Archive for women entrepreneurs

Pamela S. Stevens

Pamela S. Stevens entered the entrepreneurial world by working with the company Purch as one of their first writers for their new segments “Top Ten Reviews” in 2005.Image result for pamela s. stevens

She has been working in innovation in for the past 20 years with five different small businesses. She helped boost and promote these companies.

Since working at Purch, she became the writer and content developer for all their Business to Business properties.

This includes IT businesses and other smaller businesses. Now, Pamela Image result for purchlives in Utah writing as her career.

In college, she studied Creative Writing and Geography, showing that truly anyone can have an entrepreneurial mind.

Her business motto is “If I ever lose money, I quit.” She has stuck to that her whole business career.

 

Tonami’s Creations: For Children Aged 4 to 95 Years

Tonami’s Creations is the creation of Tonami Abiona, 7 year-old Nigerian entrepreneur who loves to draw, paint, color, write, and create.

At the humble age of five, Tonami began creating her own books of sorts, collections of art and stories. She gave them to her friends, wanting to spread her love for creation, and encouraged them to do the same thing. Her simple art form soon turned into a business opportunity when she was approached by Kid Entrepreneurs, “an organization that is primarily focused on raising the next generation of entrepreneurs;” they wanted to showcase her product!

A few pivots later, Tonami, with the help of her computer engineer and entrepreneur mum and financial analyst dad, arrived at what is now the My Story Book Kit. This product is “a creative writing resource for young readers, writers and illustrators,” containing a detailed instruction manual that guides kids through the contents and their own story-writing process. The kit encourages kids to be creative, and sharpens problem skills, all the while helping with personal and educational development.

Tonami’s branding is, quite frankly, genius. It’s a brand by kids, for kids, but appealing to parents, teachers, and gift-givers as well. The business increases their presence by showcasing at events and offering their products through different retailers. They also market the My Story Book Kit as a great gift idea and sell t-shirts to increase brand awareness.

Taking an everyday piece of joy and turning it into a business, Tonami’s Creations has re-created the way kids around the world look at creativity. To see their website, click here.

Blair Files

http://blairfls.wixsite.com/illustrations/about

When we were little – 4 or 5 years old – my cousin Blair and I liked sitting on the rocky coast of Maine with paper and crayons, drawing what we imagined to be grand scenes of the mighty ocean; to anyone else, those pictures looked like a bunch of scribbles. As the years past, my pictures were still just scribbles – I have roughly the same degree of artistic talent as an elephant holding a paint brush in its trunk; Blair was a different story: it quickly became apparent that she had real talent as an illustrator. She loved to draw and she was good at it. Over the years she also picked up talent with paint and sculpture.

Jump forward to when we were a pair of 18-year-olds trying to make one of the biggest choices of our lives: COLLEGE. I was bound for the liberal arts, Blair for the fines arts; we both got our first choice: for me, Grove City College, for Blair, the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. We were all so proud of her: despite the fact that no one in the recorded history of our family had ever done anything as impractical as going to art school, we were blown away by her talent and thrilled that she had been accepted to what is arguably one of the greatest art schools in the world.

So, we both packed our bags and shipped off for school. But while I immediately felt that I had made the right choice, Blair was plagued by doubts: not doubts about her choice to be an artist, but with questions about whether she was ready for this. She decided she wasn’t. After two weeks on campus she realized that she had a lot of personal growing to do and that RISD was not the place to do it – not yet, anyway. Of course, it was all a bit more complicated than that, but for the sake of brevity I won’t go into more detail.

Thus, Blair found herself taking a spontaneous gap year. In all honesty, she had always wanted to take a year off before college, but now that she was doing so, she didn’t have a plan. But these things always seem to work out in the end: she was offered the chance to go to Scotland to work for six months – something else she had always wanted to do. The only problem: travel is expensive!!!

But, undaunted as ever, Blair came up with a solution: she was an artist, and she was going to support herself as such! She had already created a large and impressive portfolio of original pieces, so she launched a website to sell prints of her work to support her trip abroad. She also started working for commission. 

Anyway, skipping ahead a little bit: Blair made it to Scotland where she had the incredible opportunity to work for YoungLife Ministries. In her work, she saw the incredible darkness that comes with a life without Jesus Christ: she saw kids who desperately needed Christ, and new that she was called to share Him with them. But it was very well to do so for six months in a youth camp, but what about back in America? She was going to be an artist, not a minister.

Well, like I said, Blair knew that she had a lot of growing to do: and grow she did. While she was in Scotland she had the chance to explore what it meant to use one’s talents for God; she learned that our gifts are not our own, but are to be used in service to the Lord. What did that mean for a 19-year-old who wanted to draw, but who also wanted to do more than illustrate children’s Bibles?

Eventually she found the answer: she decided not to go back to RISD but instead to enroll in the University of Delaware which had a program in Visual Communication – there, she would not only get a degree in fine art, but also in communications and visual media, learning the skills she would need to communicate truth through her art. She recognized that art isn’t just about creating beauty: it’s about creating the kind of beauty that points the viewer to the author of all things beautiful.

