Happy Women’s History Month, y’all! Being an entrepreneur is no easy task. It takes courage to take this unconventional path, which (ha!)  being a business owner there is no real outline of a “path”– it’s a rollercoaster! Throw in a relentless energy and a rare inner drive to push through late hours  to see big ideas and dreams come to fruition and you’ve got yourself an entrepreneur. They get up everyday to continue working hard towards their business goals. I believe that even taking on a side hustle should be applauded, as it’s a major stepping stone to get you to take that “jump” to being a full-time entrepreneur.

This month marks the perfect opportunity to highlight amazing women that, to me, are making history by taking risks everyday running their own business.  Ahead, a group of major movers and shakers shared with me glimpses into their businesses, challenges they’ve faced and overcome, and most importantly: insightful advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

Jazmin Cornejo

Founder & CEO, FeMAVEN 

 

When I think about retreats or escaping to a fun destination with my girls, kale and yoga isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind. I want a martini in my hand while eating delicious street food in the back alley. I’m Jazmin, the founder of FeMAVEN, a female focused brand that brings women together through pre-packaged getaways that encourage them to immerse themselves in local culture while having a sh*t ton of fun!

Due to COVID, I was one of the many unemployed event industry professionals last year and was heartbroken when it looked like there was no end in sight. I knew I had to do something and this was my time to actually make my entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

As a college dropout who wasn’t cut out for the traditional 9 – 5 but who had traveled to 15+ countries & (also lived abroad), with over a decade’s experience in events, I realized there was a gap in the group travel industry! Busy women wanted a hassle free booking process that allowed them to travel like a blogger, feel bold and accepted, eat like a local and attend retreat-style getaways where a girl can eat bottomless carbs and wake up with a mimosa in hand.

I have curated my own kind of travel style that is a combination of all things luxury with a bit of street, grit, soul, mischief, and a “no regrets” attitude! I have taken what I have learned from the absolute best of the best and said F*CK IT – I’m doing my own thing and it’s called FeMAVEN!

I would say my first hurdle as a new entrepreneur was falling in love with a name and a brand before I looked into the trademark of it. After spending months creating social media, content, and branding for my original company name, a friend of mine who was also a business owner advised me to check with a legal team to make sure the name wasn’t already in use. Thank goodness I did because it wasn’t available in my category of travel and I needed to go back to the drawing board. I was heartbroken but I would have been devastated if I had spent thousands of dollars on branding, websites, etc…  After a few weeks of brainstorming came up with FeMAVEN and can’t imagine anything else.

Advice for Solopreneurs

Yes, there is probably someone out there who already does what you do. But you are YOU and that’s what makes your company so special!

Connect with Jazmin on Instagram and her Website.

Christine Mazzei

Founder & Owner, Kit & Wilder 

 

Kit and Wilder is an eco-friendly baby and kids’ online shop I launched in October 2020. Our mission is to offer stylish, eco-friendly and sustainable clothes, toys, and accessories while protecting the planet that our children will inherit. We only work with brands that share the same important values.

I was in the fast fashion industry for almost 12 years — but once I found out I was pregnant everything changed. I became research obsessed. Like many expectant moms, I wanted to find the best, safest, and most eco-friendly clothing and accessories for my baby. At the same time, as a professional stylist, it was important to me that my purchases fit the outdoorsy, boho, desert/Western aesthetic that I love. Unfortunately, there was no one-stop-shop that fit this vibe while also being socially conscious and kind on the planet. So, I decided to start one myself and Kit and Wilder was born! I love that I get to have full creative control and use my knowledge and experience from the fashion industry towards something I really love and believe in.

Bringing traffic and new customers to your shop is a challenge for any small business owner, and covid during my first year in business added an extra layer of difficulty. Luckily there’s an amazing community of female entrepreneurs out there who are eager to lift up other women-owned small businesses and offer advice. By tapping into that network, and doing research independently, I’ve been able to navigate what works best for my shop. But there’s still so much to learn, and so much potential for growth! I’m excited to face each challenge and keep getting better.

