These four female business owners have found their niche in Boulder’s small but tight-knit community
On a warm Spring day this March, fifteen-year-old restaurant Brasserie Ten Ten, widely considered the best place for brunch in Boulder (and the finest gathering place), played host to four of Boulder’s most inspiring business women. They all sat casually around a table, eating French inspired omelets, and drinking pink wine and cafe with their mothers.
Leah Colby of La Dolce Events with her mother, Marnie Williams
Robyn Knowlan of Wonder Press Juice and her mother, Amina Knowlan
Lara DeBroux of Fiori Flowers and her mother, Katherine Webster;
Cate Leuenberger of Royal Stag Hats and her mother, Melissa Stuart
On the surface, it seems to be an odd group. Though the daughters are all roughly the same age, their businesses vary — from juice to hats it can be hard to find a connection. But if you watch the table closely, you’ll notice a familiarity between the business owners and their mothers that goes far beyond mere friendship. There are a lot of cross-generation conversations, women leaning across the table to give high fives, and ease of conversation that’s immediately evident. There’s also a moment when the daughters break out into song, one from their childhood.
The business owners have actually known each other since childhood when they attended Shining Mountain Waldorf School in North Boulder. Even as kids, Lara’s mom Katherine says the girls all had their own “unique essential nature and creativity [that] was highly valued and the circle of friends, parents, and teachers, was a steady, nurturing presence throughout the years.”
The younger generation agrees that the community of Boulder is one of the main reasons they all came back after spreading out across the country and globe for their college-aged years and after.
Leah, who started her event planning business in 2011, explains that she chose Boulder for the community as much as for her family, “My heart, my family, and many of my friends were in Boulder… At the end of the day, I do what I do because I love people, community, and helping people bring their dreams to life, no matter how big or small. My community is hands down my biggest support, and I am so grateful to them.”
Cate’s mother Melissa sees Boulder as the perfect spot for a group of creative women, “It’s a melting pot,” she says. “All the healing arts and a supportive culture to develop wholeness and creativity.”
Robyn’s mother Amina agrees, “raising Robyn and her brother in Boulder was an ongoing experience of opportunities for self-expression, support, and growth.”
Colby points out that small business owners also rely on the help of their communities to get their business going, “Word of mouth and networking in Boulder is the foundation for small business owners in this town. You have to share the wealth, the clients, and the projects. There’s plenty to go around and great opportunity for collaboration.”
Within the Boulder community, these women have created their own, smaller community within the city and capitalize on any areas for collaboration.
“We have all had opportunities to collaborate in different ways be it a pop-up shop, a photoshoot or an event,” explains Cate.
And their tight-knit group isn’t only staying in touch for business ventures, Robyn says, “I love that I could reach out to any of them if I were struggling and they would be able to offer a valuable perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur and young woman business owner.”
Lara mimics Robyn’s sentiments, “There is a deep understanding and bond that comes with our shared experiences, the trial and tribulations of being small business owners.”
Marnie and the other moms aren’t surprised that the girls went along a career path that takes such independence and perseverance, “I saw the potential of who they each could be,” Marnie explains. “I am amazed and awed at what they have done and continue to do…. [They are all] truly hardworking and truly care about the Boulder community,” she says.
And for all the hardships, all of the women agree that small business, especially those owned by women are essential to not only Boulder’s community but every community.
“It’s so important everywhere,” Lara says. “Local, female, male, and family-owned business is so important to our local culture and unique community. They’re essential to keeping authenticity thriving.”
On location at Brasserie Ten Ten
BrasserieTenTen.com | @braserrietenten
1011 Walnut St, Boulder
Meet the business owners:
Owner of Fiori Flowers
Specialty: creating one of a kind arrangements
Fun fact: Lara bought Fiori Flowers, at the time a three-year old-business, when she was only 25
Owner of La Dolce Events
Specialty: wedding and charity even planning
Fun Fact: Leah got into event planning after working for a local non-profit, helping them with event planning… and being a bridesmaid in ten weddings
Co-owner Wonder Press Juice
Specialty: the best juice you’ll find in Boulder
Fun Fact: Wonder Press was in part started because of her desire to make it easier for the community to access and consumer healthier alternatives to things like coffee and beer
Maker and owner of Royal Stag Hats
Specialty: gorgeous, Western-inspired hats
Fun Fact: Royal Stag is as hands-on as it can get—all the hats are handmade