Author: AlisaIvorySmith

Today’s Queen Bee has found success by building key relationships to create a supportive environment.  Lisa Owusu has a background in law yet she’s created an exquisite line of jewelry.  I’m excited about this episode because Lisa goes into some detail about how she found people to help her.  During our conversation, she posed a really important question, “How do I excite people to want to help me build a brand?”  This is something to really consider.  I truly believe that having a supportive team is critical to success both in the corporate world and as a small business owner.  As entrepreneurs, sometimes we think that we have to do it all ourselves but this is simply not true.  In the corporate world, you’re typically part of a team – so, having support is mostly automatic.  For the small business owner, especially when you’re just starting out, having a team is still really important.  However, it takes resources (financial and otherwise) to create this team.  Due to the nature of small business, the answer is not as simple as just hiring someone.  We have to be both creative and courageous enough to reach out to others.  Talking to Lisa really helped me to understand how important it is to build relationships while building a business.

 

Her Story

Born in Brooklyn, Lisa Owusu grew up in La Côte D’Ivoire and Ghana. She studied liberal arts and then went on to study law between England and the United States.

In 2011, Lisa left her job to return to Ghana where she became obsessed with West Africa’s rich bead culture and Ghana’s gold history and culture. Falling in love with these millennia-old treasures and traditions, she returned to New York to practice law, pursue studying the fine jewelry craft and to build the brand CHARLTON & LOLA.

CHARLTON & LOLA, as a brand, weaves through all forms of jewelry techniques: playing with the history of old-world jewelry-making, different cultural techniques and new age design tools like Computer-Aided Design. Lisa believes that to appreciate and understand what you choose to wear, you also need to be aware of the process of creation.  From the point of imagining the piece to the actual work of creation, it’s all inherently a soulful exercise in creating beauty.

 

Her business philosophy

  • Be courageous; always have courage.

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs….

  • Have a passion for (the business) because the day to day of being an entrepreneur and growing a business will always have challenging moments.

 

Links

http://www.charltonandlola.com

http://www.benlolony.com/

http://www.flourishthriveacademy.com/

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Her business philosophy

  • Follow your passion because it’s the pathway to your destiny.  Find and use you own voice rather than following what’s popular.

 

Biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make

  • Listening to the world rather than listening to yourself
  • Overwhelm – drowning in too much content and information
  • Not having a blueprint – who, what, when, where, why, how for how you will approach your business
  • Not being willing to invest in a coach who can help you with figuring out how to approach your business

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs….

  • In order to follow your passion and let it lead to your destiny, be patient.  There will be ups and downs on the road to success.

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs….

  • Relationships – get involved with other groups to determine who would be a good coach for you.  Finding the right coach is a process.  Research each person and engage with them to build relationships.  Observe them behind the scenes.  Determine likeability and trust.
  • Outline what you want to do – what is the legacy that you want to lead?
  • Get a coach to help you with your blueprint.
  • Schedule everything – even family time and make sure you don’t sacrifice that.  You will see where you’re putting most of your time and how effective you are.

 

 

Links

www.tanyapatxot.com

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Amanda Bear is the designer and owner of Larkspur Lingerie, a sustainable and ethical lingerie company based in Los Angeles.

I wanted to talk to Amanda because of she is very eco-conscious and focuses on sustainability within product design.

 

Her business philosophy

  • Be constructive instead of destructive.

 

Her biggest challenges so far

  • Cash flow is a big challenge.  Amanda overcomes this by ordering materials as needed after she has received customer orders.
  • Figuring out how to communicate to her customers is an ongoing challenge

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs….

  • Research your idea so that you know if it’s a good one
  • Be persistent and willing to learn
  • Make a good plan and then be flexible.

 

 Links

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Karen Kawallek is the founder and creator of Lake Providence Lodge Scented Wax Melts.   She started making scented wax melts as a hobby which quickly grew into a full scale business.

I wanted to talk to Karen because she has a corporate day job and generates side income by developing her own products.

 

Her business philosophies

  • Produce a high quality product; market it smartly and be kind.
  • It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.

