Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized’ Category

Follow-Up Story: How a Build & Imagine Turned $500 into $600,000

Monday, November 24th, 2014

For those of you who are new to our community Laurie Peterson was our grant recipient from July 2013. She was the founder of Build & Imagine, a constructible StoryWall toy company for girls.

Laurie recently reached out to us and told us about her accomplishments since receiving our Amber Grant. We were so delighted to hear about her recent success and thought it would make a great follow-up story with the community.

Build and Imagine Tower

Laurie Peterson
Build & Imagine

WN: How are things since you received July’s Amber Grant in 2013?

LP: It’s been a very busy year getting my new toy company Build & Imagine off the ground. The grant funded my first prototype and a video for a successful kickstarter campaign where I raised $30,000 to fund product design. I used the Kickstarter success and retailer interest to attract an additional $600,000 in angel investments. Meanwhile, I buttoned up the product design and worked with my university’s alumni office to find an advisor who connected me with an excellent toy manufacturer in China. Our product is now available for pre-order on buildandimagine.com and will be arriving in our warehouse next week!

WN: What makes your product unique?

LP: Build & Imagine StoryWalls are magnetic building sets that inspire storytelling. Unlike most magnetic building toys that are composed of abstract geometric shapes, Build & Imagine play-sets contain illustrated scenes that children can build, decorate, and use as a backdrop for imaginative play with the included dolls. We call them StoryWalls, because it’s like building a storybook setting in 3-D and then jumping in to play!

Our leading adventurous female characters and rich narrative details help to attract girls to our building sets. Historically, construction toys like these have catered to boys. Girls have been missing out because building toys develop important skills such as spatial reasoning, design, and problem solving. These are skills that are essential for overcoming the gender innovation gap. We believe our toys can make a difference.

WN: Congratulations on being Dr. Toy’s best new play product she has seen. Did you have to make any changes to Build and Imagine to get noticed by her, or was it constant perseverance?

LP: Early on I connected with Dr. Toy on LinkedIn, where I post occasional updated about the business. After she saw me post a fundraising article I wrote for Fast Company she reached out and requested a meeting. Our building sets appealed to her in that they engage early STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math) while they develop language. It was the combination of building plus storytelling that she loved.

WN: As a former Amber Grant winner, do you have any advice for the new applicants?

LP: Applying for the Amber Grant was the first thing I did to “put myself out there”. My advice is to go for it! The Amber Grant provided me with a little bit of cash and a lot more confidence to move forward.

WN: When will we officially be able to purchase your product?

LP: Right now! We are taking pre-orders on buildandimagine.com and ship in a few weeks. Our buildings sets are recommended for kids ages 4-8. Thanks so much!

Again, big congratulations to Laurie! We knew Build & Imagine was bound to be a success!

Imagine what you could do with the monthly $500 Qualifying Grant? Or with our new $2,000 Amber Grant? The deadline for our next Qualification grant is coming up soon, (November 30th.) Get your applications in before you get too caught up with family, friends and celebrations! ‘Tis the season!

Build and imagine rescue center

 

Amber Grant for Women Increased to $2,500!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

We have some super exciting news to share. Besides our typical $500 monthly grants, WomensNet (WN) is going to give away a 2015 year-end $2,000 Amber Grant.

Effective immediately, WNN will still give our monthly “qualifying grant” of $500. Those 12 qualifying grant recipients will then become the 12 finalists for the $2,000 Amber Grant to be announced in January, 2016.

Here are the details on how the increased grant-giving works:

  • WNN judges will select a qualifying grant recipient ($500) every month for the next 12 months.
  • Each qualifying grant recipients will create an informal YouTube style video explaining why they deserve the $2,000 Amber Grant, to be posted on the WomensNet website.
  • WomensNet website visitors will vote on who should receive the $2,000 Amber Grant. The voting will weigh in the WNN judges’ final decision. WNN judges want to determine how well recipients can market themselves through social media and brand awareness.
  • WNN will also consider how recipients used their qualifying $500 grant in determining who receives the $2,000 Amber Grant.
  • The $2,000 Amber Grant will be awarded in January 2016.

We really wanted to give back more to our grant recipients. A couple of our judge’s wanted to review all the monthly recipients and give away a larger Amber Grant at the end of the year. We thought it would be a great way to encourage these women entrepreneurs – knowing they could still find more money at the end of the year for their business.

To Your Success,
Christina
WomensNet Facebook
WomensNet

October Amber Grant Finalists

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

This October we had many inspiring, creative, and well though-out applicants. We enjoyed reading each one.  A huge thank you to everyone who applied this month- You made our decision very difficult!

