Badass Babe of the Week: Margot Kavendek

Margot is the owner/ photographer at Kavendek Photography and a booth babe extraordinaire at Little Petal. Her favorite fandoms are Sailor Moon, Overwatch, Star Trek, Steven Universe, and Monster High. Her favorite characters are Amethyst, D.Va, and Ghoulia Yelps. She has three cats, a menagerie of reptiles, and after a lifelong crush on Commander Riker, married a man who looks shockingly like him. Margot is an advocate for raising mental health awareness, specifically about autism. She is also a really phenomenal singer.

Margot is one of my closest friends in the world. We butt heads often but always make up because we know that we each have our own particular set of anxieties that cause us to have specific reactions- and I think we are stronger for it. I deeply admire how openly she discusses her own struggles with mental health and having people understand her, and just how frustrating that can be. She is one of the most passionate people about my company- always promoting it everywhere, always suggesting it to everyone, always tagging it on statuses, always literally encouraging women who ask her about her dresses to feel them. She is also that friend who remembers all of my favorite things and always tries to surprise me with little gifts- and even gets sad somethings sells out too quick. She's that person who, if they one the lottery, they would likely spend their entire earnings on buying their friends things because it's important to her to bring others joy. I find her extremely endearing and if you do not have a friend like this in your life, I highly suggest searching until you find one and reminding them how important they are frequently.

Dear Margot, I appreciate you so much. I am sorry for every time I lose sight of that, and thankful for how much we are capable of teaching each other. Never doubt yourself. And for the love of all things holy, please start singing more often. Your voice could move mountains. Love you to the moon and back.

Badass Babe of the Week: Gina Cardilla

Gina currently sells watches but aspires to write novels. She is also the newest Little Petal convention team member #boothbabeextraordinaire . Her favorite characters are Hawkeye, Luna Lovegood, Mae Borowski from Night in the Woods, and Purah from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Her favorite fandoms include Gaming YouTubers, Harry Potter, LOTR, Legend of Zelda, and The Princess Bride- which she named her cats after (Buttercup and Westley). She is particularly obsessed with Ninja Sex Party and Starbomb (one of her dresses is based on Danny SexBang). Her nickname is Grandma.

I met Gina at Magfest 2016 where her and her bestie, Amanda, spent probably hours at my booth letting other girls order before them because they could see how busy we were. Putting other people first is definitely an obvious character trait of theirs. At Magfest this year, Gina hovered in front of my table in her Mettaton dress, noticed how shot our voices were getting, caught on to what we were saying, and started giving the spiel to anyone who came to look- real life testimonial style. This might sound easy but it is a lot of information to tell each potential customer about the dresses so to just pick it up like that is incredibly impressive. I asked her if she would like to booth babe at Colossal Con, Dragon Con, and Awesome Con shortly after. Colossal Con ended up being the ultimate "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong" weekend and somehow Gina managed to hold it together like a pro. Even with the show being an abnormal bust for us, I was able to laugh it off because of how phenomenal she was- both in how easy going she was about everything, and in how perfectly she said and did everything at the booth (my retail expectations are high because I am a robot and she went above and beyond them). She had so much weighing her down and just kept enthusiastically powering through and it's the only reason I was able to stay sane. Also seeing how giddy she got by every Danny SexBang cosplayer and any time she saw a photo of my dog helped.

Thank you Gina for being my newest companion and for being so passionate about my company. I appreciate you so much and just want you to know how important you are. All the best parts of you, that you're too humble to think others might see, are much clearer than you realize.

Badass Babe of the Week: Carol Pinchefsky

Carol has been a freelance writer of geek culture and technology for twelve years (http://www.carolpinchefsky.com). She is a contributing editor for Syfy Wire, and has written for the New York Times, Time Out New York, PC Gamer, IGN, Geek & Sundry, and many others. Two career highlights were interviewing Adam West and Leonard Nimoy, her lifelong geek crush. Her favorite films are Star Wars, Alien/Aliens, The Terminator, The Martian, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Galaxy Quest, Shaun of the Dead, and The Mummy (1932), (which she fell in love with during a Universal Monsters Marathon at age 7). Her favorite television shows are Classic and Next Gen Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Firefly, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, and Life on Mars (UK).  Her favorite books are Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart, Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clark, Dune by Frank Herbert, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Beauty by Sherri Tepper, the Culture series by Iain M. Banks, and the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. And her favorite characters are Dana Scully from The X-Files, because "she’s intelligent and rational", and Chloe Sullivan from Smallville, because "she’s a writer who loves chasing facts." Carol is wildly in love with her husband after 16+ years of marriage, who she describes as brilliant, funny, and compassionate. "He always makes me think, and the way to my heart is through my brain." I am a hopeless romantic so that fun fact made my heart melt.

