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TRIBEZA's 10 to Watch 2015 | #BOSSBABESATX

Back in the spring of 2015, the three women behind #bossbabesATX, Jane Claire Hervey, Ashlee Jordan and Leslie Lozano, had an idea: What if there was a place for young creative women to come together to meet, network and create a collaborative community? In May they scheduled the first meetup at Friends & Neighbors, expecting a few dozen of their friends to show up. Instead, the event was packed with hundreds of attendees, and the idea quickly spread across the city. Over the past eight months, the mission of #bossbabes has grown even bigger, and the women have added retreats in addition to their popular gatherings. Expect even more from these babes in 2016 including a statewide tour, and meetups in cities like New York City and Los Angeles.

Jane Claire Hervey [Founder and Head of Operations at #bossbabesATX]

Catch us up on your past year:

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism in December, after launching Gear From Last Night with my business partner, Josh Huck. I became the full-time Content Production Manager at Texts From Last Night. In May, I founded #bossbabesATX and brought my best friends onto my team. It’s been a whirlwind ever since.

Who is your style icon? Creative icon?

I don’t really have a style icon. I’d hate to credit my unhealthy sneaker addiction to anyone in particular. My creative icon is definitely Gloria Steinem. She’s a feminist powerhouse, and she created Ms. Magazine — a publication with a mission statement and a business model that was ahead of its time.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you 5 years ago?

I wish someone had told me that nothing is absolute. If I mess up one day, that doesn’t mean I will mess up always. If I kill it one day, that doesn’t mean I’m always going to be successful. We exist on sliding scales.

Why Austin?

Austin is a Petri dish. We're in this growth state at all stages of metropolitan development — from housing to start-up culture to creative communities. I've decided to grow my businesses here because there's real opportunity here. It's difficult, yes, because the infrastructure required for national success is not quite there yet, but it's worth it.

Also, the very nature of Austin is why I started #bossbabesATX. Austin has a unique history when it comes to inequality (from racism to sexism), and as progressive as we may think we are, we're still extremely conservative. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, Texas is culturally behind. I'm a proud Texan, and I want this state to better reflect the people who live in it. Obviously, I've chosen to tackle issues that primarily affect self-identifying women in the creative industry. I'm still young, though, and I'm also a cisgender, white woman, so I don't have all of the answers. I'm blinded by my own privilege. Thankfully this city is a city that teaches, and most of the people here are open to becoming aware of one another and helping each other figure it out. I'm really grateful for that.

So, the real question for me is, why not Austin? Why can't we be bigger, better and more inclusive for all types of people?

Tell us about one specific thing you love in this city:

I love working in this city because there are good people working here — all of the women at #bossbabesATX prove it! I've met some of my best friends doing business, too. Shouts to Bianca Flores at Transmission Events, Matt Sonzala at Pushermania, the Raw Paw family, my very own #bossbabesATX team and my business partner Josh Huck for showing me that I should stick around in this town. I appreciate them so much.

Is there anything that frustrates you about living / working in Austin?

Austin tends to romanticize the starving artist. There's this general consensus that musicians should play shows for free, venues should put on festivals for free, marketing firms should promote for free, zinesters should publish for free and muralists should paint our streets without asking for a penny.

That's work. Those people are working. Those people are making Austin art count. Those people are making this city great. So, funnel money into them. They need to eat. They need to sleep, and they deserve to have money in the bank. Simple.

If you don't support the good, the good will go away. Local spots need our love.

Also, when looking at a demographic map for this city, there are distinct racial lines, dividing regions into isolated, cultural pockets. Austin was obviously segregated in the past, and it frustrates me that these divisions still exist — even if they only exist socioeconomically. Many shrug their shoulders when the word "gentrification" comes up in conversation, but the impact of our developing city is something we should care about. We're losing cultures. We're losing people. That's another reason we need to love our small businesses, our mom-and-pops, as well as encourage others (and internally, ourselves) to care about local government. Vote!

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

Myself. I'm a Gemini and behave as such.

Who is your style icon? Creative icon?

I don’t really have a style icon. I’d hate to credit my unhealthy sneaker addiction to anyone in particular. My creative icon is definitely Gloria Steinem, though (total cliché, but it’s true). She’s a feminist powerhouse, and she created Ms. Magazine — a publication with a mission statement and a business model that was ahead of its time.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you 5 years ago?

I wish someone had told me that nothing is absolute. If I mess up one day, that doesn’t mean I will mess up always. If I kill it one day, that doesn’t mean I’m always going to be successful. We exist on sliding scales.

Who inspires you?

My team at #bossbabesATX, Ashlee and Leslie, inspires and drives me. They're my girl gang, and we're responsible for each other. I want them to have easier lives as women, and I want them to be successful as people.

How do you get it all done?

I don't. My to-do list is always ten bullets deep.

How do you relax?

I like to write songs or read in the nude, and I've actually done that since I was a little girl. I used to throw tantrums and take all of my clothes off in timeout. You can verify that with my mother — I'm still her weirdest child.

What makes you laugh?

Pepe the frog memes, Internet trolls (mostly sassy commenters) and dogs just being dogs.

What are you proudest of professionally?

Probably #bossbabesATX, or a piece I wrote about witnessing the [2014] South by Southwest Festival crash. Although that piece wasn't read by many people, I'm still really proud of it. It took a lot for me to write it.

