Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized’ Category

May Qualification Grant Finalists

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Water Collective
Water Collective
Sophia Sunwoo
website

The Water Collective is an international nonprofit that secures life-lasting clean water for rural communities in Africa and India. The organization was founded by Sophia in 2011 to resolve the shortcomings of clean water access in the developing world, where 40% of water points are not working at any given time.

suplogix
SUPLOGIX
Shannon MacDowell
website

SUPLOGIX was created to contribute to the progression of stand up paddle boarding and paddle sports through scientific research, instruction, product design, sustainability initiatives and promotion of the health and fitness benefits of the sport.

Art Lifting
ArtLifting
Liz Powers
website

ArtLifting is a social enterprise that empowers individuals who are in art groups at hospitals and shelters by selling their artwork. They are a low-profit limited liability company (“L3C”), which means they are a business driven by a social mission. Their mission: To empower individuals living with homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork.

D. Tamu
D.TAMU, Inc.
Djenee Dunn
website

D.TAMU is a boutique style content strategy firm specializing in the creative development of a brand’s speech. The D. Tamu team’s goal is to help their clients create a cohesive message through verbal, written, graphic, and social content.

Buckhead Fight Club
Buckhead Fight Club
Terri Moss
website

Buckhead Fight Club was opened in May 2013 by Terri Moss after working in the boxing industry for over 15 years. Since then her Gym has grown to be one of Georgia’s largest boxing gym and one of the only women-owned boxing gyms in the country.

Congrats to our May Qualification Grant Finalists and as always, thank you for reading! Remember we award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply!

Stay tuned: We will be announcing the winner early next week!

Elu, LLC is our April Qualification Grant Winner

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

After revealing April’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Christina Marshall-Valdez, founder of Elu, LLC!

Read on to learn all about Christina and her business.

Elu
Christina Marshall-Valdez
Elu, LLC
Website

WN: Tell us a little about your business and how you got started.

CMV: The idea for Elu came from my own personal struggle to find clothing in my size and that appealed to my tastes as an upwardly mobile, young professional woman in New York City. After an embarrassing fashion moment where I encountered five (5!) other plus size women wearing the same low quality white dress at a high profile event, I promised myself that I would someday create a new solution for us curvy dolls that would make us feel special and audaciously beautiful. My journey to fulfill this promise has been intentional and metered as I wanted to be confident in my ability to build a successful business. So, I obtained my MBA, became a buyer at Target Corporation and then a brand manager of an iconic brand. Six years I’ve learned enough to get the job done.

Elu (pronounced eh-loo) is a brand created with beautiful, authentic plus-size women in mind. At Elu, we are inspired by her curves and seek to create an offering that addresses her biggest pain point in apparel – finding quality, fashionable clothing that fits. But we didn’t stop there… We heard her say in focus groups that she felt left out and like a recipient of left-over, hand-me-down options. The fashion industry found a way to truly disenfranchise and disempower this wow-inspiring woman, but we’ve come to return what is rightfully hers – her control. Our Elu made to measure apparel gives her the power to customize her look in a way that highlights what she loves most about her body. Elu also liberates women from prescriptive fashions that were casually graded up to her sizes as an afterthought. To all the plus-size beauties out there, you were not an afterthought for us. You were first and foremost in our thoughts, thus we crafted this brand and each pattern and garment we produce with your curves in mind.

WN: What will the process be like to obtain a custom dress? Will women have to visit a tailor to get the proper measurements taken?

CMV: The process to obtain a custom dress begins with a visit to our platform at www.yourelu.com.. Our customers will start their journey by taking the Elu Style Quiz, which will give us insights about their body type, style inclinations and fit preferences. At the end of the quiz, we create her style profile and recommend base garment that she can customize to further flatter her curves. From there, our customer can begin customizing her selected look. Beginning with measurements, we give her bite size video to guide her through the process of gathering her unique dimensions. We advise our customers to have another persons measure them or if at all possible, we ask them to visit to their favorite tailor to ensure best results. After dimensions are captured, our customer selects her preferred neckline, sleeve style and length and hem length. Three weeks later, our customers receive their custom apparel arrives and we hope she proceeds to strike a million and one poses in her full length mirror.

WN: Have you determined a price point for your clothes yet?

CMV: Our initial offering is focused on dresses, but we will soon introduce additional apparel options. Our dresses are made of quality, finer fabrics that have the versatility to go from desk time to date time. Our looks are stylish but have a classic, enduring aesthetic that make them easy to style, increases their lifetime in your wardrobe and decrease their cost per wear.