Carol is what I refer to as an OG Little Petal customer because she bought the second ever Batman inspired convertible dress. The interview she did with Adam West was in it, which she has always told me is one of her professional career highlights- not realizing that is also a highlight of mine. I don't know if my customers realize just how excited hearing things like that make me. Carol shoots me a message every once in a while of some geek fashion related event she thinks I should do. Carol is also who wrote the Geek & Sundry article about me, and is therefore responsible for my fundraiser skyrocketing in donations and reach. She views herself as fact and logic driven, but based on our conversations, I would say she's also extremely heartfelt with stances that align very clearly with mine. When I asked her to send me some fun facts about herself, she said "I’m a professional writer of geek culture. For the most part, I’m the person I wanted to be when I grew up." That is the goal. And reading that sentence was so inspirational.

Thank you Carol for helping me raise money, always supporting my company, and for taking the time to make sure I know someone thinks what I am trying to do is important. Being told that you can see that I am compassionate and feel the world's pain is more healing for me than you realize. I will probably never write a book about myself like you advised, but I'd certainly let you!

Boss Babe: Level Up Nerd Apparel

Next up on my list of incredible geek chic boss babes who I want the world to know about is Lara Cooper of Level Up Nerd Apparel. Lara makes gorgeous nerdy crochet and knit accessories that constantly impress me (she made a Zoidberg out of thin air! And yes, she made that Super Mario Brothers blanket below). I have the privilege of calling her a customer and a friend. Donate to the "We Are All Wonder Women Fundraiser Contest for Planned Parenthood" by May 31st for a chance to win one of her Wonder Woman inspired headbands!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am the owner and designer of Level Up Nerd Apparel, where I crochet and knit geeky accessories. I get my inspiration from video games, comic books, anime, tv shows, and general geekery. I am a fan of Avatar: Last Airbender, Dr. Who, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Harry Potter, and many many more! I came out of the nerd closet when I met my husband, who is an even bigger nerd than me and brought me to the dark side. We have two fur-babies, kitties named Bumi and Odin (just in case we weren't geeky enough) who gives us all the parental satisfaction we can handle. Crochet and knitting is the bulk of my entertainment, which I do in front of the tv with either a nice cup of tea or a tall glass of wine. When I can drag myself away from that, I enjoy playing board games and occasionally Magic the Gathering, and if I have any spare time after that, I'll indulge in some puzzle-based video games. But deep down, I live and breath yarn - merino wool flows though my veins!

Why did you decide to start your own business, and is it your full-time job?

Five years ago, I designed and made a viking hat for my husband. He and his friends said that I should sell them, at which point I scoffed and told them they were ridiculous to think anyone would pay for my hats. But it got me thinking, and I decided that since there was very little risk involved, and it could be a nice way to supplement my grad student income, I could give it a shot. It has been a wonderful roller coaster ride ever since, and I do not regret a single day of it. It is a side enterprise for me, because I have another love in my life: science. I work full-time as a wildlife reproductive physiologist, making endangered species have babies. I only wish I could split myself in two so I could pursue both full time! 

 

What is your most popular item vs your favorite?

My most popular item is the Link hat, both as a finished product and a crochet pattern. I think it has a comforting nostalgic simplicity that draws people to it. My personal favorite is probably the Pokéball scarf; I just love the subtle geekiness of it and the look on people's faces when they realize the ball is a scarf. Also, I'm quite proud of how quickly I came up with it. 

Owning a small business is incredibly rewarding but can sometimes be viewed through rose tinted glasses. What are some challenges you face? Do you have any advice for others thinking of starting their own?

My biggest challenge is that these are handmade items that take time; I can't crank out dozens in a day. So my best advice to budding entrepreneurs is to be realistic: how many items you can make in a day/week, how much the materials will cost you, how much you can charge for them, if there is a market for it, if you can live off of it. Of course, you can and should still dream big - but stay realistic and pragmatic.

 

What gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?

I have so many designs floating in my head, I'm going to create them whether people want them or not. So I might as well share them with the world. Also, nothing quite beats the look of exhilaration when a customer sees their favorite fandom represented.

What is your favorite convention that you vend at?

