April 26, 2017 – Occidental Weekly: The lady bosses of Eagle Rock unify female leaders


With its myriad food options and niche stores, there is a reason Redfin named Eagle Rock the second “hottest” neighborhood in the country. Eagle Rock is booming with small businesses, a number of which are owned by women. Many of these women comprise the Lady Bosses of Eagle Rock, a club of local female business owners.

Lady Bosses of Eagle Rock was founded in March 2015, by Michelle Harwell, owner of Michelle Harwell Therapy and Leah Park Fierro, owner of the cheese shop and lunch counter, Milkfarm. The group is comprised of approximately 50 members and meets quarterly, rotating locations to the businesses which can host. The club’s only requirement is that members identify as female and own brick and mortar business owner within the 90041 zip code. Each meeting focuses on one informational aspect of business, ranging from accounting to social media or business security, as well as supporting each other in their personal experiences as female entrepreneurs in a typically male-dominated career.

“Women want to know other women, and we have this unique capacity to build community and learn from each other and support each other,” Harwell said.



Park Fierro is the owner of Milkfarm, an artisanal cheese shop and lunch counter located at 2106 Colorado Boulevard. She has lived in Eagle Rock and been running her business for three years. Fierro has been working in the food industry for 18 years, originally as a pastry chef for luxury hotels. After quitting her pastry job, Fierro traveled around the world for a year. Upon returning home, she missed the niched, specialized food shops she found in Europe and she looked for a job at an independent cheese store. She worked at the Cheese Store of Silverlakefor six years. Fierro wanted to create something of her own, however.

“When you’re young and a child and you’re growing up, you know if you have the entrepreneurial spirit,” Fierro said. “You know if you want to own something one day, you know if you want to be your own boss. So that’s always kind of been at the back of my mind. Just because of my life experiences and where I was in my life, it happened to fall heavily in cheese and gourmet food.”

Harwell is a frequent customer of Milkfarm. A year ago, when Harwell had the idea to start the club, Fierro was one of the first women she approached.

“I was 100 percent on board immediately, like the second the words came out of her mouth, I was all about it. I’m very, very, very proud to be a female, minority business owner,” Fierro said.

Fierro enjoys being a member of a club that provides not only a network of support, but also informational sessions to help guide the members as entrepreneurs.

“It’s very empowering … to just be around so many successful women who have really, really great, popular shops in Eagle Rock. It makes you feel really extra proud to be in this neighborhood because you know there’s so many other women that stand side by side with you,” Fierro said. “I’m very proud to say that I am a business owner in Eagle Rock and I think that this group really brings us together.”

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