Archive for the ‘ Grant Recipients’ Category

An Interview with WomensNet.net Grant Winner, Robin Watkins of Whatever Media

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I had the great pleasure of asking a few questions with our latest Amber Grantwinner, Robin Watkins. What a terrific story – one of the most personally inspiring stories we’ve ever heard at WomensNet.net. I hope you’re as touched as I was!

– Christina Lambert
WNN

WomensNet.net: Robin, please tell us the story of how your business came into being.  How old is the business?

Whatever Media started about two years ago when I moved back to Hampton – the city where I went to college (Hampton University) – from Los Angeles.  I really wanted to start my own multimedia business, but the market was just too saturated in Los Angeles for creative services.  Moreover, I had more resources and support here from my friends, professors, and alumni from both Hampton University and my grad school Regent University.  I had actually planned to get a “real job” and do my business on the side, but unfortunately, all of the opportunities I had lined up here fell through when I decided to move back.

So I had to find something, I needed money, and I decided to redirect my focus. I put all the time I was using to find hard-to-get jobs (during the height of a recession) into finding my first few clients.  I started by putting an ad in the Creative Services section on Craigslist, and I did a few websites for small business owners. Not too long afterward, I got the opportunity to do a proposal for a website for the airport in my region – the Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport. After that, my business spread like wildfire just from word of mouth, and my business name became well known in the area.

I love what I do.  I have always wanted to be my own boss and work in a creative field, and I love helping people.  It’s hard work, but it’s a kind of freedom and satisfaction that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

WomensNet.net: How did “Whatever Media” get its name?

I was talking to one of my best friends and I couldn’t figure out a name.  While brainstorming, he asked me what types of services I planned to provide and I said, “Whatever… I can edit, take photos, design websites, do some audio production – anything that has to do with multimedia.” So the “Whatever” stuck!

WomensNet.net: What makes your business or business model unique?

My business specifically caters to small businesses and nonprofits.  As a small business, I know what first-hand what we need – and more importantly, what we don’t need, and how to save money.  I try to pass on any quality information to my customers about useful free, open-source, or affordable services and software for their business…and only the ones I have personally tested myself.  I know how hard it was for me to filter through all of the junk and ridiculous advertisements and offers you receive when you first start a business.

I have seen good people with good businesses fail, simply because they either did not take advantage of technology that was available to them. Or even worse, because they were unaware of what was available to them.  Just sharing knowledge of how to use new technologies effectively can help a business tremendously. I truly believe that by passing that information on, without trying to directly profit from it, I will receive the positive karma back – and it lets my clients know that they can trust me.

WomensNet.net: Who or what is your biggest inspiration as a woman business owner?

My mother is a great inspiration for me to work hard.  She raised me and my siblings as a single parent, and always had an awesome “just do it” attitude that I have learned a lot from.  She has also always been the type of woman who would give you the coat off of her back even if she had to be without one.  I’d like to say that I have at least half as much generosity and diligence as her, and I try to put that into my business.

WomensNet.net: What do you plan on doing with the Amber Grant money?

I plan to start an educational division of my business that teaches web design to kids, both after school and online for homeschooled students – or anyone that can’t make it to my office.  I would also like to start a camp, specifically for at-risk preteen girls, to get them interested in computer technology by providing instruction in web design, programming, multimedia production, and video game design using open-source software and Linux computers.  The money will be used to help secure some of the equipment to put together the lab, and to cover printing costs for the advertising materials.

Just for fun, here is Robin’s associate:

WhateverMediaDesi

Desireé Monique, or “Desi”, is a precious, petite, lab mix that has been employed as Lead Creative Consultant at Whatever Media since she was rescued from the Peninsula SPCA in November 2009.  Desi has been recognized not only for her attentiveness to detail, but also for her assistance in generating innovative concepts.  While Desi’s history is currently unknown, it is inevitable that she is a strong survivor of abandonment, exploitation, and famine.  Today, she is the go-to girl for confirmation of Whatever Media’s prospective ideas.  Desi spends her leisure time relaxing on sunny spots on the floor, going on walks at the beach, or getting scratched behind the ears by anyone willing to do so.

Business Grant Award Winner LimeSkinCare.com interview

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

We at Womensnet.net wanted to give a quick shout out and congratulations to our latest Amber Grant winner, Emily Sindlinger from Reno, NV.  Not only did Emily win the $500 grant, but a professional copywriter in the WNN network has donated 5 hours of time to write copy for Emily’s website and marketing materials.  Emily started her own business, the Lime Skin Spa, and we thought you would like to hear her story.   Below is a short interview we did with our latest winner!     
WNN:  Emily, congratulations on winning the Amber Grant.  A quick question that most women would want to know is — what is your background?

