BLU SALT IN THE PRESS

This is New (September 25, 2014)

Get new clutches in your clutches. Today is the launch of @blu_salt carry products. (https://www.thisisnew.com/stories/253) 

Get new clutches in your clutches. Today is the launch of @blu_salt carry products. (https://www.thisisnew.com/stories/253) 


Chatham University Center for Women's Entrepreneurship Member of the Month (October 1, 2014)

The Center's Member of the Month is Rohini Shah, founder of Blu Salt (www.blusalt.com), a new line of sustainable accessories for women that blends luxury with utility!

The Center's Member of the Month is Rohini Shah, founder of Blu Salt (www.blusalt.com), a new line of sustainable accessories for women that blends luxury with utility!

What sparked your interest in entrepreneurship?

I have a friend who came from a family of entrepreneurs and I was able to learn a lot from him and his family. When I worked in corporate America and realized it was no longer conducive to the life I wanted personally, I was more willing to take the risk with starting something on my own thanks to having learned from my friend's experiences.

What makes you passionate about your business?

I started a business for a greater purpose besides just a paycheck, I want it to be a vehicle by which to build a luxury brand that stands for sustainability and social enterprise. Having that purpose and the ability to make meaningful decisions that impact the way my business is run is what makes me passionate about it.

What is the most rewarding part of starting/owning your own business?

Doing something that has meaning - it's not to say you can't find meaning in your work in any other endeavor (ask any physician), but I personally am finding a lot of fulfillment in building something that I am able to infuse with principles that matter to me.

What is the most challenging part of starting/owning your own business?

Uncertainty - of being accepted by the market, of being able to grow successfully, etc. For a Type-A personality like myself, letting go of things you can't control is the most challenging aspect of business.

What one thing do you wish you had known before you started your business?

Understand that success is not instantaneous - we live in a culture where instant success is celebrated, but that is not typically how things go. Become comfortable with not getting instant results, there is value to sticking it out.

What piece of advice would you give to women looking to start a business?

Look for a community / mentorship of other entrepreneurs. It's a lonely job and only other entrepreneurs can truly understand the emotional aspects of starting up a business.

How do you balance working on your business and working in your business?

I am still early in the launch phase, so things haven't gotten out of hand yet with working in the business. I am trying to spend the additional time I have researching options to have available for the day my business grows to an unmanageable size - so I have processes/options figured out ahead of time.


Whirl Magazine (November 2014)

Whirl Magazine's Style News loves our new line - check out their review in "Conscious Luxury"

Whirl Magazine's Style News loves our new line - check out their review in "Conscious Luxury"

GoGirlFinance.com (November 6, 2014)

How 4 Women Entrepreneurs Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

by KALI HAWLK on NOVEMBER 6, 2014

Rohini Shah, CEO of Blu Salt, is quoted in article under "Learn to Embrace Change"

Rohini Shah, CEO of Blu Salt, is quoted in article under "Learn to Embrace Change"

Employees and entrepreneurs alike have long struggled with finding success in striking the perfect work-life balance. But in our modern world that is constantly mobile and plugged in, achieving work-life balance becomes significantly more difficult.

Gen Y women may have a unique experience in seeking balance, because we’re members of the first demographic to have entered the workforce when the Internet was no longer new or novel. We’re comfortable with technology and we don’t think it’s strange that our smartphones are the last thing we look at before falling asleep and the first thing we check when we wake up the next morning.

In other words, we’re used to being online and connected both in our personal and professional lives – which means it’s extremely easy for the two to run together. The quest for work-life balance then becomes little more challenging.

If you’ve been struggling with this, take a moment to take in the advice and tips from these four women entrepreneurs who know the importance of developing a healthy work-life balance:

Learn to Delegate

Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency, has a tip she believes is critical for women trying to achieve work-life balance. “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything,” she says. “Be realistic about what you can (and should) get done.”

She also advices that that we ask ourselves to think about what we can delegate to save time and energy. “Becoming better at A) discerning what’s important to do, and B) delegating is key.”

“For me, the biggest challenge to work-life balance is that I love what I do,” Blasevick explains. “So I want to do it all the time. I love my family even more than my business, so I want to be with them all of the time. I allow each realm to creep into the other — and to a degree, I think that’s fine. However, I set very rigid times where I focus exclusively on one or the other — which lets both thrive.”

Learn to Say No

Shelly Collins, owner of Clutter Contained, talks about the different pulls of important areas of our lives too. “Quite frankly, [the biggest challenge for women wanting to maintain work-life balance] is the many ways in which other people request and demand our time,” she says. “We tend to fall into a trap of thinking of our time as an infinite resource but as entrepreneurs it is the most valuable resource we have. Learning to say no is so important.”

Collins points out that there’s always something that comes up to take our time. Whether it’s volunteering, family, networking, professional opportunities, personal acitivities – it’s important to prioritize and know when it’s time to let go of certain things.
“It’s vital for women to evaluate each opportunity and weigh the benefits versus the cost in your most valuable asset: time.”

Learn to Take Care of You

Wanda Sealy, founder of Multi-Task-Her Coaching and Consulting Services, believes it’s difficult for women to find the time to take care of themselves in the hustle and bustle of personal and professional life.

“Many women spend the majority of their day at the office putting out fires and completing projects and their evenings doing the same at home,” she explains. “Sadly, the one person who usually gets overlooked in the equation when trying to do it all is you.”

Sealy has a variety of tips for women on overcoming this challenge and taking care of yourself:

Take Advantage of Small Blocks of Time: “Look for small blocks of time — perhaps five to ten minutes — and use that time to take care of yourself,” she suggests. “For example, spend five minutes reading a good book or doing other inspirational activities when you first get up.”

Celebrate Your Accomplishments: “Busy women’s minds are often focused on what still needs to happen, which can make it feel like you didn’t do anything. Break this bad thinking habit by reviewing your day before you go to bed and congratulating yourself on a job well done,” Sealy says.

Ask for Help: “Don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to your coworkers at work and to your partner or kids at home.”

Learn to Embrace Changes

Rohini Shah, owner of Blu Salt, believes women need to understand that work-life balance “is always a moving target.”

Shah says, “Your needs, your family’s needs (particularly children’s) change over time. A child that needs more attention at a point in time might be in a very different stage of development a year later. It is hard to predict what is needed, and consequently, it’s hard to plan for.”

She also believes that women tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed – at everything. We need to learn that we simply can’t do everything all the time.

“Along with that, I think as women, we condition ourselves to think that we need to accomplish absolutely everything; that’s not true,” Shah explains. “Every choice requires a sacrifice. Running ourselves ragged thinking we can do everything ends up making for a very tired woman.”

- See more at: http://gogirlfinance.com/lifestyle/how-4-women-entrepreneurs-maintain-a-healthy-work-life-balance/#sthash.rsAL7Wg3.dpuf


Dtravels' Round.com (November 18, 2014)

FASHION

For the girl-on-the-go, this sustainable clutch from Blu Salt is the perfect gift. Made from recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton and upcycled silk, the Sharon Clutch holds a boarding pass, passport and two currencies. The factories in both Vietnam and India are critical to helping locals without an education earn an income. Get stylish! Enter below for a chance to win your very own Blu Salt Rama Wallet.

It's a Glam Thing by Lisa Gal (January 17, 2015)

Blu Salt to be Gifted to 2015 SAG Nominees

Posted on: January 17th, 2015

By Lisa Gal

The Blu Salt Rama Wallet will change how you “purse”. Their waterproof fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles that are blended with organic cotton leaving you with a luxurious timeless fabric that is also stain resistant. Add the adjustable cross-body strap and this wallet goes from day to night in an instant. Need a little more room? Get the Sharon Clutch with an expandable compartment with 16 card slots and a zipper compartment for your change and personal items. Your biggest decision is going to be which one to get!


 Hollywood Swag Bag - 2015 SAG Nominees Gift Bags (January 21, 2015)

Blu Salt's Rama Wallet (pictured here top right) was chosen to be part of the Hollywood Swag Bag's gift bags to the 2015 SAG Nominees staying the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Blu Salt's Rama Wallet (pictured here top right) was chosen to be part of the Hollywood Swag Bag's gift bags to the 2015 SAG Nominees staying the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.


Online PR News - 2015 SAG Nominees Hollywood Swag Bag Gift Baskets (January 22, 2015)

Red Carpet Awards Nominees Showered With Gifts in the Comfort of their Hotel Suites

If you are a nominee and you chose the right hotel you just might score an array of gifts from Hollywood Swag Bag. Read on to see how you also can win.
#Gevitta #JakiiShoes #KatDesignsLLC #ScentualbyLilly #WhatsGoodEBeanie #AmericanRoyalTea #BarringEyewear #NeriumAD #NordicBeauty #BluSalt #LiveHappyMagazine #PenguinRandomHouse #GoProng #CremeDelicious #Reserve #ChillFactor #Seasnax #MayarTwistnPin #SuperEats #RawkinRaw #HighBrewCoffee #SimpleBra #NoshKay #Larabar #Bootights #DauphinesofNY #Isabella+Max

Online PR News – 22-January-2015 – Beverly Hills, CA – This weekend The Screen Actor's Guild Awards will take place in Los Angeles. However, prior to the show, the nominees will be receiving fantastic gift bags from Hollywood Swag. HSB is not the official bag for The SAG Awards but work in conjunction with luxury hotels in the Los Angeles area to provide amazing gifts to the likes of Tina Fey, Ariel Winter and Patricia Arquette.

