Home Culture 10 Hoboken + Jersey City Locals to Watch In September 2023

10 Hoboken + Jersey City Locals to Watch In September 2023

by Hoboken Girl Team
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Here in Hudson County, there are endless ways to make your mark — and these 10 people based in Hoboken + Jersey City have done just that. The Hoboken Girl returns with our monthly roundup that highlights different people in our area that readers should have their eye on for the upcoming month. From singers to inspirational business owners to CEOs and writers — there is no shortage of unique people in our area who work to inspire, educate, inform, and share their passions. We’re highlighting 10 people to watch locally in Hoboken + Jersey City for the month of September 2023. Read on for our list of local people to keep your eye on for September 2023. 

Liz Sperman | Owner + Founder of Hayley’s Donut

liz sperman hayleys donut

Photo Credit: Courtney Collins, NonLinear Knitting

Liz Sperman is a hospitality professional with experience in tech, digital, + product marketing. She considers herself an innovator, a levitator, and a ‘givitator.’ With a degree from Cornell University and 10+ years of experience working in marketing, events + production, and with customers for various SaaS companies,  Her past experiences led her to lead an email marketing program at a well-known national omnichannel nutritional supplements retailer, where she realized her passion for health and nutrition. 

Since deciding to start her own business, Liz has spent over 9 years gaining experience in various bakery and food service externships. Her resume boasts positions like barista; cake decorator, production supervisor for a gluten-free cake bites startup; supervisor on a doughnut food truck; and, just prior to the pandemic, business manager for a top-12 allergen-free bakery in Connecticut. 

Liz “soft launched” her Hayley’s Donut business, doing private “drops’ on scheduled days and in small markets. As for future dreams of her business, Liz says, “I hope to ultimately grow the business so I can afford to have a dedicated kitchen and retail space. 

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Liz also shared with HG:  “I’m inspired by several things, first and foremost my niece Hayley, as well as others with celiac disease (and also those with various allergies, primarily nuts, but including soy and sesame). I am inspired to give them the opportunity to experience great tasting food, specifically doughnuts, despite their special dietary requirements.”

Liz’s favorite spots: “I love walking the pier in Hoboken, or really anywhere in Hoboken with my husband, grabbing a drink or bite to eat at Northern Soul or a coffee at Choc o Pain. Shopping at Vintage on First. Powerflow Yoga Hoboken (RIP) used to be a second home.”

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Follow Liz and her journey with Hayley’s Donut here and here

Jackie Bluu | Multi-Genre Writer

jackie bluu bayonne resident nj

Jackie Bluu is a multi-genre writer living in Bayonne, NJ. She received a BA in Anthropology at SUNY Purchase and a Masters in Publishing at Pace University. During the week, she works full-time as a book publicist at Hachette Book Group, and on weekends she manages The Writer’s Den, a weekly (sometimes biweekly) newsletter for writers and other raw humans. 

Jackie has been published in Emotional Alchemy Magazine, Jawbreaker Zine, Thought Catalog, Awakenings, Laurels + Bells Literary Journal, Journal of Expressive Writing, Ponder Savant, Polemical Zine, and Humankind Zine. Her chapbook ‘Facing the Beast’ was published in January 2019 and ‘My Dear Melancholia’ in May 2020. Her full-length poetry book, (Not) Another Love Story, was published in November 2020. Letters I’ll Never Send is due for publication on November 17, 2023.

Jackie told HG, “I think I just want to spread the message that although we are unique in multiple ways, we are also only one species, similarly navigating this journey of life in individually common experiences. By publishing Letters I’ll Never Send, I hope to create a sense of togetherness in an often isolated world.”

Local business owners Jackie looks up to: “Tamara of Little Play Co. for not only being a creative inspiration (everything she puts together is a literal Pinterest dream) but also for taking chances on other small businesses and finding any way to support them. My first-ever event was hosted here!”

Jackie also shared, “The owners of the Hive, Kristin and Catherine, have managed to create a coffee shop that is so rooted in the community and in such a short time. It’s incredibly inspiring. Sam and Brooke, of Brooke and Belle, have proven that, through the greatest challenges, it is always worth pushing through. Their positive attitudes in the face of adversity can serve as an example to us all.”

You can follow more about Jackie’s journey here and here.  

Zoe Perrone | Owner + Founder of KnitNames

zoe perrone knitnames

Zoe was born and raised here in Hoboken. She has taught kindergarten and then preschool for the past 11 years, 8 of which have been in Hoboken. This past December, Zoe also started a small local embroidery business called KnitNames, making custom sweaters and hosting Sip + Embroider events. She tells HG, “The response from local (and non-local) customers has been amazing and so encouraging.”