What helps you get through creative blocks?

Coffee. And mundane things like watching Netflix, sitting cross-legged on wooden floors, stirring tea, staring into space and people-watching.

Tell us what to expect from you in 2016:

I don't even know what to expect. Nothing goes like I plan. I started #bossbabesATX thinking 20 women would join, and here we are. I guess it will be a surprise for all of us?

Leslie Lozano [Art and Workshop Coordinator for #bossbabesATX]

Catch us up on your past year:

I celebrated living in Austin for a year, started a new position with a local printing company, began taking monthly improv classes at the Hideout Theatre, and launched #bossbabesATX.

Why Austin?

The people. #bossbabesATX has shown me there are genuine, kind, talented, hardworking people in this city. The majority of the people in Austin don’t just have one job or one passion.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

Myself. I am a perfectionist and I hold myself to impossible standards but I’m finally letting myself breathe and allowing myself to create freely.

Is there anything that frustrates you about living / working in Austin?

Gentrification, lack of diversity, and too many creatives working for free.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

Myself. I am a perfectionist and I hold myself to impossible standards. I’m finally letting myself breathe, and allowing myself to create freely.

Who is your style icon? Creative icon?

I don’t have a style icon, but other than the obvious choices, my creative icons would be Lucille Balle, Erykah Badu, and Selena.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you 5 years ago?

It’s okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to trust, and it's okay to be you. I spent a lot of time trying to make others happy, and put my wants and needs last. I'm slowly figuring out the balance of being good to others while also taking care of myself.

Who/what/where inspires or drives you?

Besides the sweet notes left specifically in the girls’ bathrooms on the east side and in the Red River area? My mom, my brother and the #bossbabesATX team inspire and drive me. My mom constantly inspires me to be stronger, my brother reminds me to stay true to myself and to slow down, and my team inspires me to fight. Fight for what I love, fight for who I am and fight for who I want to be.

How do you get it all done?

Calendars, journals and coffee really, really help. And thank goodness for group texts with Jane and Ashlee — nothing like a ‘don't forget we have this today’ text.

How do you relax?

I normally sketch and listen to music in bed with a cup of coffee, but improv is my saving grace. I'm incredibly grateful for my little improv family. I think too much, and improv really helps me let go and have fun.

What makes you laugh?

“ASSSSCAT 3000”, my brother, grumpy old people and Ashlee’s daughter, Olivia.

What are you proudest of professionally?

Our first #bossbabesATX meet. We expected 15 women maximum, and never anticipated the response we got and continue to receive.

What helps you get through creative blocks?

Acoustic and blues music, sitting in coffee shops and people-watching and getting lost in the black hole that is YouTube.

Tell us what to expect from you in 2016:

Personally, I'm getting all the little sketchbooks I hide in my closet to finally come to life. As for #bossbabesATX, we expected to have 20 women at our first meet, so obviously we aren’t very good about predicting what’s to come.

Ashlee Jordan [Vendors Coordinator and Babe Gang Editor at #bossbabesATX]

Catch us up on your past year:

My toddler turned two, my handmade clothing company, Crafts and Arts, turned three, and my best friend birthed the brainchild that is now #bossbabesATX. It’s been a pretty good year so far.

Why Austin?

My heart is in Austin, romantically and creatively. I say this a lot to people when the topic of uprooting and settling in Austin arises, but this city is so welcoming. I’m constantly surrounded and impressed by creative, fascinating human beings from here and I think that speaks loudly of the city.

Tell us about one specific thing you love in this city:

The women. Austin is full of strong, smart and powerful women that are so willing to teach and collaborate. I never saw myself being this confident, emotionally and professionally, at this age, but being able to reach out to (and be welcomed by) women that are doing incredible, respectable work has really opened me up to so many opportunities for growth — again, both emotionally and professionally.

Is there anything that frustrates you about living / working in Austin?

There is so much creative content constantly being produced in Austin that sometimes I feel like the genuine passion for your craft gets lost in the process and demand for creation. I'm a big believer in the magic of making — so anything that is being produced for the sake of production and not because the creator is passionate about the medium can be really frustrating.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

Trying to find a happy medium in being a 24-year-old entrepreneur, a creative, and a mom has been really tough. I’ve also learned to stop apologizing for being myself this year — which was a tough feat.

Who is your style icon? Creative icon?

I don't think I have a style icon, and if I do, I couldn't name just one person. My personal style is very much that — personal. It's generally driven by how I feel at that exact moment in time. There is a long list of women that fuel me creatively. My momma and Erykah Badu are at the top.

What are you proudest of professionally?

The birth of #bossbabesATX has been momentous for me. Being able to work side by side with two people that I admire, respect and love so much is a dream. On a personal level, I’ve created a name for myself in the Austin pop-up community. I’ve also successfully set up at pop-up markets once a month, every month this year (which is a crazy amount of handmade man power for a single person).

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you 5 years ago?

I wish that someone had told 19-year-old me not to force life. After a series of unfortunate events, I learned that the best things in life just happen. Now, I just let them happen.

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle this past year?

Myself. I'm a Gemini and behave as such.

CREDITS

Portraits by Bill Sallans | Styling by Ashley Horsley | Hair by Gabrielle van Der Meer | Make up by Bethany Renfro of Lip Service

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