Archive for the ‘ Grant Recipients’ Category

November 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to Nenikanopi

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 November Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to LindyJo Larnard, Founder of Nenikanopi.  LindyJo is the final qualifier for the 2020 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).

For information on her business, her advice for other female entrepreneurs and more, continue on to our interview below. You can also follow Nenikanopi on IG.

Note: Applications are currently being reviewed for the $10,000 December Amber Grant. You can apply today to be considered.

 

WN: Describe Nenikanopi and the purpose it serves

LL: Nenikanopi began with an idea to solve a problem with an amazing product and an awesome purpose: to give all breastfeeding moms and babies the peace of mind and comfort they deserve. I invented a nursing cover that came from necessity when nothing worked well for me and my babies. Other moms shared this same need with nothing out there to fill it.

What started with a need for moms who want privacy when breastfeeding but are left with an either-or scenario ended with a patented product that offers moms a way to free up their hands while baby stays comfortable and mom stays fully covered. A true nursing friendly cover that gives the best both nursing cover worlds have to offer.

I kicked myself into overdrive and started Nenikanopi, patented my product, trademarked Nenikanopi myself, and manufactured my invention so other moms could have this option that wasn’t available anywhere, online or in-stores, until now with Nenikanopi.

WN: What differentiates you from competitors’?

LL: No other cover can do for moms what this cover can. We offer the world’s first and only multi-use cover that provides moms full 360 coverage with handsfree line of sight so moms can focus on what matters most without the struggle with fabric or worry of being exposed. Not only is being handsfree a plus for busy mamas but this allows moms and babies view of each other, as eye contact is so important for a child’s brain, social, and emotional development. Studies show this bonding between mom and baby looking at each other not only helps motivate babies to vocalize but also strengthens the parent/child relationship even down the road.

The problem with all other nursing covers is you only have two options to choose from that leave you in an either-or situation. Moms are at loss. Your first option is a multi-use product like a scarf, blanket, car seat cover, or poncho which leaves baby overheated, sweaty, and without much visibility for mom to see in, see baby, and see what she’s doing. Your second option is an apron with a rigid neckline that offers a view of baby but leaves your sides and back exposed.

Available covers on the market are either too hot underneath from multi-use products’ fabric draped over baby’s face or leave mom exposed whenever baby performs gymnastics while nursing. Moms need to latch and switch sides and a nursing cover shouldn’t make things harder for either of them. But that’s all they had to choose from… that is, until Nenikanopi.

We offer the only multi-use cover, with its patented design, that allows it to open into a canopy (with removable flexible inserts) when used for privacy to nurse or pump. Afterwards, it can be worn as an infinity scarf, poncho, or used as a car seat cover. It’s lightweight, breathable, soft, fashionable, and multifunctional. No other cover can compare to the optimal air circulation it’s patented kanopi provides. For moms and babies, it’s a win-win.

Not only can it do for moms and babies what no other cover can, it’s completely grown and made in the USA. We chose to give back to our US economy and work with people close to home to make our covers, instead of cheaper costs and larger profits offshore.

WN: What is an upcoming milestone for Nenikanopi?

LL: We’re looking to introduce new product to add to our inventory for 2021.

WN: How are you planning to market the Nenikanopi brand?

LL: We’ll be reaching out to mamas on social media, parents, collaborating with others and other brands to get Nenikanopi off its feet. We’ll get Nenikanopi in front of people who have yet to know our brand and product exists.

WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur

LL: You’ll find yourself feeling out of your comfort zone. You might be afraid… afraid to fail. Whatever you’re afraid of, keep your head up. Take it one day at a time, one task at a time; little by little check those to-dos off your list and you’ll get there.

Whatever or whoever it is that gives you strength or helps motivate you, that’ll help you get through the tough… and laugh, because everyone starts somewhere. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them, dust yourself off, and move on. Don’t let fear keep you from making that leap. Believe in yourself and keep at it; the rest will follow. You’ve got this. Don’t you want to see what can happen if you refuse to give up?

October 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to Master Residential and Commercial Cleaning

Monday, November 16th, 2020

We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 October Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Karina Rodriguez, Owner of Master Residential and Commercial Cleaning. Karina is the eleventh qualifier for the $25,000 year-end Amber Grant.

To learn about her Virginia-based business — and gain her insights as a new business owner — continue on for our interview and Karina’s video.

Note: Applications are currently being accepted for the November Amber Grant. This is the final month to gain eligibility for the 2020 year-end Amber Grant. You can apply today to be considered.

WN: Describe your business and the purpose it serves

KR: Our mission is to provide the customer with an all-cleaning service in an environmentally sound, completely trustworthy and professional manner. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers through our tenacity and commitment.

We provide initial deep cleaning and ongoing high quality commercial cleaning. We protect the health of a business’ employees and customers by disinfecting their facility with our medical grade disinfectant solution. That is delivered by fogging machines that will ensure that all viruses and germs are killed on every surface angle (360) at request. Our product is safe to use on surfaces and does not require any wiping so there’s no need to move furniture around.

This year, every one of us has been through so much because of COVID-19. This has brought more awareness on our daily cleanliness both at home and work. I know my business can help put the minds of families and businesses at ease.

WN: What differentiates you from competitors?

KR: My business will be a place where other Hispanic women can feel inspired and motivated. It will be a place that will give opportunity to get that start that others have rejected.

Several times I have volunteered to speak at a church sponsored by the bank I worked at. There I was able to help women understand how to establish their basic financial relationship with a bank. It was then that I realized that I made an impact in the lives of so many women. It is our culture that will help us stand out.