I have only vended at MAGfest, but I'm sure it would still be my favorite even if I did hundreds of other ones! 

 

What comic book/ nerd culture character do you identify with the most and why?

Poison Ivy is my favorite character of all time. She's not a villain, she just has a different priority: Nature. Everything she does is to protect nature from the wrath of mankind, and if that means taking down a billionaire playboy who probably doesn't recycle his batarangs and who drives a gas-guzzler like the Batmobile, so be it. If I had her abilities, I would do it too - though it would also extend to animals. 

Why is it important to you to support other women in the industry? Name drop a favorite boss babe that isn't Little Petal.

As women, we are constantly told what we can't, or shouldn't, do. I think it's important to remind ourselves that we can and should. We face all the same challenges as male business owners, but we have another set of social standards, expectations and constrains piled on top. One of us can succeed by pushing the others down, or we can all succeed by helping each other up. That why I love seeing women do well in their industry, especially when it's not done at the expense of others. One boss babe everyone should check out is Karen Hallion - it takes a lot of willpower on my end to not buy every single one of her prints!

In fifty years, if the world could remember any one thing about you and Level Up Nerd Apparel, what would you want it to be?

The year is 2067. Her Divine Yarnship the Empress Lara, Queens of Hooks and Needles, Mother of Yarn, looks over her dominion with pride and satisfaction, for it extends far beyond the reaches of the visible universe and was filled with equal opportunity crafters. The royal biographer asks her, "Your Yarnship, would you like to make a closing statement for your biography, perhaps looking back at your beginning." "Ms. Rowling, I'm so glad I figured out the formula for eternal life. Those 28 sequels to the original Harry Potter series alone have made it worth it. But yes, please take this down: it all started with a silly hat; love and support made the rest possible." 

Check out all of Lara's beautiful designs at www.levelupnerdapparel.com

Follow her on Facebook/Instagram/Ravelry to see all her new knit and crochet accessories and patterns! 

Don't forget to check out our Awesome Con Geek Girl After Party ! Lara will be raffling off her signature Pokéball scarf and Wonder Woman headband!!!

Badass Babe of the Week: Akasha-Régine Hembley

Akasha is a cook at the MGM who aspires to open her own Latin Asian restaurant. Her favorite characters and fandoms are Moana, Lilo & Stitch, Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, Marvel, and Doctor Who. She loves singing and dancing (which was very obvious to me, especially being that she sang throughout her Moana photoshoot). She believes in a past life, she was a Broadway star. The musicals she is most obsessed with are Rent, Wicked, Guys & Dolls, Hairspray, Hamilton, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, and Monty Python.

Akasha came to my booth at Magfest with a face that started out "alright, what is this" that quickly changed to "WAIT WHAT IS THIS". She did the cutest little happy dance (that I posted on Instagram) once she decided she wanted to be Moana, and has been a nonstop ball of excitement since. I was SO looking forward to her photoshoot because I knew that her reaction would be the definition of what keeps me creating dresses and owning a small business where I get to interact with every customer. She's just so clearly full of love and someone who gives you life to be around.

Thank you Akasha for the consistent enthusiasm keeping me pumped till you could model your dress, and the onslaught of photos you've sent or posted since then. I LOVE IT AND I LOVE YOU.

PS: Within a day of owning her dress, she sent me photos of it tied 3 different ways, including one she made up herself. Then she said she sent me this photo which is the "Dani" tutorial because she loves me. So yea, she's constantly sweet. <3

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Badass Babe of the Week: Nancy Hanie

Nancy is an Accountant and a LuLaRoe Consultant who wishes she could travel for work. Snow White is her ultimate favorite character followed by Ariel and Belle. She also loves the Evil Queen and Alice. (If this isn't obvious, she is a Disney girl!) She is also fond of Harry Potter, especially Hermione. She enjoys playing Leto games. Fall is her favorite season. Nancy is half Asian and American Indian, and a proud single mom to an Army veteran. She just turned 40 this year and is still never growing up!

Nancy ordered a Snow White dress (shocking!) at Megacon the day after I stayed up super late editing photos to be able to show them at my booth... so I got to feel like that lack of sleep/ bringing my computer all the way from Brooklyn to Florida was worthwhile. She ordered it to wear to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (and I'm sure a million times after) and made my heart happy by sending me photos of her with the Nightmare Before Christmas cast (check it out on Instagram: LittlePetalNYC). Nancy has been an endless sweetheart over the past couple months while I've been dealing with severe depression- every message she sends me is cheery and positive, and totally makes my day.