Advice for Upcoming Entrepreneurs

Research, and research some more! Before launching, I spent a good 6-8 months doing a deep dive into marketing strategy, creating vision boards, and setting up project management tools for the long list of to-dos. Of course there’s always a lot to learn as you go, but having a solid foundation and vision are invaluable to get your business going.

Connect with Christine on Instagram, Facebook, and her Website.

Megan Kain

Founder, Sognatore Collection 

 

I started Sognatore Collection in January 2021 to create Resort Wear for women who travel.

When I was solo traveling, I realized it was very difficult to find clothing that was lightweight, chic, and versatile. Sognatore Collection was created to give women clothing that is effortless, yet chic so they can feel their most confident selves when embarking on their travels. Sognatore Collection will be launching soon, but one of the biggest challenges I faced was issues with the technical design during the development stage. Learning the basic fundamentals and finding experts in my industry helped me feel more confident in my business.  Imposter syndrome is thinking you need to be an expert in everything you do, but just know that there are so many resources out there that are there to guide us.

Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs

Don’t be afraid to start over! When you are doing something new for the first time, trial & error is part of the journey, and in business when you have an idea or a path forward, it is inevitable that you will have to pivot at some point.

Connect with Megan on Instagram and her Website (Launching Soon)

Jillian Petrie

Founder, Athletes & Artists 

 

Athletes & Artists is a media network & commerce company with a mission to motivate, educate, and celebrate the athleticism & creativity in everyone. With original programming, an athleisure line, events, & more – we offer something for everyone! After all, we are all Athletes & Artists! A&A was cultivated for a few before officially becoming a company in 2017.

I started Athletes & Artists because long story short, there was a need for Athletes & Artists. Instead of waiting for someone else to create it, I did it myself. When I launched the biggest challenge I overcame was letting go emotionally. The saying “It’s not personal, it’s business” does not compute for most early entrepreneurs. I took things personally at first. When big companies played copycat, it hurt. With time, I gained more confidence. People can copy you, but they will never be you, & that’s your strength.

Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Know your “why” inside & out. If there isn’t a strong purpose behind creating your business, take some time to figure that out before you launch. It is not about you, it’s about them. It’s not about filling a niche, it’s about filling a need.  Oh, & remember – you’ve got this.

Connect with Jillian on Instagram, Facebook, and her Website.

Pooja Arshanapally

Social Media Manager &
Content Creator,The Novus 

 

I help local businesses with building their online presence as a social media manager. I had the idea of shifting my career in December 2019, but when the pandemic hit and I had all this extra time,  I decided the time to start was now! Time felt like it had stopped for me and I realized if I didn’t start achieving my dreams that I want to do for myself, they will stay dreams.

When you transition from employed to self-employed, no one can prepare for all of the roadblocks that come your way.  When I encounter roadblocks, sometimes it can be extremely hard to figure out the solution, especially when you can’t find it on Google! It is important to have a network of people who have the same career as you to ask for advice and to keep each other accountable.

Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right. The first time I heard this quote, it completely changed my whole perspective. Your mindset can make or break your reality. Surround yourself with people who build you up and support what you do, because you are worth it!

Connect with Pooja on Instagram and her Website.

Deb Kelley

CEO & Creative Marketing Officer, The Write One Creative Services 

 

The WriteOne Creative Services is a branding agency, specializing in small business entrepreneurs. My company offers graphic design, printing, web design, web maintenance, and PR copywriting by a local reporter. The WriteOne Creative Services was established in February 2005.

I started my business to give me something fun to do with my time after working at my “day job,” besides watching TV. I wanted the opportunity to be home-based to be able to enjoy my daughter, and not miss those special moments of her growing. I left the corporate world in 2008 to do my company full-time and have never looked back.

While running my business, a challenge I faced was being diagnosed with roughly a dozen invisible illnesses. I overcome it every day by doing what I can, taking breaks as needed, and by not letting a scary diagnosis be who I am.

Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs  

Do it. Jump in with both feet. If you fail, fail forward. Learn from your mistake and grow from it. Keep on trying. When you succeed, you can help someone else.

Connect with Deb on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Rachel Grim

CEO & Founder, Ditch the Clique 

 

I launched my event series and online accountability community, Ditch the Clique, in 2019 to connect, inspire, and empower women with resources to live the life they dream! These resources include FREE bi-monthly events (virtual for the time being,) one-on-one confidence coaching, and inspiring social platforms to keep your feed a positive place!

I started Ditch the Clique not only to connect with, inspire, and empower REAL women but as a way to thank the women who had empowered ME to move above and beyond limiting circumstances too. I believe female empowerment is a cycle and THIS is the part I play in continuing it.

When I started my business in 2019, the majority of Ditch the Clique events were in person! For obvious reasons this was a HUGE challenge come 2020, but inspired me to host bi-montly virtual events as well as to launch my online confidence coaching community! More than ever women need to feel connected to like-minded ladies and Ditch the Ciique gives them an accessible and affordable way of doing so!

Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs

A word of advice I enjoy sharing with my community is to  think of your business or project like a puzzle. You have to build piece by piece before seeing the whole picture. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to achieve the full picture right away – simply find the next piece of the puzzle.

Connect with Rachel on Instagram and her Website.

Daphne Subar

Founder & Chief Baking Officer, Subarzsweets

 

I launched Subarzsweets in 2016 after practicing law for over 25 years.  I started it because my daughters encouraged me to follow my passion as I had always encouraged them to do.  I have faced numerous challenges (both big and small) since launching but I think that is what can be expected.  The biggest challenge was overcoming imposter syndrome when questioned by others, and also when celebrating my success.  I have had to constantly remind myself that I am a successful business owner, even if sometimes I feel like I am just pretending and don’t deserve to be successful.  I have had to conquer that inner voice which appears at random times questioning myself and my success.

Advice for Newbies to Entrepreneurship

I encourage all budding entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and just try it!  You will never know until you do it and you are never too old to try something new, or learn something different.

Connect with Daphne on Instagram, Facebook, and her Website.

Lang Maddox

Owner / Artist & Graphic Designer, Lang Maddox Art

 

I’m an Artist, Illustrator and Graphic Designer and started my business, Lang Maddox Art, as an evolving side hustle in 2016, but went full time in January 2021! I’m most well known for my Twisted LANGuage Collection, which are calligrams (otherwise known as shapes composed of words related to said shape,) but also have a new collection of abstract face art, called, “Natural Beauties.” As a designer, I also create logos, branding assets and marketing materials for small businesses and organizations, as well as digital commissions for individuals, like portraits!

For the past four years, I was working full time in a Director role for a boutique wealth management company for professional athletes. While it was a really interesting and unique experience where I learned so much about business, it didn’t fulfill me creatively. My husband and I moved to Denver in late 2020 on a bit of a whim, essentially numbering my days with my former company. It was a pretty stressful and nerve racking time, trying to figure out my next move. I decided to focus entirely on what makes me happy through art and design to see if it could actually be a full time thing. I’m into my third month now and each month has been better than the last, with more opportunities coming weekly as I continue to put my art and myself out there! It’s a very exciting, crazy and fulfilling time.

Honestly, I would say my biggest challenge has been self-doubt and fear of failure. These are things I’ve battled forever and there were days where they really crippled my creativity and productivity, which I couldn’t afford because every hour counts when launching a new business. I’ve had to take a good, hard look at how destructive self doubt and limiting beliefs can be and how it’s truly just me getting in my own way and there’s no room for it!

I look to other artists that I admire and instead of comparing myself to where they are on their journeys, I let them inspire and motivate me. My motto has become, “just keep going.” In moments of creative frustration, self doubt or stumbling through learning a new process that helps my business, if I just keep going in little steps at a time, eventually I will get where I want to be and will have learned a whole lot in the process!

