No More Nylons
Founded by Ojai resident Jodi Womack, No More Nylons is a company designed for business networking in an environment that encourages self-discovery. “Women get trapped in what they are good at,” says Womack, “and that sometimes doesn’t build them up as the creative beings that they are.” Womack’s business socials abandon the rules and obligations of the traditional networking structure — no elevator speeches, no R.S.V.P.s, no competition — and encourage women to truly connect with one another, in business as well as in life, health and family. Her goal is to establish a vibrant, engaging community of women who come together to be themselves, rather than prove themselves.
The clothes don’t make the man — or the woman
Womack recalls her father, a senior manager of a department store, arriving home, eager to get out of his work clothes and into something more comfortable. “My father wore a suit for 30 years, but never on the weekends,” says Womack. “Nobody ever chooses to put a suit on to be more of who they are; they put that on to be something to the world.” Thus, No More Nylons is symbolic of getting out of the work women have to do and into the work they love to do, without the restrictions and pressures of the traditional workplace model.
No boys allowed
Established for women only, Womack’s business socials encourage the development of the natural creative instinct in women. “Women get good at a lot of things they don’t enjoy doing,” she says. In turn, she believes women find other outlets of expression — painting, music, dance, poetry — which are not supported by our society as careers.
Womack, who also owns and runs an executive coaching firm with her husband, is too familiar with the linear mindset of “getting hired in what pays the most.” As a former event planner, she excelled at handling all the invisible support work, but did not feel she was filling out her creative side. With her company, she wishes to create a venue that honors that inner voice and supports women’s creative entrepreneurship. This idea seems to resonate with the women who attend the socials; with more than 200 attendees last September, Womack’s guests came from and as far away as Canada.
Really good at Bourbon
With the intention of promoting creativity among women entrepreneurs, Womack put a twist on nametags. Instead of making standard labels, she printed nametags asking her guests what they were good at, and left them to fill in the blanks. At first, “They didn’t know what to write,” she says. “But then the feminine creativity kicked in, and people started to come up with crazy and fun things to describe themselves.” Among the unique self-assigned descriptions were “I’m really good at Bourbon” from a pastry chef who uses the liquor in her truffles, and “Making babies” from a pediatric nurse.
Let’s get started
Womack’s vision is to evolve her networking model into every community. On Jan.11, she will launch the No More Nylons Starter Kit, available to anybody interested in establishing a business community for women. The packet will include a how-to guide, a digital pack and a graphic arts pack. Womack’s goal is to teach other leaders to change the mindset for the standard networking structure and establish a hub of resources and promotion for women in other cities. “Community isn’t about selling. It’s about giving and taking,” she says. “Women have this altruistic gene; we can’t help but collaborate.”
Womack will hold business socials on Nov. 17, 8-10 p.m., at the Oaks; and Dec. 16, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Ojai Valley Inn. For more information, visit www.NoMoreNylons.com.