By Amie Kiehn & Ryan Bailey

The latest installment of the club’s Small Business Spotlight initiative is celebrating and recognizing three incredible Women-owned businesses in the Charlotte area

Pretty Honest Candles is a handmade soy candle company, dedicated to bringing clean-burning candles to homes across the globe. Owner and Creative Director Andrea Richter founded the company in Charlotte in 2017.

You recently made the decision to dedicate yourself full-time to Pretty Honest Candles. How has that been going?

To be honest, I was laid off due to COVID and therefore forced into making it a full-time gig. But it all worked out for the best! My business has since gone viral a few times, and I am truly enjoying the ride.

What has been your proudest moment as a business owner so far?

Moving into my warehouse! After taking over our house, I debated if I would even need a warehouse and now less than a year later, I’m about to outgrow this one.

What woman inspires you and why?

My mom. She wakes up every day and chooses love. She is an absolute light in this world and I hope to be half the woman she is.

Why do you think Charlotte is among the 10 best U.S. cities for women entrepreneurs?

The Women-owned business community here is amazing! We don’t see each other as competition, even if we are. At any given time, we are willing to help each other out and rally for one another. It’s incredibly inspiring.

Papi’s Puerto Rican Cuisine, located in the University area, is committed to providing the best Puerto Rican cuisine, with a smile! Papi’s is the brainchild of Chef Tara Quinones, who previously ran a highly successful catering business in North Carolina.

Your restaurant went viral on Tiktok. Tell us how the support from the community has changed since then?

That was a complete surprise, we could not believe it! We had people from New York and California tell us that they saw it! And they didn’t even follow us on TikTok.

We are so thankful to the community for coming out in long lines to support us after seeing it.

What is your favorite menu item to make?

That would be our Papi’s Pernil with Mojo Sauce (roast pork) and our Caramel Flan!

What woman inspires you and why?

The woman that inspires me has always been my mother. She also was a single mom and an overachiever. Through all life’s struggles, she always came out victorious. As a single mom, she graduated from several fine universities holding many degrees, and also is a retired Colonel in the United States Army.

Why do you think Charlotte is among the 10 best U.S. cities for women entrepreneurs?

The city of Charlotte puts an emphasis on women-owned businesses—there’s no doubt.

There’s something about women that makes us able to take on the huge responsibilities of running a business and home at the same time. We’re able to hold much on our plate and execute everything and make it look easy, even though it’s very tough and stressful. We are multitaskers at our best!

Davidson Wine Co. is owned and operated by lawyer-turned-winemaker Lindsey Williams. Davidson, N.C.’s first urban winery was started out of the desire to bring affordable and locally made wine options to the town.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

My dream job was always to be a lawyer—that’s why it was so surprising to those close to me when I decided to leave my career to open Davidson Wine Co.

Tell us a bit about your journey to starting the business.

Opening the business was a long process that started with a partnership with a California Winery. Then, there was wine education, wine-making classes, and rehabbing a historic building for our premises.

What woman inspires you and why?

Locally, Mayor Vi Lyles has always been a huge inspiration. The way she has led the city of Charlotte through hard times and never backed away from adversity has been truly amazing!

Why do you think Charlotte is among the 10 best U.S. cities for women entrepreneurs?

Charlotte has been so receptive to small businesses—especially women-owned businesses. The desire to shop local is strong here, and I’ve found the community of women here extremely supportive and uplifting.

From Monday, March 8th to Sunday, March 14th, each business is having a special deal for Charlotte FC Supporters. You can shop online or on-location to get 15% when you use or mention “CLTFC”.