And, instead of feeling like I need to put out a perfectly polished final product to the world, I’ve decided that messy and honest is much more authentic and far less anxiety-inducing, so when I have a hard day, I talk to my followers about it on Instagram. A lot of people seem to appreciate the candor. Also, morning meditations and daily walks are essential!

Advice for Entrepreneurs Just Starting Out

Be proud of who you are and what you have to offer. You are the only you and if you are true to yourself and your core values, you will stand out and feel really fulfilled because of it. Comparison is never a winning game, but rather, lifting each other up is the best way to go!

Every Friday in my Instagram stories, I feature an artist/designer/small business I’m a fan of and call it #FanFriday. I started it purely to shout out people I admire in hopes that I can spread their reach because they deserve it! Completely unexpectedly, one of the small businesses I featured for a #FanFriday replied and we began a conversation that ultimately led to us collaborating! That was never my intention for Fan Friday, but it was a very exciting and surprising perk to praising someone else I respect! I would now even call her a friend too and we continue to encourage and support each other however we can!

Connect with Lang on Instagram, Etsy, and her Website.

April Lovett

Founder, Unfold Motherhood + Wellness

 

Unfold Motherhood + Wellness was created in 2014. I opened a studio because when I was pregnant with my first child I could not find any prenatal yoga classes, and I was really wanting community and more education. So I created it!

When I first opened one of the biggest challenges was getting the word out. I tried all kinds of different ways but found that word of mouth and being involved in the community was the best form of growth for Unfold.

Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs

My advice for entrepreneurs would be to own your niche. Don’t be afraid to niche down, you cannot serve everyone and that is okay!

Connect with April on Instagram and her Website.

Carrie Heffernan

Co-Founder, Team Princess

 

Team Princess LLC was created in May 2019 when we bought Pixie Dust – a birthday party venue in Bay Shore. We are a children’s entertainment company.

My business partner and I have been children’s theatre performers on Long Island for over a decade. We wanted to create an environment where all children can learn and grow together using creativity and their imaginations. When we learned the previous owners of Pixie Dust was selling her business we thought it was a great opportunity to bring a little extra magic to Long Island.

Due to Covid we had to leave the Bay Shore location but it has allowed us to rebrand and reimagine what exactly we want to do with our company. We are trying to rebuild our company by putting a spotlight on the theatre/entertainment aspect rather than the “party planning” aspect of the business.

Advice for All Entrepreneurs

Never give up. As long as your heart is in the right place you will get through whatever obstacles come your way!

Connect with Carrie on Instagram, Facebook, and her Website.

Melek Kartal

Founder, Mevva Jewelry

 

Mevva is a NYC based, luxury and minimalistic jewelry brand. Our styles are made from pieces that are a real mix from understated to bold. Our collections are dedicated to all women. Each piece of jewelry is designed with the intention of empowering women. We developed a collection with pieces that provide women with chic yet accessible styles for every moment of their lives. We create collections that are an extension of your style and personality. We started January 2020.

MEVVA means Community. As a brand, we  aim to “Contribute to a better world”  by creating designs that celebrate and empower you, while utilizing every dollar to go towards making a larger impact.  By buying from us, you support small manufacturers and help them work in ethical conditions with fair wages. By helping a small artisan you help an entire community.

At first, a challenge we faced was having limited marketing resources with a limited budget. To overcome this when we started our line, we first sold at a local pop-up. Based on the customer-facing feedback we received, we developed our product line further.

Advice for New Entrepreneurs
Start a business with an idea that you are very passionate about.  When you start a business, the first couple of years you will work more than you ever would work for a company. You need to love what you do to be able to keep pushing forward.

Connect with Melek on Instagram, Pinterest and her shop on Etsy.

Amanda Corley

Owner, The Curated Concierge

 

My business is The Curated Concierge – virtual concierge & personal assistance services available for home, business and travel + full-service event planning and specialty gifting. The Curated Concierge launched in November 2020.

