We had the good fortune of connecting with Elysia Newman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elysia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The first thing you should know about me is that I’m a recovering control freak. I love a good plan and the word uncertainty has always made me uneasy. It wouldn’t be true however, to say that I’ve never taken any risks. I’ve done some really big things that have involved risk; starting multiple businesses, moving across the world, taking numerous jobs that I’ve had to grow into, collaborating with people, having any relationship in general…it all involves risk. The reality is that most situations in life will involve risk and often times, the more profound question for me is not “if” but “how.”
How I’ve come to think about risk and taking chances, isn’t so much a bold choice, but more of an expander. So often, we hear the word risk and it triggers this extreme scenario where you either succeed or fail. What I’ve learned in my coup d’etat with risk is that it’s highly possible to take risks and not set yourself up for all or nothing. You don’t have to blindly “geronimo” yourself into situations in order to enjoy the free fall. Risk can be a space to explore, push boundaries and hopefully grow from.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Style412 is a 501(c)3 fashion non-profit dedicated to the advancement of emerging professionals and growth of industry in Pittsburgh, PA. www.style412.com
What I’m most proud of (and what sets us apart) is that we are the first non-profit dedicated to fashion in our city. Traditionally, Pittsburgh is not the city you’d think of when it comes to fashion but we became an entity out of necessity and our mission is “to inspire conscious & inclusive industry, connecting and educating fashion industry professionals throughout the Pittsburgh region.” Before us, there was no unifying go-to resource for individuals within this space and not gonna lie, it’s been a challenge in a lot of ways because of this.
We built everything from the ground up and everything you see today is what myself and my board (a team of 8 badass females) have accomplished in 4 years.. While we are getting into the fundraising game and beginning to receive support from foundations in our community, it’s been largely grassroots. Meaning, we’ve volunteered A LOT of time and we’ve banged on a lot of doors.
Recently, I was having a conversation with a board member who was contemplating the answer to a question I’m sure a lot of us who serve communities have, “Why am I doing this?” After volunteering for so many years, it takes very special team with extreme love for what we do to push through some days. But it’s that exact love and deeply seeded belief in what we’re doing that keeps us going….
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spots to hit up right now during this pandemic life are all within walking distance from where I live. Ideal days usually compose of walking down from my house in Stanton Heights on a sunny day, stopping at La Gourmandine for some french pastries (forever fan of the almond croissants) and heading to my coworking space at Arsenal Motors to hang. They have a big open space there with the most beautiful chairs and windows to people watch. For lunch, we’d walk back down the street to Reed & Co, for my favorite plant-based meal. Usually, the avocado toast and some fresh squeezed juice!
Afterwards we’d go to Manikure, Avere Beauty, Levity Float Lounge or Alchemy Dry Cut lounge for some self-care. Option to grab a rose matcha latte at Mosaic Leaf Matcha Bar for an afternoon pick me up. And then once the day was had, we’d start to head back stopping at Merchant Oyster Co for some prosecco on tap and Gold Dust Flowers for the freshest batch.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to do in Lawrenceville that have my absolute favorite spots in the city. I feel so lucky to call it my neighborhood.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My journey in evolving the Pittsburgh fashion landscape would not be nearly as exciting without the others who have believed in it’s potential as well; the others who have advocated for fashion in Pittsburgh and learned alongside me about what it takes to become a 501c3 non-profit. My story is also a story of community and all the fashion professionals within a industry who continue to pull together to bring progress and change.
Most of all my husband who didn’t even blink when I shared with him one day, “I think I’m going to start a non-profit.”
Kelley Bedoloto – www.kelleybedoloto.com