A Sewickley skincare and beauty emporium was among 100 Allegheny County businesses to receive a $10,000 grant through Comcast.
Company officials announced July 25 that $1 million in grants would be doled out to small businesses owned by women and people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian American owners, among others.
The recipients are among more than 9,500 entrepreneurs nationwide who have been selected through the Comcast RISE (Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment) program, which provides marketing, technology and capital support to small business owners.
Elizabeth Quesnelle, owner of The Gilded Girl at 408 Beaver St., said she plans to add new product lines to the shop’s ever-growing unique and hard-to-find collections as a result of the grant.
“I was super surprised when I received the email,” the Lawrenceville resident said. “We believe that we’re a great business and a great addition to the Sewickley business community. Beauty products should be for everybody – instead of somebody coming into a store and not finding anything for them.”
Quesnelle said her husband, Randall Sulkin, found the Comcast grant opportunity and suggested she apply.
The owner said she was grateful for the support of her family as well as the financial boost to her dream.
“I believe it is my job to create an environment in which there is something for everybody,” she said. “That everybody can find what they are looking for and everybody can leave there feeling better than how they walked in.
“It’s so nice to have somebody else like Comcast recognize that’s what we’re doing and recognize the positive impact that that makes on a community.
“Bringing in new product lines can be cost prohibitive because usually there’s a large minimum order both in size and in cost. This $10,000 can really help us bring in some new brands that are going to appeal to a lot of different groups in the community.”
Quesnelle, who has been a licensed aesthetician for about 20 years, moved to the Pittsburgh area from Chicago in 2011 and decided to open up a retail store here to serve a need she saw for smaller beauty brands.
She opened up shop in Lawrenceville in 2015 and operated entirely online for a few years during the pandemic before moving operations to Sewickley last year.
Comcast RISE and the Comcast RISE Investment Fund were initially launched in 2020 as a response to help small business owners of color who were hardest hit by the economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic. In November 2021, Comcast announced a major expansion to eligibility, enabling all women-owned small businesses nationwide to apply.
Officials said this expansion built on the program’s success and aims to help address the persistent inequities women continue to face in accessing the resources and funding that are critical to success.
To date, Comcast RISE has awarded more than $16 million in grants and $75 million in in-kind support for more than 9,500 entrepreneurs in 704 cities across 37 states.
“As we continue to rebuild from the effects of the pandemic, small businesses still need our support. They are the backbone of our local communities, and we must take every opportunity to help them not only survive, but to thrive,” Toni Murphy, senior vice president, Comcast’s Keystone region, said via news release. “When we launched Comcast RISE in 2020, we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve, and we have now seen firsthand how the resources from Comcast RISE are continuing to benefit small businesses two and a half years since the program’s inception.”
Quesnelle said she has not formally selected the products to be purchased through the grant just yet but believes they will be a boon for borough shoppers.
“What I love about being in Sewickley is that the residents really support their local business district,” she said. “They want us there, and they know in order for the town to have a vibrant business district they have to come out and shop and eat and use the different services that exist there. People are really great about doing it.”
Some of the current supply at The Gilded Girl includes vegan products and organic products.
More information about the business is available at thegildedgirl.com.