Today’s Shero Spotlight is business owner Tori Cingolani Riapo! I met Tori through mutual friends on Instagram and have become so inspired by the way she effortlessly owns and manages not one, but TWO businesses! Tori opened Lynn and Barrett, an online women’s fashion boutique with her mom in 2016 and St. Terra, a sustainable goods online retail shop with her husband in 2018. I am so excited to have her on the blog today and can’t wait to see where her passions take her next!
What was your background in business and entrepreneurship prior to Lynn and Barrett?
Zero and people find that so funny. I went to Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. I went to school for social media and graphic design. I didn’t take any business or marketing classes in college, but I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My parents have owned their own businesses my entire life so I’ve always been surrounded by people who own their own business and work for themselves. It was kind of just in my blood and it was the norm for me.
What was the inspiration behind Lynn and Barrett?
I graduated a year late, so my lease was all messed up and I ended up moving to Pittsburgh and moved in with my then boyfriend and I was working four jobs and going to school at the same time and one of my jobs was at a clothing boutique in the city. I absolutely loved it, like what girl doesn’t want to try on clothes all day and take pictures and post on social media. Surprising enough, [Lynn and Barrett] was actually my dad’s idea … he was like “why don’t you guys just do it on your own?”
How did St. Terra start?
My husband and I own it together, just a side project that we have. It’s a passion project that we started and St. Terra actually [has a double meaning]. “Terra” means “earth” or “world” in Italian and the abbreviated “Saint” is like the “S” is “save” and the “T” is “the.” So, [the name] means “Save the World.” We sell metal straws and straw cleaners and we will be venturing into hopefully other forms of non-plasticware of all sorts.
What was the inspiration behind St. Terra?
I am a tree hugger to my core. I’m a hippie, I could live without shoes my entire life, that’s just something that I’m really passionate about and it breaks my heart to see animals get hurt and all of the plastic and pollution in the world. We have a recycling branch as well where we do private recycling and some other [sustainable event planning] projects loosely in the works as well. [Head to this link & purchase a metal straw bundle, use the code “STRAW” and receive a second bundle for FREE!]
What has your experience been as a female entrepreneur?
Since I’ve been surrounded by it my entire life, it was a pretty simple project. So, I know a lot of female entrepreneurs so it’s really cool to be surrounded by super powerful women who don’t take any shit and get business done.
What advice would you give to other young business women?
I would say just do it. There is no progress in waiting. You just have to do it and learn along the way. Adapt with what the world needs and do what you’re passionate about and that’s what will make you happy.
Be sure to enter Tori’s giveaway on my Instagram!