From calligraphers and dance instructors to photographers and tattoo artists, there is no shortage of creative women in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Now thanks to the Internet and, specifically, Facebook, finding these women all in one place has never been easier.
"Most of my clients come from Facebook," said Jenny Elliott, a local photographer and busy mom of three. Elliott not only showcases her work on her Web site, www.jenny-elliott.com, her own Facebook page, and her blog, but is also listed on a Facebook page dedicated solely to helping creative women find each other and helping others find them.
Jenny Elliott checks the display on her camera Thursday while looking for interesting places to shoot around town. Elliott is a local photographer specializing in lifestyle portraiture and is among the creative women listed on the Creative Women of the Mid-Ohio Valley Facebook page.
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"I came up with this idea last year, to have a Facebook page that encourages local support of female artists and entrepreneurs and to facilitate networking," said Rachel Hyde, the page's creator, a working mom, who also happens to be very creative.
"I paint and write and sew, when I have time, but I also realized that I am surrounded by so many women who are really talented," she said. "They put a lot of themselves into their craft but still have to balance being a mom, a wife and working."
Many of the women listed in categories ranging from voice instruction to culinary arts have either added themselves to the list or have been referred by someone else and quite a few have contacted Hyde to thank her for taking the initiative to put a spotlight on local talented women.
On the Web
Elliott said she was encouraged by Hyde to join the list early on.
"We ran in similar circles and we knew of each other through other creative women," she said. "When Rachel made the Web site, she knew that I did photography and said she wanted to add me to the listings ... I just think it's a great opportunity for all of the creative women in the Ohio Valley."
The idea of using social media just clicked for Hyde who said that the ease of using a site like Facebook is what makes it so successful.
"It's accessible in the middle of the night, the speed is great with social networking and, without spending any money, you can send your message to a lot more people than you would putting up fliers or sending e-mails," she said.
Marketing and advertising on Facebook is a trend that continues to grow, according to socialmediaexaminer.com, which cites a study from the Nielsen Company in 2010 that said average users spend a total of seven hours a month on Facebook.
The recent economic troubles make the social networking site even more appealing to smaller or start-up businesses as a way to increase their clientele.
"I use Facebook as a way to communicate with my clients. It's financially better for me as a small studio," said Jessica Ward, owner of Jessica's Dance Company on Second Street in Marietta.
"I get a lot of my business through word-of-mouth ... Rachel contacted me about being listed and I think it's just a wonderful idea. It's great that we can join together and it's women supporting other women."