 

Her biggest challenges

  • Keeping up with logistics: raw material inventory management, etc.

Karen was able to solve her challenges by seeking the aid and guidance of others. In turn, Karen has helped others in their businesses.

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs….

  • Don’t be afraid.   If basing your business in an interest that you have, pursue it.
  • You need a network. Begin building or seeking out that network starting with the people around you.

 

Links

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Ama Karikari-Yawson is an author, attorney, educator, and storyteller. She received her BA cum laude from Harvard, her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School , and her MBA from The Wharton School. But after years for working in legal and finance capacities for financial services giants such as Bank of America and Citigroup Inc., she decided to leave the corporate life in order to answer her calling and fulfill a mission of empowering people through stories. She currently presents her work through student, educator, parent, and employee workshops and training sessions on issues surrounding bullying, culturally empowering education, sexual harassment, sexual violence, culture and much more.

 

Her business philosophy

Be the change that you want to see in the world.

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs:

  • Find your customers first.  Then create your product.
  • Try your best to work on yourself and your ability to be resilient and to cope during challenging times.  Develop spiritual practices of resilience.

 

Links

 

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Seema Alexander is a business strategy coach who empowers purpose-driven women to make the transition from corporate life to entrepreneurship.  She does this by helping her clients to maximize their credibility, productivity and profitability in business.  I wanted to talk to Seema to get her thoughts on what it takes to successfully transition from a corporate environment.  Not only has she made the leap herself, but she’s also coached many women to success.

Her business philosophy: 

  • Do what you love and do it often.

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs:

  • Don’t start a business just to make more money.  Focus on purpose first.
  • Have a strategic plan or blueprint in place for your business.  Consider the products/services align to your market and how you will get your message out there.
  • Invest in yourself and hire someone in a strategic capacity to help you.
  • Build a community by creating authentic relationships with other entrepreneurs.
  • Be mindful of what it will really take to create a business.

 

Links

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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

Links

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Erin Werde is the President & owner of Affiance Coaching, a Kolbe-based consulting company out of Minneapolis, MN.  Erin teaches entrepreneurs how to cultivate, build and develop key relationships in business

Her advice to female entrepreneurs

  • Leverage your natural instincts and hire those who will be complimentary so that your team can be more effective
  • Discover what your instinct is and shape your business world around that
  • Make sure that your staff is helping you to “push the needle forward.”  Challenge them, inspire them, motivate them.

Links

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Nneka Alexander specializes in creating high-end custom garments for exclusive clientele with an appreciation for quality. Based in Atlanta, Georgia USA, Brides by NoNA is a luxury brand of bespoke bridal and formal wear serving clients globally.

Her business philosophy: 

Take risks!  It’s okay to fail.  Failure is the result of trying something.  If you don’t fail, it means you didn’t put any effort into  it.  If you’re not trying and not putting in any effort, you can never achieve success.

 

What does being Queen Bee mean to her?

Someone who’s influential by reason of what they’ve done, what they’re doing or what they intend to do

 

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs:

  •  “Impossible” is not a word.  It’s just a reason not to try.  Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.
  • Put your goals and plans down on paper.
  • Work towards your goals with everything you’ve got and at some point you will achieve success if you don’t give up.

 

Interview Links

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After working in government, private industry and public accounting, Erin Johnstone took the entrepreneurial leap and started her own accounting firm, Vivid Numbers. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, revels in the details, loves to laugh and actually likes accounting!

To be financially savvy, consider the following 5 tasks….

  • Business entity selection
  • Smart bank accounts (separate personal and business accounts)
  • Simple bookkeeping software
  • Paperless filing system
  • Government reporting.

 

Erin’s advice on finding a good accountant

  • Interview more than one accountant
  • Get referrals from people in your industry who really like their accountants – and ask for specifics

Her final advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs

 

  • Set some money aside for profit and for paying yourself first
  • Don’t outsource your responsibility for your business finances; to have a successful business as well as peace of mind,  you must really understand your finances.

 

Links

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