Brands love getting their products into the hands of the high profile nominees. For many a tweet from a celebrity can skyrocket their company to the next level. Many of the recipients will tweet their favorite goodies during the weekend celebrations.

Hollywood Swag Bag offers the latest and greatest products on the market today. Gevitta Vitamin Sprays are a unique and innovative approach to getting your daily vitamins. They are including a full set of various sprays.www.gevitta.com

Also added is some great reading material. Hot off the press the most coveted book The Girl on the Train by Author Paula Hawkins is being included by Penguin Random House Publishing. Live Happy Magazine has also included the latest issue of their amazing magazine.

Innovative technology is such fun to receive. Nominees will receive the What’s Good eBeanie which lets you listed to music wirelessly in the hat that speaks for itself. Another fabulous tech product is the Prong phone case that turns into a charger. Innovative fashion such as Bootights is a fantastic product that offers the comfort of a sock built into tights.

Brands love getting their products into the hands of the high profile nominees. For many a tweet from a celebrity can skyrocket their company to the next level.

Blu Salt is gifting one product that holds everything a professional women needs. It is a bag that is understated luxury that meets elegance. SimpleBra is offering all of the nominees with the most comfortable bra in the world, stylish and wire free, it is the only bra they will need.

The HSB gift bag includes several amazing brands from Australia including Jakii Shoes. Jakki’s has gifted custom shoes to almost everyone in Hollywood including Oprah Winfrey. Chill Factor is another brand from Australia known for its famous Original Slushy Maker. Their Slushy Makers are available in the states at large department stores. Mayar Twist N’ Pin offers a solution to many different up do’s and has also traveled all the way from Australia.

Already a favorite amongst celebrities, NeriumAD Age-Defying Night treatment addresses multiple skin concerns at once, ensuring your skin is red carpet ready all year round. Clinically tested to be safe and effective, it minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, enlarged pores and uneven skin texture, all in one easy–to-use product.

Nordic Beauty is providing their super hydrating Youth Collagen Peptide Cream, which includes
marine collagen peptides from Norway, and organic iris stem cells.

kat Designs LLC, created by Kat Mittman Koback allows women to accessorize in many styles with pieces that can transform a look based on multiple ways you can wear them. She is creating custom pieces for nominees such as Reese Witherspoon and Viola Davis. Another jewelry line Isabella + Max is offering organic twisted rings that are simply stunning. Nosh Kay is providing anklet and foot jewelry in a variety of styles. How about some hair jewelry? Dauphine’s of New York is gifting beautiful headbands to all talent.

HSB loves gifts with a cause Barring Eyewear has created 4 unisex frames that help fund cancer research. They are providing all talent with $120.00 Fairmount Sunglasses.

Reserve is providing gift cards for a better dining experience. Reserve is your personal dining concierge. The App can be downloaded at www.reserve.com

We have included several snacks for the nominee on the run that wants to have something small to keep in their purse during the long show. Larabar is providing yummy guilt free bars that fit perfectly in a clutch. Other guilt free snacks include: SuperEats Kale & Chia Chips, Seasnax Chomperz, Raw Energy and Life is providing Rawkin Raw Macaroons in a variety of flavors. High Brew Coffee in amazing flavors such as Salted Carmel will keep talent energized throughout the show. Crème Delicious is an innovative delicacy boutique located in NYC that specializes in hand decorated henna inspired desserts perfect for any occasion. They have sent gorgeous cookies to each on of the nominees. Once back in their rooms American Royal Tea will help wind down the evening with their delicious teas.

Scentual by Lilly is offering all of the nominee’s scented candles from their inspiring collection.

Win one of these amazing Swag Bags by following @SwagGivesBack. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday following the show.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (January 22, 2015)

Red Carpet Awards Nominees Showered With Gifts in the Comfort of their Hotel Suites

If you are a nominee and you chose the right hotel you just might score an array of gifts from Hollywood Swag Bag. Read on to see how you also can win.

Online PR News – 22-January-2015 – This weekend The Screen Actor's Guild Awards will take place in Los Angeles. However, prior to the show, the nominees will be receiving fantastic gift bags from Hollywood Swag. HSB is not the official bag for The SAG Awards but work in conjunction with luxury hotels in the Los Angeles area to provide amazing gifts to the likes of Tina Fey, Ariel Winter and Patricia Arquette.

Brands love getting their products into the hands of the high profile nominees. For many a tweet from a celebrity can skyrocket their company to the next level. Many of the recipients will tweet their favorite goodies during the weekend celebrations.

Hollywood Swag Bag offers the latest and greatest products on the market today. Gevitta Vitamin Sprays are a unique and innovative approach to getting your daily vitamins. They are including a full set of various sprays.www.gevitta.com

Also added is some great reading material. Hot off the press the most coveted book The Girl on the Train by Author Paula Hawkins is being included by Penguin Random House Publishing. Live Happy Magazine has also included the latest issue of their amazing magazine.

Innovative technology is such fun to receive. Nominees will receive the Whats Good eBeanie which lets you listed to music wirelessly in the hat that speaks for itself. Another fabulous tech product is the Prong phone case that turns into a charger. Innovative fashion such as Bootights is a fantastic product that offers the comfort of a sock built into tights.

Blu Salt is gifting one product that holds everything a professional women needs. It is a bag that is understated luxury that meets elegance. SimpleBra is offering all of the nominees with the most comfortable bra in the world, stylish and wire free, it is the only bra they will need.

The HSB gift bag includes several amazing brands from Australia including Jakii Shoes. Jakkis has gifted custom shoes to almost everyone in Hollywood including Oprah Winfrey. Chill Factor is another brand from Australia known for its famous Original Slushy Maker. Their Slushy Makers are available in the states at large department stores. Mayar Twist N Pin offers a solution to many different up dos and has also traveled all the way from Australia.

Already a favorite amongst celebrities, NeriumAD Age-Defying Night treatment addresses multiple skin concerns at once, ensuring your skin is red carpet ready all year round. Clinically tested to be safe and effective, it minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, enlarged pores and uneven skin texture, all in one easyto-use product.

Nordic Beauty is providing their super hydrating Youth Collagen Peptide Cream, which includes
marine collagen peptides from Norway, and organic iris stem cells.

Kat Designs LLC, created by Kat Mittman Koback allows women to accessorize in many styles with pieces that can transform a look based on multiple ways you can wear them. She is creating custom pieces for nominees such as Reese Witherspoon and Viola Davis. Another jewelry line Isabella + Max is offering organic twisted rings that are simply stunning. Nosh Kay is providing anklet and foot jewelry in a variety of styles. How about some hair jewelry? Dauphines of New York is gifting beautiful headbands to all talent.

HSB loves gifts with a cause Barring Eyewear has created 4 unisex frames that help fund cancer research. They are providing all talent with $120.00 Fairmount Sunglasses.

Reserve is providing gift cards for a better dining experience. Reserve is your personal dining concierge. The App can be downloaded at www.reserve.com

We have included several snacks for the nominee on the run that wants to have something small to keep in their purse during the long show. Larabar is providing yummy guilt free bars that fit perfectly in a clutch. Other guilt free snacks include: SuperEats Kale & Chia Chips, Seasnax Chomperz, Raw Energy and Life is providing Rawkin Raw Macaroons in a variety of flavors. High Brew Coffee in amazing flavors such as Salted Carmel will keep talent energized throughout the show. Crme Delicious is an innovative delicacy boutique located in NYC that specializes in hand decorated henna inspired desserts perfect for any occasion. They have sent gorgeous cookies to each on of the nominees. Once back in their rooms American Royal Tea will help wind down the evening with their delicious teas.

Scentual by Lilly is offering all of the nominees scented candles from their inspiring collection.

Win one of these amazing Swag Bags by following @SwagGivesBack. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday following the show.

Hollywood Swag Bag prepares celebrity gift bags for red carpet events.
HSB is no way associated with the Screen Actors Guild or any of its affiliates.
Press inquiries may be directed to lisagalbianchi@gmail.com


BlogHer Valentine's Day Gift Guide for your Best Friend (February 9, 2015)

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Your Best Friend

By PJ Gach on February 09, 2015

So, this is technically a Valentine’s Day gift guide for your very bestest friend. Technically. It’s also a great Valentine’s Day gift for you.

Whether you want to email this to someone as a HINT or pick up something for yourself or the women in your life who make you laugh, listen to you when you vent and are always there for you, you’ll definitely find something that will perk up their day ... or yours.

Rihanna Rogue Love Gift Set

($69, Macy’s).

Rihanna’s new fragrance is a sexy floral that combines juicy berries, jasmine sambac, orchid, amber and caramel. It’s seductive without being overpowering. The set contains one 4.2 oz Eau de Parfum Spray and a 0.5 oz Eau de Parfum Spray.

Rotem Gear Valentine Shmalentine Mug

($18, Café Press).

Chocolate lasts a day. But a coffee mug that reminds people to hand over chocolate the rest of the 364 days? Priceless.

AR for Her Powerbank w/LED Flashlight and Panic Button

($29.99, AR for Her).

This pink-and-white polka-dotted power stick provides instant power to smartphones and tablets. Easy to recharge and provides two great safety features: LED flashing and a loud panic button.

Always for Me Plus Size Lingerie 3/4 Long Chiffon Robe

($69, Always for Me).