WN: How are you planning to market the Master R&C Cleaning brand?

KR: One of the things will be to update our website according to the promotion or season. We will post content on Facebook to help bring awareness to the company, post YouTube Ads with tips and tricks on cleaning (especially with COVID-19 updates) and branding the company’s message through Instagram.

We will also purchase equipment for my business. Being able to service commercial clients and/or government contracts requires me to be able to meet the service demand. A portion of the funds will go to employee training and safety awareness. Another portion of the Grant will go to the branding, uniforms and marketing for my company.

Another way I will be planning to market my business is by partnering up with companies that I can compliment as they can compliment me (window cleaning, landscaping, etc). I will also create a high-end video that shows the Master R & C Cleaning story and my background. Finally, I will improve our retargeting process for future and current clients.

WN: What are some upcoming milestones for Master R&C Cleaning?

KR: Winning the Amber Grant will help me market my message to Women of all ethnicities and backgrounds. To give them the opportunity that few would offer while helping the families through caring for their well being and cleanliness. The grant will also help with updating the website design and function, in addition to obtaining proper commercial equipment. This way I can help employ women in my community, create workshops and events in my community for women where English is not their first language.

There is a misconception in commercial contracts or government contracts that it’s a difficult, scary, hoop jumping task both attaining and servicing. But in reality it takes hard work and lots of reading and mentorship to fully grasp. It takes commitment and dedication to be in the position I am in today, but not impossible.

There is no better way I can say that I am able to accomplish things on my own. Let me explain. For months I was able to study and work on my business after my 9-5 job. I, like many moms that have a full time job, have kids and a loving husband. I try to balance my life to accomplish my dream of having a business of my own, and that takes understanding and sacrifice from everyone. A business that I can employ moms in need of jobs.

I can say that I have successfully obtained legal documents for my LLC and EIN Tax ID number. Being successful in legalizing my company and reading pages of laws, regulations, stipulations on my own has not been easy, but I did it.

WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur.

KR: I immigrated to the USA back in 2000. I put myself through Adult School and learned English as a second language. I was fortunate to learn how to coach, be a leader, be an advocate to the Spanish Community and be comfortable with table events. But I know I could accomplish more than working my 9-5 job. Having an accent may be one of my main challenges that affects my confidence. Through my working life at the bank I had the privilege of seeing first hand all that hard working mothers do. My mother was a single mom who raised four kids. I admire her with all my heart because she was resourceful. She found every way to work to provide for my brothers and I. I could only imagine what challenges she took on to make me who I am. One of the things she did was selling food on the streets. Everyday after school after finishing my school work I helped her from the age of 12 years old. She is the one who taught me that working hard women CAN accomplish everything if you put your mind into it.

I asked myself numerous times, “What am I passionate about?” My family and friends always complimented me on my cleanliness and keeping everything organized. Having a clean and organized house gives me a great feeling with a fresh start on living. I want to give to those with a busy lifestyle that same feeling.

I started my business in July of 2020. Ever since I have spent hours learning how to create, launch, and run a cleaning business. Staying inspired is not easy. Thank you to WomensNet for giving support to all Women-Owned Business and to GIVE me MOTIVATION to continue to DREAM BIG.

Establishing a business is not impossible as long as you have the willingness to spend time reading, learning and doing so English is not a barrier.

I found out that there are 1.9M Hispanic women-owned businesses in the USA; that’s only 6% of 33M of all the US businesses. I want to break the stereotype about Latina women, that we NOT ONLY work in cleaning companies, but we can OWN and run a business, if you have the willingness to do it.

I am the first woman in my family to own a business. To me, it’s a huge accomplishment as an immigrant woman, especially because English is not my first language. I want to create a system to help Hispanic women, but most importantly to INSPIRE them to own their business with little or no English.

FIND what you are passionate to do. Focus, learn and spend extra time to educate yourself. The most important thing is to show my daughter and hispanic women that you can achieve everything you want to do. This Grant not only will help my business, but my local community too. It will change so many women’s lives through their involvement.

WN: If you have anything else to share, please do!

KR: I want to be the first influence, mentor and /or leader in my daughter’s life (12 years old). With my achievements it will make a bigger impact in her life. So she can learn entrepreneurship, but most importantly to be kind and help others. Everything I did to this point is progress that so many moms struggle with and are in need of mentors like me to show them that it can be done. With that said, I will commit to make a difference in my local community by giving back in numerous ways. One of the ways would be to offer them jobs. Another is to help them progress in accomplishing their business dreams.

September 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to re:3D

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 September Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Samantha Snabes, Co-Founder of re:3D. Samantha is the tenth qualifier for the $25,000 year-end Amber Grant.

In our interview below, Samantha shares the purpose behind re:3D, her motivation, the impact of her enterprise and so much more.

Note: Applications are currently being accepted for the October Amber Grant. You can apply today to be considered.

WN: Describe re:3D and the purpose it serves.

SS: At re:3D we are working to enable anyone, anytime, anywhere to have the tools they need to independently problem-solve onsite. As part of this focus, we are committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to functional 3D printing. After pioneering the world’s first affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer (the Gigabot), re:3D is now enabling 3D printing from reclaimed plastic directly from pellets or flake (Gigabot X). Along the way, we’ve been honored to donate one Gigabot for every 100 3D printers sold to someone trying to make a difference.

We are also passionate about supporting conversations around new job creation and ensuring that our offices are invested in local entrepreneurship & education initiatives.

