Archive for women entrepreneurs

Kaylena Marie’s Bakery: A Vision of an Entrepreneur

Back at home in Orchard Park, a girl who graduated one year before me in high school opened up her own artisan bakery in town! Kaylena Marie Eisenhower is a twenty-year-old entrepreneur who started selling her baked goods online at a very young age. Throughout high school, Kaylena continued to cater and sell various baked goods, even if that meant waking up very early in the morning to send out shipments before school started at 7. After graduating high school, Kaylena spent 2 years studying Culinary Arts to further her education. During this last year, Kaylena transformed a small rental space into a gorgeous artisan cafe, where anyone can order pastries, sandwiches, coffee, and a whole lot more. The store spaced has been transformed into a beautiful, comfortable atmosphere. Before coming back to GCC, I stopped by the bakery for the first time. The bakery opened at 8am, and there was a line outside of her shop waiting for the freshly baked goods. With the help of her family and friends, Kaylena has offered Orchard Park a wonderful space for community, creativity, and bliss.

Actress Turned Entrepreneur

lauren-conrad-1Lauren Conrad is a well-known actress and reality-TV show star however most people do not know that she has become a successful young entrepreneur, owning two clothing lines as well as a book franchise and two websites. She used her fame and publicity to help launch her first clothing line and demonstrate that she wasn’t just the next star to create a business on a whim, instead she was committed and passionate about where she wanted her business to go. In 2007, she launched her first clothing line, The Lauren Conrad Collection. Although it ended up being a dismal failure, she learned and grew through her mistakes and launched a second, successful clothing line in 2009, LC by Lauren Conrad, in conjunction with the retailer Kohls. Since then, she has launched another clothing company, Paper Crown, written eight books, and started two websites.

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In 2013, Lauren and her friend Hannah Skvarla were inspired to start a non-profit named the Little Market. It is a company that empowers women artisans and provides a market for their products to be sold in order to provide for their families. Today, The Little Market partners with 26 artisans in 16 countries to carry their products and they hope to grow that number even more.

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Lauren has found much success with her products and websites, however she is not stopping there. She said stated that she no interest in returning to television, instead she wants to continue on with her businesses and keep doing what she loves. Lauren Conrad is a millennial entrepreneur who gives a wonderful example of using fame and success to get where she wanted to be, entrepreneurial, and then taking her success from there and giving back to others with dreams just like hers.

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Her personal website: https://laurenconrad.com/

The Little Market website: https://www.thelittlemarket.com/

 

StyleSeat

Have you ever received a bad hair cut? Melody McCloskey has, and she turned this experience into a business. McCloskey in the founder and CEO of StyleSeat, which is an app that connects hair stylists and customers looking for a haircut.

McCloskey was tired of the hassle of booking hair appointments. She found it frustrating when she called a salon sometimes stylists wouldn’t answer the phone or when they did, you just received a random appointment with a random stylist that wasn’t even good at what she wanted to be done. McCloskey decided to fix this problem with her app. StyleSeat makes it easy to book hair appointments with specific stylists. You can search for stylists by where you are and even by what the stylist specializes in. This is such a wonderful tool not only for people in need of a haircut, also stylists. Stylists can promote themselves for what they are really good at and what they prefer to do.

Melody McCloskey really stood out to me because she experienced a problem and made it into a successful business idea. This is such a great entrepreneurial quality to have. I love how she tapped into an industry that pretty much everyone utilizes and made it better. The cosmetology industry is already a saturated industry, but McCloskey found a way to innovate and come up with something new.

 

 

 

ReelFruit by Affiong Williams

If you’re looking for some great stories of innovation and successful start-ups, I would suggest looking for them in Africa. Recently, entrepreneurs in African nations have been realizing their potential at an astounding rate. A fantastic example of this is Affiong Williams and her company ReelFruit.

Williams, who was one of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 in 2015, founded her fruit processing company in Nigeria in 2012. The company sells dried fruit and nut snacks, but the impact is much larger. Williams has said that she founded the company because she saw a gap in the market and that “there is untapped opportunity in processing and value addition of raw materials.” She has also said, “I also believe it’s a very budding sector, there is a lot of opportunity as well as the job creation which I think is quite important to me as an entrepreneur to be able to play in an industry that would create a lot of jobs.”