This sexy robe with lace inserts and trim looks like it waltzed out of a screwball comedy starring Jean Harlow.

Blu Salt Sharon Clutch

($165, Blu Salt).

Made from upcycled silk, organic cotton, and water- and stain-resistant recycled polyethylene, this reversible clutch has 16 RFID protected card slots, separate billfold and coin slots, a zippered pocket and can be customized with either a gold or silver moon or sun.

Isabelle Grace Mini Vermeil Initial Necklace

(starts at $55, Isabell Grace Jewelry).

Personalize this necklace with her first and last name initials, the first initial of each child’s name, or the first initial of both of your names.

BSB Culminé Pot of Gold Scrub

($45, La Belle Day Spa).

California-based La Belle Day Spas has created its own line of sumptuous skin care. Nothing gets more Cleopatra-like then scrubbing your face and body with tiny bits of gold.

This potion also contains Vitamins A,D, B and other trace elements, creating a luxurious anti-aging cleanser.

Sugarwish Gift Box

(starting at $25 for four ounce bags, Sugar Wish).

Give her the gift of her favorite memories wrapped up in candy! Pick her fave childhood sweets or the treats that you shared on a date.

Clear and Pink Rhinestone Ombre Cover for iPhone 5c

($12.50, Icing).

Glitter is good! Every time she answers the phone, this elegant bejeweled cover will make her think of you.

Wai Ming Selena Gown

($435, Wai Ming Studio).

Floaty chiffon silk gown lined in silk charmeuse. The gown is banded in coral with cutouts around the neck. Wear it on date night. Belt it, throw on a floppy hat and heels and it’s a sexy brunch look.


Nighthelper.com Review (February 25, 2015)

Rama Wallet, every women needs to have one on hand

BY LISALISA ON FEBRUARY 25, 2015FASHION
Disclosure: Howdy everyone, I just wanted to inform you that I was not compensated for this post. However, I did receive a product from the company below and the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines. All prize fulfillment will be provided by Sponsors.

Every woman needs a good wallet and Blu Salt Company has the perfect wallet for you!. Since my injury, I no longer carry purses anymore. However, I find it quite hard trying to pack all my personal information in some of the wallets I do have.

Therefore, the moment I find one that can hold all my belongs comfortably, I quickly share it with all my gal friends!  Now, the Blu Salt Company has a wallet that’s not only stylish but yet useful as well. It’s called theRama Wallet , and comes in black & gold or black & silver. Plus, it has its own  reusable lunch bag to protect the clutch during shipment along with a lovely, blue satin bag for when your wallet is not in use.

The Blu Salt Rama Wallet will  hold not only your personal belongs comfortably, but you can even place your smartphone inside this wallet.

I love the cute signature design logo in the lower right-hand corner of the wallet. Did you know that this wallet has waterproof fabric, and it’s made from recycled plastic bottles? Yes, that’s right! The bottles get blended with organic cotton. How awesome is that?!!  Another great thing about this wonderful wallet, is that the timeless fabric is stain resistant.

An  adjustable cross-body strap comes with it to help you transform from day to night in an instant! No matter what outfit you select to carry your Rama Wallet, you’re sure to be styling.

I love my wallet! I’ve told all my friends about it too. It’s classy, suitable for any occasion, holds all my belongs very well, and has easy-access pockets. Not to mention the elegant designed, water & stain resistant feature, and that it has 2 differetnt main compartment with 4 RFID blocking credit card slots. I’m glad this wallet has enough space for my smartphone: this way I don’t have to worry about losing it, or my wallet.

I’m confident that my Rama Wallet will last me a long time! Do you need a little more room? The get theSharon Clutch with an expandable compartment with 16 card slots, and a zipper compartment for your change or personal items.

Now, you can get to see how spacious and awesome the Rama Wallet is! Just enter below to win your own thanks to Blu Salt. USA only ends 3/05


StoryLeather Blog by Staci Wilson (March 14, 2015)

What sort of bag would Cleopatra carry?

Cleopatra VII Philopator, known to history simply as Cleopatra, was the last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, only shortly survived by her son, Caesarion as pharaoh. Cleopatra’s larders were so heavily endowed at the time of her death in 30 B.C., that when the Romans plundered Egypt, the Roman Empire was able to reduce its interest rates from 12 to 4 percent. In short: she was rich.

So that leaves one to wonder: What kind of purse might she have carried, and what would be in it?

Let’s hope her potion for Caesar’s baldness was not inside. The smell of burnt mice, ground horse teeth, bear grease and deer marrow can’t possibly be too pleasant in an unventilated purse after a hot day cruising the Nile.

We asked a few style mavens what they thought Cleo would carry –

Wanelo says, “Cleopatra would have a purse that speaks to her one true love: her cat. A gold lion purse is absolutely purrfect for any Egyptian ruler. Besides holding the hearts of many men including Julius Caesar and Mark Antony it would carry gold coins, snacks, and a cat doll for her son.”

It seems the gold/yellow theme is on the minds of many, when it comes to the Egyptian enchantress. “Nothing but a solid gold hand bag would do for Queen of the Nile!” says Marian Rothschild, stylist and author of the book, Look Good Now and Always. “Yes it would be heavy, but that why you have slaves, of course; to carry your stuff. Inside her bag would be a vial of Moroccan oil for moisturizing skin and hair in that dessert heat, black ink for any eyeliner smudges, some frankincense perfume, a hand-carved comb, some gold coins for bribing government officials and bandits, and last but not least, a spare cobra in case the one on her headpiece breaks off.”

Rohini Shah, the founder of BluSalt thinks the royal bag would be “Sleek, black with gold / silver accessories to complement her mysterious, gorgeous kohl-lined eyes, black hair and phenomenal head-dress. It would be convertible from a clutch to a cross-body purse, which is good for everything from an evening banquet with Caesar to a rugged trip inside a carpet. There would be a discrete pocket to secure personal items, or in Cleopatra’s case, to keep that extra vial of venom. Not to mention passes, passports and photos of Caesarion.”

Wendy Kendall says, “snakeskin would suit Cleopatra.  Inside would be a fan made from ostrich feathers, wine, lots of makeup, a compact mirror, an international smart phone for calls to Italy and to take lots of selfies, and discount coupons for pizza and Greek yogurt.”

Our Loren bag in premium lambskin would be the perfect accessory for any powerful, modern woman. It’s stylish and elegant, yet large enough for all your needs.

- 1 inner pocket

- 1 zippered inner pocket

- 1 mobile phone compartment

- 1 detachable zipper pouch

- Handmade production lead time is 25-30 calendar days


Swankypointofview.com (March 17, 2015)

Blu Salt Rama Wallet Review

I love it when things match. From my eye shadow pulling a color from my outfit, to my nails and toes matching! I even love when my purses and wallets match. Now, we all have a go to little black dress of sorts, even if it’s our little black dress of shoes or little black dress of wallets! I have to share that I found my new little black dress wallet and it is as cute as cute can be!

Blu Salt has a wallet that fits perfectly with a big portion of all of my purses and even outfits, the Rama Wallet. It is made from a very durable material that will withstand even the hardest of wear and tear that most of the things that I use on a daily basis normally endure. Perhaps the most important of things, My Rama Wallet has the ability to hold everything that I need. If I am running errands and need my check book, it can hold it perfectly. If I went shopping crazy and want to hold all of my receipts and coupons (we all love a good deal!) as I go, it’s perfect! Rama’s Wallet even has a place to hold my cellphone which scores them major bonus points. I may or may not tend to drop my phone a lot.

The Rama Wallet comes with a great interchangeable lanyard and adjustable cross-body strap to help with carrying and freeing up your hands. Its attractive plain black style fits perfectly no matter if you are just being a busy mom or going out on the town for the night!

Attractive, durable, and perfect for my everyday needs, Rama has found a customer for life!

ABOUT RAMA WALLET

The Rama Wallet is your secret weapon. Wherever you’re going, whoever you’re meeting, the last thing you want is to have to worry about is a bag.  The days of slipping your ID into your bra and launching yourself into the night are long gone. You’re older, wiser, classier – and so is your bag. The Rama Wallet is the perfect companion for a night out. It’s a whisper of a bag – a perfect, subtle adornment to any outfit, easy to carry, and holds more than you ever thought possible.


National Examiner (March 30, 2015)

Blu Salt in a Hollywood Swag Bag giveaway in the National Examiner


Lady Gun Global (March 2015)

Lady Gun: Rohini Shah

lady gun (noun, informal): an important or powerful woman who has inspired another, with or without knowing that she has

Founder of Blu Salt

"Blu Salt is a new line on carry products designed for the Thinking Woman that embody the peace that comes with deliberate simplicity."

WHAT SHE DOES FOR LOVE: "I have been fortunate enough to be able to do what I love, which is to make a product that leaves the world a little better off for having been made - the very tenets of Mindful Production, Mindful Consumption."

HER 2015 GOALS: "Professionally, I just launched my business in late 2014 so I’d like to achieve more brand recognition for Blu Salt in 2015. Personally, I try to choose something about myself I’d like to work on – in 2015, I am trying to work more concretely towards increasing my patience."