WN: What differentiates your product from competitors’?

SS: While the 3D printing market has become increasingly competitive, concentration within the industry remains low. Four limiting factors constrain the market potential of industrial 3D printing: cost, printer size, printing speed & access to input material.

As a social enterprise committed to access and new job creation, re:3D is actively addressing all of these limitations through pellet & flake extrusion that can accept virgin or recycled plastic.

Gigabot®, re:3D’s flagship technology is cost/scale the most affordable industrial 3D printer on the market, distinguished by a modular frame and a commitment to owners that all improvements & re-designs are offered as retrofit kits so their printers never expire. Loyal customers thus become accounts, continuously purchasing enhancements and consumables as the technology evolves with lifetime customer support. This platform can now be modified to 3D printing with filament or pellets or flake expanding the possibility to print anywhere on demand affordably and sustainably.

WN: How are you marketing the re:3D brand?

SS: With trade shows, live demo, factory tours and traditional market channels suspended, our team decided that we would use the limited resources we would have spent on marketing to support our community during this time of uncertainty. Our social mission defines our brand, and with so much need, we decided our brand should commit to supporting existing & new relationships for as long as we can during the COVID crisis.

As a small business with a global presence, re:3D lives and breaths its mission to democratize access to manufacturing. Our focus on providing a tool for anyone, anywhere, anytime to be the problem solvers for their community has connected us with like-minded change-makers around the world, and the pandemic has only served to solidify our resolve and emphasize the fact that 21st century problems need 21st century solutions. From our outpost in Puerto Rico to our customers and partners in Turkey, Kenya, Nigeria and beyond, re:3D and its network has exemplified manufacturing as a service in helping our communities innovate throughout the pandemic.

In early March, word spread across the globe that remote Italian hospitals were using 3D printing to rapidly prototype and manufacture valves for ventilators because traditional supply chains were collapsing. Over the course of just a few days, re:3D joined forces with multiple ad hoc networks of designers, makers and engineers to organize the world’s 3D printing resources and laser focus it on solutions to fight COVID-19. re:3D put out the word that we would prototype, for free, any life-saving devices for review by healthcare professionals:

We worked with doctors at a local hospital to develop a custom face shield

We created hands-free door pulls for use on military base

We advised on the production of intubation chambers for cardiology

We designed a flexible face mask for America Makes

We consulted on and 3D printed human-powered ventilator designs for NASA

While putting our engineering talents on the task, we organized within our communities, joining forces with local efforts to advise, coordinate and fulfill needs. In Puerto Rico, we connected our customers together to combine efforts to 3D print face shields and valves as they stood up a manufacturing center filled with our large format Gigabot 3D Printers trucked in from across the Island. In Austin we collected and created face shields to support Masks for Docs. In Houston, we served as a distribution hub for local community members making PPE in their own homes and delivered over 40% of the maker made PPE for the city-wide effort. As that effort began to wind down, and traditional manufacturing was starting to meet hospital demand, we transitioned to a new focus: local businesses. The CDC reported that minority and underserved communities were developing critical illness from COVID-19 at a much higher rate, and we were concerned their needs were not being met. With fiscal support from Impact Hub Houston we launch PPE for the People, which donates PPE to struggling businesses in those communities to keep them and their customers safe. Beyond our local communities, we sent face shields to a Nigerian NGO performing coronavirus prevention efforts in refugee camps. These efforts combined have facilitated over 8500 items of PPE donated.

For our global network of customers we created a website where they could share their own efforts at producing PPE for their communities and communicate how others could join them. We highlighted their work in newsletters and in social media to help spread their networks. We knew from experience that the more you could coordinate, the more PPE got produced and into the hands of those it could protect.

re:3D is not just focused on this pandemic, but the next disaster, too. We learned from surviving three hurricanes in one year that mitigation and resilience are key to all of our futures, and supply chains will be disrupted again, and we’ve shared that knowledge in the advisory groups we participate in. Our most recent project is designing shipping container sized manufacturing centers to deploy in disaster zones so that hyper-local solutions can be fabricated as needed during times of duress. re:3D has done all of this while undergoing a strong drop in sales due to the pandemic and facing an ever shortening fiscal runway. That’s how important our mission is to us, and we will continue to serve.

WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur. 

SS: As women I think sometimes we try to get all of the information and to get everything right before asserting ourselves & our product. This can be especially difficult when you are creating a new market or solution that requires culture change.

Running an open-source, socially-driven, bootstrapped hardware company has made me appreciate the need to engage customers (who we consider micro-investors), team & community alongside our journey from the beginning, even when we don’t have everything figured out.

People tell us at re:3D that we are crazy almost every day for not fundraising, for not outsourcing our manufacturing and assembly. For donating one 3D printer for every 100 sales, for spending so much time and money trying to create large scale affordable 3D printers to print from plastic waste in an undefined market. For opening an outpost in Puerto Rico and staying after the hurricanes, and for being open-source. While we may be crazy, we have had the honor of learning from an amazing group of humans that have left multiple fingerprints on our product & company. These influences have shaped what we do in ways we could have never accomplished individually.

re:3D’s success so far is an outcome of a dynamic and passionate group of people that work hard together, that I gain inspiration from everyday. Our best advice is to share your vision far & wide as early as possible and to not be afraid to take the road less traveled.

August 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to Lovedudz

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

We’re thrilled to announce the $10,000 August Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Tasha Mayberry, Owner of Lovedudz. Tasha is the ninth qualifier for the $25,000 year-end Amber Grant.

