Meet Founder, Rachel Krieger
When you meet Rachel Krieger, founder of Ladies of Business Rockaway Beach (LBRB) and yoga teacher, you are immediately struck by her glow.
LBRB is a new organization that provides an outlet for female business owners to come together and offer support and help each other grow. Meetings often include speakers who provide the owners with resources and advice on how to make their business succeed. On Sunday, January 29, the group held its first fundraiser at Rockaway Brewing Co.
A day after LBRB’s hugely successful fundraiser, I met with Krieger at Rockaway Roasters, an intimate coffee shop in Rockaway Beach. We almost collided as I was running, (as usual), and she was dismounting her bike.
As I sipped my soy chai latte, and Krieger enjoyed her Kombucha, we discussed the huge turnout of more than 70 people at LBRB’s first-ever fundraiser and the $2,200 pot they raised to move forward with their mission.
Krieger’s eyes lit up. “I was so astounded and elated with the turnout we had, plus the money we raised,” she gushed. “Also, the turnout of the local women who own businesses here on the peninsula, their partners, families and friends was absolutely amazing!”
At the event, the business women bonded and many participated in the fundraising auction where participants chose from special sessions like joining Rashida Jackson of Sayra’s Wine Bar and Ship to Shore Wine Shop to taste and help select spring wines for next season’s menu; cooking a classic Peruvian meal with Leyla and Ximena Yrala of Chicks to Go; or spending an hour with Claudia Bloom on how to ace an actor’s audition, among other experiences.
According to Krieger, the goal of LBRB’s fundraising event was to help print and digitize an illustrated map of women-owned businesses on the peninsula, drawn by local artist, Ashley Wood; and launch the group’s website, which they already secured the domain: ladiesofbusinessrockaway.org. The map on their website will be interactive. Folks will be able to click on locations on the map, be directed to businesses’ websites, complemented with a Google Maps location. Also, with the money raised, LBRB can also move full speed ahead to achieve their nonprofit 501(c)(3) status.
Krieger describes herself as bi-coastal with Rockaway roots. “My mom is from Far Rockaway, she actually went to Far Rockaway High School and my dad had a summer home in Neponsit,” Krieger said.
I asked Rachel why she started LBRB, and what drives her passionate commitment to elevating women-owned businesses in Rockaway. “After working in luxury-retail management for Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Saks 5th Avenue, I was dissatisfied. I loved customer service because I love talking to people, and making them feel good about themselves,” she said. “However I needed something more. I took a break and moved to Rockaway. My brother, who owns the organic juice cafe, La Fruteria on Beach 97th Street’s concession stand, encouraged me to come. I loved the experience, but most of all talking to the women with businesses in Rockaway.
After a few personal hardships, it was these same women who supported me. I never felt more at home before. These women, with their own personal challenges as small business owners and moms with families kept saying, “You have so much light within you, pursue it.”
Krieger decided to go on a yoga journey to Hawaii. “Going to Hawaii was the genesis of my personal rejuvenation,” she said. “I returned to Rockaway, got my yoga-teaching certification, and decided that I wanted to help these women who helped me.” Krieger has been involved in local business herself, like the former Yoga on the Rocks studio, and she now teaches at the new studio, Rockaway Love (90-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard), along with fellow female yogis.
When in company of female friends who owned businesses, Krieger posed the idea: “Why don’t we just get together? Instead of fighting each other for business and being unhappy about it, why don’t we support each other, with the mission to attract more people to enjoy what we have to offer.”
Last May, Krieger started the “New Moon” LBRB’s meetings with women-business owners up and down the peninsula. “In the group meetings at the Rockaway Beach Retreat House, we shared ideas,” she said. “We probed questions: What’s working for businesses that have survived here? Why are women-owned businesses twice as likely to fail, compared to male-owned businesses? Our agenda first started as more of a fluid stream of talk, then we got more focused. As a group, we needed to take action to help each other grow. Not only the brick-and-mortar businesses, but women who work out of their homes too.”