Perfectly Strong Women: Jessica Affatato

Name: Jessica Affatato
Occupation: Cheesemonger
Age: 34
Location: East Northport, NY
Perfect Formula Product Used: Ruby Pink Gel Coat

How long have you been practicing your trade?
I’ve been a cheesemonger for 5 years. I opened Harbor Cheese and Provisions in January 2017.

What is your definition of a Perfectly Strong Woman?
She’s at ease in the imperfections of life. Realizing that life is perfectly messy and perfectly lovely is a gift.

Tell us more about your business.
Harbor Cheese is a small cheese business focusing on small cheesemakers from New York State and abroad. You can find us at 3 Farmers Markets a week (Huntington on Sundays, Islip on Saturdays, and Roslyn on Wednesdays) selling the best of New York State cheeses, butters, and yogurts. We’re passionate about working with small farms, dairies, and creameries – currently, we have about 40 in our rotating inventory for the farmers markets alone. In addition to those, I teach insanely popular mozzarella making classes as well as running wine and cheese tastings, give lectures on the history of cheese, and curate private events. Have cheese will travel! You can find out where we are by following us on Facebook or checking out our events page.

What is one piece of advice that you would give a young woman aspiring to fulfill her dream?
Embrace failure. If you’re not failing you’re not pushing your limits. You will fail often, you will fail hard. It will hurt and it will be scary. But then…suddenly the risks start paying off. It’s scary and exhilarating to attempt things you haven’t done before. Remember – Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Name the one woman who has been most influential in pursuing your dream/craft.
I count myself amongst the lucky for landing in a particularly feminist sliver of the food industry. Cheese is historically female and it remains that way. If I had to pick one woman in my life it would be my first investor, my mother. I keep the card she sent me on my first day of business taped up on the inside of my cash box.

As a busy woman, what is a time-saving technique or life hack that you would share?
I’m obsessively organized with my calendar – going as far as developing a color code system in a custom paper planner. Juggling a business and motherhood is a study in barely keeping on top of everything. It may weigh 3 pounds but my planner is my best friend. At the beginning of every week, I review my calendar and plan out how every hour is going to go – where I need to be, travel times, family obligations, and somewhere in there sleeping.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Two glasses of wine in a matching pajama set and then getting into bed at 9 pm while my husband puts our son to sleep.

You’re a hustler – what are some of your personal beauty & wellness tips on how a woman can feel confident?
I regularly wake up at 4:45 am to run my markets so dry shampoo is my best friend. You’d be amazed how much a little volume and a great mascara can make you feel fresh and clean. Once a week I try to to take a few hours for some at-home spa time – a deep cleaning apple cider vinegar and Incan clay mask followed by a thick moisturizing mask. This routine is usually accompanied by trashy television and wine. Never underestimate the healing power of trashy TV.

 

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