Inside The Female Founder Collective LA Workshop

Posted by melissa kandel on September 24, 2019 in The Female Founder Collective | No Comments

By Melissa Kandel, founder and CEO of little word studio

I have no other word to describe my car last Thursday morning than to say it was moseying down a side street somewhere in the suburban underbelly of West L.A.

My friend Brittany and I had been stuck in a thick smog of traffic for almost an hour, with two miles left to drive, 250 feet until our next right turn and four minutes until the official start of The Female Founder Collective Workshop LA.

Three minutes. Two minutes.

In the starchy quiet cut only by a ticking blinker, my fingers played percussion on the steering wheel; my right foot stomped a bass line on the brake. Then, against the human symphony of my frustration, Brittany yelled, “Waaait, Melissa, I found another way. Don’t turn right, turn left. Left!”

On a sudden lurch, left we went, toward a matrix of other, much emptier streets and by 9:30(ish) a.m., made it to The Riveter: West L.A., a co-working space with the apt motto: “Built by women. For everyone.”

I realized when I walked through the canopied entryway to sign into the event that its navigational prelude was probably something of a metaphor for the entire day. Yes, as bold entrepreneurs we can dominate board rooms with the confidence of a corseted Lizzo, or move product with the poise of Beyoncé, but in the end, after the deadlines are met and Instagram stories played, we’re just better together. Read More

The Triumphant Return of Novel Ideas

Posted by melissa kandel on September 16, 2019 in Novel Ideas | 1 Comment

No, I haven’t forgotten.

No, this series “Novel Ideas” about my book in progress is NOT the proverbial sock stuffed into the back of the second dresser drawer from the bottom, collecting lint, collecting memories of smelly shoes gone by. The reason for my brief hiatus between the last blog post and this one is simple: I wanted to make sure I had something to say, record the very next step of book-writing and not the one in between.

So, where did we leave off on our Novel Ideas? Read More

Behind the Scenes of a Book in Progress

Posted by melissa kandel on August 17, 2019 in Novel Ideas | 3 Comments

I’m starting to write a book. It’s a strange, big project I’ve been wanting to take on for years (I’ve written about doing it at length on here) and now FINALLY the time is right. Here we go. I also want to bring all 9,000+ of my followers along with me, hanging out backstage for this creative tour, in case there’s even one person out there reading these words who wants to write a book or launch a business or join a traveling circus or climb a French mountain or do anything that seems just a little bit out of reach. Read More

Hathorway’s Jessica Phan Designs the Career of Her Dreams

Posted by melissa kandel on August 2, 2019 in Found Her Fridays | No Comments

The road to entrepreneurship isn’t always a straight line. Not all of us wake up one morning, watch the sun shining optimistically through our bedroom window and decide there and then to simply quit our jobs and go for it. Sometimes, entrepreneurship happens another way. Jessica Phan, founder of Northern California-based jewelry line Hathorway, understands there’s more than one route to female founder-dom and the trail-blazing designer is setting out to prove it.

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Passion in Writing

Posted by melissa kandel on August 1, 2019 in Bookish, business journey | No Comments

Reposting this little rant on writing today because I’m reading John Lennon’s biography and also just because. 

When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” – John Lennon

The minute you start writing for anyone other than yourself is the minute you lose the kind of authenticity that will make your writing great. Pleasing the reader is an ill-fated practice in ridding your prose of the distinct “you-ness” that draws him or her to your work in the first place.  Read More

Meet Kathryn Gunderson of Grace & Gusto Cakes

Posted by melissa kandel on July 26, 2019 in Found Her Fridays | No Comments

It takes a lot of grace to run a successful pastry business and it takes a lot of gusto to make Sia’s famous black-and-white wig out of nothing but fondant and dreams. Kathryn Gunderson, a professional pastry chef baking out of San Francisco, is doing both, boldly carving her sweet niche in the wedding cake world with her company, Grace & Gusto Cakes.

Kathryn’s creations are crafted with life-like precision, works of edible art reflective of hard-earned experience and talent. Kathryn spent years honing her skills in professional kitchens, including the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, where she obtained her degree. In every Grace & Gusto cake creativity abounds, and the only thing better than looking at her works of edible art is eating them.

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On iPhone Photography, In Gratitude

Posted by melissa kandel on July 20, 2019 in Photography | No Comments

I took the butterfly photo above yesterday morning on an iPhone. 🦋

It’s amazing to work with the big clients, the ones with huge marketing budgets that allow for a “let’s do it” attitude at every strategic turn, but there’s something imaginatively wild about a scrappy brand able to execute with nothing but the phone in their hands. Read More

Pipeline to a Cure

Posted by melissa kandel on July 14, 2019 in Orange County events, Personal | No Comments

I’ve learned a lot by giving back. I’ve learned there’s happiness in selflessness and that even one person with a will to create change really and truly can. (I’m not referring to myself, although I hope to one day be such a catalyst for charitable revolution. I refer instead to Judy Burlingham, chairman of Pipeline to a Cure, an event dreamed up by Judy and a few friends, who years ago imagined a “magical night” to save lives by the sea.)⁣

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Recharged in San Diego

Posted by melissa kandel on July 13, 2019 in business journey | 2 Comments

Yesterday morning, I drank two cups of coffee and rode the train to San Diego. The frothy ocean views and muted seascape I’ll save for another more literary post but sitting on the train, watching the ocean curl below mottled-gray clouds, I felt like a detective on a civilized coastal adventure. Read More

What I Talk About When I Talk About Writing

Posted by melissa kandel on June 28, 2019 in Bookish, business journey | 7 Comments

In most cases learning something essential in life requires physical pain. – Haruki Murakami

Right now I’m in training to write a novel. I do think it’s strange to say I’m in training, but I am. If you read the best books on writing (King, Murakami and Bradbury are good places to start), there’s always a physical element to the way the masters describe writing that people who don’t do it professionally might overlook. I’m not putting anyone down who writes for fun (please, write, WRITE!), it’s just the truth. To most, writers are sad people. They drink a lot more than they should, shower less than they should and sit hunched over leather notebooks in dark corners of dimly lit coffee shops, stealing brilliant ideas from the cinnamon-spiced air to scribble down and publish. Read More