NOMINATED BY: Shana Ross

WHY SHE'S A LADY GUN: "Rohini is a classmate of mine from business school. We met through a friend who was warm and bubbly and extroverted...I was actually terrified of Rohini at first. She is razor sharp - intellectually brilliant, but also very sparing with her words save for a dry wit. That was her first gift to me - pushing back on my assumptions that people should fit a particular model of extroversion, and my associated prejudices. My friendship with her has given me a model for courage in so many aspects of life - how to build your own career when you don't really fit into existing models/job openings, how to dream big, how to be a parent without sacrificing your existing identity, how to laugh about the demands of kids on work/life balance, how to be graceful and unyielding at the same time in situations of discrimination (which she faces more than me, being a non-US born woman of color in entrepreneurial circles). She encouraged and supported my launching my own consulting practice, when I was afraid to take that risk; she continues to push me to follow my creative pursuits even as I struggle to juggle existing balls. She is never afraid to be honest with me about how tough life can be, and how important it is to not let that stop you - she is the peer who pushes you to be your best self, and allows herself to be vulnerable in exchange."

HER INITIAL REACTION TO HER LADY GUN NOMINATION: "I was so touched when I read what Shana wrote about me, I re-read it a couple of times – it’s definitely made my day! For most of our lives, we forget the impact we have on everyone around us (near and far), it’s humbling to realize that you can have an impact on others and reminds us of the responsibility we have with that."

A LADY SHE ADMIRES: "Mona Shah is my husband’s cousin and someone I admire deeply. She owns her own PR agency in Orange County specializing in local cuisine and artisanal shops called Moxxe PR. Last year, she also became the mother of adorable twins. I’ve known Mona for a long time and have seen her face tremendous hardships in her personal life. She has dealt with them with admirable panache, and has become stronger because of them. Mona is never one to feel sorry for herself, and her self-discipline is incredible. Yet, she is warm and supportive, and the first to understand human failing. That ability to always make anyone feel special without judgment is what draws people to her. She’s an accomplished business woman, wife, mother, sister, friend and humanitarian. I am truly privileged to know her."


Pop City Media (April 8, 2015)

INNOVATION & STARTUPS

Blu Salt combines fashion with function to create sustainable bags

Entrepreneur Rohini Shah worked in the corporate world for over a decade, but became fed up with the inability to balance her demanding, travel-heavy career and her family.

"I used to be frustrated on many levels – the dissonance between the stereotypes of a good worker and mother was difficult for me to come to terms with," says Shah, who has a young son. "Similarly, I was frustrated with not being able to find carry products that I could use seamlessly in both my personal and professional life, without worrying about transferring everything I needed each time."

The answer to her problems was Blu Salt, a Pittsburgh-based independent retail company that she founded in 2013. Described as carrying products for the "Thinking Woman," the business focuses on making "little black bags" from recycled or reused materials. Shah hopes that Blu Salt will also help reduce consumption by offering a go-to accessory for all occasions.

"There are an infinite number of other choices when it comes to choosing a little black bag, but no other black bag is designed from scratch to help you consume less by simply being the most versatile bag you could use, eliminating the need for other bags, and maximizing the social good from having been created," says Shah.

Shah works with a designer from the West Coast to create Blu Salt's goods from sustainable materials. The bag exteriors are constructed from Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (RPET), while the lined interiors are made with organic cotton and upcycled silk. As Shah explains, the choice to use eco-friendly, cruelty-free fabrics not only gives consumers peace of mind, but a stylish, functional product.

"With our RPET exteriors, the fabric was chosen with a lot of care to have the feel of silk. It also has strength at the fraction of the weight of a leather bag, so from a user perspective, you have an extremely durable, but lightweight water- and stain-resistant bag," says Shah. "Similarly, the organic cotton and silk interiors ensure that cards and valuables are not scratched while still contributing to a lightweight bag with a lot of organizational space."

The first Blu Salt designs hit the market late last year to notable success -- one of their products, the Rama Wallet, was included in the Hollywood Swag Bag gift baskets for the 2015 SAG nominees. In addition to the wallet, the company also carries a clutch purse and a lunch bag. Shah adds that they are currently in the process of designing a laptop bag, a shoulder bag and a travel bag, all of which should be ready by the end of August or September.

Blu Salt bags are now available at Littles Shoes in Squirrel Hill and through the South Hills Style Truck


MNN - Mother Nature Network (April 9, 2015)

5 companies changing how clothes are made

These fashionistas want to change their field's harmful environmental practices one garment at a time.

The biggest fashion trends today include way more than what's showing on the runways. For some companies, the focus is not only on what's trendy but how to produce apparel and accessories in a way that's more forgiving to the Earth. After all, it's never been a more important moment for the fashion industry to make some changes considering that the fashion business churns out more than 80 billion garments a year, according to Greenpeace. In addition, a recent survey revealed that many of us never even wear 20 percent of the clothing in our closets — all of which points to an industry (and purchasing habits) in need of reform.

Meet five companies doing their part to prompt change.

Seeking an alternative to 'fast fashion'

For Maxine Bédat, co-founder of Zady, a website that launched in August 2013 and curates and sells only goods that are sourced by "clean" manufacturers, the idea for the company came to her after watching how quickly her favorite "fast fashion" items fell apart.

"I'm the first to admit that I grew up loving fast fashion, blissfully unaware of the consequences my fast fashion choices were having on the world," she says. "It was only after getting frustrated as a shopper that I started to do the research and discovered that the system trains us to buy more and more products of increasingly lower quality that hides the outrageously high environmental and social cost of its production."

Fashion companies are a massive contributor to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, second only to the oil industry, she notes. "We're wearing clothes infused with chemicals that get washed into our water system and that gets absorbed into our skin long after our shirt has left the factory floor," she says. "It's an industry that employs one in every six people on the planet, that are hidden in a shadow system that regularly uses child and forced labor." Today, each product on the site — sometimes described as the Whole Foods of fashion — includes the story of how it was made, including raw materials. And, in November, Zady launched a first ever Zady-branded product to see if it was possible to create not only a transparent supply chain but one that was sustainable all the way from the farm to finish factory. "Of course, it was a product that led with style," she says. "We're New York women after all, so there's no sacrificing style."

Focusing on mindful manufacturing

The Sharon clutch from Blu Salt, shown here with the detachable body strap, is made of water and stain-resistant recycled polyethylene terephthalate, organic cotton and upcycled silk. (Photo: Blu Salt)

The Sharon clutch from Blu Salt, shown here with the detachable body strap, is made of water and stain-resistant recycled polyethylene terephthalate, organic cotton and upcycled silk. (Photo: Blu Salt)

Six months ago, when Rohini Shah launched Blu Salt, a line of sustainable clutches and wallets, Shah wanted to be sure her line incorporated the idea of living mindfully. To do this, she was determined that her collection would use eco-friendly fabrics, including RPET (that's recycled polyethylene terephthalate, which comes from plastic that has already been used in such things as plastic drinking bottles), organic cotton and up-cycled silk, using remnants from the home furnishings industry. Plus, she wanted to ensure decent working conditions for the people who produce her line. She ensures this by inspecting each manufacturing facility in person to make sure no child labor is used.

To that end, her Sharon Clutch and Rama Wallet are versatile so customers have one go-to bag that can function in any setting, reducing their need to switch bags. For Shah, the time is now for every fashion company to become environmentally responsible. "Our success lies in the support we get from the world around us," she says. "Fashion companies have so much power in how they shape consumption and dictate tastes. I think it's wonderful for companies like ours to bring environmentally responsible businesses to the mainstream."

Tending to the trees

In a unique twist on the one-for-one fashion strategy in which for every item purchased, one is donated (as is the case with such companies as Toms Shoes and Warby Parker), tentree has upped the ante by planting 10 trees for every item purchased. This apparel company, which debuted about three years ago in Canada and has recently broken into the U.S. market has so far planted more than 4.5 million trees.

"My co-founder, David Luba, and I came up with the idea of tentree while on vacation in Hawaii," says Kalen Emsley, the co-founder and chief marketing officer whose background is in business and forestry. "We were absolutely blown away by everything nature has to offer and wanted to create a sustainable business that would protect the world we play in," he says. "The environment was always first, clothing was a means to making a difference."

For Emsley, this is more than just good business. "When you help the environment, you also help people, animals, and ecosystems," he says. "The future of this planet depends on us taking initiative. It isn't enough to protect what we still have, we have to progress and reforest areas that have been cut down. We have to empower villages and teach their residents proper forest management. Without that we will continue to see land degradation, loss of access to water, increases in poverty, and species of animals will go extinct."

Sourcing from sheep

Building a company founded on a line of clothing that uses only Merino wool, which is a natural and renewable fiber, was the goal of the founders of Ibex Outdoor Clothing. They started the White River Junction, Vermont-based company in 1997. "The founders of the company believed that apparel made from natural fibers not only performs well but is eco-conscious, too," says Keith Anderson, vice president of marketing at Ibex. Every item is sourced from New Zealand sheep that are ZQ certified, which means the wool comes from a traceable supply chain with stringent animal welfare guidelines. "At Ibex, we also believe that while the goal of sustainability is a constant, achieving it requires regular reevaluation and assessment," Anderson says. "Beginning with a renewable resource gives us a leg up in the effort to mitigate our negative impacts."

Producing meaningful apparel

It was during their senior year of college that Eric Fleet and his wife, Leigh, came up with a concept that they hoped would make a difference in the world: One morning, Leigh woke up with an idea to create a line of T-shirts made from sustainable materials that would feature graphics inspired by issues they cared about, from the continent of Africa filled with interlocked hands representing unity to one that spelled out 'May Peace Prevail on Earth' in 12 different languages. They found a factory in Los Angeles, made their initial set of samples and took them to fashion trade shows and, thanks to some great celebrity support, Threads For Thought got its start seven years ago.

