Year: 2016

 

Michelle Moy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Up Dog Toys.  She and her team make functional, cool, modern dog toys for the design savvy pup and owner.  Michelle works full time alongside her husband and Co-Founder/CMO, Billy Shih.  Her favorite co-worker though is her corgi, Odin, who was the main inspiration for starting Up Dog Toys.

Michelle and team started out as a successfully funded Kickstarter in Fall of 2014 and have been growing as a small independent company since.  They are continuing to produce more colors of their first toy, The Odin, and will be expanding their line soon.

In our conversation, we discuss the many fears that can arise and how important it is to get past those fears when starting a new venture.

Her Philosophy

Done is better than perfect.

 

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  • Ask a ton of questions about anything that you don’t know.  Don’t be afraid to speak up and just ask.
  • Be true to yourself.
  • You can do more than you think you can.
  • Stay driven and really believe in yourself.

 

Links

www.updogtoys.com

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Vanessa Chan is an entrepreneur, consultant and angel investor.  She is also co-founder of re.design, a company that brings consumer product innovations to market.  Vanessa’s first product is, tangle-free & stylish headphones, called Loopit.   The launch included a very successful Kickstarter campaign.  Loopit has been featured in such places as The Today Show’s Next Big Thing and QVC.  Vanessa has a B.S.E. from Penn (class of 1994) and a Ph.D. from MIT, both in Materials Science & Engineering.

Vanessa’s product idea fills a great need, is innovative and yet was inspired by the combination of two ordinary items.  What other needs can be filled by combining two unrelated things?  This is a good question to consider for those who are trying to create new products or services.

Her Philosophy

Life’s a journey.  Embrace it.  It’s not about the outcomes.  Those outcomes will come.  If you sit there and fret about the outcomes, you’ll forget the journey.  If you forget the journey, you won’t get the outcomes.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  • Find your source of inspiration by being observant and interacting with the world
  • For crowdfunding campaigns, use a factory made prototype
  • Embrace the transition to entrepreneurship as a journey this may help to minimize fear; it’s about learning and if you know you’re learning, then there really is no fear.
  • Take the energy, whether it’s positive or negative, that’s being aimed at you and figure out how to harness it so that you can grow as a person
  • Step outside of your comfort zone even though it doesn’t feel good
  • Make sure you understand your costs and the price that a customer is really willing to pay for your product
  • Figure out why you want to be an entrepreneur.  What is it that you want to be doing?  Are you doing this for financial reasons, to learn something, etc.?  Do something that will bring you joy rather than being an entrepreneur because it’s a trendy thing to do.
  • Understand:  1) Are you creating something that people need and want?  and 2) Are you able deliver it at a cost that will allow you to actually make some money?

Links

http://www.redesign.studio/

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Cyndi Prince is the founder of LooHoo, LLC, a Maine-based company. She created LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls, which are reusable, energy-saving alternatives to dryer sheets.  The product was designed specifically for those who are concerned about protecting both their family’s health and the environment. 

Cyndi has been awarded a SPANX by Sara Blakely “Leg Up” Promotion, was selected as the SBA Business Award and was a recipient of the Eileen Fisher Woman-Owned Business Grant.

Cyndi’s journey is really interesting.  She created her product based on a need that she discovered during a transitional time in her life. There’s a really important lesson to be learned here.  New product or service ideas can be discovered by asking two simple questions:  1) What needs arise as a result of transition in life; and 2) are there compelling and innovative ways to solve those needs through a product or service? 

Her Philosophy

Build an incredible team.  Surround yourself with amazing people.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  • Just start.
  • Keep going for it no matter how many road blocks you hit.
  • Ask questions.  People are out there to help.  You just have to ask the right questions.  Keep asking and keep knocking on doors.
  • Focus on sales and get a lot of practice selling things.  This is crucial , especially with product based businesses.

Links

www.loo-hoo.com

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Vanessa Ellingson is a former professional basketball player, turned Chiropractor turned entrepreneur.  She is also the CEO and Co-Founder of the company Möbi Games Inc.   Mobi is a fast paced tile game that helps others learn and apply basic math skills.  I wanted to learn more about Vanessa’s overall approach to creating her brand.

Her Philosophy

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  ~Mark Twain

You can either manage hiccups with a smile on your face or you can let them frustrate you.  Since I know this is where I want to be, it’s easier to get through the ups and downs.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

    • Fear is just forward thinking.  So, if you can just be in the day to day, there’s really nothing to fear.  You just have to give a little bit more each day knowing that it will be fine.
    • Find your support system.
    • Have a good idea.  Don’t launch a terrible idea.

 

Links

playmobi.com

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Anna Marie Stauss supports and organizes a woman’s co-op in Calcutta, India.  Anna Marie is a true socialpreneur which means that she she designed her business to help the world, both environmentally and financially.

I wanted to talk to Anna Marie to find out more about how she was able to bring to launch her product idea based on having a positive positively impact in the lives of women in another country.  Our conversation was enlightening, inspiring and thought provoking.  The work that she and her team is doing to empower women through business goes beyond extraordinary.

Here’s a personal note to The Beehive from Anna Marie…

In gratitude I introduce myself to all of you, I’m Anna Marie Stauss, CEO of Sinko Corp. We are a very small women owned business working with a women’s Co-op that we support, and organize in the slum areas of Calcutta, India. We now work with 3 locations and 432 women but are expanding to 4 more areas and hope to provide over 630 women a dignified way to earn a living from home by January 2017.

