Women impacted by the pandemic are making strides with their own businesses

On International Women’s Day, two women from New Jersey are setting an example through art and business.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit women harder than men. About 500,000 women have lost their jobs in the past year – many of whom work in retail.
Cassandra DeMauro was among that group. But she is now mounting a comeback.
“I thought I would be with Ralph Lauren until I retired,” she says.
DeMauro was let go in the fall after 13 years with the company. She was working for Ralph Lauren’s golf division.
“That was like my ultimate dream job for them, so I spent my time selling the most beautiful Ralph Lauren products to the most beautiful golf courses in New Jersey. And I got to work with the most beautiful golf courses in the country,” she says.
But DeMauro is now moving on to her next dream – launching Mill and Co. Lifestyle and Home Goods last week. It is an e-commerce retail shop. She is part of a growing number of women entrepreneurs.
“My job is to create beautiful portraits,” says Jayne Scalisi. “It’s very empowering to exist in an actual photograph and leave something behind for your children, your legacy.”
Scalisi’s gift is capturing that legacy. Jayne Michael Photography is not the average vision. From a woman’s strength to a child’s innocence.
“To capture the true essence of their face and their features without a forced or fake smile is really beautiful to me,” she says.
She says that she also wants to inspire moms who are often the ones taking the photos.
DeMauro says that she can relate – but in her case, it is sometimes taking selfies while getting the word out about her new brand. She says that one thing she learned during the pandemic is that life can be messy.
“I’m a mom myself of a toddler, of a 10-month-old and I feel like if things are disheveled and funny, people are connecting with like, ‘she’s doing it. She’s like running amok and it’s fine,’” DeMauro says.
About 3 million women have left the workforce in the past year. DeMauro says that she is thankful for the support. Over the first few days of her new business, she sold out of products and has already had to restock.