In addition to providing quality clothing, we seek to become our customer’s fashion accomplice. For example, we know that some of our customers are on a journey to lose weight, thus they fear that their custom apparel may become unusable. For that reason, we offer our customers a FREE alteration if they lose a certain amount of inches. We are doing all we can to celebrate the women we serve and be by their side for the long haul.

Our dresses start at ~$249, but we believe that our customers will receive unparalleled value in the apparel they purchase from us.

WN: Where and who will be making the clothing?

CMV: We are currently based in Chicago, IL and our apparel is made here in Chicago by a team of women makers. We are also exploring a responsibly sourced off-shore solution as well.

WN: Any advice for other women entrepreneurs?

CMV:Take the leap, but on your own terms.

Not everyone needs to go to business school or seek industry experience like I did in order to start a business and build an empire (I’m foreshadowing ;). There are countless examples of successful entrepreneurs who just jumped without a parachute and they landed in the winner’s circle. Be authentic and true to yourself. Make this experience what you need it to be in order to live the life you envisioned for yourself and your family. Best of luck ladies!


Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

And if you’d like to vote for Christina to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

Equilibrium Learning, LLC is our March Qualification Grant Winner

Monday, April 11th, 2016

After revealing March Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Gina Clarke, founder of Equilibrium Learning, LLC!

Read on to learn all about Allison and her business.

meinlondon (2)
Gina Clarke
Equilibrium Learning, LLC
Website

WN: Tell us about your business and how you got started.

DB: I had the idea since high school but I never acted on it. I never took it seriously and didn’t really believe in myself enough to try it, I always talked myself out of doing anything with it. It was when I went to see the doctor and she told me that I might have lupus that really pushed me to go for it. I’m young and I know that there are people who live well into old age with it, but I had an aunt who died pretty quickly after she was diagnosed, so it really hit home. Even though I’m glad to say all came back ok, it changed my perspective on life and really helped me to emotionalize and give meaning to “living life to the fullest” and “life’s too short”. So now I’m on a mission to do everything I ever wanted to do, including Equilibrium.

WN: Was it your educational background that inspired you to start Equilibrium?

DB: Yes definitely! I remember when I was in school my favorite subject was Math. I was good at everything concerning Math and caught on to new concepts quickly. At the same time, I HATED English. I felt like it was a waste of time, I had no interest in the class and felt it was pointless. I knew how to read, write and speak coherently and that was all I cared about. Because of this, I struggled in English. I did well in it, but I still struggled because I just didn’t care enough for the class to really WANT to put in any effort. But when I was in high school, I met an English teacher who helped me to see English in a new light: She taught us new words by turning them into Math problems. Every week we would be introduced to a new prefix, root or suffix and for everyday of that week we would be presented with a new word that contained that prefix, root or suffix. It was such a small gesture, but it appealed to my natural thought processes (logic, calculation, etc) and my natural need to “figure things out”. For that moment I was so engaged in the class, and it helped me to take in interest in the subject as a whole because when I would read or be presented with new words, my first instinct would be to break them down into math problems and figure out their meanings. But this got me thinking: if this one small change in perspective made such a huge impact on my interest in a subject (that at one time I literally hated), what if we could somehow do the same for ALL subjects?

WN: What if you don’t know what intelligence type a student is? Will Equilibrium help identify what their type is?

DB: Yes. Equilibrium will initially test the student to determine:

a: their learning style (based on a few psychological/personality questions)
b: their favorite subject/subject they do best in
c: their level of competency in each subject

Based on the above 3 criteria, Equilibrium will not only be able to determine the level of competency (grade level) a student is currently, but also what the student’s learning profile is and how best to present information to them.

WN: Do you have any partners in this venture?

DB: Because Equilibrium is so new, I currently do not have any business partners, but I am looking! I do have mentors who have run businesses before and have experience in the education industry who provide me with immense support.

WN: Do you know when this software will become available?

DB: We’re still in R&D phase, but we’re shooting for Fall of 2017 at the ABSOLUTE latest.

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

DB: I would tell them the obvious: network, promote your business as much as you can, create a business plan, learn how to live on a budget (you will NEED this skill), get a mentor (micromentor.org is pretty good if you don’t know anyone), etc. But I’d also tell them to do what scares you. Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. For the longest I was so afraid of other people laughing at me, as much as I hated to admit it. Get used to rejection; put yourself in situations where you know you’ll be rejected (or that there’s a high chance) so that you lose fear of it. Everyday I make it a habit of asking for something for free when I order something. The worst that would happen is that they’d say no and I’d just take what I paid for, but every now and again I’d get a yes, surprisingly. You never know what can happen when you really try and put yourself out there, so just do it!

