Lady Boss :: Onna Hepner of Full & Happy

This post is part of a series of interviews with Lady Boss hostesses.

Onna Hepner of Full & Happy is hosting our December Lady Boss in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — and we couldn't have been more excited when she volunteered to host in her cooking studio! When we first met Onna at a Lady Boss earlier this year, we became suspicious that she might just be Super Woman. She is involved in so much and she does it all so well! Can't wait to get to know her even better — we are convinced she'll have her own awesome cooking show some day (probably not too far in the future). So here we go — get to know Onna!

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LET'S GET TO KNOW THIS LADY:

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Lately, I've been loving these grapefruit seltzers from Trader Joe's — Spindrift Seltzer. I drink 2 a day!

Q: Guilty pleasure?
A: Public access cooking shows.

Q: What are you listening to lately?
A: Just finished "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering" ebook. Music wise, I just saw My Morning Jacket live, and they're just an incredible band. Jim James's voice is so captivating. I love live music (my fiancé owns the Ardmore Music Hall)...last week I saw Everyone Orchestra there, an improvisational jam band with rotating members.

Q: Who are you crushing on?
A: Jamie Beck (@annstreetstudio). She's perfectly styled and her life just seems cool.

Q: Current mantra? 
A: Drink water and mind your business today.

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WHAT MAKES HER A BOSS:

Q: What do you do?
A: In the Full & Happy Cooking Studio, I teach private, customized cooking lessons and host intimate dinners for small groups. I'm also a food stylist, and use my studio space for personal and freelance food styling & photography projects. I love putting my personal details and touches on an experience for someone — everything from the lesson plan itself, to the candles and music in the room and the way the table is set.

Q: Tell us about a project you recently wrapped.
A: I love hosting dinners or cooking lessons for people celebrating special occasions — it's an honor to be a part of what will become a wonderful memory for someone someday. I recently hosted a cooking lesson that was a Dad's gift to his whole family, and at the dinner, the daughter told the family that she was expecting.

Q: What makes you go to work each day? 
A: I find the work of other chefs and artists of all kinds to be very motivating — seeing others who are putting in work and making beautiful and great things happen, often in the face of adversity or challenge, inspires me to do my best work. I have very high standards, and that motivates me too — but I do have to be careful that that doesn't cripple me. A healthy amount of dissatisfaction with the status quo leads to constant improvement in the process. I'm also deeply moved and motivated when a client takes the time to write me a nice review or thank you note, recommends me to a friend, or tells me they've just had one of the best meals of their life. That's high praise! When my clients and collaborators are happy, I'm happy too. And a job well done is motivation for the next project.

Q: Tell us about a dream project or client.
A: I would LOVE to have a cookbook photographed in my studio, and I'd like to be the prep cook and assistant for the shoot. I love studio work, both photography and videography. There's an energy that happens when a group of people get together and each person is responsible for a part of the puzzle. I also really want to launch a public supper club, where people can come together that don't know one another and enjoy a great meal together. I'd also like to be in front of the camera someday — explaining my cooking how-to's to people.

Q: What made you decide to host a Lady Boss? 
A: One of the hardest things for me with starting my business has been the lonely factor. When you're trying to get something going, it takes a lot of time and energy, and I was starting to feel alienated from people who had "normal" lives and the time to do things like go to the movies or read books. While I'm trying making room for those activities, there are only so many hours in the day. I've met so many awesome, hard-working ladies through this group, and it's just the beginning! It's helpful and motivating to be around other badass, business-building ladies.

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