Emily Ott Hollister, 29

Emily Ott Hollister was only going to spend one more summer on Nantucket. Come fall, she and her future husband, Steve Hollister, were planning to move to Boston and get “real jobs.” Yet as fate would have it, that one summer turned into seven years, and today Emily is the owner of one of Nantucket’s hottest clothing boutiques, Milly & Grace. Named after her two grandmothers, Milly & Grace is a family-and-friends-run business, with her mother assisting in the buying,her sisters helping on the sales floor, her best friends managing the day-to-day, and her husband and her father offering support and business advice. “Every season I fill the store with the best pieces that I can source, display and merchandise as creatively as I can,” Emily says. “Most importantly I’ve hired a team of people I love and care about.” Now in her fourth season, Emily is working to expand her brand and her market. In addition to offering an online boutique, Emily recently launched a fun lifestyle blog with her sisters called Milly and Grace Girls. “Waking up and know- ing that every day is going to be different and to always be challenging myself to improve my business is what keeps me satisfied and on my toes.”

Meredith Hanson, 25

Breaking into a gallery on Nantucket as a young artist can be near impossible—that is unless you open the gallery yourself. This past June, artist Meredith Hanson opened Anchored Artists on Old South Wharf with her boyfriend and business partner, Nick Addeo. The two both studied studio art at Wheaton College and met serendipitously on Nantucket three summers ago. Before becoming a full-time artist, Meredith tried her hand at interior design by taking an unpaid internship at a firm in New York. “However, I quickly realized that I would rather be a starving artist than a starving intern so I packed my bags and moved to Nantucket,” she says. Drawing inspiration and guidance from her mother Janet, a serial entrepreneur who founded a global women’s network called “85 Broads,” Meredith has taken her artistic creations and turned them into profitable commodities. “Our artwork, accessories and apparel have been a tremendous hit as they are all hand-made, painted, or sculpted ‘one-of-a-kinds,’” she says. “Nick loves to work with wood, I love to paint Nantucket scenes, and Jen Addeo, Nick’s mom, designs our bottle bags, bowties, and hats!” Beyond her mom, Nick and his mom, Meredith thanks local artists Anne Sutherland and Julie Gifford for their artistic guidance. “There is something very different about being an artist on Nantucket,” Meredith says. “Here, there is a sense of warmth and support within the art community that I don’t think you could possibly find elsewhere.”

Laura Elkman, 24

Growing up in South Florida, fashion was always part of Laura Elkman’s life. Her grandmother was a fashion and jewelry designer, and Laura inherited her exquisite sense of style and ability for putting together an outfit. In 1993, Laura landed on Nantucket when her family’s boat sank in the harbor, prompting her parents to sell the boat and build a home. Eighteen years later, Laura opened her clothing and jewelry boutique, Dakota, on Old South Wharf, a fitting location as her back door now looks out to the same harbor that grounded her family on the island. With her “shop dogs,” Sally and Shimmo, welcoming patrons at the door, Laura offers clothing and jewelry that she has hand-selected, much of which has been designed by her friends and friends of friends. “Each piece has a great story behind it and I love telling people about them,” Laura says. “I want to inspire other people to find their style the same way that I have been inspired to find mine.” And there is lots of fashion inspiration to be found at Dakota as it’s packed with exclusive looks that can easily transition from Nantucket to Newbury Street. “My advice to anyone trying to break out as a young entrepreneur is to be as authentic and true to yourself as possible,” Laura says. “It is so important to reflect your individuality, as well as taking to heart the lessons that come with the experience.”

Courtney Nemeth, 26
Whenever Courtney Nemeth traveled, whether it was to Paris, the Everglades or just to Boston, she always loved taking bike tours. One day, while on the ferry returning from one of these tours, Courtney turned to her future business partner Jason Bridges and said, “You know someone should do bike tours on Nantucket.” By the time the ferry docked, Courtney and Jason had sketched up a logo and a rough business model. Three summers later, Nantucket Bike Tours on 31 Washington Street is a spinning enterprise, guiding visitors around the island by their own power. “We believe in being active, having fun, and sharing Nantucket with others,” Courtney says. “If you’re on a tour with me I’ll be telling you all about the birds, flowers, and nature around the island.” Courtney is uniquely qualified to point out Nantucket’s natural won- ders from her years interning and teaching at the Maria Mitchell Association. During Nantucket Bike Tours off- season, Courtney teaches at the Nantucket Lighthouse School, and she is well aware of the island’s history as a hub for women in business. “Long before women’s suf- frage, the Quaker society of Nantucket made it possible for women to thrive as business owners and operators,” she says. “I think because it is steeped in tradition, our community supports women in business.”

Missy Holden, 23

Nantucket native, Marissa “Missy” Holden spent her early childhood hovering around an Easy Bake Oven rec- reating the sweet treats that her grandmother, “Meme,” passed down to her. From whoopie pies to cookies to cupcakes, Missy’s sweet tooth knew no bounds. So in 2011, while studying public relations at Suffolk Uni- versity, Missy decided to go pro with her baked goods on Nantucket, except she didn’t open a shop or have a storefront. Rather, her entire business takes place on- line at, a website a Suffolk professor helped her create. What further distinguishes Missy’s business model is that she only bakes “minis,” cute, bite-sized pastries that pack a punch. “I like to say I took a little bit of each child’s sweet tooth and transformed it into a mini that is a decadent indulgence for the adult palate,” she says. Indeed, Missy’s mini menu includes such scrumptious delights as peanut-butter-and-jelly brownies, Fun-Fetti cupcakes and chocolate chip mint cookies. Along with her grandmother, Missy credits her parents, Fire Department senior captain Tom Holden and author, realtor and full-time mom Betsy Holden, as her inspirations. “To me, success is the day that I can turn to my parents and show them a respectful, honorable and hard-working daughter that can give all the credit to her

Written By
More from Robert Cocuzzo


The hidden history of Ernest Hemingway on Nantucket. Whether fighting giant marlin...
Read More