Thank you Nancy for being a total darling, please never grow up!

Badass Babe of the Week: Eve Cowan

Eve works at a photo print lab and does photography, while crafting and sewing on the side. Her Etsy shop, ThatCreativeFox, mainly focuses on super hero themed cats but occasionally features other fandoms such as My Little Pony and Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls. She loves special requests, and her most popular character is Catpools. Her favorite fandoms are MLP, Doctor Who, Star Wars, all superheroes, Jem, Disney, TMNT, Pokemon, and of course Avatar! Eve loves cosplaying and creating props for the characters. For Halloween, she was Vanellope from Wreck it Ralph and made her kart! Check it out on her Instagram at omgpopphoto

Eve ordered her Korra dress at Baltimore Comic Con 2014 so she'd have something fun and comfortable to cosplay in while vending at conventions. I love that she ties in her own style by wearing her pabu backpack and her appa on her head. She calls it her "korrabound" (like disney bounding with korra)! I'm someone who owned about a million stuffies as a kid/ still own quite a few, so I absolutely adore her crafting and always enjoy seeing what new kitty she comes up with. I have a particular soft spot for other nerdy vendors who own my dresses.

To check out her Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThatCreativeFox/items

Thank you Eve for being one of my first vendor customers and for always looking outrageously adorable when you pop by my booth in your dress!

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Badass Babe of the Week: Yvette Santana Taveras

Yvette works for the City University of New York. She helps run the New York City Science and Engineering Fair for high School students and the Model NYC Council Project for the College Now program. Her favorite fandoms are Games of Thrones and Walking Dead. Her most loved comic book series are Fables, Saga, and Y: The Last Man. She has a strong affinity for Storm and Wonder Woman. Yvette is a secret Sci-Fi junkie. She loves vegging out on all sorts of zombies and end of the world movies, even those rated 1 star.

Yvette ordered her Daenerys inspired dress at NYCC 2014 and I had not seen a photo of her in it until two weeks ago. My booth babe, Margot, was working NYCC for PopCycled Baubles, saw Yvette walk by, and asked her to stop for a photo to send to me. AND I SCREAMED. And then sent the photo to Leanna. And then emailed Yvette screaming at her about how happy the photo made me, to which she told me she got a million compliments on her dress throughout ComicCon. I just cannot get over how adorably gorgeous she is.

Thank you Yvette for being excited to order a dress forever ago and for rocking the hell out of it so I could be cheered up while I wasn't there this year.

Badass Babe of the Week: Laura Wittenberg

Laura is a clinical laboratory scientist at Day Kimball Hospital. "It's like CSI, but instead of solving murders, she figures out what's making someone sick. Also it is less sexy." She refers to this as her day job that supports her real jobs: professional breakfast-eater ( http://toomuchbreakfast.tumblr.com ) and professional SuperFan for the Protomen- who she has seen 41 times in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Laura loves wrestling, especially Sami Zayn because he teaches people valuable lessons about friendship through wrestling, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Vaudevillians and Bailey. She also loves Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Sailor Moon, Berserk, Serial Experiments Lain, Magica Madoka, anything Hayao Miyazaki touches, Shin Megami Tensei, The Tale Series, Jem, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and 80's New Wave music and ska. She adores Hello Kitty and all the Sanrio characters and knows an uncomfortable amount of trivia about her and her friends.

At Magfest, Laura ordered the first Little Petal dress inspired by a wrestler, and I laughed at her throughout the entire ordering process because it was such a wacky, amazing concept that I was so excited about. I did have to convince her that putting his signature across the buttocks of the skirt would not look fabulous, but her excitement level was through the roof regardless. Sami Zayn favoriting the tweet she posted in her dress made my day. I also love that she told me it converts from a wrestling dress to a ska inspired dress admired by all the old Two Tone rockers. One of the reasons I love doing these write-ups is to find out more about my customers because all nerd girls want in life is to geek out with other nerd girls. Laura telling me about her breakfast tumblr and following around the Protomen was so bonding because I'm a Cereal Monster fanatic who only leaves her house to follow the World/Inferno Friendship Society on tour. So now I want to run around in the pit with her to experience her energy in my favorite way possible.

Thank you Laura for giving me a new fandom / one of the goofiest orders to design for, and for being endlessly enthusiastic about it. You are great.