Lovedudz is a pre-launch business that makes rompers for kids. However, its impact stretches far beyond clothing. Continue on to read about Tasha’s vision for giving back — plus much more.

Note: Applications are currently being accepted for the September Amber Grant. You can apply today.

WN: Describe Lovedudz and the purpose it serves.

TM: I have a dream to live in a world full of kindness and love. I believe the key to achieving this is through our tiniest citizens – kids!

Here at Lovedudz we inspire kids to dream big, be kind, love, and give back. I started the business with my 4-year-old son so he can learn first-hand entrepreneurism; but mostly the value of being kind and helping others.

Lovedudz has an extremely unique business model that will give back in multiple ways, creating a ripple effect of good in this world.

Key Points:

  • Lovedudz are slouchy rompers for kids age 12 months to 4T.
  • Every romper has a one-of-a-kind, unique design inspired by a child’s artwork.
  • $5 from every romper sold is donated to a charity. Each romper style will have a different charity.
  • We are launching Lovedudz with two designs – a rocketship from my son’s artwork when he was two years old and a unicorn design in honor of a beautiful angel child named Teeja who passed away at 6 years old from neuroblastoma. Teeja always was drawing rainbows, the sun, and her smiling while in the hospital and loved unicorns. ($5 from the Teeja Rompers will be donated to a cancer charity that helps families going through treatment with kids.)

To understand my dream fully, you have to understand my story.

I was raised by an amazing single-mom who worked three jobs just to make ends meet, but it wasn’t easy. Growing up we lived in an apartment while on welfare, in a tiny camper on the back lawn of my mom’s best friend’s house, in a trailer, and above a garage in a two-room space.

My mom worked hard. I did well in school and always dreamed big ever since I was a little girl. By the time I was 16 my mom had married and built a beautiful house.

However, not having a father though took a toll on me and I fell into the wrong crowd. After years of addiction in my late teens, I hit rock bottom. A toxic relationship, lost both of my jobs, lost my apartment – it was time. I had lost that fire inside me – the little girl with big dreams. Then I found her again. I went to rehab and not only turned my life around, I enhanced my life 100 fold.

I’m living proof that dreams do come true no matter your circumstance. I’ve also learned that my past doesn’t define me and I don’t have to hide it. It made me who I am today – determined and resilient to do well and help others.

WN: What will differentiate your product from competitors’?

TM: Lovedudz not only has a unique and strong business model, but the product is in very high demand.

The whole idea for making slouchy rompers for kids came from not being able to find the type of quality romper for my son I was looking for (super trendy, harem-style, NOT the typical cutesy baby design). They say necessity is the mother of invention.

I experience two problems with slouchy rompers:

  1. First, one company sold them for $45+ (and add shipping on top of that). When I received it in the mail it was not high quality – cheap material and ended up being too small.
  2. Second, there are amazing Etsy stores that hand-make rompers but again it costs $45+ and took three weeks to arrive. I loved the romper but the note said hand wash only. A bit inconvenient for a busy mom.

There are FIVE main differentiators that will make Lovedudz rompers unique:

#1 Unique One-of-a-Kind Designs Inspired by Kids’ Artwork

  • Lovedudz are trendy rompers that are “harem-style,” which means slouchy in between the legs — super adorable. Sizes from age 12 months to 4T, the boy romper designs have hoods and the girl romper designs come with trendy wrap headbands instead of a hood.
  • Every romper has a one-of-a-kind, unique design inspired by a child’s artwork. When my son kept bringing home really trendy looking artwork, it clicked. I can use his art to design the rompers. Then I thought why not bring in other kids’ artwork to expand the collection and have the kids choose their own charity to give back to from their romper design? The names of the kids are the names of our rompers!
  • The creative process in designing each romper takes many hours and is very fun.

#2 Quality Made and Machine Washable

  • Our rompers have plenty of room to grow into. I used to work with a baby brand in Canada and learned about their sizing compared to sizing in the USA. I absolutely loved how they had just enough wiggle room for kids to grow into so they could wear it longer. We will do the same for our rompers. It’s not a huge, baggy difference but just a perfect amount of extra wiggle room.
  • We are testing different fabrics from bamboo to jersey cotton and even cotton/spandex blend – plus others. The fabric we choose will wash well, wear well, and be long-lasting.
  • Definitely will be machine washable so busy moms like me can throw it in the washing machine without worry.

#3 Affordable Price Point & Fast Shipping

  • So the harem rompers I found for my son were $45 to $50+ – for ONE romper! Plus add shipping on top of this. It was a “splurge buy” rather than a practical “buy each season” type of purchase. This is too pricey for parents.
  • It is very important that the price of Lovedudz rompers are $25 – $30 (perhaps even lower after we test some samples from our Bali factory). Keep in mind, every time a romper is purchased, $5 is donated to charity so a lower price point means more families buying more rompers = more people we can help with donations.
  • The Etsy harem rompers for kids are great but they are handmade as mentioned before with three weeks to eagerly await your package. Lovedudz orders will be shipped within 24 hours and delivered within a couple days inside the United States. We will even offer FREE SHIPPING when two or more rompers are purchased giving more incentive for customers.

#4 Two Very Special + Unique Give Back Initiatives

  • $5 from each romper sold is donated to a charity. Each romper will have a designated charity.

For example, for all the rompers we release using my son’s artwork as inspiration for the design, $5 will be donated to the Kind Kash Fund where we give families $250 to make ends meet. Whether it be to pay rent, buy food, throw their kid a birthday party, enroll their child in ballet, or anything else that will help them get by, the Kind Kash Fund is here to help.