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

And if you’d like to vote for Gina to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

March Qualification Grant Finalists

Monday, April 4th, 2016

soleSavers
Sole Savers Inc.
Melodie Narain
website

Sole Savers is a rollable flat shoe company. They provide emergency flat shoes for women through their website and vending machines. The company has big plans to contribute to charities and work in different philanthropic avenues to keep with their mantra that “every sole has a soul.”

Elu
Elu, LLC
Christina Marshall-Valdez
website

The Elu brand is for women who want their curves to cascade into styles that inspire confidence. Elu’s style shop at YourElu.com will soon offer gorgeous styles that can be made-to-measure to highlight everything beautiful about a womens body.

AlumniFunds
Alumni Funds
Amber fox
website

Alumni Funds is an organization founded by a group of Drum Corps International Alumni. They created a platform for alumni to create custom performing arts scholarships. Alumni groups can be comprised of anyone they wish; and each group can customize the eligibility, criteria, and dollar amount of the scholarship they wish to create.

flyingchangeequine
Flying Change Equine Therapy
Lissa Corcoran
website

Flying Change Equine Therapy uses unforgettable interactive experiences with rescued and retired horses to foster emotional social, spiritual, and psychological growth in people. Flying Change provides equine assisted psychotherapy and Equine Assisted learning with children, adolescents and adults for emotional growth.

Lissa’s business provides clients with many opportunities to practice a healthy life skills in a physically and emotional safe environment, and the confident to take those skills back into their family and life.

equilibrium
Equilibrium Learning, LLC
Gina Clarke
website

Equilibrium is a learning software that creates individual learning profiles based on the natural skills and talents associated with the school subjects. They couple these learning profiles with Multiple Intelligences types (such as Verbal, Visual, Logical, Kinesthetic, etc.) to make the learning process as personalized as possible.

ExplorerChickAdventureCO
Explorer Chick Adventure Co.
Nicki Bruckmann
website

Explorer Chick Adventure Co is a travel company exclusively for women founded by Nicki Bruckmann. Her travel company plans to take women on epic adventures, in incredible parts of the world so women can live new experiences and discover new strengths while surrounded by a community of equally adventurous women.

Kettle Black TeaHouse
Kettle/Black Teahouse
Christina (Tina) Eilers & Lynn Halldorson
website

Kettle/Black Teahouse plans to be a modern, Asian-inspired teahouse located in the beautiful coastal town of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Once their Teahouse opens they plan to offer monthly evening tea tastings, and hope to partner with local businesses to sell their tea wholesale to them for use in coffee shops and restaurants.

As always, thank you for reading! Remember we award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply!

Stay tuned: We will be announcing the winner very soon!

Brobe International is our February Qualification Grant Winner!

Friday, March 11th, 2016

After revealing February’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Allison Schickel, founder of The Brobe!

Read on to learn all about Allison and her business.

Thebrobe4
Brobe International
Allison Schickel
Website

WN: Tell us about your business and how you got started.

DB: I launched The Brobe in 2012 but had the idea several years earlier. The original idea was to create a lounge wear garment like a robe with a built in support system. Being from Texas it gets very hot. I would struggle each morning trying to find a sports bra to wear under my robe while getting ready or just drinking my coffee. I wanted an all in one garment that would help refrain from “boob sweat” that so many of us ladies are familiar with. I spent 5 years searching for a garment like this and every time I would go shopping I would ask the sales people if they had ANYTHING like what I was describing. The response was always the same, “no, but your like the 1000 person who has asked for something like this.” It was not until years later when a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer when I realized the lack of functional yet feminine products on the market for BC recovery. I wanted to create something that gave women the dignity they deserve in an otherwise very hard time in their life. What was originally birthed out of frustration of a lack of “support” in a lounge wear garment, quickly became a product with a mission and a purpose. I took my original idea and expanded it to fit the needs of women recovering from a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery as well as many other surgeries that require a post operative fluid drain while in recovery(transplant, open heart surgery, plastic surgery)

WN: Is there a way for people to donate a Brobe to an individual in need?

DB: Yes, they can order a Brobe or a gift card from the website for the person in need. We also donate a portion of our stock every year to non-profit organizations. Anyone who wouldlike more infomration can call us directly.

WN: Do you have any competition in this area of business?

DB: Not a lot. There are different products on the market that are geared towards breast cancer recovery such as tank tops, gowns, shirts, and belts. However, none of them have all the functions that the Brobe offers with a detachable recovery bra that has pockets inside the bra for ice packs or a prosthetic as well as a luxurious robe that has pockets inside the robe to hold drains as well. The Brobe also is designed to be worn before during and after recovery.

