the Good Girls Salon
I was invited to be on a panel at the Good Girls Salon to look at three different businesses and basically give feedback, advice or help. The concept being that women who ask for help will go a lot farther than the women that don't. I like that.
Holly Lynch, who is one of the partners at The Good Girls invited me as well as Janet Hanson of 85 Broads, Deborah Jackson of Golden Seeds, Jennifer Hill of Astia and Natalia Noguera of Pipline and a few more.
All three ideas were completely different. Each woman was really impressive and their presentations were excellent. What was most impressive is how each of these women had already boot strapped their companies and made some progress ( one in particular has made serious progress ) single handedly.
The first company is called Emalle. A high energy woman who has come out of ten years of advertising and marketing who became obsessed with finding the perfect bag for her chaotic life. One that carries a laptop, one that looks fantastic, one that carries shoes separately for when you are on the go, one that has pockets for the right items you need to grab in a flash and of course one that has a good cell phone pocket. After years of drilling down and then asking other women what they thought, she created the Ully bag ( and others ). The bag is made in NYC (love the local production), is made of beautiful leather and really nice handiwork. Retails for $598 and feels like a much more expensive bag. She'd like to build the business to sell directly to the consumer but more than likely will have to sell to some stores. Impressive.
The second business is called Uprise Art Not a new idea here. A subscription based platform to put art on your walls without buying it. Renting art, per se. If you love it, you can buy it or you can continue to rotate art on your walls. The last frontier on the web seems to be art. I have written about this before. The only art platform that has worked so far is 20X200 that allows everyone to collect limited edition art prints of original work from $20-$1000 and more. Now you can buy that work framed which even makes life easier. The business model of being in a subscription based club for $50 a month might work for the consumer but I am not convinced it can be a scalable business that works for the artist or the company.
The third was the most mature and honestly the most impressive. Malene B is a custom handmade carpets company. The woman behind has been in the business for years and finally went out on her own. She is scrappy and hard working. She has been at it since 2009 and has finally broken into major hotels and a variety of personal residents through designers. Her designs reflect her travels and the carpets are really beautiful. She is interested in taking this business to another level through private label, other avenues and grow on what she has already created. Although she was looking for funding, my advice to her is continue to do what you are doing by bootstrapping the business. She will do over a million dollars this year. My gut is in the next year she will bust out to a whole new level. She is full of life, a born sales person and creative at the same time.
The panel gave advice, helped with possible connections and basically brainstormed for a while after each presentation. The only negative is that the presentations were too long. Keep them to 10 minutes because if you can't do it in 10 minutes or less, then nobody pays attention.
I love doing these events. It is exciting to see so many women pursuing their desires to become entrepreneurs and master of their own destiny. As I look back, the one thing I didn't say out loud but hope resonates is that being an entrepreneur is really really hard work. Taking money doesn't make it easier. If you can boot strap your own business, figure out how to surge ahead and grow your business solo, it will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears but the rewards are huge. A simple saying to live by, "no pain, no gain".