Megan Farley has been operating her photography business, Megan Dey Photography, out of a second-floor space at 975 Post Road for the last year-and-a-half. Last week she transformed her space from a place where she does business to an exhibition location for herself and three other female entrepreneurs in town.
Unlike Farley, the other women operate without bricks-and-mortar storefronts in Darien. While they craft their products in the comfort of their own Darien homes, they sell their good mostly online, and at the occasional trunk show.
The four women, who range in age and media, me online through the use of social media, and have been helping each other to achieve success since.
Farley "met" Liz Orgera, the owner of the local online boutique Shorely Chic, and Jennifer St. Jean ,a fashion designer who owns Itty Bitty Bag Co., through Twitter. In next to no time, @MDPhoto, @ShorelyChic and @IttyBittyBag were "tweeting" at each other, asking questions and offering advice about running a small business in Darien.
"Twitter just rocks," St. Jean said during last Thursday night's trunk show at Farley's studio.
The women then decided to meet for a happy hour in February to discuss what it's like to be a woman entrepreneur in Darien. They were joined by Farley's friend, Caroline Constantine Rosen, designer and owner of Spotted Dog Jewelry. The photographer, interior designer, jewelry creator and handbag designer realized they had a lot in common, and could be of help to each other.
"Our styles complement each other," said Liz Orgera on Thursday evening as she stood in the front room of Farley's studio, surrounded by sea-shell photo frames and other coastal-inspired accessories with the Jack Johnson's beach melodies playing softly in the background.
"Megan's photography has a casual vibe and my décor is casual. Caroline's jewelry is fun and funky and Jen's designs are all so bright," she said.
Thursday's trunk show marked the first time the quartet worked together on an event, but the women hope it won't be the last.
"I would love to have an event every weekend if I could," Orgera said. "I feel like I'm just starting out, but the sky is the limit. I want to grow.
"I think we definitely mentor each other," said Orgera, who is the youngest of the four women. "We offer advice, but for right now, we talk about simple things, like `How has your month been?'"
St. Jean said she hopes to one day have a permanent storefront in town; not just for her, but for other local designers and artists with quality, locally-made goods.
"I'd love to bring something like an Etsy [online artists' boutique] to Darien," she said.
"It would be one shop for artists with a lot of talents in all kinds of things; not like a flea market," she said. "Our products are all nice quality and they're handmade by local artists."
St. Jean said she considers trunk shows like the one held at Farley's studio last week to be an "opener for what [the women] hope to achieve."