We took some time to interview Bryn Carter and Shayla Preeshl, to talk about the amazing girl power forward collective that they started. Bringing boss babes from all walks of life together, creating connections, promoting local businesses, and sharing good quality time together,
Tell me a little about the bad ass babes that created Safeword. What are each of your backgrounds? What brought the two of you together? What things started happening in your life that drove you to wanting a project of this nature? What was the turning point in your life that brought you to this thing that is Safeword.
B: I’m a Midwest girl, I moved here from a city outside of Chicago called Rockford after living in Australia for a while. The two of us actually met on a shoot a year ago – Shayla was styling and I was modeling. We clicked immediately and started hanging out after that. In all honesty, the idea for Safeword was really finalized one night at my house after a lot of wine haha. But before that, we had attended creative meet-ups (where we found a lack of female attendees) and women entrepreneur events (which we found to be full of cliques) and realized there was a real need for a place for female creatives and entrepreneurs to come together and network while growing alongside one another both personally and professionally. We refer to it as our coming-to-Jesus moment that night but between the two of us, we know so many amazing women in this city and our hope is to get these women working with one another and eventually take this to other cities as well.
S: I hail from small-town Montana, and have a background in wardrobe styling and marketing. I had lived in Denver for a few years, and found it difficult in my time here to connect with fellow creative women. Another turning point for us was when we had attended a local meetup, and it felt the opposite of welcoming for the babes who attended. We realized we need to do something for the ladies, there is too much talent here that is underrepresented!
Tell me a little about Safeword itself. What does the word mean/why did you choose this title?. Y’all have thrown some awesome events over the last few months, I attended the last at Ft. Greene and had an awesome time. What’s the purpose of events like these?
Well, we like to play a lot with words and their meanings. For example, on our website we have a section called ‘Centerfolds’ which has always referred to usually a sexy woman in the middle of some raunchy magazine. We wanted to reclaim these words that may have been used to degrade or to put down women and now our ‘Centerfold’ section is where we interview amazing creative women and entrepreneurs who share their stories. Safeword is the same – we wanted to use a work that represented a safe place that women could come together and feel comfortable.
The purpose of these events is to do networking differently – we like to have amazing artists and business owners there who can show their work, do their work, sell their products and meet some incredible women along the way. From our previous networking experiences, we had felt a sense of in-authenticity. Interactions felt robotic and forced. We always describe our events as hanging out with your girlfriends. We have a ton of ladies who come to them alone, and end up leaving with a babe squad worth of contacts and friendships by the end.
What was the goal in creating this group? How has it been going and how can local babes keep perpetuating the growth of that?
The goal is simple really – get all these amazing women together in one spot so they can network and build this business while also building their friend groups. We had a lot of women who just moved to the city come to our last event and reach out to thank us after because they were having such a hard time meeting women, and after our event they had some genuine new friends to hang out with. It’s things like those moments that let us know we are doing something right and hopefully will keep growing Safeword into something great. We hope to bring this to a national level, as we know of markets that are even more difficult to meet women in these industries than Denver. One other goal we focus on is creating an open dialogue amongst women, so instead of being pit against one another we can conquer avenues together through those relationships. The support we have received locally has been overwhelming. We launched this as a passion project, but had no idea how our audience would react. The fact that it has exceeded our expectations in growth by a long shot continues to motivate us.
What upcoming events do we have to look forward to? Any extra awesome stuff coming in the near future?
People always ask why we aren’t doing events all the time haha and we get asked weekly to partner with people on other events, but end of the day, we are not an event company and we really have to commit to why we started Safeword and stick to the quarterly networking events. Shayla and I also do this as a side hustle – she works full -time for a bad ass, women-owned and operated PR firm in town, I am a realtor and working to open a women’s co-working space (details coming soon babes). This is something we feel so strongly about and we are beyond thankful for all the amazing women we have met and the support we have been shown. Safeword is what it is because of the incredible babes of this city. Look for our next big event in the winter but might be one or two beforehand – we will be sure to keep you informed.