Emily: I graduated from UNLV with a degree in recreation with concentration in golf management.  I had a change of heart when I graduated and decided I wanted to own my own business. So I went to esthetician school with the intentions of owning a day spa.  And now that day is finally here!

WNN:  Is Lime Skin your first business venture?

Emily: Yes, I have owned LimeSKIN for 3 1/2 years.  I opened this skin studio with the intentions of growing and working towards a day spa.  Lime is like my baby.  I am very passionate that I have started all of this without getting myself into debt by not taking out a business loan.

WNN:  Wow, being debt free is terrific.  How has Lime Skin done since you’ve opened?

Emily: The first two years were slow, then I went to a skin show and took a bunch of classes.  I learned that my success depends on me and nothing else.  It was very inspirational.  It gave me the confidence to get to where I am now, almost 2 years later and ready to open a day spa.

WNN:   Have you seen a gradual improvement or are you still in the growth stages?

Emily:  Definitely still in the growth stages.  There is no glass ceiling so I will be constantly growing.

WNN:  What is your clientele?

Emily:  My target clientele is anyone who is looking for a relaxing experience.  In this fast paced world it’s important to take time for yourself and reflect.  Lime helps women do that in many different ways.  Lime also attracts people who want healthy looking skin.  All of the facials deliver amazing results.  And the retail Lime offers is the best selection of skincare products in the area.

 WNN:  In your Amber Grant application, you told us you plan on attending the Spa Director’s Seminar.  Is that still the case?

Emily:  Yes, I am still planning on going.  It will be pushed back until the fall because the timing was quite right.  I plan to use the $500 for some training CD’s.  I already have some and they are life changing in the spa industry!

WNN: Any plans to amp up your website?

Emily:   Yes, first thanks for the SEO tips you gave me.  That will help.  As for the site, since I’m not taking out a business loan, I’m doing a little at a time.  My website re-launch is planned for April.   I have an e-commerce site that I will be launching in April so my clients can book appointments, buy products, gift cards…But I am all for any tips and advice from Womensnet. Seriously, thank you so much!  I’m so grateful!  

We’re happy to help Emily and other businesswomen like her.
Christina Lambert

Grant Award Winner Interview: Limeskincare.com

Monday, February 14th, 2011

We at Womensnet.net wanted to give a quick shout out and congratulations to our latest Amber Grant winner, Emily Sindlinger from Reno, NV.  Not only did Emily win the $500 grant, but a professional copywriter in the WNN network has donated 5 hours of time to write copy for Emily’s website and marketing materials.  Emily started her own business, the Lime Skin Spa, and we thought you would like to hear her story.   Below is a short interview we did with our latest winner!     
WNN:  Emily, congratulations on winning the Amber Grant.  A quick question that most women would want to know is — what is your background?

Emily: I graduated from UNLV with a degree in recreation with concentration in golf management.  I had a change of heart when I graduated and decided I wanted to own my own business. So I went to esthetician school with the intentions of owning a day spa.  And now that day is finally here!

WNN:  Is Lime Skin your first business venture?

Emily: Yes, I have owned LimeSKIN for 3 1/2 years.  I opened this skin studio with the intentions of growing and working towards a day spa.  Lime is like my baby.  I am very passionate that I have started all of this without getting myself into debt by not taking out a business loan.

WNN:  Wow, being debt free is terrific.  How has Lime Skin done since you’ve opened?

Emily: The first two years were slow, then I went to a skin show and took a bunch of classes.  I learned that my success depends on me and nothing else.  It was very inspirational.  It gave me the confidence to get to where I am now, almost 2 years later and ready to open a day spa.

WNN:   Have you seen a gradual improvement or are you still in the growth stages?

Emily:  Definitely still in the growth stages.  There is no glass ceiling so I will be constantly growing.

WNN:  What is your clientele?

Emily:  My target clientele is anyone who is looking for a relaxing experience.  In this fast paced world it’s important to take time for yourself and reflect.  Lime helps women do that in many different ways.  Lime also attracts people who want healthy looking skin.  All of the facials deliver amazing results.  And the retail Lime offers is the best selection of skincare products in the area.

 WNN:  In your Amber Grant application, you told us you plan on attending the Spa Director’s Seminar.  Is that still the case?

Emily:  Yes, I am still planning on going.  It will be pushed back until the fall because the timing was quite right.  I plan to use the $500 for some training CD’s.  I already have some and they are life changing in the spa industry!
 
WNN: Any plans to amp up your website?

