No Hiccup in Their Hustle: Local Female Entrepreneurs Keep Their Small Businesses Going

I’m sure I speak for a number of people when I say I started 2020 thinking this was my year. 2020 was the year I had a plan for my business, purchased my first ads to support it, and invested in hiring the help I needed. Just as I could feel the momentum building, I had to pump the breaks.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to celebrate the amazing women I’m surrounded by who figured out a way to start businesses from home– women who took a leap and put themselves out there to offer you a product or service. Many of these incredible entrepreneurs have found themselves in a similar position as me…with a great deal of time, energy, and capital invested in their dreams…too much to let it all stop now. Behind the scenes, these women have been thinking of ways to keep things going by using their social media in new ways or offering opportunities for no-contact deliveries. I know I’ve only captured a few of the amazing stories there are to tell of this incredible group of women, but it’s a glimpse at what’s happening in some homes (businesses without retail storefronts) as we shelter in place. Let’s show them some love and support, too.


To know Ellie Nottoli is to absolutely love her and everything she designs. At her company, EllieStyled, she lends her touch to luxe events and spaces and oversees beautiful workshops and gatherings in her “office,” Scott Street Studio. While many have been sidelined by recent events, Ellie continues to recreate her offerings. Today, she is partnering with Old School Timber Works and Visconti Cheese Market to curate the pieces you need to create your own charcuterie board. With your purchase, you also receive a video tutorial on how you can achieve Ellie’s style with your brand new charcuterie board. Local no-contact delivery is available.

Moll’s Balls

Lake Forest’s Molly O’Neill started mPowering Health & Wellness to help coach people to live healthier lives. An unexpected offshoot of her business has been her growing line of to-go treats called Moll’s Balls. Moll’s Balls are a quick snack, workout fuel, or sweet treat. Made with gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free ingredients and packed with protein, fiber and omega 3’s, they’re perfect for active kids and adults, and come in flavors the whole family will enjoy. To learn more or order some for yourself, visit Local no-contact delivery available.

Sarah Back Interiors

Sarah Back Interiors

Lake Bluff’s Sarah Back Interiors is open for business as always, but this time she’s an interior designer on a mission. This March, Sara his taking a percentage of her monthly profits to send carry-out to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and Captain James A. Lovell’s Federal Health Care Center. Please consider placing an order for a project, large or small, so Sarah can support local restaurants and those healthcare heroes on the frontlines.

Laura Lance Designs

Our favorite Lake Forest tastemaker Laura Lance has been working behind the scenes to bring us all a little sunshine! While she continues to handpaint beautiful bags, she’s now offering the perfect stay-at-home loungewear–preppy PJs. Check out Laura’s website for more details or message her on Instagram to see more of the pajamas she has for sale. Local no-contact delivery and porch pickup available.

Fiore Press

Fiore Press

Send more snail mail! We’re all spending so much more time online lately, wouldn’t it be nice to receive a hand-written note in the mail on a beautifully printed card from Lake Bluff’s Fiore Press? Owner Carmela Heintzelman will work with you over the phone, FaceTime, or email to design a customized set of stationery, and will be offering ready-made packs of notesets this week. No-contact delivery is available. Email or call 773.793.8491 for a consultation or to place an order.

Jar Bar Makeup

Jar Bar Makeup

Jen Bobay of Deerfield took matters into her own hands when she discovered she was allergic to nearly ever makeup brand on the market. She created her own line of mineral makeup, Jar Bar Makeup, that is free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, bismuth chloride, and talc. These days, Jen is focusing on what she calls the “Essential Four” for looking great–lip gloss, glow palette, lipstick, and brow gel. Because she is a teacher at her core, her website shows you how to use her products–a great way to spend some of the new found time we have on our hands.

The Hungry Monkey Baking Company

Hungry Monkey

It took Hungry Monkey’s founder, Lake Forest’s Cindy Kienzle, 25 years to start her baking company. She created a chocolate chip banana bread recipe that friends, family, and co-workers loved. Everyone told her she should sell it and finally in 2010 The Hungry Monkey Baking Company® LLC was born. Today, Cindy is offering a Social Distancing/Staycation Treatbox you can order for yourself or send to someone who needs a pick-me-up. The box includes a loaf of her best-selling chocolate chip banana bread, plain banana bread, and two bags of her famous brownies. Click here to order your own.

Makea Iho

Lake Forest’s Sara Pickus has always been that girl who loved to try new skincare products. But it was a few years ago after Sara began experiencing some health concerns that she really began evaluating everything she was doing—from what she was eating to what she was putting on her skin. Sara began reading about clean beauty and take note of the botanicals and essential oils used in some of the market’s most popular products. She then started to source organic ingredients and blend them herself. Today, she has her own line of facial and body oils, as well as a lip balm for sale online from her company called Makea Iho. Local no-contact product delivery is available.

Sophia James Designs

Andi Rothfeld, owner of Sophia James Designs in Deerfield, has been making customized and ready-to-wear bracelets from her home and is offering to deliver them to any front porch on the North Shore. Andi is giving a percentage of her sales from her “No Kid Hungry” collection (shown above) to No Kid Hungry.

