Tag Archives: women entrepreneurs

Mindfulness about Money = Stylish, Ethical Fashion

Wednesday WomanAnna Moody, founder and creator of British Brazilian has been an entrepreneur and business owner for the last 25 years.

Anna launched her signature label British Brazilian in 2012. British Brazilian is dedicated to offering women a structured, no-nonsense approach to getting dressed for work or daily life, focusing on high quality fabrics, elegant designs and high level workmanship.

According to the Daily Echo, “She started her first business at just 17, making clothes in her parents’ living room and putting on fashion shows.”

It wasn’t until after her daughter was born that she became mindful about money, and decided to start a clothing line for women offering quality, classic styles that wouldn’t wear out.

“When she started researching the business, she was horrified to discover the huge mark-up on clothing and felt that many brands were founded on exploitation – something she was determined not to be part of. Her fabrics come from Italian mills and her clothes are made by a small group seamstresses in Athens who had been put out of work by the country’s economic crisis.”

“Mindfulness is important to Anna – from her company investing a quarter of its profits into charity to encouraging people to spend less time thinking about acquiring shoes and more quality time with their families – it is something she lives as well as preaches.”

And that’s why Anna Moody is our Wednesday Woman this week. (Plus, her clothes are beautiful.)

You can follow Anna Moody on Twitter @I_AM_BB_LTD and Facebook.

Until later …

Toni

3 Women Entrepreneurs Offer Advice: Know Your Stuff. Persevere. Get Help.

women entrepreneurs

Photo by KROMKRATHOG

Today’s Times-Pacayune (New Orleans) tells the stories of successful women entrepreneurs who overcame financial and gender barriers to build successful businesses in oil and gas staffing, event planning and mortgage lending.

JENNIFER JEANSONNE, CEO AND OWNER OF EAGLE CONSULTING

Jennifer Jeansonne led her company through the stringent process of becoming a Certified Woman-Owned Business, a designation that opens doors to more opportunities. Eagle Consulting matches oil and gas companies with project management and engineering consultants. Because the oil and gas industry traditionally is a “man’s world,” Ms. Jeansonne faces gender discrimination in getting new clients.

“Jeansonne recalls approaching a potential customer with a business pitch at an industry conference shortly after taking over Eagle Consulting in 2005. The executive heard her out and smiled before launching into a rapid description of his company’s needs peppered with complex industry jargon and acronyms. Jeansonne said the man was taken aback when she not only understood the lingo, but went on to explain how Eagle Consulting could help. ‘It was a little test, but I got past the test,’ Jeansonne said. ‘Then he was totally open to talking to me.'”

“Attitude is everything, right?” Jeansonne said. “When people underestimate you that’s when you can really impress them because they don’t expect it.”

PATRICIA HIGHTOWER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, BAYOU EQUITY MORTGAGE

Ms. Hightower saw a need for low-income mortgages and other specialty financing, but couldn’t find training.  She said, “”I basically studied, took the required tests and had to teach myself.”

 “One of her biggest challenges has been learning when to stop handling day-to-day tasks and start thinking of long-term goals for the company, though she said she’s getting better at it.

“I think that women have a hard time thinking of themselves as the boss or as the CEO,” Hightower said. “When you don’t think of yourself as the CEO sometimes you wind up multitasking and doing way more than a man would do because he would delegate more.”

DIANE LYONS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF ACCENT ON ARRANGEMENTS

Mrs. Lyons saw a lack of planning services for New Orleans’ convention and meeting venues. She quit her teaching job and used the equity in her home to finance her startup.

She emphasizes the importance of not trying to go it alone.

Lyons said it took her two years to realize she couldn’t do everything on her own and needed to hire help. Her first hires taught her the value of outside input, she said.

[She] said it’s easy for women to keep any problems they have close to the chest because most have faced some sort of skepticism about whether they can actually run a business.

Lyons said it’s important to find a non-competing peer to talk to about problems, even financial ones.

“Don’t be afraid to fail, just don’t lock everything you’ve got into that failure,” Lyons said.

There’s more good information in the article, plus you can “meet” them in the video at the link below.