  • We will also give 20% of profits to kids’ if we choose their artwork to design a romper. Parents can submit their kids’ artwork on our website and each quarter we will choose a piece of art to inspire our next romper design. The child will get to choose the charity that we give $5 per romper too as well (for their romper design only). I wanted to take it a step further and truly change their lives, so 20% of all profits from all rompers sold of their design will be paid to the child (their family) until the child turns 18 years old.

#5 Not Just a Product but a Community

Lovedudz is more than just a product to buy. It’s a community where we inspire and empower kids to dream big, be kind, and be creative.

WN: What are some key upcoming milestones for Lovedudz?

TM: The $10k Grant will move Lovedudz from a concept to a business. Here’s our current timeline:

September 2020

  • Design first two flagship romper designs the “Vasya” Romper and the “Teeja” Romper.
  • Buy samples of each design from two factories.
  • Begin the website design (LOGO complete).
  • File a trademark on the company name.
  • File an LLC for Lovedudz.
  • Open business bank account.

October 2020

  • Receive samples.
  • Photoshoot with kid models (the photos will be used for the website and online shop).
  • Complete the website.
  • Create all social media accounts with branding.
  • Invite celebrities and influencers to create a custom designed romper from their kids’ artwork and choose a charity to give back to.
  • Create a video with new photography of the actual product.
  • Create the pre-order launch plan.
  • Soft launch.

November 2020

  • Start Pre-Order Sale.
  • Place a very small order of rompers to have inventory to sell. To get good pricing a large quantity must be ordered so whatever money is left over from the $10k grant (after website hosting, samples, & photoshoot expenses), all will need to go towards my first romper order. I won’t be able to buy many but I can buy some and I am grateful.
  • The huge benefit is that I design websites, write copy, handle all branding, social media and more. So something that would cost $5k – $10k out of the gate for someone else, I save on this expense by doing it myself – and doing it very well.
  • Start designing celebrity rompers based on their kids’ artwork.

December 2020

  • Start shipping pre-orders based on the first order made in November.
  • Continue getting pre-orders and place another romper order to fulfill inventory.
  • Announce the money donated to date to each charity and send a check to each charity.

January 2021

  • Release 1-2 new romper designs plus any celebrity designs.
  • Choose our first child artwork.

WN: How are you planning to market the Lovedudz brand?

TM: I have a very unique advantage because I’ve worked with hundreds of baby and kids brands helping many go from start-up to multi-millions in sales. I know exactly what type of marketing works well so here’s my marketing plan:

High End Video

A high-end video that shares the Lovedudz story and my backstory. There are so many moving pieces so a video would be best.

Social Media Ads

I am a master ad copywriter and graphic designer. I would test multiple ads on Facebook and Instagram with different actions from liking and comments, tagging a friend in the comments, entering a giveaway, following our page, entering name and email to grow our marketing list, and of course to pre-order.

Mommy Bloggers (Viral Giveaway + Commission)

  • I have a list of 2k mommy bloggers that I’ve worked with for a decade. I am SO EXCITED to share Lovedudz with them when the time is right. Since I have a relationship with them, I would create a very special program where I would send them a free romper in exchange for them posting a review on their website about Lovedudz and ask them to add our rompers to their holiday gift guides.
  • I would create a WOW Offer giveaway as I call it (for example win $500 cash and a Lovedudz romper) – to enter they must follow Lovedudz on social media and give name and email. Plus, we use a viral giveaway software where they are motivated to get two friends to enter the giveaway for a bigger chance to win so it grows like a web through word-of-mouth (best way to market). I would give the entry form embed code to all the bloggers who review my romper and they would post on their blog and share on social media for their followers to enter the giveaway. This means that I capture thousands of names and emails from all these bloggers’ audiences to grow the Lovedudz marketing list – not to mention grow our Instagram following quickly.
  • Lastly, I would assign each blogger a unique code and give them a kickback commission on all pre-orders made using their code so there is great incentive for the bloggers to share and promote.

Big Influencers and Celebrities

  • These are people who have 500k+ followers up to millions of followers. I have a celebrity on board already to create a romper design and help promote. Her posts get 50k likes on Instagram!
  • This is a unique part of the marketing strategy. Celebrities and Influencers are in a special position to bring huge brand awareness on what Lovedudz is doing to spread love and kindness in the world. Through their influence, thousands of orders will be placed and this means thousands of dollars raised for the charity of their choice.
  • The celebs will submit artwork from their kids to inspire an exclusive romper design. Everyone loves celebrites’ kids! Now they can have a teachable moment with their children on spreading love and kindness. The celebrities and influencers help promote to get pre-orders and $5 from each sale goes to a charity of their choice. We also split the profits for their romper style 50/50.

Press

I’ve been a publicist for 15 years and have relationships with hundreds of parenting press. I would pitch them Lovedudz and get us featured as much as possible not just as a product but as a company who is changing lives. I would love to focus on the stories of how the money raised at Lovedudz for various charities make an impact – and the press can help share these stories.

Big Launch Party (Virtual)

  • I would create a big giveaway where 25+ other brands donate a prize to the winner and share the giveaway on social media and with their email list.
  • The entry page lives on the lovedudz.com website which means all the traffic would go to our website to generate exposure. We use our viral software to capture name and email and give entrants a bigger chance to win if they refer friends to enter and share about Lovedudz on social media. A requirement to enter would be to follow us on Instagram so that grows quickly.

