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Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “North Four Corners News”

North Four Corners News ♦ June 2023

Neighborhood Moms Run Their Own Businesses

By Carolyn Ross

From the daily decisions parents make to get through to bedtime, to those life changing choices impacting their childrens’ futures, many are met with obstacles between family and career that make following their own dreams a challenge.  If anyone can say that the latest trend toward remote work and home businesses is the silver lining of the Covid crisis however, it may be parents.  And, in particular, mothers who may finally have struck work/life balance gold.

According to a September 2022 post on Mompowerment.com, one in three woman-owned businesses are run by moms and it seems like this trend is here to stay.  Several North Four Corners women count themselves among these moms, having launched or continued to promote their own businesses, and proving to themselves and their children the value of taking risks.

Annie Clemmons

Baking and turning out confections on Cavalier Drive is Annie Clemmons of Chapman’s DC who, along with her teenage daughter Harper, has learned a thing or two about summoning up the courage to strike out on your own, First, there was Covid and then there was... well, the prospect of no work for Annie, who had spent her career as an award-winning pastry chef and, as she puts it, always working for others and in their spaces.  Now she was at home with her daughter in their somewhat tight space, navigating online school and trying to get back online herself.


Annie Clemmons oversees plating at Chapman’s DC.

Working from home was also hampered by a broken right arm of all things, and she had to come up with a business plan fast.  At first it was just going to be fulfilling online orders for confections like homemade caramels and marshmallows, which Annie explains can be easily preserved and shipped.  But, while establishing that product line, Annie was listening to her friends and neighbors who were asking her to bake for them and then building on a business model that was becoming popular in the wake of Covid — at-home delivery service of fresh artisan baked goods.

Annie takes great pride in creating her confectionaries and is especially proud of the growth in confidence she found not only in herself, but also in her daughter’s creative spirit once she saw what could be accomplished under her own womanpower.  Starting her own business was always something Annie says she wanted to do and — as her daughter watched — even under stressful circumstances, she meets the challenge head-on and carves out a living doing something she not only enjoys but which also brings joy to others.  As she imparts, “Life can be hard, but we can help with the joy part.  Eat a little candy.“  Chapmansdc.com

Risi Idiokatis

Healthy Littles was the brainchild of pediatric acupuncturist Risi Idiokatis (DAOM, L.Ac.), mom of two on Chiswell Lane.  Even before Covid but throughout the crisis as anxiety levels among children and families grew, Risi knew she’d found her calling and made bringing awareness to the efficacy of treating children with acupuncture her mission.  In today’s world and particularly in our area, it is easy to assume that pediatric acupuncture was already popular but, despite the existence of some clinics around the country, it was not easy to find providers for children before this mom took the plunge and decided to offer her services to families.


Acupuncturist Risi Idiokatis treats a patient at Healthy Littles.

Dr Risi, as she likes to go by, says it was her son who showed her the way when she began applying the healing techniques of her profession to her overactive child at home and found how easily he was calmed and better able to focus — or “balance,“ as she puts it — with acupuncture.  Many patients and families later, it is easier to look back and see the connection but, when she first struck out, Risi thought she might treat only children with certain health conditions or special needs, and she was not sure other parents would be on board.

But — as any mom knows — when your child needs help, any recommendation, especially from another mom, is appreciated.  So as parents spread the word, Risi found the demand for her services unprecedented.  When, in 2023, she decided to return to work outside the home, Children’s Hospital immediately saw the benefit for the patients; you can find her practicing there now full time.

As did Annie, Risi also found when she stepped into the shoes of professional role model to her children as well as caretaker, she was pleasantly surprised at the impact.  Risi’s daughter Isis caught the entrepreneurial bug and started her own jewelry making business using found lego pieces, and has found great success even in a crowded market on Etsy.

Rose Tran

Of course, Risi and Annie are not the only moms whose entrepreneurial spirit benefits our neighborhood.  We have other confectioners and artists among us, as well as other professionals running home businesses, and many other moms who came before them, and took the risks at a time that may not have been as friendly to the woman business owner, or were not as naturally coaxed by Covid.


Rose Tran of Rose and Tony’s Family Hairstyling on Univ. Blvd. with the author’s son.

If you have ever had your hair cut on University Boulevard at the top of North Four Corners Park, you may already know the story of one such mom, Rose Tran, who opened Rose and Tony’s Family Hairstyling Barber about 30 years ago.  She will tell you what it was like working in a nail salon as a new immigrant and becoming ill from the chemical smells, forcing her to embrace a new venture, and what it was like to get a loan, and convincing her husband to also train as a barber when they built a shop onto their house.  Reach them at 215 University Blvd, West, and 301.593.8059.  MORE Rose’s FB Page

Kim Demaline-Fichtel

Kim Demaline-Fichtel also opened Le Shop Nail Salon out of her home on Edgewood Road about ten years after Rose did, on the heels of a comfortable stint working in the field with her own mother.  She raised two boys as a home-business owner and remembers fondly how they learned to be comfortable around adults as they spent time with her clients.  She is certain, too, that their grades were improved when they were able to get help with schoolwork from clients who were teachers!  LeShop FB Page

Do you know other moms with home businesses in our neighborhood that you would like to recommend?  Please comment on the newsletter or share your recommendations on Nextdoor.  And if you are someone with an interest yourself in starting a business, check out these links geared toward women business owners:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce MoCo Resources MOMpowerment FB MOB

[Carolyn Ross lives on Lockridge Drive.]   ■


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