I’ve always wanted to start my own business but always had an excuse not to take the plunge. Then, this autumn, I was laid off due to event/travel cuts from COVID and decided it was never a more perfect time to offer my skills to people in a time when they need help the most!

Not being able to offer my services in-person and network within the community has been VERY challenging – both mentally and in a sense of building my business/clientele/referral network. I’ve worked to overcome this by being very present within local community Facebook groups and consistently showing up as a helpful resource. I’ve also only featured my virtual service offerings such as website builds, office/small business operations, client/relationship management virtual assistance and virtual events, rather than the way I will be able to service the field in-person once things return to “normal.” Since I can’t host/plan events, I’ve been busy coordinating vendor photo shoots that still allows us to feature our work and abilities (while also giving us content!) without having to break any of the COVID rules.

Advice for Blossoming Entrepreneurs

My piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs is to have tunnel vision focused on the ultimate goal of your business & tune out everyone else’s noise. At the same time, always have a strong enough awareness of the world around you to know when it’s time to make a shift. Stand strong in your beliefs and your voice and though it takes time, the right people will find you.

Connect with Amanda on Instagram, Facebook, and her Website.

Bridget Brown

Co-Founder, The Advisory Guild

 

I’m one of the founders of The Advisory Guild — approachable business consulting for female entrepreneurs. I work with the founder to discover unique ideas, put strategies to the test, and act as a sounding board. I officially launched in the summer of 2019.

I started The Advisory Guild based on what I didn’t have in my previous businesses (I was the founder of Bella Bridesmaid and Filbert)….which was the ability to find a seasoned advisor that I could bounce ideas off of every month, help me expand the vision of the company and service as a source of support. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely…I am here to alleviate that!

When  launching my business, the challenge I faced was probably within myself…having the confidence to launch. Even though I had founded other businesses (and even sold my first company) I keep doubting that the knowledge I had was valuable to someone else. Turns out, it is!

Advice for Busy New Entrepreneurs

It truly takes a village, so find your sources of support early on and lean on them. Outsource what you can….think of it like this…you’re supporting another woman’s business by doing so!

Connect with Bridget on Instagram and her Website.

Casey Farrell

District Manager & Independent Consultant with Arbonne

 

I am an independent consultant and District Manager with Arbonne. I had been using the products for over a year and fell in love with every single thing I tried. Overall, my health, both mental and physical, was improving. I decided to jump in and get into the business side so I could share the products I love, with others. I want to shout all things Arbonne from the rooftops!

The biggest challenge for me personally when I started my business, was getting over the fear of people “judging” me. I was so hesitant because my head filled with all the “oh gosh what are people going to say? I’m THAT girl on their news feed?!” That took a bit for me to get past. Truly, the Arbonne community helped me see my full potential and the gifts I have to share. Why should some self doubt stop me from changing lives and making a difference? Once I got over that, I absolutely flourished!

Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs

Surround yourself with positive people who BELIEVE in you! Don’t let one bad day impact the next. Every day is a fresh opportunity to start over and crush your goals!

Connect with Casey on Instagram and her Website.

Moving & Shaking on Your Own Journey

If you’re on this journey as a solopreneur or with a business partner, I highly recommend reflecting on these stories as you hit unexpected twists and turns, because let’s face it, they’re bound to happen. It’s incredibly valuable to hear other people’s stories and challenges  to see how they have overcome these obstacles, and to remember that you’re not alone. Pair it with their great advice, you’ll be inspired and back on track to making your dream brand a reality in no time.

Have an inspirational gal pal that should be featured in the spotlight? Let me know! Send me a note to nominate your female-entrepreneur friends and I’d love to learn more about their business ventures and story!

hi there, I’m blaire!

I’m an expert at marketing & entrepreneurship, and completely obsessed with helping business owners transform their dreams into booming success stories. Sometimes it just takes an extra set of hands and another person’s perspective to make the business magic happen. Contact me today and let’s talk shop! 

 

 

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

3 Best Ways Small Businesses Can Work with Influencers featuring Inbal Claudio