Today, Blair is a Junior at University of Delaware, still working to complete her degree. She is also still selling work through her website to help support her studies. Her story as an entrepreneur is still in it’s early chapters: much of it is still unwritten. Thus far, she has had enough success to allow her to fund the studies that we are confident will one day allow her to share the message that we are all called to spread. We don’t know what she will draw, who she will draw for, or what she will say through her art. But we know that she as chosen a profession that is, above all, about communication, and that she has the greatest story of all to communicate. Through her website and commissioned work she has already been able to start reaching people – now all that’s left is to watch her grow!

I like Blair’s story because it serves an in important reminder of the fact that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to mean something huge: sometimes its something as small as selling art to fund travel. Its also important to remember that as Christians we have a higher calling in whatever we do: to serve the Lord. Blair became an entrepreneur because she was a broke almost-college-student who needed to get to Scotland. Once there, she discovered that her true calling really was art, not business. Now, she’s learning what she wants to say with her art and how she wants to say it. Will she one day go into business for herself as an artist/entrepreneur? Who can say: I personally think that art is a form of entrepreneurship…. The important thing is that we serve the Lord in all we do – be it painting scenes of the cross or painting scenes of nature; running a “Christian Business” or running a “Secular business” that operates on Christian principles. I believe that finding ways to serve the Lord in all that we do is the highest calling of any entrepreneur and that turning our work into a way of serving God is in itself an entrepreneurial act.

Blair also reminds us that we don’t necessarily have to “paint the cross” to serve the Lord. I look at the things she creates and see the Master’s hand: whether she is painting the portrait of a child of God or something silly that just popped into her head, I see the kind of true beauty that is precious not because of who created it or what they created, but because it came from the hand of a woman who loves God and who knows who her talent is from and what it is for.

Ollie Dee Design

What makes Ollie Dee Design special is not so much what they do (it’s a pretty run-of-the mill custom design company that largely works with other small businesses) but the story they tell: Ollie Dee Smith is the grandfather of a dear friend of mine: Leigh Anne. Growing up, Leigh Anne watched her grandfather struggle as an entrepreneur but also saw the triumph of hard work and success. What did she learn form all this? She learned that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

And that’s how she markets herself: as a young designer who is passionate about what she does and about helping others grow their businesses. And since that is the work she has chosen for herself, she is dedicated to doing it well! She takes her “old school work ethic” and adds to it “modern branding and design”. Leigh Anne promises her customers open communication, honest criticism, and level-headed guidance as they work together to provide high quality product to a market infatuated by all things fast, cheap, or easy.

We’ve all heard it before: “they just don’t make things the way they used to;” “we weren’t afraid of hard work back in my day;” “if young people would only take a little pride in their work, things would be better”… We’ve all heard this type of thing a thousand times; most of us role our eyes and assume that our grandparents are just nostalgic for their youth. But not Leigh Anne! She had the wisdom and humility to recognize that her Grandfather’s success as an entrepreneur wasn’t a coincidence. She saw that he had valuable insight to offer, so she built her business around the values he taught her. After all: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

PGH Startup Weekend: Amelia App for Women

Do you ever wonder what could be acheived in 54 hours? In 2016, Pittsburgh Startup Weekend Women’s Edition was hosted for the first time ever… and as a result, the winning team Go Jane Go’s Amelia App is now in the beta testing phase. Kate’s idea to create an app to connect women with other professionals in cities away from home was given a chance to develop when she and her sister Ellen attended Startup Weekend and met UX Designer Sanjana. Together they were able to create a solid foundation for their venture while not only winning the competion, but receiving resources to help them in their quest to develop it. These three individuals skills paired with the proper resources and enviroment accelorated the creation of a community womens app.

This year at Pittsburgh Startup Weekend, three of the top winning teams were comprised of some your own fellow GROVERS, with business ideas for Active Home, Chute and The Good Find… so be on the lookout for these potential businesses in the future!

Learn more about…

 

Chasing Paper

Elizabeth Rees grew up in an entreprenural family, her father managed a printing plant called Kubin-Nicholson. Although she didnt always plan to become involved with the family printing business, she ran a line of modular wallpaper using the plant’s digital paper that became an instant hit among her friend that sparked serious word of mouth. Elizabeth has traveled through many towns and cities growing up and her entrepreneurial spirit has been cultivated along the way. Having to decorate her many homes around the globe, the idea for a modern wallpaper for the urban home was formed. Chasing Paper is an e-commerce brand that specializes in stylish, removable wallpaper that was led by Rees with backing by her families company. It is on track to hit $1 million in sales with its wall paper retailing at $40 a piece. This entreprenur found a way to use what she had availible to cater to her own style and passions.

www.chasingpaper.com

The Honest Company

When you see the name Jessica Alba you probably think of her as an actress, but she also is an incredible entrepreneur! Founder of The Honest Company, which is all about providing clean, safe, non-toxic products for families to use with their kids. As a mom herself, she saw the need for products that performed well and were “honestly free” of anything that could harm.

The company has adopted a “Honestly Free Guarantee” that promises that all of their products are made without “health-compromising components”. This sets it apart because their main goal is to keep kids safe and healthy, and not worry as much about the money or style.