Badass Babe of the Week: Laura Longtine-Rosado

Laura is both the owner of PopCycled Baubles and a Database Administrator for a local non-profit. She is a statistics and data guru. At PopCycled, she creates unique comic book jewelry and accessories such as pendants, earrings, bracelets, key chains, paperweights, and coaster sets (my personal favorite) from upcycled comic books. She also makes hair clips and head bands which are too cute for this world. Her and her husband, Shaun, travel all over the country to vend at comic book conventions when they are not at their full-time jobs. Laura's favorite characters are Maleficent, Eeyore, Cthulhu and all Lovecraft stories, Darkness from Legend, and Rainbow Dash. Her favorite fandoms are Star Wars, Dragon Ball Z, and frankly, everything, because that's what happens when you are a vendor who makes everything (she didn't say that, I just know from experience). She started her crafting skills by making Doll Houses as a teenager, and would have a house full of them with painted ceilings and electric wiring if it wouldn't be weird.

Laura bought a dress after head honcho booth babe, Leanna, stopped by her booth at HeroesCon 2014 to buy some of her gorgeous coasters, and literally walked her back to our booth. She now owns three, and still asks me/Leanna to tie them for her when we are at conventions together because she knows we will. Considering how many customers see her in her dresses then come to my table, I would never complain anyway. Laura is, by far, the most dedicated person I have ever met. Just knowing her inspires me to do more. I'm not sure that I accurately described the amount that she works- and also sounds pepped about always having new ideas for items to put at her booth- but I am constantly, endlessly amazed by this woman. Conventions are really the only time that I leave my house (other than when I am on tour with World/Inferno), so I always try to find after parties to attend each night. Laura, however, always brings her sewing machine, scissors, and hot glue gun so that her and Shaun can go back to their hotel each night and work for hours to prep for the next day. They are Little Petal's vendor besties so I have seen this in action and while I tease them (because I want them to hang out with me during the few times a year I see them), I am really very much in awe. This is both "relationship goals" and "inspirational women I look up to" at it's absolute highest for me. She is also very open about mental health issues- ours being very similar to each other, which as someone who constantly strives to smash stigmas, I really adore. While it is the most satisfying thing in the world, this line of work is not easy. The hours are constant. The pay per hour is barely minimum wage. Days/weekends off do not exist. You constantly have to explain your worth to people who already know it. It is very difficult not to get burnt out. And when I see Laura, I think, if she can do this with another full-time job, then I can do this too, because we both love what we do so much. I also think, God I wish she would quit her other job and do PopCycled full-time because she's so creative (but that's her decision). And lastly, I think, thank God she has Shaun so she doesn't have to do this alone.

Please follow PopCycled Baubles "Handmade Chic for the Discerning Geeks" at:
https://www.facebook.com/PopCycled

If you will be at NYCC, visit booth 1883 and buy something because everything is perfect. If you've been to my booth at a convention, you should recognize Margot who is helping out if you visit on Friday or Saturday. Give her a high five (you know how we complete sales at Little Petal).

Thank you Laura for being a friend, an inspiration, and someone I can always bounce ideas off of or vent to. The convention circuit is a weird little world and I am so glad I found you in it. I will always tie your dresses for you as long as you (and Shaun) will always keep a night open to go out to dinner with me.

Badass Babe of the Week: Shea Wishard

Shea is a technical writer and former English teacher who aspires to be a published author. Most of her writing blends the boundaries between reality and fantasy. When she looks at the world, she see it the way it's presented in Big Fish and Finding Neverland: something fantastical. (I would definitely buy her books)! Her favorite fandoms are Avatar and Mass Effect. FemShep is her personal hero because "she is an unapologetic badass with phenomenal voice acting." Video games and fantasy were a huge part of her childhood. Her brothers and her were constantly coming up with imaginative games and stories when they weren't collaborating on Mario or Sonic. It sounds like she was born to be a storyteller.

At Magfest, Shea ordered a custom design based on Katara because according to her- "she protects the people she loves. Her family and friends are her everything." She very clearly has a gigantic heart and embodies her chosen character- which I always love. My table is super overwhelming to look at during conventions because it is just full of beautiful women looking thrilled in bright dresses- so I tell people to just look up, ignore the photos, and ask themselves who they would want to be if they could be any one character. Who do they see themselves as? And I think she nailed it. Based on just her writing style in our emails and her view of the world, I personally cannot wait to read her first book.

Thank you Shea for trusting my concept and sending me tons of photos of you in your dress, which always makes me feel soooooo damn instantly better about my life.

