Year: 2016

Success is not a given.  Failure is inevitable.  The most important thing is to be relentless.  Never give up in spite of the obstacles.  Believe in yourself and success will come.

            ~Alisa Ivory Smith

Amy Olson developed Kuhfs at her dining room table as a way to change the look of her fashion boots.  She couldn’t find a product to meet her need.  So, she created the product herself even though she had no experience in sewing or in launching fashion accessories.  
I’m finding that many of the women I’ve talked to so far have started their business based on having a need for which they couldn’t find a solution.  It’s not only having an unmet need, they have also had the passion, determination and dedication to doing whatever it takes to get their product launched.  They have found success even without having prior experience in a given industry.  Time and time again, I’m noticing that one of the keys to finding success is collaboration.  This means reaching out to find and connect with the people who can help you and they are out there.  The first step is reaching out.  So, as we listen in on my conversation with Amy, let’s consider how one can fulfill a product or service need through collaboration with others.
Amy says:  “I didn’t even know how to sew when I started this company. I had zero experience launching an accessory brand and had to teach myself every aspect of this business. I am proud of my accomplishments and how far I have taken Kuhfs on my own. The future looks bright for Kuhfs and I can’t wait to see how far this can go.”

 

Her Philosophies

  • The dream is free.  The hustle costs extra.  You can dream all day long but if you don’t take any action on it, you’re not going to get any where.
  • Do one thing every day that scares you.  Take one little step forward.

 

Her advice

  • Break your ultimate goals up into little steps and take action on these steps.
  • Your thoughts become your reality.  So, choose them wisely.
  • Failure is not what should take you down.  It’s what you should learn from.  Don’t be afraid to fail.

 

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Tiffany C. Wright has helped numerous small and medium businesses find funding for a variety of purposes from many sources.  She is the founder and president of The Resourceful CEO where she provides packaged solutions and educational products focused for business strategy and finance.  Tiffany is also the author of The Funding Is Out There! Access the Cash You Need to Impact Your Business.

Our conversation touched upon the importance of tracking business activities in order to ensure value creation. We also talked about how to manage cash flow to strengthen business operations.

Her Philosophies

  • Reach for the stars; if you don’t reach the stars, you’ll at least reach the moon and if you don’t reach the moon, then you’ll just fall back down to earth.  Reach higher than you think you can.  You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.   Reach for something that makes you nervous.
  • Cash is king.

Her advice

  • That which is not tracked does not get measured.  Track everything.  CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and QuickBooks can help with tracking your sales efforts.
  • Always be cash flow positive and check this weekly so that you can see where any problems exist.
  • To raise money, you have to know why the investor would invest in your business.  You have to be confident about what your business will do. You have to be able to talk about what it will do, why it will do it, how it will do it, when it will do it and what the bank or investor will get out of it.

For more advice, Tiffany can be reached by phone:  404.642.0509 or  866.466.3692

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Felena Hanson is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven.  Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for growing businesses.  Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.

I wanted to learn more about Felena’s 2020 goal of supporting 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their businesses.

Confidence has been most critical in her journey.  It’s really important to believe in yourself.

One of Felena’s philosophies is that, “you’re only as strong as your community around you.  You’re not meant to launch a business alone.”

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs

  • Think through the details (e.g., accounting, legalities, etc.) and establish a firm foundation for your business.  Consider this a step by step process.
  • Believe in yourself and find really strong collaborators .  Find that sense of community and you can’t find it, build it yourself.

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Maz Schirmer is recognized as a pioneer in the area of women’s self-development.  She is the Director/Founder of the Institute of Women International and the creator of Creatrix®, which focuses on the Female Brain/Mind Process.  Maz is a respected author and innovator.  She has dedicated her life to transforming and empowering the lives of other women.

I wanted to talk to Maz to learn more about her journey and her approach to personal development.

Her philosophy:

Surrender.  Stop fighting with yourself.  You are good enough yourself.  All other things can be changed.

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs

  • Re-frame how you see yourself.
  • True beliefs are those that will allow you to stand in your authentic truth.

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It takes a great idea plus tenacity and action to make it all happen.  Sheila Benjamin is the creator of ZipMyself which is a 2 in 1 dressing tool.  Sheila has a great combination of courage, persistence and curiosity and I wanted to learn more about her inspiring journey.

