Arts & Culture

Life Lessons from Southern Women

Who better to ask for sage counsel than successful Southern women?

This week marked the announcement of G&G’s 2016 Made in the South Award winners, and that has our office in a mood to celebrate entrepreneurship. After all, small businesses and the people behind them—whether they’re blowing glass, harvesting rice, or distilling spirits—help keep Southern cultural traditions strong. Championing creative individuals also drew us to Virginia native and Design Sponge founder Grace Bonney’s new book, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs.

Many of the female designers, hoteliers, chefs, and poets covered in all 350 pages hail from the South. Who better to ask for sage counsel than successful Southern women? Among the many pearls of wisdom Bonney offers is this: “Stop worrying about making mistakes—they will always be there, at every stage of your career. The challenges will get more complex, but they will become more rewarding to solve and learn from.” Five more talented Southerners chime in below.

Rinne Allen
Business: Photographer
Provenance: Athens, Georgia

Golden words from Rinne: “With age comes experience and with experience comes the confidence to go with what you think is right, in your gut.”

Alice Randall and Caroline Randall-Williams
Business: Writers, Food Activists
Provenance: Morgantown, West Virginia


Golden words from Caroline: “The stories and struggles that are hardest to tell are, I often find, the ones that really ought to be told. Some people are able to keep their private lives out of their creative work, but I am not one of them.”

Golden words from Alice: “I define success as speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Liz Lambert
Business: Hotelier
Provenance: Austin, Texas

Golden words from Liz: “Travel. Even if it’s just down the block. Or farther. Always go farther. Change your environment, take a trip, go see what other people are doing.”

Natalie Chanin
Business: Fashion Designer
Provenance: Florence, Alabama

Golden words from Natalie: “I’ve learned sometimes to walk away and take a break when self-doubt appears. Sometimes dinner with your family, a bit of gardening, and a good night’s sleep make everything possible again.”

Carla Hall
Business: Chef
Provenance: Washington, D.C.

Golden words from Carla: “If you’re gonna do it, do it with love. I make the decision to have a good attitude about pretty much everything I do.”