Badass Babe of the Week: Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah is a full time freelance artist who does both contract work for companies and original concept oil paintings. She travels frequently to vend at conventions along with Studio deSade, and has been designing trading cards for Topps for eleven years. Her art has been used on comic book covers, as comic book pinups, story illustrations, children’s Halloween masks, children’s books, even remote control cars and toys for Disney. Basically, everyone loves Sarah's art. Her favorite fandoms and characters are Doctor Who, Star Wars -especially Han Solo, Spider Jerusalem, Deadpool, X-Files, Twilight Zone (a girl after my own heart), Outer Limits, Universal Monsters -especially Creature From the Black Lagoon, Pan's Labyrinth, and Star Trek. She is a wannabee crazy cat lady and a foodie whose soul is always on the road. She has lived in seven states, is a leftie, and hates black licorice.

I fell platonically in love with Sarah the moment I met her at WonderCon 2015. She had this piece of art, Heart Strings, that completely stopped me in my tracks when I finally took a ten minute break to walk through artist alley. I probably wasted five minutes of it standing gasping going "that's me"- I probably would not have done this if a human were actually at the table because I looked real awkward. Her table happened to be in eyesight of mine and I spent the next two days torturing myself looking at it, waiting to be able to go over and ask about it. Finally, I did and before I could even open my mouth, Sarah said "how much are your dresses? I've been dying looking at them all weekend but haven't had a moment to get to your booth!" So I said- "funny story, I came here to buy all your prints, let me go get an order form." It took her months to decide which dress she wanted, which was fine with me because it meant I got to chit chat a lot with this girl who I thought was incredibly impressive who's favorite fandoms are all the same as mine and who is cooler than me (and I admittedly have a big ego so that's saying a lot). Every time she puts a new piece up, it makes my day a little better. I always interpret her art exactly opposite of how she means it, but maybe that's okay because it's art and hers is deeply important to me. Every time Sarah and the rest of Studio deSale's are at a convention, I tell everyone to check out their work because I view them as part of my "con family" who I wish I got to spend more time with.

If you are at DragonCon this weekend, they will be at Second Floor 109D-111D. To view Sarah's work and convention schedule visit: http://www.sarahwilkinson.net/ and https://www.facebook.com/art.of.Sarah.Wilkinson

Thank you Sarah for constantly putting out artwork that drives my emotions, for always being genuinely sweet, and for designing my favorite tattoo (I literally said "I can't believe I get to look at this every day for the rest of my life" after getting it).

Badass Babe of the Week: Danielle Nolasco

Danielle is an aspiring computer technician putting herself through college and chasing her dreams. She builds her own computers and is planning on writing a book. She is particularly obsessed with Dragon Age. I mean- "My favorite characters are all of them. Main DA romances are Zevran, Fenris and Sera. Fave bad guy is Corphy because dat voice actor. I can't stop playing mages. I have a nug and a mabari plush, named Piddlypoops and Ser Calenhad respectively." I particularly enjoy when someone is really really into one specific thing so I thought I'd share that. Danielle also has a cat named Eddard after Ned Stark, is addicted to hot fries, and is a lvl20 in Pokémon Go.

Danielle came back and forth to my booth at Magfest a couple times debating on a custom Morrigan dress, just as everyone does with their orders. She came to model it in Manhattan, and will always stick out to me because I think in the two and a half years that I've been having my photographs taken professionally, Danielle is the only girl who ever just stood in front of the mirror and wrapped herself in her dress while she was waiting for me between shots. Obviously I rewrapped her because I am anal retentive but she did a great job for a first go around! Typically the shoots are very goofy for as systematic as they are, but something about this just gave me the utmost joy. It was like she had to know just what she could do with her dress, and it's exactly what I tell everyone to do when they first receive theirs out of the box. Her inquisitive behavior and ultra nerdiness make her this week's Badass Customer Babe.

Thank you my fellow Danielle for your taking me off guard with your curiosity and for visiting my booth again at AwesomeCon!

Badass Babe of the Week: Chelie Setzer

Chelie is a program associate at Council on Foreign Relations, helping to spread knowledge of international affairs to policy makers. She grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and enjoys visiting home to be around the fields and tractors. She loves too many fandoms to count but Harry Potter started it all and is her most obsessive. Some other favorites are Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra, Doctor Who, Star Trek, D&D, the Marvel cinematic universe, Futurama, Mass Effect, and Portal (I didn't read all these until typing them and now I think I'm in love).