Offering everything from laundry detergent, to diapers, to cleaning products, we are able to see how this business has grown and expanded from just products for kids, to products that the whole family can use. She also started her own beauty company that was also built on the foundation of clean and safe products. Her beauty company, Honest Beauty, opened its first physical location in 2015 and is now a popular brand among beauty gurus.

Alba shows that you aren’t stuck in one realm or career, you can be successful in many different areas as long as you are passionate.

SparkVision – MaryBeth Hyland

SparkVision – Igniting Advocates

SparkVision is a business that helps other businesses, such as associations, corporates, non-profit businesses, and more. Seeking to build a healthy, thriving, environment for team members and employees, SparkVision helps businesses connect their members through interpersonal connection.

The end result?

Teams that are better able and more willing to

collaborate, empathize,

and achieve together.”

Life Lens

MaryBeth Hyland, founder of SparkVision, didn’t always have a vision.

Growing up, she suffered abuse from her father, who told her that she was never going to amount to anything. The abuse that she endured from her parent has stayed with her throughout the rest of her life– it still affects her to this day– and she has a hard time coping with “success.”

However, using the pain and emotional abuse she experienced has led her to gain insight into minds of others. She is able to empathize and connect with others. Her past experiences has allowed her to culminate a business that is centered around connecting with others.

While I had not heard of SparkVision until recently, I find it inspiring that Hyland used her past experiences to cultivate a business that would give others the emotional connection and benefits that she never had. She ensures that business organizations would have teams full of connection– because where there is connection, there is purpose, and the organization thrives from happy, connected members.

Ten year old Girl Makes Heartfelt Impact

Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer is a ten-year-old from Duncannon, Pennsylvania. She was born missing half of her heart, and her twin brother, Rory, passed away before the two could ever meet. She underwent major open heart surgery shortly after birth and has since then undergone 21 medical procedures including three open heart surgeries.

After her third open heart surgery, Lorelei’s lungs collapsed and she underwent a long grueling recovery where she was given a compression heart pillow to relieve the pain… but the pillow was much to big for a girl like herself. This made her think… why aren’t their smaller compression heart pillows made for children? So then at the age of 5 her mother taught her to sew and she began making compression heart pillows for pediatric open heart patients, aiding them in their own recovery’s. She named her organization Heart Hugs, and it spread like wildfire!

Heart Hugs works with children’s hospitals, orphanages and families to provide these pillows at no cost for patients and families through the kindness of volunteers around the world that help Lorelei ensure that no child is turned away. Her non-profit organization has only been the start of her work as she helps her brother Cavan, the 2015 Army Military Child of the Year, manage Socks for Vets, which provides goods for veterans and helped to train and care fore goats used in providing service support to wounded warriors.

Lorelei has been nationally recognized, receiving recognition from the Points of Light Foundation, the Maryland Volunteerism Award, and being featured on Dr. Oz show in 2015. She is affiliated with many organizations, including 4-H where she was recognized in 2016 and 2017, where I was lucky enough to meet her in person at multiple state conferences. Lorelei is not even thinking about slowing down. As she explained, “I am missing half of my heart, and people sometimes think I can’t do anything, but I can.” And she does.

https://www.facebook.com/CHDHeartHugs

Nanoly and Enplug – Culture in Business

Nanxi Liu grew up in a situation not typically considered conducive to innovation. After spending most of the first five years of her life without her parents in China, she could move to the United States and reunite with them. When it was time for her to go to college, she got into UC Berkeley and payed her way through doing odd jobs. After meeting a talented biochemist at a bar, she started Nanoly Bioscience, a company with a patented polymer for preserving vaccines without refrigeration.

Nanoly is built around the idea that many people cannot get vaccines because of environmental factors causing the proteins that make the vaccine work to become inactive. The polymer they developed is a sort of protective shell that functionally replaces a refrigerator. For this work, Nanoly earned many awards for social technological change, including Intel’s Top Social Innovation, Dell’s Global Social Innovation Challenge Award, and a Tech Award in 2014 for Young Innovators.

Social and technological change marry perfectly in this startup. While innovation is often thought of in the terms of apps or software, bringing about powerful social change is just as revolutionary. While the technology used is advanced and definitely a breakthrough, without a use that people care about, in this case a social use, it is simply another type of plastic. Because of this merging, Nanoly was able to make the world better.

Building upon this success, Liu more recently started Enplug, a technology/software business with a product that harnesses digital screens to allows users to link, control, manipulate, and post to any digital screen instantly. Plugging into any HD screen, the technology allows the user to display social media, presentations, news, or virtually anything. They also developed a software development kit, which allows experienced users to create their own apps to link to the technology.

The most innovative aspect of Enplug is the culture of the business. Over ten of the roughly 40 employees share a single house. This not only fosters a strong bond of cooperation in the employees, it also serves to bring innovation into everyday life and everyday life into the business world. Of course, it also saves money. This choice to treat a business almost as family is a demonstration of the innovative thinking that Liu brings to her businesses. Whether Nanoly or Enplug, Liu has a capacity for being intentional in the way a business is being run, instead of simply inventing a breakthrough product.