Clearly, Williams is passionate about developing the agribusiness sector of the Nigerian economy as well as the the rural farmers themselves. This info-graphic can be found on their website:reelfruit-infographic

The company’s current product line includes dried mango, pineapple, cashew, banana and coconut snacks. As an ambitious individual, Williams is working on raising capital to open a new, larger factory to produce and package more product as well as expand the product line.

Williams has said, “I hope to be on the cover of FORBES AFRICA in five years’ time.” This company is going places. Look for ReelFruit to expand and to have an incredible impact on the agribusiness economy of Nigeria and beyond.

Better Life Bags

What started as a personal craft project grew to an Etsy store, to a Pinterest phenomenon, and then to a full-scale business- helping people all along the way.

Rebecca Smith made herself a diaper bag, posting the images on Facebook; she was very unaware of what an impact those images going public would have. She received many compliments suggesting and inspiring her to start an Etsy shop selling these bags. The shop is called Better Life Bags, in reference to 10% of profits being donated to people in third world countries helping them start their own businesses. The bags, in addition to being practical and cute, allow the customer to pick from a wide variety of fabrics and leathers letting one totally customize the accessory.

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BLB allows you to chooses the leather and fabric colors to create a bag perfectly matching your style. [via]

When a well-known blogger, and then her  many followers, saw the brilliance of this customization and pinned one of her bags, orders flooded in. The number of orders far exceeded what Rachel’s one-woman operation could fill.  Faced with the decision to either quit the business or expand, she rejected the idea of moving production overseas reaching out instead to women in her neighborhood. Smith lives in a neighborhood swirling with diversity and filled with women who have “various barriers to employment,” whether they be cultural or religious. A neighbor from Yemen, Nadia, who is unable to leave her home to work, became Rachel’s first employee. As the business has grown, Rachel has been able to hire many other local women allowing them to provide simple necessities like food and furniture for their families.

These charming bags with cute, customizable colors & choice craftsmanship really live up to their name. Not only will they make your life better, they help Rachel Smith employee those in her community with barriers to employment.

Meghan Markle, Global Citizen

Many people might have heard of Meghan Markle from her role as Rachel Zane in Suits, or for more recently being known as Prince Harry’s new girlfriend. That description alone might lead you to form assumptions about her character – Hollywood glam, famous celebrity, future royalty, etc., etc. However, Meghan is also a passionate political activist and entrepreneur. She is the founder of fashion/self-empowerment site The Tig. Her site features her own clothing line, articles on travel, food, fashion, and fitness as well as interviews with powerful women and blogs on issues like civil rights and empowerment. “I knew that girls were checking the site to see fashion tips or how to get a stellar blow dry,” Meghan writes about The Tig, “but in reframing the beauty content to include think pieces about self-empowerment, or feature dynamic women such as Fatima Bhutto, I was hoping to integrate social consciousness and subjects of higher value than, let’s say…selfies. A subtle means to pepper in what really matters.”

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

Meghan Markle, courtesy of The Tig

In addition to running a successful brand website, Meghan is also a global ambassador for World Vision as well as an advocate for UN Women. She writes frequently about the struggle of balancing her two worlds – the stark contrast between her glamourous celebrity lifestyle of excess and her humanitarian work with those who have nothing. She writes, “With fame comes opportunity, but in my opinion, it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings, and if I’m lucky enough – then to inspire.” Meghan Markle is truly an inspiration – for entrepreneurs, women, anybody. She has shown how you can successfully take a luxurious life and use it to bless others through an entrepreneurial spirit.

Suja Juice: A Lifestyle

suja-juice-1Annie Lawless had many health issues as a child and young adult and a result of that discovered a new found passion for health and nutrition in her teenage years. This passion and expertise in nutrition led her to found, with several co-founders with similar passions, Suja Juice.

Suja Juice makes organic cold-pressured juices and smoothies. In 2015, they were named #2 on Forbes “Most Promising Companies: The Top 20 of 2015.” They have remained popular and have received much attention and acclaim for their products. In January, Suja was valued at more than $300 million and they are expected to reach $70 million in sales this year.

 

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Annie Lawless created a business that she, and her co-founders, were passionate about and grew that business because she also found a niche that consumers were passionate about.  The nutrition and health food market is one that is extremely specialized and each consumer has their very own favorite good that he or she seeks out which can be deflating or inflating for companies. Suja Juice is a company that offers a product that many consumers will go out of their way to find, which shows success in what the company is making and doing. Annie Lawless is a millennial entrepreneur who fully embodies the spirit of what being a millennial entrepreneur means and practices it every day. Well done, Annie!