Sheila says, “ZipMyself is a 2 in 1 Dressing Tool that can assist you with zipping the back of your dress and help you button your blouse or shirt.  I love wearing dresses but I often need help with zipping the back. One day, I forgot to ask a friend to zip down my dress after an event and it took me 20 minutes to get out of the dress.  I searched Google for 2 hours and couldn’t find anything to help me solve my problem. Something said “you can make what you want to see in the marketplace.”  So, I started bringing ZipMyself to life in Jan. 2014 and it has been a real roller coaster ride!  I had no experience in this space however I am living my dream of being a business owner and loving it!

Her philosophy:

It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.   ~Mae Jemison

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs

  • Research your idea and find a way to get it to the marketplace.  Research counts toward bringing your vision to life.  Take advantage of all of the free information that’s available.
  • If you can see it in your mind’s eye, you can do it.  You don’t have to know everything.  For everything you don’t know, you will connect with people on your journey who can support your vision and propel you forward.

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Kirstyn Shaw has had a penchant for fashion since she started sewing at the age of six, but it wasn’t until she had her “quarter life crisis” that she decided to make a career out of it. With a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a degree in apparel manufacturing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), Kirstyn wasted no time diving into the business. In 2008 she began designing and producing eco-friendly women’s clothing for kika with her mom, Kim Shaw. While Kirstyn is a production wizard and has built great relationships in the business, her true passion is at the intersection of technology, sustainability, and fashion.

I wanted to talk to Kirstyn to learn more about the business models she has explored.

Her Business Philosophy: 

Do unto others as you would have done unto you – show kindness and respect in your relationships.

 

Her advice to female entrepreneurs

  • Don’t fall in love with your inventory.  Inventory can be one of the biggest killers in a business.
  • Know what you’re good at and delegate the rest.  Delegation is key.

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Sheila Kemper Dietrich created elegant portion control. After years of waging the war against obesity and longing to embrace a healthier lifestyle, she began researching and experimenting with the concept of “right-sizing” the food environment.

I wanted to talk to Sheila because she’s a really great example of someone who designs products by listening to and empathizing with the end consumer.   As a result, she’s been able to build her business through deep understanding.

Her Business Philosophy: 

“I am one but still I am one.  I cannot do everything but i can do something.  i will not refuse to do the something I can do.”     ~Helen Keller

Be willing to say yes to opportunity

What does it mean to be Queen Bee?

Really proving that the vision, the idea was worthy – that it is something that is helpful to people…

Her advice to female entrepreneurs

  • Go for it; believe and then seek advice for others from those who can help you with their insight and knowledge
  • Enjoy the journey
  • Don’t do it if you don’t think it’s a fun thing

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Kelly Weinberger is on a mission to create positive change in the world through the practice of 360° fair trade.  She is the founder of WorldFinds, a brand of ethically-sourced, style-driven jewelry and accessories that empowers women in the developing world through fair trade. 

Often when I travel, I see products that are not sold in the U.S. but could be very useful.  However, I wasn’t quite sure about how to bring those products back to the U.S. for commercial purposes.  The conversation with Kelly helped me to better understand how to develop products through collaboration with small business owners in other countries.

 

Her Philosophy

Be open minded.  Be very flexible and have a collaborative attitude.

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs

  • Think creatively.  Know what’s out there and come up with something really unique.  Do your research.  Check out the marketplace so that your product won’t be redundant.

 

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Sharon Bolt is a publicity expert and founder of Get Free Publicity Today.    She has contributed to more than 40 different local and national newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations and is the co-author of 2 highly acclaimed books.  The wonderful thing about Sharon is that she teaches people step by step how to get their businesses featured in the press.  As we all know, awareness is needed in order to make product launches successful.  However, it can be difficult to get the word out.  I wanted to get Sharon’s thoughts on how to get publicity and media attention without spending an exorbitant amount of money.  

 

Her Philosophy

Follow your bliss.    ~Joseph Campbell

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.         ~Henry Ford

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs

When you’re making your transition to becoming a business owner, base it on your financial situation.

 

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