Women in business: When did you know you were an entrepreneur?

Until later …

Toni

 

Wednesday Woman: Is Your Repeat Business Holding Up Like a Stick-On Bra?

wednesday womanI always enjoy the work of Natalie MacNeil and She Takes on the World, and this video of hers really takes the cake! She’s today’s Wednesday Woman.

The title, of course, is the eye-catcher, but there’s some meat in here, too. If you want some good tips on how to keep your customers and clients coming back, take a look.

 

Thanks, Natalie!

Until later …

Toni

Female Entrepreneurship – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

female-entrepreneurship

Photo: Flickr

 

A recent study (PDF) by Jennifer Merluzzi, Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business and Ronald S. Burt, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business tried to determine why women choose to be entrepreneurs. They wanted to know what paths women took to get there. They found three:

 

  • Full-time entrepreneurs who remain entrepreneurs after first entry
  • Full-time entrepreneurs who left to be an employee, then returned to full-time entrepreneurship
  • Women who continued in a full-time job as an employee while pursuing their ventures.

They also studied the reasons women gave for pursuing entrepreneurship versus a corporate career, and compared the relative happiness of female entrepreneurs to women who held management positions in corporations.

Why do women become entrepreneurs?

They found that “while exceptions exist, a more common conclusion is that female entrepreneurship has either become the newest way for women to escape workplace discrimination or, that women are largely selecting into an entrepreneurship career path as a way to achieve work-life balance and flexibility.”

Average age and income

They asked female entrepreneurs their ages as well as their income and found: “On average, the women were 34.2 years old when they began their first entrepreneurial activity, and in their best year employed 6.7 full-time people including themselves with a gross income of $322,000. The negligible test statistics show that activities vary as much within, as between, the six business categories. There are within each category women who had dramatically successful ventures of many employees and a large income, and women whose best year was negligible.”

“More often, the ventures involved no more than the entrepreneur (61% “just self”), but these independents varied in gross income during their best year from some losing money, to one woman earning $500,000. Employees are no guarantee of income. Entrepreneurs with employees other than themselves had from two to 600 full-time employees, and earned from $2,000 to $14 million of gross income during their best year.”

Types of businesses

They found that “almost all of the entrepreneurial activities are services. The manufacturing ventures are varied, including a Massachusetts company that produces golf apparel (Avid Diva), a printing business in Ohio (Print All), a vineyard in Virginia (Abingdom Vineyard &Winery), a gourmet pet-food company in Illinois (Thompson’s Pet Pasta), and a confectioner in California (Robin Rose Ice Cream & Chocolate). Variation notwithstanding, rarity is the most conspicuous feature of the manufacturing. Of the 213 involved in entrepreneurship, only eight are in manufacturing.”

“Entrepreneurs came from all industries, but there are concentrations from management consulting, other consulting (especially accounting), and education.”

female-entrepreneur-activities

Does being married, having children, or getting a divorce make a difference in choosing entrepreneurship? Not necessarily, but it can. The study revealed that “Over the course of their lives, entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs are equally likely to be married, have children, get divorced, or re-marry. However, as a woman goes through one of these events, the odds of her becoming an entrepreneur go up.”

What about the trade-offs?

“With respect to trade-offs made for success, senior managers felt that they had given up
personal time, a balanced life, and meaningful relationships. These are all at the bottom of the
list for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial work is inherently personal time and meaningful
relationships are the substance of their work, at the top of the entrepreneur’s list of what it
means to be successful.”

“What bothers entrepreneurs is the stress of their work: entrepreneurial work is fulfilling, but stressful. Entrepreneurs cite happiness and emotional calm as the things they trade for success, which is interesting because they report the highest levels of satisfaction with their work.”

personal-values-entrepreneurship-vs-corporate-managerOne thing is clear. While this studies’ focus was the path women took to entrepreneurship, it also revealed how far women have come since the days when women entrepreneurs had few choices. “Avon® Calling” was just the beginning.

Until later …

Toni

 

 

Necessity. Invention. Hipwhaties?

wednesday-women-awardHipknoties®  – that’s “hipwhaties!”  I mean, what’s a woman going to do when she’s going away for a three-week trip where she has to dress for all kinds of situations, from casual to evening dress, and all she has is one carry-on?

