Self made

Maybe you’re feeling alone because you have a severe case of FOMO. Maybe you’ve moved across the country to jumpstart a new life but are struggling to make connections. Maybe you’re feeling frustrated because your cubicle neighbor was promoted over you. Maybe you’re someone who over analyzes relationships, or maybe you’re just a woman who needs better balance to her life.

Well, one Phoenix entrepreneur is supplying a new opportunity for women to turn their lives around for the better, to find one’s “vibe” and one’s “tribe.”

Jayd Lem, 31, is hoping to empower women with her new company Femme Beat, an unplugged social dinner series focused on connecting women while fostering knowledge about life and career through an intimate and informal dinner party.

“You can’t do it on your own, so even though I’ve been self-made in regards to the business I’ve started, it’s really been a combination of people behind me that believe in me,” Lem says. “Women need to know there’s other people behind them.”

Born in Portland, Oregon by a single mother, raised in Los Angeles by her abusive adoptive family at the age of five, Lem says making good choices wasn't an option for her.

It wasn’t until her second arrest that she realized she had a choice. The judge told her she had to get her life together or go to jail. So, in college, she decided to take a personal development course for fun, she says.

Lem described her professor as her first mentor in life. He opened up a new world for her, she says. He taught her compassion, empathy, and forgiveness of her past and her parents, lessons which jumpstarted her path to self-discovery.

“Not only do I have a choice, but I don’t have to let my past define me,” Lem says. 

Since then, Lem immersed herself in modeling, marketing for a real estate company and traveling the world. In 2004, she migrated from Los Angeles to Phoenix where she added web development to her résumé. However, she says she got bored and wanted to switch industries completely.

In 2013, after reading an article about airbrush tanning and doing her research, Lem earned her certification in Los Angeles. Two weeks later, she signed a lease, obtained an LLC and opened Bronze Buddha Glow, an airbrush tanning business in Phoenix, with zero clients.

Lem started to build a fan base by attending networking events; however, she admits she can be socially awkward, and the events made her extremely uncomfortable.

“These forced connections feel so inorganic, and I would always leave thinking, ‘There’s got to be a better way to connect with people,’” Lem says. “Then I thought, maybe I can create a new networking event where people can sit down and enjoy each other’s company.”

Lem’s solution was to revolve the events around a meal, hosted at a unique space or home with only a few women, a comfortable setting for her networking anxiety.

Although Lem considers herself a feminist, she says she’s not a man-hater. She is just interested in connecting with women because she describes herself as a “girl’s girl” and relates to them better, she says.

But Lem doesn’t want the dinners to be about networking. Making friends out of this is only a bonus.

“Hopefully with these dinners, I can create different opportunities for women to hang out and meet new people in a very informal way,” Lem says. “Because I’m introverted, I just prefer more intimate settings; I enjoy deeper conversation, so how do I create an experience that inspires that kind of environment?”

Lem is hoping to gain some support for Femme Beat by using Kickstarter. She is currently trying to raise $10,000 to fund the first three dinners as well as using it to keep the new business afloat. The first dinner will be Nov. 3 and the second will be Dec. 14.

Each seat costs $65 which includes the meal, drinks, and videography and photography for the event. Each dinner will be paired with “genuine conversation,” says Lem, sparked by a guest speaker. The first will feature ASU alumna Jennifer Boonlorn, creator of Soul Carrier.

The conversations will be centered on career goals, defining success, sexuality and spirituality, self-talk and restoring balance to one’s life.

Lem’s target market is women between the ages of 25 and 35 who are corporate professionals, students, entrepreneurs, or any woman who is driven, spiritually curious, seeks personal development or is just yearning for something different, Lem says.

“Good conversation can open up your eyes to different perspectives,” Lem says.

“There’s a lot of power in authentic relationships, and we need to have great opportunities to do that and to meet great people.”

Lem and Joanie Sirek made an instant connection nearly four years ago at a volunteer appreciation event. Sirek’s first impression of Lem was that she was extremely professional, adventurous and focused.

“She has an intention for everything she does,” Sirek says. “She can turn anything into something.”

Lem’s biggest challenge though is overcoming self-doubt. She worries that since she didn’t graduate college, she might not be qualified to run this company or she might not be living how she’s speaking, she says.

“It’s a great idea, but is it a great business idea,” Lem says.

However, Caroline McGroder, friend of one year, doesn’t foresee many challenges for Lem while describing her as a “girl boss.”

“One of the things I’ve noticed with her building up her business is she takes time with things,” McGroder says. “She doesn’t rush or make impulsive decisions, and she sets herself up for success.”

Lem hopes to grow her new startup enough to take it nationwide, host three dinners per week per month, offer more free brainstorming workshops and host dinners for ASU women searching for a more rewarding life.

But, for now, Lem is practicing patience until her Kickstarter goal is achieved. She says taking the risk has been overall rewarding and wants others, especially women, to pay better attention to how they are spending their time.

“There’s a lot of great ideas, and a lot of people do things for the ‘what’ or the ‘how’, but they forget the ‘why.’” Lem says. “If you are living a good life but not a great one, why not change up your attitude?”

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