Our products are all handcrafted out of organic cotton and jute for the home. We have a 3 prong mission: to provide flexible/low tech work for women in desperate need to earn; to provide a durable, reusable, biodegradable and organic alternatives to plastic housewares; and to reduce landfill that grows daily as we replace our household products.

Her Philosophy

  • If I don’t quit, I won’t fail.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  •  Think it through.  When it’s hard, if it’s something you’re not in love with, you’ll walk away and then you’ll fail.  If you really believe in it, then you’ll stick with it.

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Ianthe Mauro has high standards in both and quality.  She created Objects With Purpose candles to deliver a non-toxic sophisticated and conscientious experience to others.   We discussed her approach to candle-making in great detail.

Her Philosophy

  • Share light and keep things clean and light.  Remove mental blocks by figuring out how to make things work on a practical level.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  • Talk about your ideas to everyone you come in contact with.  Start to get feedback.  Make it real by talking about it first.
  • Come up with your word(s) – what is your bigger reason, the reason that you’re doing what you’re doing?
  • Allow yourself to take risks.  Once you figure out what you want to do and you talk about it, try things even before you’re an expert.  Take action.

Links

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Tippy Tippens is the Founder and Chief Eternal Optimist at Goods that Matter.  She is also a social entrepreneur, designer, gandhiwarmer, and she’s passionate about building sustainable growth.  Tippy does this by making the objects that we live with work for us instead of against us and ultimately wishing to contribute to greater happiness.

I wanted to learn more about Tippy’s approach as a social entrepreneur.  During our conversation, we talked about how to create products that have a positive impact on society.

Her Philosophy

  • Design for good.  Make sure that the work is doing good, is beneficial to the environment and beneficial for the customers.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  •  Just Start.
  • Never give up.
  • Ask for advice but know when to accept it.
  • Trust your intuition when making decisions.

Links

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Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, MD, is a family doctor turned entrepreneur.  She has helped 600,000 people live happier, healthier, well-rested lives. When she was in private practice and struggled with her own sleep issues, Wei-Shin and her husband invented SleepPhones®, the world’s first headphones designed for sleeping.  I was interested in talking to Wei-Shin due to her technical background in medicine.

During our conversation, she highlighted the idea that our life experiences can often inspire new solutions for old problems.  We also talked creating success through team work.

Her Philosophy

  • Respect everybody.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  •  Know yourself.  Understand yourself and what motivates you or sucks your energy away.  know what you’re capable of, your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask for help if there is something that you don’t know about.
  • Know when to fire yourself.  Focus on the things that you know you’re good at.  Hire others to take care of the rest.

Links

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sleepphones

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Nancie Weston is the inventor, founder and chief designer at GRAYL Inc., the maker of advanced yet stylish water filters and purifiers that allow you drink water from any source, anywhere in the world. She founded GRAYL due to her concerns about water quality and the impact of plastic from bottled water bottles on our land and oceans. Nancie had worked in sales and marketing for over 25 years and then she found her true passion product design.

I wanted to talk to Nancy to better understand how she came up with such an innovative idea and also to find out how she was able to get her product manufactured.

 

Her Philosophy

  • Never taking “NO” for an answer.

 

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  •  Never take “no” for an answer.  If you believe in your product, your passion and your vision, just keep going until you get   someone who will listen.
  • Don’t be afraid of your weaknesses.  Instead, hire people who can help.  Use a subcontractor, friend, relative, volunteers, etc.
  • Before launching your product or starting on the design process, get retailers on board.  Ask them: 1) What does it take to get into your store?; 2) What do you need?; 3) Would this be a product of interest?; 4) Theoretically, if you were going to order, how many would you order?
  • Use the retailer information (above) in your negotiations with manufacturers
  • Be very sure of the people you are hiring.  Don’t just hire the first person who comes into your office.  Wait until you get the right person.
  • Believe in yourself.  Understand what you like and what your vision is.

Links

  • http://www.thegrayl.com/

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Lisa Fetterman is the founder and CEO of Nomiku, the first home sous vide immersion circulator machine on the market. Lisa has been featured in Wired, MAKE, and Forbes, and was named on both Forbes and Zagat Survey’s 30 Under 30 lists for her pioneering work in the food space. Lisa has worked at some of the top restaurants in the country including Babbo and Jean-Georges in New York and Saison in San Francisco. She lives in San Francisco where she and her husband-cofounder have brought manufacturing back to the states with their new Wifi-Nomiku device.

I wanted to learn more about Lisa’s experience in designing and launching a new device for the at home chef.

Her Philosophy

  • Do the most good you can do with what you have.

Her Advice to Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

  • Start today and sell whatever you can. Even if you don’t have your final product right now, you need to start selling. You need to start knowing what that feels like and who your supporters are.
  • Reach out to everyone and tell everyone your story. Tell everyone what you’re trying to do.
  • Realize that we don’t compete against each other as startups.  We compete against people not caring…
  • It’s pretty important to do something right now, whether it’s writing a blog entry whether it’s helping them a neighbor.  Do something with your special set of skills that go towards our mission your.

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Nomiku Sous Vide Cooking Device

 

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