Ever since, every item made by the company — it's now a lifestyle band that has gone beyond T-shirts to include shirts, pants, dressed and more for men and women — is created with sustainable materials, including organic cotton, recycled polyester made from plastic water bottles and Lenzing modal, a carbon-neutral fiber. "The fashion industry is the dirtiest in the world after oil," Fleet says. "We believe fashion companies can become more environmentally responsible and it starts with the materials." In addition, the company has also moved their distribution facility to be nearer to the port of entry to cut down on transportation. "We're constantly evaluating how we can further reduce our footprint," Fleet says.


Huffington Post (April 27, 2015)

Mother's Day Gifts for the Mom Who Travels

Mother's Day is on the way, and it's a great time to think about the perfect gift for the mother in your life who spends part of her time away from home. Whether she is headed out of town on business trips, a vacation or retreat, or helping to corral a bunch of high schoolers for a cheerleading or dance competition, any woman will appreciate a thoughtful gift that makes travel a little easier.

And she doesn't have to be your own mother: Mother's Day is a wonderful time to show appreciation for the mother of your children, your kid's godmother, an awesome relative who is a wonderful mother, or that special friend that your children call their "second mother." We have rounded up some gifts that will make travel easier while keeping the woman on the go looking and feeling her best.

 

 

Blu Salt Sharon Clutch

The Blu Salt Sharon Clutch is as beautiful as it is practical, and the durable fabric is water and stain resistant to boot! The deep flap pockets will hold a passport, boarding pass, and bills, and 16 radio-frequency blocking credit card slots keep your information away from prying eyes, while the optional shoulder strap is keeps your hands free at cocktail parties and business events.

 

 

 

 


Lady Guns (May 10, 2015)

All Moms are Lady Guns

ROHINI SHAH

As a daughter, motherhood means: A surfeit of love in all forms - comforting, uplifting, supportive, smothering, proud. All interactions between a child & mother are laced with love, regardless of the form it takes.

My mother in incredibly gifted at languages - she speaks seven languages (four with native fluency, and three others that she's developed a working knowledge of). Her adventurousness and willingness to try new things belie her age.

When she's not around, I miss the easy conversations about nothing and everything. The daily conversations you have with your family when you live at home.

As a mother, you see your child and have such a complex surge of love and emotions at times, that it reminds you what you must have inspired in your own mother - and you become grateful for having been the recipient of it.


Fit-Cloud.com (June 16, 2015)

Fashionable, Organic Design by Blu Salt

 

Earth-friendly Carry Products for All Facets of Life

Health and wellness is a part of so many women’s lives, which is why it is so important that both women and their families really understand the products they purchase and get to know the companies that make them. Blu Salt is a company you can trust because they design carry products manufactured from earth-friendly, organic materials. FitCloud had the pleasure of chatting with the owner and founder of Blu Salt, Rohini Shah, to understand more about this incredible company and the products they make.

FitCloud: Tell us about Blu Salt and what motivated you to start the company?

Rohini Shah of Blu Salt: What motivated me to start Blu Salt: Blu Salt is a brand of carry products designed for the Thinking Woman. I worked in the corporate world for over a decade and traveled a lot for work. I used to be frustrated on many levels – the dissonance between the stereotypes of a good worker and mother was difficult for me to come to terms with. Similarly, I was frustrated with not being able to find carry products that I could seamlessly use in my personal and professional life, without worrying about transferring everything I needed each time. Essentially, I was looking for peace in many different facets of my life. I started Blu Salt as part of that journey – founding a company that I and others would be proud to be a part of, creating a product that brings peace to its users’ lives and leaves the world a little better off for having been made, being able to find a balance between my work and personal life that I am comfortable with. All of these aspects of Blu Salt have helped me attain a level of peace in my life that I am incredibly grateful for.

About Blu Salt: Boldly claiming new territory as a company that values peace more than money, Blu Salt’s foundational principles defy traditional definitions of success. Blu Salt has created a contemporary global business founded on the more-relevant-than-ever ancient Eastern principles of care, mindfulness, and simplicity. Sourcing and crafting its products thoughtfully, and re-prioritizing the lost art of fine Asian craftsmanship, Blu Salt’s beautifully smart products have become the thinking woman’s accessory of choice. Blu Salt is a minority woman-owned business.

FitCloud: What makes Blu Salt products unique?

RS: Blu Salt was founded on the tenets of Mindful Production, Mindful Consumption. What this means is that the creation of each Blu Salt product should leave the world a little better off for having been created. From a production standpoint, we ensure that we use earth-friendly materials wherever possible, and so the fabrics in our designs are recycled, up-cycled or organic. Similarly, we have in-person audits of our manufacturing partners’ facilities to ensure that the workers making our products have decent working conditions and that no child labor is employed. We also donate a percentage of sales to CORD, a non-profit that provides rural women with employable skills in South Asia. With mindful consumption, I firmly believe that we can have more personal peace if we consume fewer, higher quality things that we get more use out of. By maximizing the use you can derive from each Blu Salt product, I hope that you can buy less and be happier because of it. Besides a focus on building tremendous versatility and utility into each bag design, we also design our packaging to be reusable, ensure luxury quality craftsmanship and are in the process of designing a unique, demand-driven model of production – all of which should work to make our customers feel the sense of peace that comes from using a good, useful product and knowing you’re leaving doing good in the world while you’re at it.

FitCloud:  What should consumers expect?

RS: Expect a surprisingly well-crafted, unassuming product that overturns all your expectations of what your go-to bag should be. If there is one thing all our customers have consistently found, it is that they are pleasantly delighted with how useful they are finding their Blu Salt bags. The beauty of the Blu Salt bag is that is continues to surprise you with how much they can hold or how versatile they end up being. One of our users recently turned her Rama Wallet into a fanny pack! We are always elated to find out all the creative, new ways our users are making use of their Blu Salt bags.

FitCloud: How do your products fit into an active and healthy lifestyle?

RS: Blu Salt products are built for you to be able to do more with less and to help bring you peace / less worry – all of which I think are important aspects of getting to a happier and mentally healthier space.

FitCloud: Any deals/promos/upcoming events?

RS: We will be available through retail store locations starting this summer, so check back on our website for

FitCloud: Where can consumers purchase your products?

RS: Blu Salt products are currently available at www.blusalt.com.


Upper St. Clair Today Magazine (Fall 2015)

Profiles on People with a USC connection


Jade Magazine (September + October 2015)

Creating Thoughtful Luxury:  Blu Salt founder, Rohini Shah

Rohini Shah is a woman who knows what she wants. When she realized that she had had enough of the corporate world, she left to start her own company, Blu Salt . Her goal was to try and create the perfect work/travel bag that she had been searching for herself. She then took it a step further by making sure her beautifully crafted products are made from sustainable materials in factories that provide a living wage.  

*******************
Tell us a little about yourself. 

My background is in business. With undergraduate degrees in Economics & Advertising, as well as two MBAs (my father says I can’t learn anything the first time around), I was well-suited for my early career in management consulting, marketing and corporate finance, and was well-prepared to take my leap into entrepreneurship. I enjoy my work designing and running Blu Salt, but my love is my family and the life I have with them. 

What made you decide to leave the corporate world and start Blu Salt? 

Over time, the dissonance between what I was doing for work and how I wanted to live my life became too much to bear. I felt I was sacrificing a lot on a personal front and was not doing justice to the commitment I needed to make for my job in consulting, so I decided to leave my job to start Blu Salt. My interest in designing bags for professional women came from my experiences while I worked, where paying for expensive bags that didn’t quite work as well I wanted them became a nagging pain point. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your business? The most rewarding? 

Dealing with ambiguity is both the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of starting my own business. Since there has been no other Blu Salt before this, every step of the business is about creating structure out of the unknown. From designing the bags, to finding the right manufacturers, to deciding the tenets I want to base my business on, there is no one else besides myself who can make the final call. The responsibility is ultimately mine which feels immense, but that is also what allows me to look back with satisfaction of everything we’ve achieved so far. 

Blu Salt follows the tenets of "Mindful Production, Mindful Consumption." How and why did you decide that your company should follow this path? 

Leaving my consulting job to start a company gave me a lot of time at the beginning – to think about what I wanted to do for a living and how I wanted to contribute to the greater society, and based on a lot of self-reflection and discussion with other people whose opinions I respected, I thought that there was a need for Thoughtful Luxury. 

No one needs another bag or another bag company, but what you need is a way for you to purchase a product that leaves the world a little better off for having been created. We have a responsibility as a business to our customers, our communities and to our suppliers and that responsibility is encapsulated in Mindful Production, Mindful Consumption. 

For you, the user, Mindful Consumption is achieved by providing you with a well-made luxury product that is useful, beautiful, versatile and durable, thereby reducing your need to purchase more than you use. Similarly, other aspects include reusable packaging and building out a demand based production model to minimize waste. 

With Mindful Production, we ensure that our products are made with sustainable materials whenever possible, that we work with factories that provide fair living wages and working conditions and that we commit to giving a percentage of each sale to a non-profit that supports programs that help women in rural areas learn employable skills. 

Why did I decide to do it? I realized I had a rare opportunity to run a bit of an experiment: to be in a position to start and run a business that creates value beyond profit. I wanted to create something greater than simply earning me a comfortable life, and this was the way I felt I could contribute meaningfully to society with the skills that I have. 