WN: Are your products sold in any retailers? If not, is that the plan in the future?

DB: Yes, we are sold in various hospital gift shops and mastectomy boutiques throughout the world

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

DB: Do your homework before starting a business. Being an entrepreneur and effectively running a business is hard work, especially as a woman. I would recommend other woman with aspirations in my industry get a mentor and really listen to what he or she has to say. Be a “sponge” and really learn from their mistakes, so you don’t have to make as many of your own! Also understand how they achieved their successes. Mentors can be one of your most valuable resources for knowledge.And never be afraid to ask for a mentor! Most (and usually the best) will be honored to accept.I have a fantastic Advisory Board that I am constantly reaching out to for advice. I think it is imperative as a small business owner to surround myself with people who are more experienced, more connected and smarter than me. As my mom also always told me, “You are who you hang out with,” so I am sure to surround myself with people I can lean on and from whom I can constantly learn.

Learn More about Allison in her video here:

 

If you’d like to vote for Allison to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

Communicate for Life is our December Qualification Grant Winner!

Monday, January 11th, 2016

After revealing December’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Laura Richardson, founder of Communicate For Life, LLC!

Read on to learn all about Laura and her business.

Communicate for life llc logo
Communicate For Life, LLC
Laura F. Richardson, MA, CCC-SLP
Website

WN: Tell us about your business and how you got started.

LR:I started contracting to provide therapeutic services to Berks County families with children with speech, language, and feeding needs through the birth to 3 early intervention system. As the little ones I work with have begun to age out of the birth to 3 early intervention system, I have learned there is a need for home-based services for ages 3-5 in our county as well as additional services. Many local outpatient providers have waiting lists or limited hours (i.e., aren’t available on evenings or weekends!) I saw a need for that population, so I began to expand my services. Basically, as the families I serve express a need, I try to fill it if I can given my areas of expertise. Many of the concerns the families I work with have are concerned with developing functional communication systems using a variety of means (such as spoken language, signs, communication devices) and minimizing behavior problems that children demonstrate when they can’t effectively communicate. I have unique training in both of these areas, so this is a great need for me to fill! I also try to approach my business with the philosophy that I’m not really completing with other local service providers. I offer unique services for those with complex communication and/or behavior issues. I also offer home-based services for an age-group that does not normally have access to home-based services (ages 3-5) and therapy sessions during nontraditional hours (evenings and weekends).

WN: What made you decide to work with children ages 0-5?

LR: Really I work with individuals with functional communication needs of all ages (Hence, For Life!) In fact, my Ph.D. candidate research is with adults with complex communication needs. However, my current clinical practice is targeting ages 0-5 because I work primarily in early intervention at this time. I love working with children ages 0-5 because there is such a need in this area, and I enjoy working closely with families. Language development happens so rapidly in this age range, so quickly developing a communication system that works efficiently for a child and his or her caregivers is elemental to alleviating and preventing behavior issues and long-term social impacts.

WN: Do you have plans to employ anyone else?

LR: Right now it’s just me earning an income from this business, but I would love to become profitable enough that I can hire an administrative assistant and, in the future, other therapists specializing in a variety of areas.

WN: What type of therapy do you find to be most successful?

LR: What an interesting question with so many interesting ways to answer! The best therapy uses evidence-based practices (tried and true techniques that have a strong research and theoretical basis) to meet and adapt to the needs of the child or individual with communication needs, his or her communication partners, and the environment. The most successful therapy programs aim not just to alleviate a problem, but to truly serve a child and his or her family in functional settings. When I am authentically able to “click” with families and we co-develop a treatment plan and procedures, when we are truly a team, then children make progress and their families feel positive about the experience, then we truly have a “therapeutic relationship” and can count on current and future success.

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

LR: Be authentic. Believe in what you are doing, or get out. Be service-oriented. Be confident enough in your competence to be yourself and be honest about what’s outside your area of expertise. Your clients will love and trust you for it. Find a mentor. Carrie Wilkerson says “you should be in business for yourself, but never by yourself.” She’s my mentor and has no idea. I just read her books…and learn, and implement. Have a team. Find an attorney and an accountant you trust. (Quick shout out to Socrates J. Georgeadis (my attorney at Georgeadis/Setley Attorneys and Advisors) and Bob Shaner (my accountant at Integra Business Solutions). They worry about the stuff I find stressful so I don’t have to! I get to be totally focused on providing services to the families I work with.

Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.