Emily:   Yes, first thanks for the SEO tips you gave me.  That will help.  As for the site, since I’m not taking out a business loan, I’m doing a little at a time.  My website re-launch is planned for April.   I have an e-commerce site that I will be launching in April so my clients can book appointments, buy products, gift cards…But I am all for any tips and advice from Womensnet. Seriously, thank you so much!  I’m so grateful!  

We’re happy to help Emily and other businesswomen like her.
Christina Lambert

The December Amber Grand Award Winner is www.limeskincare.com

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Congratulations Emily Sindlinger owner of Lime Skin located at 22 Hillcrest Dr. Reno NV.

A full interview with Emily will be posted soon.  Till then, check out Lime Skin’s website:
www.limeskincare.com

An interview with our recent Amber Grant award winner.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

More with Amber Grant Recipient Ellen Richards of LetterLearning.com

Now that you have started a business, will you go back to teaching?

Not in the foreseeable future. I miss my students so much, but now that Letter Learning is on a roll and Katie (my 10 month old) is climbing stairs and curious about everything, it’s just not the right time for me to go back to teaching. I’m not ready to miss one smile or her first word.

What business start up cost did you encounter that were a surprise?

I was surprised at the cost of filing for an LLC and for the costs associated with website/email hosting. I did all of the design myself, (with a lot of luck and HTML trial and error), but running an e-commerce website is conservatively $40/month. Then, there are all of the small things that add up. For instance, bar codes, shipping costs, and the “extras” like the plastic sleeves that protect the cards, are all things the sneaked up on me.

Do you see LetterLearning expanding into different areas or will you stay focused on the present products?

Expanding, expanding, expanding! I love hearing feedback from customers (and non-customers) and I try to use their suggestions to better our lines. For example, we recently added down loadable e-cards, because several of our customers thought the price of individual cards was prohibitive. This way, they can still get the benefit of Letter Learning cards, in the convenience of their own home, at a fraction of the price. We are also working on building a line of postcards, cards with Math practice, and cards with Cursive. As fast as I can come up ideas or hear them from others, we try to implement them.

How has LetterLearning done?

Well, we’re still in the red, but we’re definitely climbing out of it (especially thanks to this Amber Grant) In addition to our own online store, another online boutique (www.EmilyKateBaby.com) sells our cards, and we are in talks with a few others. Recently, we joined forces with a greeting card sales rep and are hoping to get our cards in independent pharmacies around the US. Finally, we’ve got ourselves queued up to be the Daily Deal on a few group buying/group coupon sites to drum up interest. It’s slow going, but the progress is definitely steady.

Amber Grant Award Announcement Scheduled for July 15th

The latest recipient of the $500.00 Amber Grant for Women Business Owners will be announced on July 15th. Applications for the September 30th deadline are now being accepted. Click here to find out more information: http://ambergrantsforwomen.com/get-an-amber-grant/apply-now/

LetterLearning.com is New Amber Grant Recipient

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Congratulations Ellen Richard, founder and owner of http://www.letterlearning.com/

We are pleased to announce Ellen as the latest Amber Business grant recipient of $500.00.

“I had a beautiful baby girl in November, 2009 and have decided to take time off of teaching to stay home to be with her. I want to continue feeling like I am helping children at the end of each day, but I also don’t want to miss a second of time with my own little girl. Working from home, producing my educational greeting cards allows me the opportunity to do both.”

LetterLearning.com was inspired by:

“I started Letter Learning while I was on a walk with my daughter Katie. I was thinking about how much I missed my students and also thinking about how many thank you cards I needed to write acknowledging gifts that friends and family gave us when Katie was born. That intersection was how I got the idea for Letter Learning greeting cards for kids. My greeting cards are designed to help young children (aged 4-9) improve their handwriting, learn to spell better and work on letter formation, all by tracing the heart-warming messages inside each of my cards. They are truly educational greeting cards for kids! ”

“If awarded this Amber Grant, I would use the money to pay a professional to finish my website. I have done my site on my own and have received comments that it looks “too homemade” to attract buyers and really get the word out. I don’t have the thousand dollars needed to pay a professional to do it, so I have been checking out HTML books at the library and muddling through. Have the money to pay for a pro to add the needed finishing touches would be a dream! ”

“As a teacher in a low-income, high risk school, grants became a way of life for me. We had to write grants for field trips and after-school programs, and I recognize just how valuable they really are to helping people who have the motivation to do something, but lack the funding. It may be a bit premature, but if I can get Letter Learning off the ground, I have every intention of “paying it forward” and also donating money to those in need.”

Congratulations Ellen! Great idea! We will post an update on LetterLearning.com soon