She also told HG what inspires her, “I was born with a rare genetic eye condition which has left me completely colorblind, among other visual difficulties. (You will not see me sporting my signature red glasses which help with my severe light sensitivity) I’ve always loved art and creative outlets but only seeing in black and white has deterred me from pursuing anything beyond just a hobby.” 

Zoe’s favorite local spots: “Karma Kafe, Alfalfa, Robongi, Chango Kitchen, Anthony David’s, and Yukis.”

Follow more about Zoe and her business, KnitNames here

Ken A. Schept | Writer

ken schept hoboken

Photo Credit: Gary Spector Photography

Ken and his wife, Susan, moved to Hoboken in 1971 after they saw an ad for a charming one-bedroom apartment. He reflects on his beginnings, sharing, “We’ve been in Hoboken since then. In 1978, we bought a house around the corner where we raised our two kids. Soon after we moved to Hoboken, I entered an MFA program at Columbia University to study fiction writing. I spent most of my career as a business journalist before returning to fiction around 10 years ago. 

He told HG, “Last January, Feiwel and Friends (a Macmillan imprint) published my debut children’s picture book, A Gift of Feathers. Also, he adds, “My editor is a Hoboken resident, and my friend, Liz Szabla.”

As for future writing plans, Ken says, “I’m currently finishing an adult novel, Vows, about marriage, and a middle-school level novel. My other local activities include two terms as president of the United Synagogue of Hoboken, where I led the restoration of the Star of Israel (built-in 1915) and its placement on the New Jersey and National Historic Registers.” 

Local business owners Ken looks up to: “Anthony Pino (Anthony David), Kate Jacobs and Donna Garban (Little City Books), Sharon Stern (Dentist), and Jay Emminger (Cork Wines).”

Learn more about Ken’s writing journey here

Read More: 10 Hoboken + Jersey City Locals to Watch In August 2023

Jennifer Chavez | Founder + CEO of Babes in Business

jennifer chavez babes in business

Photo Credit: Chelsea Kenny

Being the founder + CEO of Babes in Business, Jennifer has created a thriving, supportive, ever-expanding community for female entrepreneurs at every stage. With Babes In Business, she merges her passion for championing other women with her creative branding and social media marketing expertise to help entrepreneurial women tap into their own strengths. 

In addition to running her own company, Jennifer also serves as Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Helpful Rabbit — a branding, website, and social media firm — and is a Partner in Asbury Park Bazaar, where she oversees large-scale events of makers, artists, and vendors. She continues to be a trusted resource and secret weapon for a wide variety of individuals and businesses who seek to develop, launch, and grow strong brands and build a thriving social media presence. 

Jennifer’s favorite part of North Jersey: “North Jersey is a hub for small businesses and creative, driven people who have positioned themselves as leaders in the community. I get to host Babes in Business events with many of these people to highlight their budding companies, which has been such a privilege and inspiration for my own career. When I’m not pursuing professional endeavors, I love to go hiking with my husband and dogs, Frankenstein and Boombox, and discover new businesses and restaurants as we explore the area.”

Follow Jennifer + Babes in Business’ journey here and here

Nicole Andreoli |  Pathways Psychological Services

nicole andreoli psychologist

Photo Credit: Gianna Carly Photos

Nicole has been a Hoboken resident for over a decade. She works as a clinical psychologist in a private practice in Midtown Manhattan, offering therapy and neuropsychological evaluations for individuals, children, and families. She told HG, “I just published a book, Mindfulness + the ADHD Parent: Cultivating Calm and Building Connection, to fill a gap in resources that are specifically tailored to address the needs of parents dealing with ADHD, helping them navigate the daily hurdles while fostering a sense of mindfulness and self-care. 

With her work, she hopes to “inspire to help others who are seeking personal growth and exploration and who want to improve their mental and emotional well-being.”

Local business owners Nicole looks up to: “Gabi Lombardi, she’s a multi-business owner of several of Hoboken’s best restaurants. She’s an absolute rock star. Also, the owners of the Hive. What an incredible business model to combine an adorable coffee shop with a playroom for kids, which offers fun for kids and a moment of respite for parents.” 

Learn more about Nicole here and here

Monica Razak | Owner of MONICAS Collective + Content Creator

monica razak monicas collective

Monica has been working as a software engineer and has been living in Hoboken since 2014. Along with her corporate job, she owns a small, sustainable goods business called MONICAS Collective. In her free time, she’s a content creator focused on productivity, creativity, and sustainability. 

With the creation of her business, she shared, “My primary goal is to share my love and appreciation for a sustainable, productive, and balanced lifestyle, through my content and my shop. I share a lot about the behind-the-scenes work that goes on for my small business in hopes that others can learn about the process if they are also thinking about following their dreams of starting a side hustle.”

