Central CA Women's Conference featured close to 200 vendors

Amanda Aguilar Image
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:48PM
EMBED <>More Videos

The Central California Women's Conference was back in person at the Fresno Convention Center in downtown Fresno.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central California Women's Conference was back in person at the Fresno Convention Center in downtown Fresno. The one-day event aimed at inspiring and transforming the lives of women across the Valley.

Attendees heard from motivational speakers and supported local businesses.

Close to 200 exhibitor booths filled Valdez Hall. From clothes to jewelry, each booth offered a service or product made with women in mind.

Damsel in Defense, located in Bakersfield, had several women stop by to check out the variety of self-defense products.

There were entry alarms, stun guns and pepper spray -- all tools aimed at keeping women safe.

"We can't choose when we're going to be a victim. We need to be prepared," said Karen Odle. "We need to have that muscle memory of 'we know where it's at, it's in our hand, we know how to use it.'"

Other vendors focused on the emotional and mental wellness of women.

The Art of Anger, located in Fresno's Tower District, is similar to a rage room, where people can throw and break miscellaneous items, and then cool down by turning the shards into art.

Owner Melissa Knight said most women carry a lot of emotions from past experiences or relationships, and have no way of releasing it.

"Trauma buries in our bodies and it makes us unwell and it shortens our life span if we don't do anything about it," Knight shared. "Society does not give us a way or a place to heal that trauma, and doesn't give us permission to throw things, and break things and scream."

While business owners were there to network and attract new customers, some also hoped to leave women entrepreneurs inspired.

Susan McQuone started out sewing patches on clothing. Five years later, she's selling handmade bags and accessories.

"It gives that push to one of the women or women who has an idea 'Maybe I can do this,' and I'm saying 'Yes, you can,'" said McQuone, owner of KSM Handcrafted Creations in Clovis.

Exhibitors were excited the conference was back in-person, saying it means a lot to see women supporting other women.