Memorable Moments

Melissa Mankoff’s Memorable Moments is still creating and selling personalized gifts and kids room/nursery decor! She will deliver within 10 miles of Glenview and offer pickup, as well. If you know of anyone having a baby, a birthday, or looking for decor, give them a shout.

Design From a Distance

Interior Design Partnership is still hard at work. Are you stuck at home and want to refresh your space? This is the perfect time to cross this off your list, Send IDP a direct message or email for more information on their “Design from a Distance” service.

The Zen of Slow Cooking

Meg Barnhart and Jane McKay co-created Zen of Slow Cooking in 2012 from their own kitchens with a vision of bringing people back to the dinner table for delicious home cooked meals, supporting local communities, and providing employment to adults with developmental disabilities. Zen of Slow Cooking offers a variety of spice blend packets that you can use in a slow cooker or an Instapot to lessen the time you spend in the kitchen. Each spice blend packet was packaged with care by an adult with a developmental challenge. This month, Zen is offering 20% off your purchase and free shipping on any order over $20.

Fresh Salad Club

Fresh Salad Club

Laura Kelsey was a full-time chef in Lake Geneva when she decided to make a career change and create a business that was all her own. At the nudging of her friends who loved her cooking, she decided to start a weekly salad subscription service called Fresh Salad Club. Twice each week, you can choose to have a salad from Laura’s menu delivered right to your home. Each entree salad is designed to serve one or two and made using the freshest ingredients. It’s then delivered to your North Shore doorstep in a refrigerated bag. To learn more or to begin your subscription, visit Fresh Salad Club.

Raleigh Bird

Raleigh Bird Tote

As if Lake Forest’s Rebecca Asfour didn’t have enough going on with owning two Dailey Method studios in Lake Forest and Vernon Hills, she’s now stepping her very fashionable toe into fashion with her line of customized bags called Raleigh Bird Totes. These darling durable canvas bags come in two sizes and may be just the accessory you need. Local no-contact delivery available.

Show Your Spirit Designs

Show Your Spirit Designs

Deerfield’s Irene Rozenberg, Wendi Brand, and Melanie Rosenbloom started Show Your Spirit Designs with the intention of it being a vehicle to give back. From now until April 10, when you purchase their bracelets, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Deerfield Food Pantry. Local no-contact delivery and shipping provided.

Simply May

Simply May

I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone with more energy or more creativity than Lake Forest’s Katie May. This mom of two is a clothing and accessory designer, skin care manufacturer, chef…you name it and she can probably do it! Her Simply May website and Instagram is filled with inspiration, as well as pieces you can purchase directly from her website. Local no-contact delivery and shipping provided.

Caprice Decadent

Caprice Decadent

Karen Anderson has brought a little European sparkle to the North Shore with Caprice Decadent. An entrepreneur by nature, Karen knew that she wanted to channel her years of financial expertise into a creative endeavor. She searched the world over before discovering Caprice Decadent Bohemian Jewelry, unique gems designed by an artist in Oslo, Norway and handmade in an intimate studio in Athens, Greece. Visit her website to check out her fantastic resort collection and receive 25% off your purchase. Shipping and no-contact local delivery available.

Moon and Back

Paula Carter’s Moon and Back is open and offering personalized gifts. If you can dream it, they can help you design it and deliver to your doorstep, too. If you need a gift, this may be just the place for you.


BasketWorks is a Northbrook-based company that was started in 1997 by Lise Schleicher. She builds custom gift baskets to order for any occasion, including a very timely “Work From Home Survival Kit.” If you’re in a pinch and need a thoughtful gift basket delivered, give BasketWorks a shout.

AppleLearn, LLC

Highland Park’s Blair Miller owns AppleLearn, LLC, where she helps people with their Apple products. She offers remote sessions for computer help (organization, photos, iCloud, etc.), as well as FaceTime appointments. This is a terrific service at a time when Apple stores are closed.

Computer Concepts USA

Lake Bluff’s Lori Tisani, owner of Computer Concepts USA, is providing remote computer support for Apple and PCs, Microsoft Office Training, and she is open to having people bring computers to her office for repair or she can arrange to have your computer picked up. Call 847.604.8421 to schedule an appointment. Again, a great resource while Apple stores are closed.

Photography of Ann Marie by Jenn Marie Photography

My name is Ann Marie Scheidler and I'm thrilled you've decided to check out my blog. I'm a pearl-loving yogi with a thing for travel, a weakness for beautiful bags, and a passion for storytelling. In this space, I'll be sharing stories about my family, go-to recipes, my wellness journey, fashion and beauty favorites, and my love for Chicago’s North Shore. I find new inspiration wherever I go. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!


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Leave a Comment


  1. Mike wrote:

    What an amazing group of female entrepreneurs. It’s the future and it’s never looked brighter .

    Posted 3.26.20 Reply
    • Ann Marie Scheidler wrote:

      I think so, too! Thank you for leaving such a great comment. Stay well!

      Posted 3.26.20 Reply
  2. Wow – what a lovely surprise – thank you!! xoxo Meg

    Posted 3.26.20 Reply
    • Ann Marie Scheidler wrote:

      You are so welcome! Can’t wait to team up with you!

      Posted 3.27.20 Reply