The old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention” has been attributed to Aesop and Plato. I doubt Sarah Yonover was thinking of either of those guys when she was faced with the above packing dilemma, but she certainly put the saying into practice, in a creative and, well, HIP, way!

Starting with an infinity scarf, she invented a multitude of ways to turn a length of fabric into myriad styles of garments. It was such a hit with people, Sarah returned home to start her own company, Hipknoties®.

Watch the magic here, and you’ll understand why Sarah Yonover is our Wednesday Woman this week!

Have you ever had a unique idea but never followed through with it, then later learned someone else had turned “your” idea into a successful product? Let me know in the comments.

Until later …

Toni

Meet and Eat? Boring. Meet and Treat Your Feet!

Pedicure

The entrepreneur mind knows no bounds. When Ruth Shelling, founder of Rue Sinclair Media in New York, wants to meet to talk business with women, she doesn’t just invite them to lunch. She arranges brainstorming sessions at a nail salon, where women enjoy getting their feet pampered while they network. According to Entrepreneur.com, these sessions have helped her close multi-million dollar deals.

Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I think this is a great idea! I can see this being done by all kinds of women’s groups, not just businesswomen.

Nail salon owners could add value to their businesses by partnering with a deli to offer private “Eat and Treat Your Feet” sessions for women on their lunch hour. Think this is a viable idea? Let me know in the comments.

Ruth Shelling, you get my Wednesday Woman Award this week!

Until next time …

Toni

10 Success Tips from Billionaire Business Women

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business is risky, yet they do it anyway. Some have a head start because they don’t have to worry about financing. Others only have a dream, a unique vision, a passion they feel they must pursue, and figure out as they go how to get financing. Some choose to start their own business because they want to be their own boss.  Others do it because they perceive a need that no one else has filled. Whatever the reason, let’s get inspired by those who have succeeded.

These ten women have succeeded, at least financially, beyond most of our wildest dreams. Not all of them started out poor, but a few did. Some of them started with wealth they got through marriage or inheritance. But all worked hard to achieve success. Here are their keys to success, according to this article in Refinery 29.

Sheryl_Sandberg_COO_Facebook

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

 

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. – Always look ahead. The more women reach higher positions within companies, the more women will create workplaces that allow females to care to all facets of their life.

 

 

 

Salma-Hayek-Actress

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

 

Salma Hayek, actress and founder of film production company Ventanarosa.  – Persevere. Salma claims she wasn’t taken seriously at first and underestimated, but says, “you stick around long enough, act out of conviction, and try to be honorable in everything you do, [and] good things will come to you. I have seen karma work in this business.”

 

 

 

 

ZARA clothing store

Photo via gi.wikipedia.org

Rosalia Mera, co-founder of clothing company Zara, who said  dropping out of school to become a seamstress at age 11 was the smartest thing she’s ever done. After Rosalia began making gowns and garments in the living room she shared with former husband, Amancio Ortega, the two went on to co-found clothing parent company, Inditex, which eventually resulted in the formation of Zara. Do whatever you can yourself. Sometimes it’s best to tackle things on your own, no matter how difficult they may seem.

 

Miuccia-Prada

Photo via Cory M. Grenier on Flickr

Miuccia Prada, head designer at Prada and Miu Miu:Respect one another and always innovate. With Bertelli known for being a fiery boss and indefatigable leader, the entirety of Prada’s success rests in the intense relationship between the couple. One reason it works so well is their shared bottom line: making a product that both pushes fashion forward and actually sells.

 

 

Laurene_Powell_Jobs

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

Laurene Powell Jobs, co-founder and president of the Board of College Track,  a nonprofit based in San Francisco that aims to increase the number of high school graduates and college attendees from low-income families. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Laurene’s philanthropic efforts change the lives of others every single day, but it’s not without the investment of a lot of hard work and a ton of time.

