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Women-Owned Businesses Will be Featured at May 8 Showcase

Published: Charlee Glock-Jackson, for Gig Harbor Life
May 2, 2013
Since it was founded in Gig Harbor three years ago, the Alliance of Women Owned Businesses (AWOB) has grown its membership to include nearly 90 businesses owned by women in Pierce, Kitsap and Mason counties.On May 8, AWOB will host a trade show to highlight the work of many of its members. Dubbed the aMayZing Showcase of Businesses Owned by Women, the free public event will take place at the Inn at Gig Harbor.“More than half of our members will be exhibiting at the showcase,” said AWOB President Lisa Markman, owner of Jigsaw Solutions Coaching and Consulting in Gig Harbor. There will be “a good variety of businesses represented,” she said — from brick-and-mortar stores to service providers to direct sales businesses.

Participating businesses include financial planners, architects, graphic designers, attorneys, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, real estate professionals, design-builders, artists, jewelry designers and home management services that provide “concierge-type services like personal shopping, house-sitting and home maintenance services,” Markman said.
“This will be a great time to find a new professional service or product for your home or business,” added Jill Neumeister, AWOB marketing chair and owner of Orca Design Group in Belfair. ”Many of the exhibitors will be selling their products at the showcase. You can buy items for yourself or your home or make an appointment with a consultant or other provider.”
“It will be a goodplace to shop for Mothers’ Day — which just a few days later,” Markman said with a smile.
And speaking of mothers, Neumeister said, “… we even have a mother–and-daughter pair who will be participating in the showcase.”
The mother, Darlene Moscho, whom Markman described as “a serial entrepreneur,” will be exhibiting skin care products.
Moscho’s daughter, Sheree Reed, spent several years helping her mother organize her office and filing system, and “… discovered that she was really good at that kind of organizing and that she has a passion for helping women get their lives in order,” Neumeister said. “So she started her own business called Organize It with Sheree.”
Moscho and Reed, both of Bremerton, will each have a booth at the showcase.
Like all AWOB events, the showcase also has an educational component.
“Many of these women have never done a trade show before, so at our regular monthly meeting the week before the show, we shared ideas and tips about how to do it,” Markman said.
That’s typical of the way things work in AWOB. “Many of our events are actually great educational opportunities. They provide a safe, supportive environment for our members to try new things,” she said.
AWOB has recently expanded its programming concept, as well. “We always had speakers in the past. Now we’re also having roundtable discussions and panels of speakers and special presentations,” Markman said. “In September, we’re having something completely new — a panel discussion about why it’s a good idea to get involved with non-profit organizations.”
According to the website, the mission of AWOB is “… to empower women entrepreneurs to achieve higher levels of business success.” Membership is open to any woman who owns her own business, is a partner in a business, an independent contractor or is thinking of starting a business.
“We’re always welcoming new members,” Markman said. “People can come to any meeting and we always have a briefing at the beginning of the meeting for visitors to learn more about what we do.”
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