Courtney Bianchi is the boss lady behind Whiskey & Pearls, a connecting community encouraging women to follow their own arrow, and work in community with one another, not in competition. (We love that btw. Amen to sisterhood!) Courtney put her roots down in Austin, Texas 7 years ago and hasn’t looked back. Prior to coming to Texas, she lived all over the United States and even overseas for a stint of time - we’ll get to that in just a bit. Now that she’s an Austin local, she’s finding her footing by connecting with other fantastic females over good food, cocktails and, of course, conversation. Be sure to read to the end for one of Courtney’s go-to taco joints.
Esperos joined Courtney last month at a pop-up party she hosted at the Peached Social House. We were so inspired by her mission and how she carries it out, we knew we had to share that with you. Courtney is a pro when it comes to creating community, authenticity and the power of vulnerable connection. Take a peek into Courtney’s life as we chat about everything W&P, being a lady boss and all her purse necessities.
Whiskey & Pearls June pop-up event at the Peached Social House. Photo courtesy of Ideology Photography.
What are 3 things you wish people knew about you?
1. I'm more of an introvert than people may think - even though I love building community and fostering relationships, I equally love my alone time at home - reading a good book or listening to music.
2. My background is in theatre and music performance - I love to sing!
3. I spent a part of my childhood living overseas in Denmark - that time in my life was one of my favorite childhood memories
You launched Whiskey and Pearls as we know it today in August 2016, What inspired you to create this community for women?
I wanted to create a safe space - meaning, an open, non-judgemental, non-catty place that was a comfortable place to be vulnerable. I was inspired by all the creative gal pals I was meeting in Austin who were craving the same thing I was - meeting good girlfriends to connect with. From there it grew to bringing women together monthly for honest, intentional conversations that proved we are stronger together.
Courtney sporting her new Esperos clutch. She was drawn to our one-of-a-kind, hand-painted event clutch because of its versatility and spunk. We loved the way it paired with her vibrant red dress.
What makes Whiskey & Pearls different than other networking or social events?
Our gatherings are curated and are small, no more than 30 women. The experience is crafted so that we start with a 30-minute mingling period to help you find your footing, maybe a new friend, and mingle at ease. Then we break up into smaller groups based on similar interests/hobbies/careers/dreams so that you can walk away having really spent some time getting to know 3-4 other women. And then we circle back with the entire group so that everyone has a chance to share her name and her quick story. This guarantees that you'll walk away having had a conversation with someone new, and you're able to expand your network in more intentional ways.
If you could give women 4 reasons it is important to grow and foster community, what would they be and why?
1. When you have the support of "your unique tribe" you're less likely to listen to the negative voices in your head.
2. When we are growing and focusing on our own truth, that positive energy makes an impact on others. That positive focused energy raises the vibration of energy.
3. You never know the kind of impact you are making on someone when you share your story of growth - where you were and where you are now.
4. Surrounding yourself with your community of people who get you and love you unconditionally, I believe, makes one a healthier, more joyful person. I know I'm more joyful after spending quality time with my community.
A close up look at the hand-painted clutch that Courtney picked out. This piece was done by local Austin artist, Avalon McKenzie.
Yes, girl! We are loving all the compassionate wisdom you’re sharing. One thing we strive for here at Esperos, is creating bags that are as unique as the women who carry them. So tell us, if you were an Esperos bag which one would you be? Why?
The wine foldover clutch - a vibrant colored, perfectly sized bag for a night out on the town or weekend brunch.
What items do you always carry with you?
Benjamin Soap Co. chapstick (1), hand lotion, Eleve Cosmetics all natural lip gloss (4), Mac eyeliner - Teddy (2), my Fossil Wallet, and a pair of sunnies (3).
Shop Courtney's favorite brands by clicking on these links: Benjamin Soap Co. chapstick, Eleve Cosmetics all natural lip gloss.
Since I’m relatively new to Austin, naturally I have one last question I need an answer to: where can I get the best tacos in town?
The spot I can't get enough of is Vasquez, up off 183 and Anderson Mill - homemade tortillas!
I’ve personally never been to Vasquez, but it’s officially at the top of my ever-growing list of taco joints to try. Meet up, anyone?!Before you go, if you’re wanting to take a look at Courtney’s Esperos bag picks, click here and here.