Chelie has one of the most intoxicating smiles I have ever encountered. Typically at the photoshoots, my photographer, Brian, likes to remind the girls that these aren't serious model shots. We want to see how much fun our customers are having in their dresses. We like to keep the initial "oh my god i love my dress" squee throughout the shoot. With Chelie, we did not have to say that because it was impossible to wipe the smile off her face. She is just a nonstop pleasant parade of compliments and I cannot wait to make another dress for her.

Thank you Chelie for bringing joy to other people's day just by being you and for writing me one of my favorite reviews!

Badass Babe of the Week: Emily Tiedeman

By day, Emily is an IT project manager. By night, she sells LulaRoe, comfortable and modest clothing for kids and adults. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoe.EmilyTiedeman/) Her favorite fandoms are Doctor Who, Firefly, and Harry Potter. She obviously loves She-ra! She has a Corgi named River (@riverthecorgi) and they compete in agility. She also has a German Sheperd/ Golden Retriever mix who is a retired therapy dog.

Emily's reaction to her dress the first time she saw it on herself in the mirror of the bathroom at Magfest was so enthusiastically perfect- that later in the day the woman who was in the bathroom with us came up to the table and bought a dress for herself. (I really should be taping customer's reactions to their dresses because the squees are the cutest)! She's so patiently sweet, and now after learning her dog's name, I understand our mutual obsession with River Song -who she ordered a second dress based on three months after receiving her first dress.

Thank you Emily for being a repeat customer whose smile pumps me up whenever I see you at my booth!

Badass Babe of the Week: Dana Rasmussen

Dana is a federal data cruncher who truly embodies her chosen character! She loves Legend of Zelda, Bob's Burgers, Dragon Age, and Steven Universe. She is a huge fan of reinterpreting her favorite stories and characters to be able to rep them along with herself.

I was SO excited when Dana messaged me asking about Sardonyx because I had just started watching Steven Universe and was so pumped on this incredible show that successfully infuses intersectional feminism into it, and had also just made Lapis, Opal, and Rose. When I found out that she is 6'5", I wanted to do a back flip at how perfect of a choice the character was. We unfortunately were not able to schedule a photo shoot but I managed to be able to meet up with her at AwesomeCon to tie her up and talk a bit before rushing back to my table. I'm so glad Sardonyx stole your heart so you could be my Giant Woman.

Thank you Dana for telling me you admire my dresses, trusting my design, and being a Badass Giant Babe!

Badass Babe of the Week: Melissa Lorenzana

Melissa is a native New Yorker who teaches immigrant students English. She recently relocated to Florida for some fun in the sun and to make all of her friends jealous of her near constant Disney adventures. Her fandoms range from the Justice League to Doctor Who, but are mainly book based. Calling her a massive comic book nerd is an understatement. Her first crush was Matt Murdock, when she was 7 years old, but now her heart beats solely for Wally West. Loud Melissa was also a booker for the longtime New York DIY punk venue ABC No Rio.

I met Melissa behind the merch table at ABC No Rio while I was constructing a wedding veil for a Zatanna dress. I needed a head to momentarily model it on so she excitedly offered hers up. Sparks immediately flew when she found out what my company was (and that I played hand saw in the punk band she booked for that show). She nailed her photoshoot with her vivid tattoos and vivacious personality that practically jumped out of the screen. She was one of my first convertible dress customers, and the sheer amount of genuine compliments she gave me in regards to fit and comfort of her dress furthered my realization of just how few companies really pay attention to plus size women and how I will never be able to understand how hard that must be; so the least I can do is make sure my customers always feel magnificent. Melissa is someone who holds an extra special place in my heart because she was very vocal to me that my sobriety helped her on her own journey. I am incredibly proud of how strong she is, and could pick no better time than when she's about to hit her one year milestone to highlight how badass she is.

Thank you for being my sober sister and for always talking nerdy with me. Double wedding= you & Wally, me & Hal <3

Badass Babe of the Week: Allison Irving

Allison is a teacher's assistant with a degree in Early Childhood Care. She is working towards eventually having a daycare classroom of her own for age 12-18 months or 18 months- 2.9 years because everything is new and exciting to them and they keep you on your toes. Ally is also a Cosplay Queen who is constantly posting photos of her adaptations of characters- especially Once Upon a Time/ Disney. Her other favorite fandoms include Pokémon, Labyrinth, Full Metal Alchemist, Sailor Moon, Legend of Zelda, Inuyasha, Harry Potter, Firefly, and Mario. She really enjoys a well thought out villain. She also loves metal and classic rock (hell yeah).