Email Marketing

I would start building a community by offering valuable and fun content each month as soon as we go live.

Social Media

I would focus on Facebook and Instagram and post photos of kids wearing our rompers and also highlight stories of giving back and the real impact Lovedudz makes.

WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur.

TM: There’s a book that changed my life that I ALWAYS recommend. It’s called, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. This book teaches the concept of Law of Attraction – what we think about, we bring about in the simplest terms. I even wrote a book about it because my experience with manifesting everything I want in life has changed me to my core. I have always been a good person, but The Secret awakened a part of me that erased all doubt and worry from my life.

To succeed as an entrepreneur building a foundation from the concepts taught in this book will catapult you so far ahead it seems almost like magic – but really it’s just science. Quantum Physics – it’s all about positive thoughts and energy. And this is not kooky, off the wall stuff. It’s very real and very awesome. If you can learn and master the following, you can achieve your biggest dreams and quickly while living your best life and discovering the best version of you:

#1 Identify Limiting Beliefs

Our limiting beliefs start from when we are kids and sometimes become so deep rooted that as we get older we forget they are still inside.

These internal beliefs are roadblocks that stopped my dream life from coming true. It’s like attaching a brick to your dreams and throwing them in the deepest ocean never to be realized.

But once we identify that tiny voice inside that limits us, you can rephrase these statements to new positive beliefs which transform your thoughts initially and then eventually become your new beliefs.

#2 Positive Thinking

What we think dictates how we feel and how we feel creates our personal energy. If our energy is a high frequency and positive, things we want manifest very quickly. If our energy is negative and low, it’s much harder for the universe to hear what we want and make it happen.

It’s easy to think negatively and not realize it. For example – “Ugh, Monday again. I am already looking forward to Friday.” This sets the tone for your day and for your week. Instead say, “A new fresh week to do amazing things!”

#3 Gratitude

Gratitude is more than being thankful. It’s a deep appreciate for everything in your life big and small. Everyone can have something to be grateful for.

Showing gratitude for what we have attracts more things to our life to be grateful for. If we focus on what we don’t have (the scarcity mindset) we will always lack those things. If we focus on what we do have and are grateful (the abundance mindset), we are not only happier and appreciate things, we attract more and more to our life to be happy about.

Start each day by going through your gratitude list and end each day by writing five things down you are grateful before you close your eyes to sleep.

Don’t forget grateful intentions! These are POWERFUL. A grateful intention is something you are grateful for that have not happened yet but you feel the emotions and visualize as if it has already happened.

#4 Visualize

The quickest way to achieve any goal is to envision what you want with great detail and feel as if it already is true. A big part is also believing it to be true and without a doubt it will become your reality.

I create vision boards and it’s like shopping. I print images from Google of everything I want to accomplish in the current year. Then I thumb through magazines and cut out words and images that inspire me. Next I take a big white poster board and I assemble all my pieces on the board. After I like the look of it, I glue everything down.

Hang your vision board where you can see it daily and spend a few minutes each day looking at everything on your board. Close your eyes and envision yourself with great detail doing what you see on the board.

#5 Take Action

This is the most important step. You can do everything I talked about (steps 1-4) but if you don’t take action, then it doesn’t work. There’s always a next step that you can take to push your dream forward. Want to buy a house? Start looking on Zillow every day, meet with a mortgage company to exactly what’s needed, and start looking at houses with a broker. Don’t let limiting beliefs get in the way and go for it!

WN: If you have anything else to share, please do!

TM: We don’t have the product samples just yet but will very soon now that we won the Amber Grant. So in the meantime I would love to share the design process and describe what the first two rompers will look like (one boy style and one girl style).

Style #1 – Rocketship (The Vasya Romper)

$5 donated to The Kind Kash Fund to give families $250 when they need it.

The design will look like this:

  • So this will be a boy’s design with long sleeves and a hood. A slouchy romper.
  • On the inside of the hood there will be black stripes – maybe grey.
  • The rocket will either be a bunch all over as an uneven tiled print OR large on the front.
  • The romper will be light, heathered grey.
  • We will have cuffs at the ankles that will be a contrast color or stripes just like the inside of the hood.
  • We will have one back pocket where the Lovedudz logo may be (still deciding) and possible stripes like the inside of the hood. So in three spots on the romper there is a pop of another design.
  • So all these little design details will create very appealing rompers.

Style #2 – Unicorn (The Teeja Romper)

$5 donated to a cancer charity that helps families going through treatment with kids.

Made in honor of Teeja who passed away at the age of 6 from neuroblastoma. 20% of profit will be given to Teeja’s family – she has three other siblings.

July 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to LivWell Foods

Friday, August 14th, 2020

After careful consideration, we’re happy to announce the $10,000 July Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Olivia Napoli, founder of LivWell Foods. Olivia is the eighth qualifier for the $25,000 year-end Amber Grant.

LivWell originated on the notion that mothers are overwhelmed with unhealthy food choices. Crafted with nutrient dense superfoods, LivWell sauces seeks to solve this problem. You can read much more about LivWell Foods in our interview below.

 

WN: Tell us about Livwell Foods and what inspired its launch

ON: As a young mother, I’m always looking for new and innovative foods to feed my kids, while also sneaking more nutrient-dense foods in their diet. And as a Nutrition Coach, I realized I wasn’t alone. Many of the families I was helping were experiencing the same challenge. Did you know it’s estimated that 4 out of 5 children aren’t getting the nutrients they need? 