 

 

 

 

Sara_Blakely

Photo by by Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women, Flickr

Sara Blakely, founder and inventor of Spanx. –  Don’t be afraid to fail, and maybe, don’t ask for that second opinion. It took Sara two years to get her initial prototype ready for sale after dreaming up the idea. By not telling her family and friends about Spanx for a full year, she didn’t have to address their concerns and doubts, and never had to spend time defending her idea until it was already on its way.

 

 

The Gap store

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

 

 

Doris Fisher, co-founder of The Gap. – Speak your mind. The store never would have been called “The Gap” if Doris hadn’t pointed out the generational shift in the neighborhood, and that it should be reflected in the brand’s name.

 

 

 

 

Melinda_Gates

Photo via en. wikipedia.org

Melinda Gates, co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. –  Give Back. Melinda has made it her life’s work to help others in need and look for solutions to help others in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Stark_Handbags

Photo: Pinterest.com via sipwithsociaites.com

 

 

Petra Ecclestone, heiress, model, and founder of Stark, her line of luxe handbags. – “Get as much experience as possible.” Hard work always wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

United_Colors_of_Benetton

Photo via fotopedia.com

Giuliana Benetton, co-founder of United Colors of Benetton got her start in a small town in Italy by hand-knitting sweaters that her brother Luciano would sell by bicycle. Make your passion your life-long passion. All four siblings still serve as members of the board of directors of Benetton Group, nearly 50 years after its formation.

 

 

Until next time …

Toni

Smash the Imposter Syndrome!

imposter

Photo by Frank Kovalchek on Flickr

Do you ever feel like an imposter? There have been times when I have, even when I knew I was capable and knowledgeable.

I recently discovered the uplifting, inspiring website for women entrepreneurs, She Takes on the World by Natalie MacNeil. Natalie is an entrepreneur, author, teacher and speaker. Her website has been listed by Forbes on their “Top 10 Websites for Entrepreneurial Women.”

If you’ve ever held back from going after a fabulous job or starting the business of your dreams because you feared people would find out you’re not as great as you seem, you’re not alone! Watch this.

The Imposter Syndrome and Women Entrepreneurs

Let’s all smash the Imposter Syndrome and get on with being successful, shall we?

Until next time …
Toni

Wednesday Women: Cookies to Chemicals

Confidence LevelEach Wednesday, we focus on woman-owned businesses — starting one, building one, success stories, and everything in between.

Women have been entrepreneurs for ages, long before the word “entrepreneur” came into common use. All over the world women have been making and selling goods or providing various services in village and city marketplaces for many, many years.  Because our culture and tradition defines the primary role of a woman as a mother and nurturer, and the primary role of a man as a breadwinner and businessman, many women are hesitant to pursue their dreams of business ownership.

In a 2012 Forbes article titled “Entrepreneurship Is The New Women’s Movement,” Natalie MacNeil wrote: “Women will create over half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected to be created by 2018 and more and more are doing this from home offices across the country.”

In 1977, Debbi Fields had a passion to own a business selling high quality chocolate chip cookies. Finding financing to open a shop was difficult, but she persevered. The result was Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery, which grew to become Mrs. Fields, with 600+ company-owned and franchise stores in the United States and 10 foreign nations.

“What I wanted was to be allowed to do the thing in the world that I did best — which I believed then and believe now is the greatest privilege there is. When I did that, success found me.” — Debbi Fields.

After years of working for other companies, chemist Linda McGill Boasmond became the first and only African-American woman to own a chemical manufacturing plant. In this great article from Voices, she offers some entrepreneurial advice:

Do
– Believe that it’s possible despite “the four F’s: finances, family, free time and being female.” She’s proof it can be done, she says.
– Know the key to overcoming difficult times is faith and perseverance. “Like with your GPS, when you miss the turn, you’ll reroute quickly,” she says.

Don’t
– Think you’re superwoman. “As an entrepreneur the business is your baby that you don’t want anyone else to hold,” she says. “The problem is you can never grow a business to scale by yourself.” Ask for help.
– Try to be one of the guys. “Bring the female perspective to the table,” she says.

So ladies, whatever your passion, don’t hold back. Follow it.

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” — Marie Beyon Ray, author.

Until next time …

Toni