Bergen County Entrepreneurs: Women in Business Helping Women and Families

Being a small business owner is never an easy task, which was magnified tenfold during the past year. Three female entrepreneurs in Bergen County, however, not only weathered the pandemic, but used it to learn, grow, adapt and provide their clients and customers with much-needed help in different ways: running errands, providing post-partum relief, and through the love of dessert. We caught up with Brooke Tateossian, founder of The Suburban Concierge, Dr. Carly Gossard, founder of Empowered Pelvic Health, and Zainab Illyas, found of Zai’s Dessertery to chat about their businesses and how they’re helping women and Bergen County families.


Brooke Tateossian, The Suburban Concierge

What are the services you offer at The Suburban Concierge?

My services really ebb and flow depending on what’s going on in people’s lives. I began as an errand service with side services such as helping to set up for graduation parties, including picking up the cake and balloons, which eliminated the need for people to rely on family for those things. Now, I consult with my clients to determine what they need done, such as grocery shopping, returns, picking up dry cleaning – those things on your to do list that eat up your Saturday morning. I offer hourly service and a monthly retainer service. Lately I’ve been working a lot with realtors to help their clients pack and unpack for a move, and during the holidays I do a lot of gift wrapping and helping people with holiday cards. I focus on families, particularly women, based in Bergen County.


What inspired you to start The Suburban Concierge?

I was burnt out from being an executive recruiter for over 20 years, and needed a new challenge. I was looking for something to allow me to do the things I needed to as a mom, and to be around for my kids. In the meantime, my friends were always asking me how I did things and where I found things, so I thought about ways to monetize that. I knew people needed help, and the business was accepted really quickly. It gave me the piece of my job that I loved – relationship building. I want my clients to think of me as an extension of themselves. I know what it feels like to have too much on your plate, particularly as a mom. To be able to be someone people can rely on, who knows you well and can anticipate your needs is so rewarding to me.


What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

I always tell women who are thinking of starting something to just jump. Stop thinking, stop the analysis paralysis. If you have an idea in your heart that is a good service to others, just do it. You will make mistakes but you just have to start. I knew my business was something that would make me happy and bring joy to other people. Now, I’m on the board for the Bergen County chapter of BW NICE, which provides education and domestic violence awareness, so I’m able to continue helping women in other ways.

Ramsey, 201-410-4183



Dr. Carly Gossard, PT, DPT, OCS, PRPC, Empowered Pelvic Health

What are the services you offer at Empowered Pelvic Health?

We are a physical therapy practice that specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction, and work with all things related to post-partum and menopause. Women and new moms primarily see me when experiencing leakage, diastasis recti, painful sex after baby, returning to exercise after birth (with a doctor’s OK), recovering from a C-section and much more. Everything is highly individual, but women need to know these things are common and treatable.


What inspired you to open Empowered Pelvic Health?

Women’s health was never really on my radar during school, but I was working in a clinic and saw pregnant women in pain, and they didn’t know what was safe. While I was traveling for school, my own doctor said he needed a physical therapist, and that so many comes visit the clinic. I was immediately hooked. I decided we needed a boutique clinic, with individualized skills and one on one care. Now, I love when moms come in and share their success story for the week. When my patients are able to meet their goals, open up to me and feel themselves again it is so rewarding. I want women to know there is a solution for common, but rarely talked about, things post-partum. Moms deserve to feel good in their own body.


What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Remember your end goal and where you come from. It’s important to realize you’re going to run into obstacles. As a new business owner, you will wear a lot of hats and make mistakes and that’s OK. Working seven days a week to build my boutique practice has been worth it in order to provide expert care and treat new moms as I would want to be treated – and to provide the care they deserve.

75 Oak Street, Norwood, 201-305-0130


Zainab Illyas, Zai’s Dessertery

What are some of the items you offer at Zai’s Dessertery?

We specialize in French macarons in a variety of flavors, brownies, s’mores bars, custom cakes, crepes, bubble teas and bubble waffles, which are offered on the weekends. All of the desserts are made from scratch, with quality local ingredients. We have seasonal specials as well, such as pumpkin cheesecake macarons in the fall or candy cane gingerbread during the holidays. The number one thing to me is to always maintain the quality and the standard of what I have started from day one. Everything is always fresh and never frozen.


What inspired you to open this dessert shop?

I’ve always loved to bake, and my mother and grandmother were bakers. I came here from Sri Lanka in 2001 when I got married, and after having children, I would bake birthday cakes. My friends asked me when I was opening up my own place, but I’ve always been a mom first. I started a home-based business, and once my kids got older, I thought it was a good time to really start my career. I’ve always loved to bake, but having customers continue to come back because they love our product is very rewarding. Now, I like to give back to the community and thank them for their support by doing monthly giveaways and specials. Hearing that Zai’s is a happy place for kids is a great feeling.


What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

I believe that everyone is blessed with some sort of talent. For me, I knew baking and cooking was my passion. If you have that drive, it’s something you have to explore and go with, and that will help make your career. There’s always going to be a struggle and it’s not easy, but the key is to never give up, believe in yourself and stay positive. If you need to grow and expand, remember that it’s OK to get help and surround yourself with a good team.

108 North Washington Avenue, Bergenfield, 201-771-7000; 22B Union Avenue, Cresskill, 201-266-8959

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