Allison is one of the most endearing girls I have ever met. She has one of those completely bubbling, shining personalities that makes you feel good just to be around. One of the beauties of owning a small business is getting to know your customers, especially the repeat ones. I love every time she posts a new cosplay photo because I know how into character she gets. Her Elsa photoshoot is still one of my favorites because her free style (or as we call them "vogue") poses were so uniquely hers and dynamic and really how Elsa would act if she were captured in a photo studio in Manhattan. I cannot wait for the day that I hear she opens her own daycare where both the children and the teachers are encouraged to dress in cosplay to enhance their creativity during their developmental years instead of stifling it.

Thank you Allison for being the sweetest Badass Customer Babe of the Week, helping me out at NYCC, and always being ultra enthusiastic of my designs for your dresses!

Badass Babe of the Week: Tammy Demko

Tammy is a dental hygienist and a Dryad Enchantress, constantly hiking or camping, and finding inner peace through nature. Her goal is to work to live so she can scratch her travel itch often. Her bucket list is never-ending, and stretches further with each trip she takes. Tammy is truly connected to mother Earth. She uses essential oils to make products that are all natural and good for your body, such as toothpaste and deodorant (which I've actually used on my tattoos!). She plans to expand to using herbs and growing plants to make her own tinctures and home remedies as well as health and beauty products. During the winter, she gets her workout fix via yoga and aerial silks. Tammy also creates gorgeous crotchet pieces from hats to reconstructed vintage shirts. Her favorite animes are Death Note, My Love Story, the Studio Ghibli movie collection, Samurai Champloo, and her first love- Inuyasha. She is always looking for new suggestions! Her current cartoon obsession is Rick and Morty, and while this is not a fandom, as long as I've known Tammy, she has been enamored with Saves the Day.

Tammy has been my best friend for over 16 years, which is more than half of the time we've spent on this planet. I've watched her grow from a girl who never left NJ in her entire life, to someone with a likeminded travelers heart who feels stifled when they aren't roaming the country. I feel as if I was able to see her transform into who she always wanted to be, and it will never stop being exciting to watch her spread her wings. The oneness she has found within herself and wisdom she evokes during our conversations is something I cherish. I try to internalize her words and grow from them. She also taught me how to sew when we were sixteen, so without her, there literally would be no Little Petal! There is no one that I hold dearer to my heart which is why she is my Valentine's Day Badass Babe of the Week.

Thank you Tammy, my Tambi, Tambone: for always being there for me. You will forever be my platonic life partner, and I will love you more and more as we get older and wiser and continuously more attractive than when we were young and foolish and mall goths. Drop a pin on a map, we can go anywhere.

Badass Babe of the Week: Leanna Stager!

Leanna is the Scholarly Publications Librarian at Hofstra- School of Medicine. Unlike one of her many obsessions, Welcome to Nightvale, she is a librarian who can be trusted. Contact with her will not lead to fatality. She is a huge Korra, Steven Universe, and Gravity Falls nerd, as well as Doctor Who and Firefly. Leanna is also the webmistress for littlepetal.net and my head booth babe at conventions. She is a knitter and a baker and a cook and general maker of yummy things. She is co-producing a horror movie titled Theresa and Allison. Leanna is the only woman I know who was in a fraternity... because she is just a self aware unstoppable Queen. I wanted to write a thousand other awesome things about her but she asked me not to.

Leanna is my platonic better half and the driving force behind Little Petal. If you have been to the booth at any convention, you have met her. She's the girl that looks better in my dresses than I do. She selflessly uses her vacation days at her actual job to drive sometimes up to fifteen hours each way or fly across the country then stand all weekend to sell my dresses with me, just because she believes in my company so much. (I'm sure the flocks of women telling her how pretty she looks also helps). She lets me bounce ideas off her daily and helps me with all the little things that exhaust me just to think about doing. She is the "Danielle Wrangler." She is the type of friend who brings you your favorite ice cream and a box of your favorite cereal when she knows you've been up working for three days straight and are too stressed out to stop to go to the grocery store. I literally could not run my company without this girl's existence. I cannot imagine she could ever truly understand just how thankful I am that she is in my life. All I can do is keep telling her. She is by far, one of the most important people I will ever know.

Thank you Leanna, for being my badass right hand lady and my greatest friend.