Despite increases in the number of women-owned businesses in Austin, female and nonbinary entrepreneurs still face many barriers. They often lack the networks, community, funding, and visibility to grow in size and sales, and as a result have difficulty reaching the consumers who would be most inclined to support them. SheWork is a series of zines that aims to archive and highlight WOBs in the Austin community in hopes of bringing more customers to the stores.


3. Chez Zee


A Conversation with Sharon Watkin owner of Chez Zee. After closing her ad agency, she revived the restaurant Chez Fred turning into the restaurant it is today. Chez Zee is a neighborhood favorite serving American bistro food with regional twists under Christmas lights year round.  

How did you transition from advertising to running a resteraunt?

Restaurants are the only business in the world where you take in the raw materials, you manufacture the product, you sell it in the same building on the same day. No other businesses in the world do that. And it’s a perishable product. When you think about it that way it’s terrifying. It took me two or three really intense years of trying to understand income statements, general ledger, all the line items in a business and  governmental regulations. Sometimes you have to learn enough to ask for help. Because you don’t know what you need, you don’t know what to ask for and you don’t know who to ask. Formulating the right question or having a mentor or advisor is really important.

How did you see yourself as an entreprenur?

I never thought that I would run a business or be an entrepreneur. That energy and enthusiasm about the idea seemed to be what opened doors for me. The things that I think you really have to have are energy, resilience,  and courage beyond belief. The groups that I sprang from were more interested in getting rid of the Vietnam war, Women’s Rights and Civil Rights. People had the idea that we had a voice. It created a culture in which people felt entitled to do what you want to.