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Meet Some of the Brands in the Second Class of The Commons

As we did with the first class of The Commons, we want to help you get acquainted with some of the brands in this second class. Since there are nearly double the amount of participants in this class, we will use two stories on our site to introduce you to some of the neighbors that will be staying with us in July/August.

Our questions dive into what makes these brands tick and the heart behind their business. From LA to Atlanta, small businesses and artists are figuring out how to operate in this new normal and many are turning to their founding principles and community for resilience and hope. Their answers often explore the why behind their brand and what keeps them going. 


Tell us how the idea for your brand was born?

Monica Ruiz, Founder of Pharaō Jewelry:

“Pharaō was created from my love for gems, good vibes, and effortless style. I have always said that my jewelry is a reflection of my personality; always shying away from attention, dainty, and simple. Ever since I was a little girl, I was collecting rocks. When all the other kids were going to the toy store, I was going to The Nature Store. And with my love for pretty things, Pharaō Jewelry was born.”

Lisa Li, Founder of The Qi:

“I grew up in a small town in Asia where herbal remedies were a large part of my upbringing. Sharing a cup of tea with my grandma and having a moment to connect was one of the most cherished and memorable times I experienced as a child. 

Fast forward 20 something years, I was living in NYC and burnt out. I took a trip with my mom to Shangri-La. It wasn’t until that trip that my eyes were opened to roses the locals drink as a tea and eat as a local special delicacy. The experience of sipping on a rose bloom was so beautiful and transformative for me. I thought I had a responsibility to make it available so everyone can try what I experienced and reap the health benefits of this time honored ritual. The rest is history.”

Gisa Heinz, Co-founder of Folklore Las Niñas:

“When I moved to the United States and started my own family, I craved a way to stay connected to my roots. I wanted to bring the beauty of Guatemala to the doorsteps of moms everywhere, and give back to rural communities in need.”

Nosheen Iqbal, artist behind Noshii:

“My background is in graphic and product design and I have always dabbled in handicrafts. Embroidery is an artwork that is heavily used in the eastern culture, so it was something that I gravitated to. Back in 2009, I started to play with juxtaposing fibers and wood/paper and that is when the creative concept behind Noshii was born. The unexpected use of materials and the overlapping lines of color engages the spectator to take a closer look at my pieces to see something more than just lines of color but a play on textures.”


How does your community play a role in your business?

Monica Ruiz, Founder of Pharaō Jewelry:

“I am grateful to be in a community like Austin that loves supporting local. This city has great energy and provides many outlets that support local artists and designers. And it doesn’t hurt that it is sunny most of the year!”

Gisa Heinz, Co-founder of Folklore Las Niñas:

“One of the communities that plays the biggest role in my business is my local small business community of other mom-prenurs. Versus seeing each other as competition, we support each other by exchanging ideas, collaborating, and of course buying from each other. ;) I have met many women that I look up to through this journey that I am now lucky to call my friends.”

Lisa Sexton, Founder of Bolt Beauty:

“Our community is our business. Our team (a small team of women) is exactly like our customer, and we are genuinely interested in forging real relationships with our community. It's been really interesting to see how members of our community are the ones who are explaining what the capsules are made from and how they are eco friendly - and we're really grateful for that support. Sustainability is a really complicated area so having our community help educate others is something we're incredibly grateful for.”

Sabrina Jacquier Parr, Founder of Keeko:

“Being a female-founded business, I am extremely hands on which means that I read every single review and feedback that comes from my customers. This is actually really important to me as my whole mission is to be of service and help people reach their optimal health. I hope along the way to educate people about the connection between mouth & body as oral health is such an integral part of total body wellness.”

Nosheen Iqbal, artist behind Noshii:

“I feel like the community plays a two-part role. To inspire and to support. The far reach of the internet and social media has allowed us to gain access to like-minded artists and brands that were not as visible or even approachable. This has paved the way for dialogue between creatives of every walk of life. It is so surprising to see how many people actually respond to a quick message of support or advice.”


Can you tell us a story about how a neighbor/neighborhood has positively impacted you? 

Lisa Li, Founder of The Qi:

“I live in lower east Manhattan. The city of New York is incredible, it's full of energy and the people are so so inspiring. It makes you feel you too can do anything and nothing is impossible.”

Lisa Sexton, Founder of Bolt Beauty:

“It's not a neighbour in a traditional or geographical way, but the beauty community or ‘neighbourhood’ has been incredible. My background is in finance, and I have been used to being the only woman in the room and pretty minimal support from a wider community. But the beauty community has been amazing. I've only met women who want to help and support via their knowledge, experience, or connections.”

Sabrina Jacquier Parr, Founder of Keeko:

“I grew up in a beach town called Manly in Australia during the 80s. I have such fond memories of roaming the neighborhood on my bike, playing with the neighbours’ kids, talking to George, who owned the local shop. It was the quintessential beach town full of surfers and people just looking for a slower pace of life. I think it really moulded me as someone who values freedom and connecting back to nature as often as I can.”


Shop the products these founders poured their heart into and explore the other Commons brands in the second class.