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You can Suja Juice’s website here: https://www.sujajuice.com/

You can also find Annie Lawless’ personal blog here: http://blawnde.com/

 

ReThink: A Millennial Entrepreneur’s Solution to Cyberbullying

Remember that one time someone said something at school and it hurt you, to the point that you remember it to this day? Maybe you experienced some form of bullying, a lot of people can identify with at least one case. Most of us grew up as kids without cellphones or access to internet for that matter. Verbal bullying consisted of what you could say to another person face to face or on the phone. With the introduction of the cell phone and mcyberbullying-benjaminmadeira-comost kids owning one, communication advances into other mediums. But with this easy mode of communication comes more ways to bully. Words over text last longer, but words can also be edited from the initial thought unlike face to face communication. So, many parents and school systems ask the question: Is there any way to try and limit text bullying without censorship of free speech?

Trisha Prabhu is a 16 year old female social entrepreneur with her mind set on creating something that diminishes cyberbullying. Trisha, around 13 years old started formulating an idea that limits bullying that takes place within the school system. She designed an app called ReThink. Over the past years, Trisha has won countless awards and finally got her idea officially endorsed by a shark on the show Shark Tank.

ReThink is an app that can be purchased by school systems where the app can be implemented to all electronics owned by the school. When kids go to respond to a message, if they use language that sounds offensive in nature, a message will pop up and ask if they would like to reword their text. This mere pause before sending has been proven to diminish cyberbullying immensely.

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Being someone who is weary about any speech censorship, I actually find this app to be acceptable because it doesn’t prohibit anyone from speaking what they think, just suggesting that they maybe rethink how they say it. It’s obvious to see that Trisha has compassion and a heart to help others, but she also has an eye to see a solution to a problem that seemed almost hopeless for many online. As an entrepreneur, she inspires me to not look past problems that are just socially accepted as how it will always be. As a communications major, she shows me how we can promote healthy communication without infringing on people’s rights to free speech.

Something Fishy

When Madison Robinson was 8 years old, she was an avid drawer of aquatic characters. She brought a picture to her father of the outline of a flip-flop with her sea animals inside of it, announcing “Look Dad, Fish-Flops!” Seeing potential in his daughter’s idea, Madison’s father went out and bought the fishflops.com domain that very day.

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Now 17 in high school, Madison maintains the delicate balance of a normal high school girl, and working as a fashion designer most famously known for Fish Flops. In 2012, she wrote a letter to a top Nordstrom buyer suggesting they sell her Fish Flops in-store, and they accepted with 64 stores offering Fish Flops by July 2012. The next year her product was featured in a front page article on Yahoo, and the flood of buyers began – starting with every Fish Flop in Nordstrom selling out.

Madison has been featured on shows such as The Willis Report, Fox and Friends, and Inside Edition, as well as multiple publications including Forbes. With her huge success, Image result for FISH FLOPSMadison has become a philanthropist as well as an entreprenur. A portion of every sale goes to the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s campaign, SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction). She has also donated over 20,000 Fish Flops to several charities that help people around the world who have little access to footwear.

Madison has expanded her Fish Flops line to include shoes and slippers, as well as regular T-shirts advocating for the SAFE campaign. Despite already being a millionaire, instead of kicking back and relaxing Madison constantly seeks to improve herself and help others. She frequently speaks at Jr. Achievement events, and spreads the positive message of pursuing your dreams with a “never quit attitude.” Madison is making her mark on the fashion world, with a driven and determined attitude presented with a smile.

Candles for a Cause

When Alexis Kauchick was faced with the pain of her brother dying of a mental illness, she wanted to find some way to make a difference. Her brother’s hobby was making candles. Alexis decided to make candles and sell them to donate to the The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, and Eternal Essence Candles was born.

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Alexis started by selling the candles in local craft shows and boutiques and has since created her own e-commerce platform. She is also doing great things as she has partnered with John’s Hopkins Medicine Adolescent Depression Awareness Program to create two signature candles.

Alexis is a great example of someone taking a pain and turing it into a business. She has identified a need, and has come up with a creative way to combat the need. Not only is she bringing awareness to the large problem of mental illnesses but she is also using this as a coping mechanism as she deals with her brother’s passing.

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