Lakeside lady shuckers at a boat house party.

 

Girl power can be exemplified in many ways, including seeing a female sit in the big chair of a professional workplace.  The Junior League of New Orleans is committed to growing the next generation of girl bosses through the Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Fellowship, which financially supports female-owned businesses to help them reach the next level. Last year’s winner, a mobile oyster catering service called Two Girls One Shuck (TGOS), is a perfect example of a blossoming local business that has been able to take a big step forward because of JLNO’s WE Fellowship.

“Two Girls One Shuck had a dynamite year since we received our WE Fellowship last March,” says Becky Wasden, known as “The Nola Oyster Girl” and owner of TGOS.  “We have four on-site managers that help us do two to four events per day. Saturdays are our most popular day, especially September through May. Our mighty army of lady shuckers helps us share the oyster love all over the city! It’s been an amazing year of growth, and we are ready to keep climbing upward!”

From the exposure and new business TGOS received from being on the cover of Lagniappe, and the financial support, they were able to double their employees from 12 to 24 including 2-full time employees to staff the office JLNO’s WE Fellowship has helped TGOS expand the reach and stability of their footprint, as well as employee more New Orleans women.

“The fellowship helped in so many ways,” Becky says. “The technology grant….takes us in to the next five years.”

So often, women in all walks of life can be afraid of looking weak, so they avoid asking for help. Empowering each other by addressing and strengthening weaknesses is a key component of the WE Fellowship, and a crucial growing pain for any business that hopes to be successful long term.

“My biggest piece of advice for other female entrepreneurs would be to learn how to ask for help,” Becky says. “I am a very independent person, and it was difficult for me to admit to myself and others that I had faults and weaknesses. No single person has every skill set needed to run a small business. I knew I needed help to make this business grow, but more importantly, I needed help to make it grow in a sustainable way. I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing team of women with so many talents that help us thrive every single day!”

The WE Fellowship Grant also provides in-kind services for the recipient to help them in navigating the particulars of the business world. JLNO paved the way for TGOS to have access to a law firm to formalize catering contracts and a public relations coach to teach marketing and branding concepts, elements Becky had never thought about before winning the WE Fellowship. “Asking for help after recognizing my weaknesses has helped my business in ways I never dreamed possible,” she says.

Expansion plans are already underway for Becky and TGOS. She is planning to employ TGOS teams of female oyster shuckers beyond New Orleans and perhaps get involved in the process of growing oysters herself. TGOS would also like to offer oyster shucking classes to the public in the future.

All that adds up to more employed, empowered females as a woman-driven business succeeds and grows in today’s business climate. Not just women who are earning a paycheck, but an eclectic gaggle of lady shuckers who have found a valuable support system of friends and co-workers to help them navigate the twists and turns of life’s journey, personally and professionally.

“The most surprising part of this business is the bond that has grown between our 24 lovely ladies who work very hard to make this job look easy,” Becky says. “Shucking oysters is a true skill, and shuckin’ and jivin’ is even more difficult. We love to support one another, both inside and outside of the workplace. We have monthly lady-shucker socials. I adore every one of our gals who sacrifices Saturday nights for heavy lifting and gives so much love and respect to the Two Girls reputation around town.”

 


 

Two Girls One Shuck

www.twogirlsoneshuck.com
(504) 338-5239

 

Where Are They Now?

Lady shucker social: volunteering to help bag oyster shells with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.

 

Where Are They Now?

Lady Shuckers at Benachi House for a wedding.

 

Where Are They Now?

Lady shuckers at a backyard oyster party.