college in San Diego. Doing so has allowed her to bring back her experiences to help better the Big Island and its community.
Ladies Artisan market was created out of a financial need. As a single, stay-at-home mom of a special needs child, Shapiro was in need of a hobby and an outlet for community and support. She started Ladies Artisan Market in her backyard in 2016. The event started out small, with a few artisans selling essential oils, jewelry, etc. Each year it continued to expand to the point where 28 female vendors were participating — including a trapeze artist!
“LAM has saved my soul, it stemmed out of such a difficult time of need, but it has forced me to fulfill my biggest gift,” Shapiro said.
Two years ago, after the first year’s success of Ladies Artisan Market, Shapiro wanted a way for the female vendors to network and support each other. Hence, the Ladies Artisan Market Networking group was created. “Having created this group gives me life, and it is my passion to see it continue to grow,” Shapiro said.
The Ladies Artisan Market Networking group has had a major impact on the business community here on the Big Island, particularly the Coffee Dates events. It has allowed the female participants to connect in deep relationships that have resulted in new business and collaborations. It has also brought awareness to other companies are doing in our community. The Networking Group has also created a great sense of camaraderie on our island.
The Ladies Artisan Market Networking group has deeply impacted its members by providing female entrepreneurs the ability to ask advice, survey the group, inspire one another, have face to face interactions, and by providing its members with a deep feeling of community.
“I moved to Kona two and a half years ago from my hometown Hilo. For the first year of living here, I didn't make any new friends. My love and I both work from home with online businesses and were new in our relationship and pretty much were homebodies,” recalled Dewi Maile Lim, a member of the Networking Group.
“A year in, I was ready to meet some local sistahs. I missed connecting with women one-on-one and have always been pretty social. I especially love being around other like-hearted babes on a mission. That's when I discovered the Ladies Artisan Market Networking Group for Women Facebook group and in-person events. I've attended as many Ladies Artisan Market events as possible since then,” Lim continued.
“The quality of the connections with the women I've met, the vision of Founder Aesha Shapiro and Ally Brown who run the group, the multi-sensory experience of their events and the friendships that have blossomed from my attending them is priceless to me!”
The community can help better support LAM Networking Group by attending the coffee dates and different events that they have scheduled throughout the year such as:
∙ Trade Service Tuesdays
∙ Social Mixers
∙ LAM University
∙ LAM About Town
∙ Coffee Dates
∙ Ladies Artisan Markets
∙ Supporting Ladypreneur Mondays
To find out more about this group or to join, please visit Ladies Artisan Market Networking Group for Women on Facebook.