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Supporting Women In Business

A group of female entrepreneurs and friends gathered at What’s Cooking on a recent Thursday night for an evening of shopping, beauty, and Sangria. Lynne Gerald, who owns What’s Cooking on East Main Street in Oyster Bay, was inspired to host the event for two friends, Elizabeth Smith of Sea Cliff and Laura Sokolov of Merrick, who are just setting out in their own businesses, and she wanted to support them.  

“I hope this event gives them more confidence to go out on their own and to continue what they’re doing. I want to help them get a start,” says Gerald. “I was in the same situation many years ago, I didn’t have a home and was traveling to people’s houses.”

Over time, due to the popularity of her birthday parties, Gerald’s business grew. Ultimately, in 2008, she was able to purchase a storefront. She no longer had to schlep her wares and is grateful to have found a place to hang her ladle.

“It’s now time to give back,” she says.

Smith recently discovered she has an aptitude and a passion for making jewelry. Once sending her youngest child off to college, she says she found her “inner artist wouldn’t be silenced anymore.” Heeding the call, she took up the craft 11months ago.

“I took a couple of workshops, but am basically self-taught. I learned by doing,” she asserts.

Many of her unique designs includes various types of pearls.

“Pearls are very versatile,” she said.

The Baroque pearls, in particular, are oddly shaped and lend a whimsical element to her creations. Her jewelry ranges in price from $50 to $400.

“I wanted to create things for women of all different lifestyles,” she said.

Smith can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Sokolov, who has traveled to Guatemala six times in the last few years, says it was on her third trip when she knew she had found her passion. On that trip, her enthusiasm was so great that a friend described her as looking like a kid with a full bag of Halloween candy.

“That’s how you want to feel about your business,” says Sokolov.

Sokolov’s business, Guate-Love-It, features handmade designs using vintage fabric from Guatemala.

“Each region of Guatemala,” she said, “has it’s own pattern. It’s like a uniform,” for each region.

While the colors and materials are attractive, the clothing is not necessarily practical for American women. Sokolov, therefore takes those beautifully patterned fabrics and transforms them into aprons, purses and scarves. Sokolov can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

In addition to Sokolov and Smith, Gerald invited local business owner Courtney Halleren of AK Hair Studio, on Audrey Avenue, who raffled off a hair product package and offered a on-site eyebrow waxing for those interested. Food demonstrations and tastings were offered by Corin Eckel, from Oyster Bay, of the Pampered Chef.

All in all, “it was a win-win,” said Gerald. “We had a group of people travel from Glen Cove, Glen Head, Oyster Bay and East Norwich and all had a great time.”