Welcome to “Meet Brazen Member” an exclusive Brazen series featuring our Brazen Growth Group Members. We are excited to share a little bit of their professional and personal stories with you!
Casey Gardonio-Foat received her Ph.D. in Art History from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts in 2012. Shortly afterwards, she launched her first company, Casey York Design, creating patterns, fabrics, and workshops for the quilting industry and expanding into artisanal, hand-painted quilts and home accessories. Her newest venture, Wink & Rise, draws on the latest research about sleep’s importance for health, productivity, and happiness in creating a new retail concept focused on premium sleep accessories.
Wink & Rise celebrates the Art of Sleep, encouraging consumers to both appreciate sleep as a cornerstone of a healthy and productive lifestyle and also to enjoy it as the luxury it is. We do this by offering a thoughtfully curated selection of today’s very best sleep-related products and by aggregating the latest research and writing on the benefits of restful sleep and how to achieve it. Just as the concierge at a fine hotel helps guests to access the best a city has to offer, we seek to help our customers find and enjoy their best sleep, so they can make the most of their waking hours.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We love to pamper ourselves with delicious food, spa-level grooming, and boutique exercise, but we haven’t yet learned how to truly enjoy sleep, even though it is a fundamental cornerstone of living well.
What do you love most about being the boss?
Bringing an idea (and it’s attendant visual expressions) to fruition.
Which of your personal attributes do you think equips you the most to be an entrepreneur and why?
Creativity. According to the StrengthsFinder assessment, my primary strength is “Ideation” (or, as I sometimes self-deprecatingly refer to it, “Daydreaming”). I’m energized by developing and pursuing new ideas.
What is your favorite app/software that helps you with productivity?
I’m a new convert to QuickBooks, although I also rely on Adobe Illustrator heavily.
What is the hardest part about being a female entrepreneur and how do you overcome it?
What is your favorite piece of business advice?
Everyone can have a great idea; successful entrepreneurship is about persevering in making those ideas reality.
What is your preferred accounting software?
What is your favorite business / startup book?
Trading Up (Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske)
What service does your company outsource?
What is your favorite business / startup podcast?
The E-Commerce Masterplan podcast
What is the most important piece of technology your company uses?
My computer: I use it for keeping track of ideas and to-dos, product research, scheduling, communication, sales, bookkeeping, design, and pretty much everything else.
What is your favorite book?
Consider the Lobster, David Foster Wallace
One skill you’d like to learn this year?
I’d like to finally become skillful at bookkeeping.
What business woman or woman-led business do you admire and why?
Tory Burch: Not only did she develop a successful lifestyle brand from scratch, her foundation is dedicated to helping other women entrepreneurs succeed and grow.
What is your favorite non-work related hobby?
Who from history would you most like to meet and why?
Luisa Roldan, the first professionally successful female sculptor (in 17th century Spain!) and a subject of my dissertation.
How do you relax after a long day? Is there a small luxury you treat yourself to?
Talking with my kids about their days. And perhaps the occasional glass of champagne or scotch.
If you had an extra hour every day, how would you use it?
Reading: there’s so much great information at our fingertips these days, and I’d love to have an extra hour to indulge in absorbing more of it.
How did you hear about Brazen and why did you decide to sign up as a member?
I joined Brazen when it was still Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, as a member of a Growth Group, in order to network, learn from other women business owners, and gain a sense of accountability that would help me follow through on ideas.
How has being a Brazen Member impacted or changed your business?
I’ve built a network of amazing, supportive local women business owners, and gained access to fantastic professional resources.
How has your business grown since you joined Brazen?
With my first venture, Casey York Design, I grew from a quilt pattern designer to the producer of a line of couture home accessories. I’m also launching a new venture, Wink & Rise–dedicated to premium and prestige sleep-inspiring products–this spring!
Have you become more bold since becoming a Brazen Member?
What is the #1 benefit you feel you receive as a Brazen member?
Access to professional consultants in areas in which I have no previous experience (such as IT, legal services, etc.), and the opportunity to meet and get to know other local women entrepreneurs!