Your collection of bags and wallets are beautifully made from recycled and organic fabrics in factories that are audited in person for good working conditions. How do you ensure and maintain these standards? 

When I first started looking for manufacturers, I chose to look at manufacturing facilities that already worked with other sustainable brands and/or luxury brands since that would mean that what I was looking for in terms of quality and materials were already something they had sourced before. I worked off of referrals for several manufacturing facilities and had them make samples of my products. 

I chose to work with the ones that allowed me access to understanding their costs, margins and gave me full access to see their manufacturing facilities so that I could satisfy myself that there were no practices that I was not comfortable with. I have invested a lot in developing a relationship with my suppliers beyond simply that of a customer, so that I understand their pressures and pain points. Similarly, they understand my goals and values because that trust is critical to me being able to ensure that we are able to negotiate fairly and not simply take money that would otherwise allow them and their workers living wages. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

This is the hardest question since no two days are alike! Well, for the most part, I start my day around 5:30 or 6:00. The first hour and 1/2 or so is taken up getting my son ready for school, getting breakfast on the table and taking care of our two dogs and three cats. If I am not feeling lazy, I spend another hour and ½ or so working out and getting ready for work. 

I start my work day by about 9am and am at my desk for the most part till 4pm or so – most meeting are via Skype with the team or in person at my favorite local coffee shop. My husband works nights, so some times we sneak in a lunch date or movie on slower afternoons. My son comes home by 4:30pm and we both spend time with him until he goes to bed. After that, it’s time to unwind with a good book or show. 

How do you come up with the designs for your collection? 

Out of my own necessity. Each design was based on improvements I wished bags I bought had. I work with a talented product designer who creates the specifications for manufacturing and I am intricately involved in material choices, features for utility and durability as well as final aesthetics. My first and foremost concern is maximizing the versatility and utility of each bag – no design feature on the bags (barring the logo) is added that doesn’t contribute to one of those two aspects. 

What advice do you wish you had before starting Blu Salt? 

To be realistic about how long a process this will be. One of things about starting a business is realizing how much of a marathon it is vs. a sprint. We see so many stories about how these young companies are overnight successes and it’s great for them, but the honest truth is that, those are more the exception than the rule. Realizing that you will make mistakes along the way and that success is hard earned, is critical to being able to keep going even when times feel tough. 


Small Business Digest (September 9, 2015)


Better Bets NY & Look Online (September 14, 2015)

                                                  Blu Salt Jyo Weekender, $610.00

Rohini Shah describes her company, Blu Salt, as the “ Muji of women’s accessories.”  With a background in business (she has MBAs from the Indian School of Business and Yale and has worked in corporate finance, digital marketing and management consulting), she gained a sense of what types of bags were actually useful for professional women, rather for travel or everyday use.   When she founded Blu Salt, she set out to create a line of bags that allowed customers to choose from a “range of carry options that they could customize for their particular needs.”

Blu Salt bags are elegant, yet simple, embracing the emerging trend of the “anti-it” bag. They are made of earth friendly fabrics, in accordance with Shah’s principles of “Mindful Consumption.”  She discusses how Blu Salt has evolved into a manifestation of her personal and professional lifestyles.

                                                 Blu Salt Raju Laptop Sleeve, $425.00

Can you talk about how the idea for Blu Salt came about?

Having traveled extensively for business and working in roles that required a rather buttoned-down dress code, I personally had a clear need for luxury bags that were actually functional. When I started to work full-time on designing these bags, I began to see what an impact business can have if it chooses to hold social responsibility as a core tenet. Hence, what you see of Blu Salt today is the culmination of 2 years of work in researching, creating and testing all aspects of our bags and business, from materials to packaging, to create a luxury bag that is as utilitarian and socially responsible as we could make it.

Blu Salt has a unique business philosophy.  Please explain the essence of that philosophy and how it relates to your design strategy?

Blu Salt was named for the indigo (Blu) that was one of the major exports of the British Raj and the salt tax (Salt) that Mahatma Gandhi used to galvanize the Indian Independence movement. He pioneered the philosophy of peaceful resistance, and today, I’d like to think that Blu Salt philosophy of “Thoughtful Luxury” will stand in peaceful resistance to the current models of business.

Social responsibility is central to our business. We call it “Mindful Production, Mindful Consumption” and simply speaking, it translates to us having responsibility to protecting and nurturing 3 constituents: our customers, our collaborators, and our community.

Our customers: We have a responsibility to them to design the highest quality bags we can for the prices we ask them to pay. From materials to design, we try to make the bags so functional, versatile and durable, that they reduce our customers’ need for any other bag. We believe in supporting our customers to “Buy Less, Demand More” – to consume fewer, but higher quality products that reduce our overall consumption as a society.

Our collaborators: Our collaborators are our suppliers, contractors and eventually, our employees. We have a responsibility towards them to provide a safe and fair working environment and to pay fair wages that allow them to live and work with dignity. We do this by ensuring no child labor is used, that there are fair working conditions and wages among our suppliers. In the end, we spend the majority of our adult life working and I’d like to think that Blu Salt isn’t a cause for misery to the people who make it possible.

Our communities: We have a responsibility to bear the true cost of our businesses. Social costs have to be accounted for. We use sustainable and cruelty-free materials to the extent we can. Similarly, our packaging is reusable too, to reduce discarded waste. Finally, we have a responsibility to the most destitute amongst us – to help them gain dignity and employment, and so we support Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD) with a % of each sale.

                                                 Blu salt Ann Work Tote, $485.00

What are the core pieces in your collection and what new bags will be added for fall?

We started the collection with a Clutch and Wallet design last year, and this October, we will be introducing larger bags – the Raju Laptop Sleeve, the Ann Work Tote and the Jyo Weekender. There are no core pieces as such because each design is pushed to be as complete as possible. I was highly influenced by Dieter Rams’ “Ten Principles of Good Design” and hope our collection is a worthy reflection of those principles.

We are currently redesigning our website to showcase the new bags launching in October, so sign up for our e-mails to be kept abreast of developments on that front.

                                                              Ann Work Tote (interior)

You have travel tips on your website for women who are traveling for business.  What tips do you have for women who are packing for a vacation?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like most travel magazine tips on vacations are for women much more put together than I am! So here is my Top 5 list of tips from the tried and true vacation traveler:

1) Think through your vacation travel: Plan on where you’re going to be and what you are going to do. Usually, I find that it saves me for omitting glaringly obvious necessities (e.g., shorts when I am going to the beach)

2) When planning what to take, don’t stray too far from how you’d normally dress on the weekend: There are fabulous pictures of models on “vacation” in most travel magazines, but really, you want to be comfortable wherever you are – spend time checking out sights, not pulling at that bandeau top that looked divine online.

3) When traveling abroad, skew conservative in dress: Let’s face it, anyone who travels abroad sticks out like a sore thumb. Since most places in the world tend to dress more conservatively than the US, dressing more conservatively than usual when traveling abroad is a way of showing respect and blending in.

4) Pack ½ of what you originally plan: Nothing is more annoying than lugging heavy luggage ½ way across the world and then realizing you’re not using most of it. Lean towards carrying less than more – you will be surprised how often you will be able to find most of what you need wherever you’re going (e.g., no need to pack the extra toilet roll)

5) Don’t take things that are too high maintenance: You are going on a vacation. Take things that are easy to use and care for. That dry-clean only, extra delicate, worth most of my paycheck, chiffon silk dress might look great for a night on the town, but really, is that the dress you want ruined with duck sauce in Shanghai?

http://www.blusalt.com/

All Blu Salt bags featured will be available Oct. 1st

Rhonda Erb



Day Spa Magazine (October 2015)

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NEXT Pittsburgh (October 9, 2015)

Think Big Forum: Entrepreneurs for women, by women

 Emma Diehl

 Business & Tech NewsFeatures

Emily Kennedy and Cara Jones-Harries and have helped rescue 120 trafficking victims all over the United States and Canada, from their laptops.

The company Kennedy and Jones-Harries founded, Marinus Analytics, started through research at Carnegie Mellon University, using software Kennedy developed called Traffic Jam to mine information to identify and combat human trafficking.

Marinus partners with law enforcement to rescue victims of sex trafficking, mostly children and female, by using big data. “There was never any question that this tool would have an impact,” Jones-Harries, COO says.

“[Human trafficking] is not something you can readily observe in the community, but it exists in Pittsburgh and throughout the United States,” she adds.

The company, a $200,000 winner in the social innovation challengeUpPrize, is among the success stories being spotlighted at Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship Think Big Forumon Tuesday, October 13th. Celebrating its 10th year, the Forum features local women entrepreneurs addressing the female market.

Rohini Shah of Blu Salt, Sophia Berman and Laura West of Trusst Lingerie and Nikki Narvaez of Nikki’s Magic Wand  will join Jones-Harries at the conference.

“They’re creating products and services just for women,” says Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship of the featured entrepreneurs. “It’s a great tie-in to our tenth anniversary, celebrating the rise of products for women.”

While their products span a variety of markets and industries, it doesn’t take long to find a common thread among the speakers. Many of the entrepreneurs faced adversity when bringing their products to market.

“We had a lot men asking if there was a problem if women were in pain,” says Sophia Berman, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Trusst. Trusst Lingerie is re-engineering the bra for women with larger busts, an underserved market in the apparel space. “Men wondered why we’d create this product with so many other brands on the market.”