LIVWELL was birthed on the insight that mothers are overwhelmed with unhealthy and supposedly healthy food choices. They want something fresh, healthy, and flavorful but don’t have time to cook it from scratch. Additionally mothers are struggling to get more nutrients into their family meals but are unsure of how to do so.

LIVWELL sauces, with nutrient dense superfoods, will seek to solve this problem. In addition, LIVWELL sauces slogan will be “Pasta Sauce, Reimagined,” with three plant based recipes featuring unique ingredients like butternut squash, zucchini, and roasted red peppers. This will create a sub-category within the pasta sauce category and start a food revolution that the market has never seen before. 

Our sauces are authentic Italian recipes that have been passed on for generations. We created them using fresh ingredients and traditional cooking methods, just like our grandmothers used to cook. As a result, our Vegan and gluten-free family of sauces are loaded with plant based superfoods, antioxidants, and vitamins, healing you from within and empowering you to live well.

LIVWELL sauces not only pair with pasta, but create a variety of exciting meals and help solve a common motherhood conundrum of “what’s for dinner?” This sauce can also be used to create a variety of inspired recipes beyond pasta, including: Zucchini Crusted Chicken Cutlets, Creamy Butternut and Spinach Lasagna, Romesco Flatbread with Burrata and Toasted Pine nuts.  I’m hoping to inspire cooks of all levels to create easy, delicious meals.

Lastly, LIVWELL is crafted from clean, pure, and traceable ingredients, taking the guesswork out of label reading, and making nutrition easy for parents and families.

WN: Do you have an educational background in entrepreneurship?

ON: No formal education in entrepreneurship, but I come from a long lineage of entrepreneurs in the farming, retail and culinary industry. My father and his brothers own a farm and retail grocery store in rural Massachusetts that has been passed down for generations since 1898 when my great grandparents first immigrated from Italy.

On my mothers’ side, there is a long lineage of Italian cooks that were continually creating new family recipes based on the ingredients that were seasonally available in Italy, and in the United States.

In 2016, I opened up my own Nutrition Coaching, Corporate Wellness, and Healthy Cooking private practice (www.olivianapoli.com). From there, I knew I wanted to launch my own food brand, which inspired the launch of LIVWELL (www.livwellfoods.com coming soon).

WN: Where are you planning to sell your products?

ON: Retail grocery stores. We already have three retail grocers that are interested in carrying LIVWELL in fall of 2020 and beyond.

For Phase 2, we will sell direct to consumer on our website, set to launch later this year.

WN: How would you describe the competition in your space. How do you differentiate?

ON: LIVWELL competition is mostly shelf stable sauces.  Some of these competitors do have unique flavor profiles utilizing ingredients like butternut squash, but most of these sauces are tomato based. As you know, tomato sauces are widely available in a heavily saturated and competitive category.

In addition, all of these sauces are heated to a high degree to enable pasteurization and shelf stability. This also in turn kills important enzymes and reduces nutritional power.

Lastly, many of these sauces are loaded with vegetable purees, heavy dairy, concentrates, salts, sugars and other preservatives to drive shelf stability and optimal taste. These heavy ingredients take a toll on the body and produce negative side effects.

Currently, there aren’t many sauces like LIVWELL that are freshly made and in the refrigerated aisle. This sets us apart greatly from current competition. LIVWELL will bring a fresh take on the category with new and innovative flavors and clean ingredients that families can feel good about.

WN: What are your goals for LivWell Foods over the next few years?

ON: This is a very exciting time for LIVWELL, as we are nearing the end of our pre-launch phase. Our plan is to first launch local market pilots across 5 different retailers to test consumer’s level of acceptance.  After the retail pilots conclude, LIVWELL will approach national distribution with the right retailers that customers look to be inspired by. I also aspire to do live cooking demonstrations and sampling in stores across some of these retailers to connect with consumers on a more meaningful level, educate on the health benefits of a superfood nutrient-dense diet, and encourage trial and sales of LIVWELL and featured seasonal ingredients.

We’re also looking to explore a philanthropic element of LIVWELL; a percentage of sales would be donated to a charity or organization that resonates strongly with our brand.  We have a lot of heart for Feed the Children, No Kid Hungry, and The Lunchbox Fund, whose mission is to provide nutritious foods to children in need.

WN: What advice do you have for others who are interested in applying for a grant?

ON: My advice would be to keep an honest and open approach, speaking from the heart. The more authentic and vulnerable you are about your business and goals, the better.

Additionally, you should have your Business Plan draft complete so that you have a good understanding of your brand, the market, and your competition. The more prepared you are, the greater your chances are of consideration.

WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur

ON: Follow your heart and what lights you up. Don’t chase the money, recognition, or the praise (although those will all come in time). Do it for you. If you work from a place of passion and life purpose, the rest will fall into place and the Universe will grant you the resources to make it happen. This is also a huge reason why I’m launching LIVWELL. I love to inspire others to live a heart-centered purpose-driven life. Everything in this article was written from my heart, and I truly believe that’s the key to success. If I can launch this brand successfully, I hope to inspire and empower others to do the same, finding their true passion and launching a business or be in a career that really lights them up.

Also, surround yourself with your dream team; people that compliment your skill-set and lift you higher. There is power in numbers, and when times get tough you can lean on each other to pull through.

Lastly, create a vision board. I believe you can speak things into existence. This is the basic law of attraction. Write down specifically what you want and meditate on it every single day.  Continue to work on your goals and vision, and trust that there are higher powers orchestrating it all behind the scenes. You have everything within yourself to make your dreams happen. You just have to believe. Thank you WomensNet for believing in my business, and congratulations to all the Amber Grant recipients so far, and to the future winners.