Local business owners Monica looks up to: “Jennifer Tripucka (obviously), Cyn the organizer of @walkwaypops at The Hoboken Museum, and Kristin + Catherine from The Hive.”

Learn more about Monica here and her business here

See More: These North Jersey Teachers Are In Need Of School Supplies

Dallas Connors | High School Student + Singer + Songwriter

dallas connors hoboken nj

With lifelong roots in Hoboken, Dallas is a current high school student who shared “My passion has always been music and when I found a voice for writing, I realized that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m able to share things I’ve gone through or what I’m feeling through my lyrics, but also my melodies and the music itself, and it’s truly something that’s so special to me.”

Dallas’ passion inspired her to connect with her community. She says, “I want to inspire others the same way that my favorite artists inspire me. When people hear my music, I want them to feel connected and inspired to feel whatever they’re feeling.”

Dallas’ local favorite spots: “My favorite local food spots are 10th and Willow, Tenth Street Pizza + Pasta, Yeung ii, Elysian, + Zack’s.” 

Follow Dallas and her music journey here

Sara Deuidicibus | Student + Self-Published Writer

sara deuidicibus writer hoboken nj

Currently studying at Stevens Institute of Technology, Sara majors in mechanical engineering + minoring in pre-law + public policy. Sara shared a little about her childhood: “My parents were told I would never speak and would be dependent on them for my entire life before I was diagnosed with autism at eleven months old. After 40+ hours of various therapies per week for several years, my diagnosis was reversed when I was four, but I continue to struggle with anxiety, OCD, and Tourette’s to this day.”

This past week, Sara self-published her first poetry book on Amazon called “Ends on the Positive Ones.” The reason she published this book is because she wants it, “to help spread one of my core beliefs that challenges are room for personal growth and happiness.”

Sara’s favorite spots in Hoboken: “I love walking along the pier in Hoboken by the Hudson River! It is a very relaxing experience for me and helps me to think clearly about many tough decisions.”

Learn more about Sara here and her book here

Eiko La Boria | Founder of The Flow Initiative

eiko la boria the flow initiative

With roots in Puerto Rico, this Jersey City resident, Eiko La Boria, is making her mark as Founder of The Flow Initiative, Project Local Access, and as the United States of Women Ambassador for Gender Equality. Her most recent triumph, Eiko and The Flow initiative played an instrumental role in Governor Murphy’s signing of the Free Menstrual Products in Schools Bill. 

As she continues to work, goals have been set for her in terms of her business. Eiko hopes to, “continue having candid conversations about menstruation and all that comes with it, from menarche through menopause, there is so much that affects the womb.”

In her line of work, she finds inspiration all around her. Eiko says, “What inspires me is that I am unapologetically hyper-focused on the advancement of women and girls. If I could inspire people in one way, it would be that when you come from a place of compassion, determination, and persistence — only God can stop you.”

Eiko’s favorite local spots: “Lately, I’ve been into La Brujeria on Grand Street.”

Learn more about Eiko’s work with The Flow Initiative here

Sabrina Natasha Browne | Partner of The Flow Initiative

sabrina browne

Sabrina is an award-winning PR executive, global menstrual health advocate, and luxury content creator. Apart from this, she is currently working as a partner for the Flow Initiative alongside Eiko. Her role at the organization is to oversee its public relations, social media, and organizational partnerships. Sabrina also helps with launching menstrual health awareness campaigns. Also, Sabrina has been able to establish partnerships with The Flow Initiative and USOW, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Planned Parenthood, Pandemic Periods, and others. 

In terms of her inspiration within her line of work, she tells HG, “Decades ago, my parents immigrated from Belgium and Liberia to come to the United States and achieve their American Dream. Their experience taught me the importance of resilience, the power of community, and to never give up on myself.”

With The Flow Initiative, she says, “We are on a mission to end period poverty and achieve menstrual equity for all, and this would not be possible without our community here in Hudson County and beyond. The power of the community is essential to The Flow Initiative’s work and the people we advocate for each day.”

Sabrina’s local business owners she looks up to: “Hoboken has many incredible business owners, including Faye, the owner of 718 Beauty Bar and Salon. I’ve been a client since 2020, and I could not have been happier with the manicure and pedicure services I receive. Faye and her team keep me fabulous, and I’m grateful for their flexibility in my busy travel schedule. In addition to Faye, Jordan Hernandez, Founder of Completely Booked, and Joelle Hernandez, Founder of Double Dough, are two other amazing women entrepreneurs I admire. Finally, the fantastic team at Alfalfa Hoboken for creating a fun, delicious, and welcoming environment. I believe empowered women empower women, and I am so inspired by the women entrepreneurs shaping the landscape in Hoboken!”

Keep up with Sabrina here and here

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