To answer these questions, the team at Trusst created the “Melon Men” video.

“It’s a bunch of men wearing larger cup size bras with melons in them,” Berman explains. “We needed to illustrate the point to men that this is a real problem, that it would affect your daily life.” The video took off and helped Trusst successfully reach its Kickstarter goal.Trusst opened for pre-orders last week.

Like Trusst discovered, when you’re faced with a problem, the best solution can be solving it yourself.

Nikki Narvaez started her company after losing a fight with a tube of lip-gloss. Try as she did, she could not get the last

bit of product from the bottom of the container. Instead of tossing it, Narvaez came up with a solution. Out of her frustration, she started sketching solutions to the problem, and Nikki’s Magic Wand was born.

The slim wand with a flexible tip makes it easy to scoop the last of the product out of the nooks of narrow containers.

Once she had the concept in place Narvaez and her business partner took the product to a licensing firm. While the company loved it, ultimately Narvaez decided to develop the Magic Wand without them.

“It was a great opportunity because you can figure things out on your own,” explains Narvaez. “Now no one owns the company but the two of us.” Narvaez learned the skills to grow the business as she brought Nikki’s Magic Wand to market.

Rohini Shah, the founder of Blu Salt, drew from personal experience to create a better handbag for women.

“After spending the money on bags that I did, I was inevitably disappointed at the lack of organization in the bags,” Shah says. “To me, the idea of spending four to five hundred dollars on a bag just to jury-rig it with all kinds of other additions didn’t make sense.”

When Shah took a leave of absence from work after the birth of her son in 2013, she started designing the bag she would want to take to work.

Blu Salt’s bags are designed to be organized, as well as offer a sleek look, to allow an easy transition from the workplace to a night out. Using customer feedback from the pilot line, the company launched its second line of bags this September.

Blu Salt also focuses on sustainability and spreading the entrepreneurial spirit. Materials are responsibly sourced, and a portion of each sale goes to educating women in Sri Lanka.

Shah believes there could be more support for women in the entrepreneurship community. “I think visibility of women on a citywide level talking about the success that they’ve had or interesting projects that they’re doing would go a long way.”

Trusst’s Berman agrees. “It’s been challenging to raise money as a female in a male-oriented space. I think more female mentorship, more powerful women in the mentor space would be helpful. It makes a difference to see others out there like you.”

And as Jones-Harries found out, it can take some searching to find the resources you need. “There’s a model that’s happening in Pittsburgh around innovation. I think it could be proliferated in underserved areas, but we’ve found a lot of support by looking to the university community.”

Starting a company can be daunting, Magic Wand’s Narvaez adds, and it helps to have support in the community and a place to share challenges.

“I think it’s about sharing stories. It’s talking about the struggle because a lot of times people assume that it’s easy,” she says. “It’s not, and that’s okay, you can still do it.”

Harries hopes attendees at the Think Big Forum and other Chatham Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship events find the network they’re searching for. Before the panel, attendees will have the chance to network among themselves and with the featured women.

“I’m all about networking; I believe it’s a critical component of doing business,” Harris says. “I always tell women that ‘work’ is in network, and if you’re not out networking once a week, you’re not doing your job.”

The forum will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Eddy Theater. Go do your job and buy tickets at the Think Big Forum.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 13, 2015)

Handbags owner one of many to share experiences at women’s entrepreneurship forum

October 13, 2015 12:00 AM


Rohini Shah, creator of Blu Salt handbags, holds one of her bags at her home in Upper St. Clair.

By Joyce Gannon / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rohini Shah’s first startup — a line of organic cotton children’s clothing that featured Indian-inspired colors and designs — was barely out of the gate in 2008 when global financial markets crashed.

The business was just getting traction, she said, when consumers stopped spending, retailers faced a liquidity crunch, and many of the independent boutique owners who had enthusiastically placed orders called her in tears to say they could no longer carry the clothes.

She and her partners ended up dissolving the business, but she doesn’t regret the experience.

“I wouldn’t have gotten here and I got to learn because of things that went wrong [in the economy],” said Ms. Shah, who launched her second venture, Blu Salt, in 2013.

This time around she’s marketing a line of handbags made from organic and recyclable materials. The bags are targeted primarily to women who want a luxury look combined with durability for daily use and travel.

While the economy is in a better place than seven years ago, Ms. Shah is frank about her entrepreneurial challenges. She manages what she calls her “far-flung” team — including a product designer in California, material suppliers and production workers in Asia, and a marketing firm in London — from her home base in Upper St. Clair.

Then there’s financing. To date, she’s self-funded the enterprise because trying to convince the male-dominated venture capital sector to invest in a woman-owned business peddling products for women “doesn’t always resonate.”

Ms. Shah is among the female entrepreneurs scheduled to share their experiences tonight at the Think Big Forum, “By Women, For Women,” sponsored by Chatham’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship. All of the speakers’ businesses provide products or services for women.

According to a study released in May by American Express, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. totaled just over 9 million, up 74 percent since 1997.

Female-owned firms generated almost $1.5 trillion in revenues and employed about 8 million people, Amex said.

But while they are increasing in number, the size of women-owned businesses remains smaller than the average firm so their total share of the U.S. workforce is only 6 percent, Amex said.

“Women tend not to hire,” said Rebecca Harris, director of Chatham’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

“Most of these women-owned firms are self-proprietors, not employee-owned. And a sole proprietor can only do so much, so their average revenue is pretty low.”

Obtaining the funding needed to grow their businesses is one factor inhibiting growth, said Ms. Harris. “Access to capital continues to challenge women-owned businesses.”

After her first company flopped during the recession, Ms. Shah took a position with management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and typically traveled five days a week for work.

That’s when she noticed that women’s handbags and briefcases were crammed with laptops, paper files and personal items but many — even high-priced upscale brands — weren’t strong and flexible enough to sustain all the items.

When she left that job to focus on raising her son, Ms. Shah started thinking about bags that would be simple and stylish with a “utility perspective.”

Blu Salt’s line, called the Peaceful Professional, includes a wallet and clutch introduced last year and three larger bags that just became available on its website, www.blusalt.com. Prices for those range from $235 to $610. Several accessory items including lunch and jewelry bags are priced from $18 to $42.

Ms. Shah’s commitment to sustainable products goes back to her days at Yale University where she earned her MBA degree and was first introduced to the concept of corporate social responsibility.

Besides sustainable materials, Blu Salt produces its bags and packaging at fair-wage factories in Vietnam and India, and donates part of its proceeds to the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development, which supports women and youth in India.

“Business is a way for me to fulfill my responsibilities to society,” said the 38-year-old native of Hyderabad, India, who was raised mainly in Singapore. “It makes me sleep better at night.”

Also scheduled to speak at tonight’s forum are Cara Jones-Harries, co-founder and chief operating officer of Marinus Analytics, which develops software to help law enforcers track criminals and victims in human trafficking cases; Nicole Narvaez Mann, founder of cosmetics business Nikki’s Magic Wand; and Sophia Berman and Laura West, co-founders of Trusst Lingerie.

To register, call 412-365-1253.

Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.


The Houston Telegraph (October 26, 2015)

News & Record Greensboro (OCTOBER 30, 2015)

Handbag designer credits 2008 failure with successful new business

Rohini Shah's first startup - a line of organic cotton children's clothing that featured Indian-inspired colors and designs - was barely out of the gate in 2008 when global financial markets crashed.

The business was just getting traction, she said, when consumers stopped spending, retailers faced a liquidity crunch, and many of the independent boutique owners who had enthusiastically placed orders called her in tears to say they could no longer carry the clothes.

She and her partners ended up dissolving the business, but she doesn't regret the experience.

"I wouldn't have gotten here and I got to learn because of things that went wrong (in the economy)," said Shah, who launched her second venture, Blu Salt, in 2013.

This time around she's marketing a line of handbags made from organic and recyclable materials. The bags are targeted primarily to women who want a luxury look combined with durability for daily use and travel.

While the economy is in a better place than seven years ago, Shah is frank about her entrepreneurial challenges. She manages what she calls her "far-flung" team - including a product designer in California, material suppliers and production workers in Asia, and a marketing firm in London - from her home base in Upper St. Clair.

Then there's financing. To date, she's self-funded the enterprise because trying to convince the male-dominated venture capital sector to invest in a woman-owned business peddling products for women "doesn't always resonate."

According to a study released in May by American Express, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. totaled just over 9 million, up 74 percent since 1997.

Female-owned firms generated almost $1.5 trillion in revenues and employed about 8 million people, Amex said.

But while they are increasing in number, the size of women-owned businesses remains smaller than the average firm so their total share of the U.S. workforce is only 6 percent, Amex said.

"Women tend not to hire," said Rebecca Harris, director of Chatham's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship.

"Most of these women-owned firms are self-proprietors, not employee-owned. And a sole proprietor can only do so much, so their average revenue is pretty low."

Obtaining the funding needed to grow their businesses is one factor inhibiting growth, said Harris. "Access to capital continues to challenge women-owned businesses."

After her first company flopped during the recession, Shah took a position with management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and typically traveled five days a week for work.

That's when she noticed that women's handbags and briefcases were crammed with laptops, paper files and personal items but many - even high-priced upscale brands - weren't strong and flexible enough to sustain all the items.

When she left that job to focus on raising her son, Shah started thinking about bags that would be simple and stylish with a "utility perspective."