Good luck and go for it!

June 2020 Amber Grant Awarded to Nour

Monday, July 13th, 2020

We’re happy to announce the $4,000 June Amber Grant recipient: Congratulations to Mae Abdelrahman, founder of Nour. Mae’s business becomes the seventh qualifier for the $25,000 year-end Amber Grant.

Nour is a line of tinted, mineral-based sunscreen designed for darker skin tones. You can learn how Mae is planning to breakthrough in the sunscreen industry — and more about her background — below.

Note: You can follow Nour on Instagram here

WN: Describe Nour and the purpose it serves.

MA: Nour is built on the belief that all shades of skin deserve to be valued and protected equally.

Four years ago, after visiting a dermatologist, I learned that I should wear sunscreen on a daily basis to prevent skin concerns like melanoma, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and sun poisoning. My dermatologist debunked the myth that darker skin is naturally protected from the sun. Since then, I have been rigorously searching and unable to find a mineral-based sunscreen that looks good on me – because I am Black. The only tinted mineral sunscreens currently available on the market are shaded for fair skin tones, leaving people of color with extremely limited options.

Nour is a line of tinted, mineral-based sunscreens, made with melanin in mind. Nour will introduce three dark shades of mineral-based sunscreen that do not currently exist. This will allow Black people who want to have healthy, beautiful skin and are dissatisfied by the lack of sunscreen options available to them to add a product to their daily skin care routine.

I come from a long line of strong, Sudanese women who believe that health and beauty go hand-in-hand. Nour is my mother’s namesake. This skin care brand is a tribute to her dedication to raise Black daughters who would challenge norms and improve the lives of others. Nour seeks to empower minority and marginalized groups to create equity where it does not currently exist. Nour embodies female strength, Black power, and the fight for equity.

WN: What will differentiate your product from competitors?

MA: Historically, the skincare industry has not valued dark skin tones as much as fair ones. This is seen in the lack of products for, information about, and attention to the needs of skin of color. While the industry is beginning to evolve and become more inclusive, the sunscreen vertical has made little progress. Though every person, regardless of skin tone, should wear sunscreen on a daily basis, people with dark skin tones are extremely limited in their options.

There are two broad categories of sunscreens on the market – those with chemical active ingredients and those with mineral active ingredients. Sunscreens with chemical filters can be harmful to the skin and the environment. While mineral-based sunscreens are not harmful, they do leave an unpleasant white residue, or cast, on darker skin tones as the only tinted options currently available are shaded for lighter skin tones. Many people of color choose not to wear sunscreen because of the lack of options that apply flawlessly on their skin. Nour will solve this problem by bringing dark tinted mineral-based sunscreens to market, giving Black people an option to wear sunscreens that will be visually appealing.

WN: How are you planning to market the Nour brand?

MA: We believe all shades of skin should be protected and we are excited to build community among those often overlooked. Starting with Black women who have existing skin care routines, we are igniting the conversation around skin care products made with melanin in mind. We seek to develop Nour with the influence of our followers. We will meet our audience on social media and give individuals an opportunity to test our sunscreen, give feedback, and join us in determining the future of the brand. We want our community to feel proud that they are the ones to introduce Nour to their friends and will support this with a robust referral program to drive virality. We plan to start selling Nour direct-to-consumer and look forward to scaling to skin care aisles nationwide.

WN: What are some upcoming milestones for Nour?

MA: This is a very exciting time for Nour. We have a formulary partner who is dedicated to supporting us in developing our unique SPF formula for dark skin tones. To make the perfect sunscreen, we are currently administering consumer tests, meeting with dermatologists and skin experts, and speaking daily with women whose input shapes our product. Meanwhile, we are establishing our brand image and preparing to launch our website late summer and our waiting list soon after.

WN: Share some advice you’d give an aspiring female entrepreneur.

MA: Truly believe that you can run the business of your dreams. A few years ago, I dreamed of running my own skin care company, but I did not think I had the resources or knowledge necessary to actually start. Eventually, I decided to stop thinking I could not and to start taking steps toward my dream, and I have not looked back since. As long as you are willing to work extremely hard, think creatively, and ask others for help, you can accomplish your wildest dreams. Today is the best day to start. Figure out what you do not know and do the research to learn. Think about all aspects of your business, not just the parts that excite you most, and how they integrate into the big picture.

Build a network of people who care about your success and who will support you. When there are people in your corner, it is easier to have the confidence necessary to start a company and the motivation to keep going when things get hard. Share your idea with your network. We can often be too humble to mention that we are building a business or even afraid that someone will replicate our ideas. However, the benefits of communicating far outweigh any downsides. By sharing your idea and your goals, you open yourself up to introductions, serendipitous connections, and more. Allow your community to support you, refer you to others, and lift you up. Always remember to pay it forward and help others when they need someone to be the champion of their dreams.

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What people are saying about WomensNet

Forbes

“You have to be in it to win it...seize the opportunity and apply.”

Nerd Wallet

“The Foundation awards $10,000 to a different women-owned business every month. At the end of each year, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $25,000.”

Score

“Launched 20 years ago this grant honors the memory of a young woman who wanted to be an entrepreneur but died at age 19 before she could achieve her goal.”

Fundera

“The Amber Grant Foundation was launched in 1998 to honor the memory of a young woman. The grant was formed to help women entrepreneurs reach their goals when Amber could not.”