Blu Salt's line, called the Peaceful Professional, includes a wallet and clutch introduced last year and three larger bags that just became available on its website, www.blusalt.com. Prices for those range from $235 to $610. Several accessory items including lunch and jewelry bags are priced from $18 to $42.

Shah's commitment to sustainable products goes back to her days at Yale University where she earned her MBA degree and was first introduced to the concept of corporate social responsibility.

Besides sustainable materials, Blu Salt produces its bags and packaging at fair-wage factories in Vietnam and India, and donates part of its proceeds to the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development, which supports women and youth in India.

"Business is a way for me to fulfill my responsibilities to society," said the 38-year-old native of Hyderabad, India, who was raised mainly in Singapore. "It makes me sleep better at night."


Read more here: http://www.macon.com/living/article41430237.html#storylink=cpy


Your Stylish Ways (OCTOBER 25, 2015)

A Profile in Style, FAshioN

Rohini Shah has Success in a Bag

 

Blu Salt is an eco-utilitarian luxury line for professional women.
I worked in Corporate America for close to a decade before I launched Blu Salt in 2013. Blu Salt was born out of my own needs as a professional woman who required a luxury quality work bag that was also utilitarian. In my prior roles, particularly management consulting, I had significant business travel and I wanted a bag that I could just as easily take to a boardroom, on a plane or use on a weekend with my family. Speaking to other women colleagues, I realized that it was a problem most of us had. When I chose to leave the workforce in 2013, to spend more time with my family, I decided that it would be worth developing a carry line that met this need.

Over the next two years of developing designs and bringing the idea to life, I had a chance to travel to Vietnam and India to set up my supply chain, and in the process of working with some amazing manufacturers, came to realize what an impact businesses can have on communities and the greater world. Through that experience, social responsibility became a central tenet of Blu Salt as well, and the genesis of the business and brand you see today began. Blu Salt is built on the principles of Mindful Production & Mindful Consumption – the idea that we have a responsibility to 3 constituents – our customers, our suppliers / collaborators and to our communities. Every aspect of the business process is being developed to have a social responsibility element, so that our customers’ lives are made more efficient with well-designed bags and they are able to contribute to the greater good at the same time.

What is the Blu Salt product?

Blu Salt is a design company focused creating products that blend luxury and functionality. As our first step, we’ve applied that formula to come up with better designed clutches & wallets for women.

For the better part of the last 200 years, we’ve seen the rise of present-day luxury brands and their unwavering focus has been on meticulous craftsmanship and elegant beauty. However, till date, no one has paid particular attention to the usability of the products. The products, for the most part, have been made and used (in many cases, rightfully so) as works of art. With Blu Salt, we’re talking about “applied luxury”, if you will, instead: a product that is luxurious and yet, user-friendly. We want our users to enjoy our product and put it through its paces. There’s more where that came from, ladies – don’t be shy about wearing out your bag.

Why isn’t it just another bag?

We have spent a lot of time maximizing the utility of each of our bags – besides careful consideration to the manufacturing quality, materials, design & usability, we’ve also put together videos & guides on how to get the most out of your Blu Salt bag. We want you learn how to use them because then you’ll see how indispensable these bags really are.

As a fundamental tenet of our business, we also put significant thought into how we could build an earth-friendly business. We have many more initiatives we’re exploring and hope to implement as we grow.

Why you? Why will you succeed?

We will succeed simply because we are not willing to accept anything less. Not to sound flippant, but besides all the wonderful training you get in b-school (we will not debate the relative merits of the MBA degree at this stage, we should have had that discussion prior to spending $120K), nothing teaches you more about business than actual experience. As anyone who’s ever started a business will tell you, making mistakes is inevitable. The key to success is to make mistakes small enough that you can recover and learn from them – I think that is a brilliant philosophy to apply to life in general. You realize what risks you’re capable of taking.

I learnt to identify what I am good at doing and being woman enough to admit what I am not good at, in which case, I work like crazy to identify the best people to take on those aspects of the business. At present, I have the best team I can think of working to bring Blu Salt to fruition.

Why should I support Blu Salt?

Blu Salt is a minority woman-run luxury accessory design brand. There’s not many out there. But that’s not the reason why you should support us (well, you could – we’d love it if you did, but we also think there should be more you get out of Blu Salt).

Support Blu Salt because you love the products we make. Support Blu Salt because you finally found a product that fits your personal style (I can’t be the only one who likes black). Support Blu Salt because the brand speaks to you and who you are.

Support Blu Salt because you find value and meaning in what we do.


India West (March 11, 2016)

'Blu Salt': Luxury and Conscience Can Go Hand in Hand

Rohini Shah believes we can all have luxury, but with a conscience.

 

 

The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Indian American entrepreneur, in her second try at running a company, wanted to provide a product while offering a “peaceful opposition” to what business stands for.

The 38-year-old created the company Blu Salt in 2013, which provides handbags and wallets.

“I look at Blu Salt as a way to peacefully oppose what business has come to stand for today — simply a profit making enterprise that does not have a greater purpose and responsibility to society,” Shah told India-West.

She has compounded that idea by incorporating social responsibility into every aspect of the business. Among them was partnering with an organization to help families in South Asia.

“One of our prouder moments was when we partnered with Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development, a non-profit that aids rural families in South Asia with healthcare, education and employment skills initiatives,” she said. “For each bag (sold), we donate 1 percent of our sale price to CORD and it means a lot to me to know that we can help in some small way.”

Shah, originally from Andhra Pradesh, earned bachelor’s degrees in advertising and economics from Michigan State University, a postgraduate diploma in marketing and finance from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, and an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management.

Upon graduating from Yale in 2006, Shah co-founded Bacche Inc., an Indian inspired clothing line for kids, with a number of her classmates. The timing of the venture didn’t work out, as the U.S. headed into a recession just as the company was ready to take off.

“It took us about two years to educate ourselves about the market and get the product ready for market,” she explained to India-West, adding that the timeline brought them right into the heart of the recession.

As Bacche inched closer to breaking even, and started pushing for larger orders, things started to fall apart.

“By the time our products were ready for delivery, over 90 percent of our customers were out of business or struggling to pay bills.”

By 2010, with all the financial restraints, Shah and her partners decided to close the U.S. operations and transferred the day-to-day operations to their partners in India.

Having previously worked in digital marketing, management consulting and corporate finance prior to starting Bacche, Shah returned to that line of work from 2011 until Blu Salt was founded in 2013.

“My two years in consulting were instrumental in shaping the idea of Blu Salt,” Shah, who had an infant son at the time she returned to consulting, said. Despite enjoying the challenge of her consulting work, the time away from her son became too much. After leaving consulting in 2013, she turned her attention to starting Blu Salt.

“As a working mother and business professional, I became intimately aware of how important it was to have products that were designed to make my transition from personal life to professional life to business travel more efficient,” she explained about her mindset for the new company. “There were some really innovative ‘carry’ products in the market, but they primarily were aimed at professional men. I felt that it was important to design similar products specifically for the professional woman.”

Blu Salt – “Blu” meaning indigo, or a major export of the British Raj; “Salt” meaning the salt tax that Mahatma Gandhi opposed and used to galvanize India as a nation – offers wallets, tote bags, handbags, lunch bags, drawstring bags and even laptop sleeves, ranging in price from $18 to $610.

The company, however, was not what she had ever thought of doing.

“Not at all,” she said of her intent of launching the company. “It was more that I saw a clear need and I felt I could create a better solution.”

And customers have supported the company and what it offers.

“Once they try our products, the value of the product becomes clear,” Shah noted. “Many of them have come back to purchase more either as gifts for others or come back to purchase another bag for themselves.”

Shah said Blu Salt strictly deals with contractors and consultants. And while there are no employees at Blu Salt, she hopes some of the people she works with regularly will join the company down the line.

Currently, she continues to work with a designer and creative team on social media to help develop new carry solutions. As for the company’s direction, Shah has a few ideas, but wouldn’t go into further details as she says she would not have the final say in the decision.

“I have some thoughts on how to grow,” Shah told India-West. “But how we proceed will depend on customer feedback.


WHIRL MAGAZINE PITTSBURGH (May 2016)

2016 Women in Business Pittsburgh

By Andrea Bosco Stehle | Assisted by Aubray Onderik | Photographs by Sarah Collins and Michael Fornataro | Event florals by Mt. Lebanon Floral and greenSinner

 

Community over competition resounded with female nominees at the third annual WHIRL Women In Business event, held in the Sheffield Ballroom at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. Weeks prior, the nominations poured in via whirlmagazine.com. The familiar theme? Women supporting other women. From small businesses to corporate companies, our honorees connected over coffee and pastries, growing their networks, building new friendships, and strengthening bonds. A peaceful om chant, led by WHIRL’s Editorial Director Christine Tumpson, Leta Koontz of Schoolhouse Yoga, and Yoga Instructor Kristie Lindblom quieted the group as Tumpson addressed the importance of upholding each other and our city. “With the eyes of the world on Pittsburgh, we have the opportunity to show people how to come together to benefit one another, without competition, gossip, or bad behavior in the name of business,” she said. “As strong women, we have the power to lead with dignity, class, and respect for one another, and to instruct how it can be done.” The spirited gathering was a beautiful success and a true testament to girl power in Pittsburgh. Honor these ladies as we have for their dedication to their careers and accomplishments, and for inspiring and empowering others. Their abilities to connect with open minds and hearts are paving the way for future generations. Here’s to the Class of 2016!