For now, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five finalists. Be sure to check out their websites, congratulate them and stay tuned – we’ll announce the October winner very soon!

October Amber Grant Finalists 2014

 

Poutine Your Mouth
Poutine Your Mouth
Jennifer Buckallew
http://www.poutineyourmouth.com/

Poutine Your Mouth is an art and food cart decorated with colorful art and music from local artists. This food trailer opens up and invites patrons to eat and enjoy poutine, which is French fries, cheddar cheese curds, and gravy with various toppings. They cater to all vegetarian, vegan and gluten food restrictions.

 

Hot N' Handi
Hot n’ Handi
Lisa Grant
http://www.buyhotnhandi.com/

Lisa the founder of Hot n’ Handi has Friedreich’s ataxia. Friedreich’s ataxia is an autosomal recessive inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system, resulting in symptoms ranging from gait disturbance to speech problems. Currently it has no cure so she’s decided to embrace it and create Hot n’ Handi.

Lisa’s mission with Hot n’ Handi is to encourage confidence in all disabled people. They sell fun, sexy, confidence-boosting attire for women who are disabled.

 

SolarPuff
Solight Designs Inc.
Alice Min Soo Chun
Solarpuff.us

SolarPuff is the first flat packageable and inflatable solar lantern. It is designed to provide an affordable and renewable light source to disaster relief victims.

Solar Puff uses the principles of origami and foldable design to “pop” open from a flat envelope into a cube with a very simple pull motion to diffuse the light after charging. It’s a lightweight solution that advances itself to easy packaging and storage.

 

The Wooden Palate
The Wooden Palate
Eileen O’Dea
www.thewoodenpalate.com

The Wooden Palate was founded by Eileen O’Dea and Ryan Silverman. Every board they make is designed to last forever. The boards are tested for integrity by Ryan in the woodshop and further vetted by Eileen in the kitchen before sent to production. The Wooden Palate was born of the belief that every kitchen and home needs more bespoke wood pieces and that every chef should love the board on which they serve their creations.

 

Heathers Choice
Heathers Choice
Heather Kelly
www.heatherschoice.com

Heather looks forward to providing adventurous athletes with the most delicious dehydrated food on the planet. Her recipes are inspired by her extensive travels, and rooted in locally grown ingredients. She loves throwing on her backpack and getting out to field test each and every recipe.

Puffs Preserves Wins September Amber Grant

Friday, October 10th, 2014

We recently announced the five finalists for September and today we are excited to finally share our Amber Grant winner!

Congratulations Kirsten Farabi, owner of Puff’s Preserves!

Puffs Preserves KF
Kirsten Farabi
Puff’s Preserves
http://www.puffspreserves.com/

 

WN: For those who haven’t visited your website yet, tell us a little more about your creation and what sparked your idea.

KF: I used to teach history! I have always been fascinated with past cultures, politically and socially. The Jazz Age, Prohibition Era always seemed like such an interesting time to me. This is when my family came to the United States in search of a new beginning as well. My grandfather started his own business, but of course, saw the opportunity to bootleg sugar and spirits (like most folks at that time). My grandmother taught me from a young age how to preserve our bounty on the farm; always creatively and full of spices, herbs, and unique flavors. Together, they were the inspiration for my boozy jams. My branding is inspired by this part of US history, and named after my grandfather Hugo “Puff” Farabi.  I use Colorado spirits, and non GMO, fresh, organic ingredients.

WN: Do you have a favorite Boozy Jam?

KF: It’s hard to pick a favorite because all of the flavors are so different! I will say the most popular flavor overall is the Blackberry Bourbon Lavender. I make it with local honey instead of sugar, and the lavender adds a unique herbal note.

WN: When will people be able to purchase your Jam online?

KF: Customers will be able to order a mixed six-pack of jam online at the end of November. I am currently redoing my labels and jars. The new jars will make a great drinking glass when it is emptied!

WN: What’s the next step for Puff’s Preserves?

KF: As we speak, I am waiting for the landlord to arrive to show me an open space in Denver! The next steps for Puff’s are to find my own space to call home where I can cook my jams, sell local provisions, and run a speakeasy in the basement where I’ll serve cocktails made with my jams. Exciting times!

WN: Do you have any advice for other women entrepreneurs?

KF: It may sound cliché, but my advice to female entrepreneurs is to make sure you love what you do. There will be days you have to remind yourself why you started. Persevere, and push through the difficult times. There will be set backs, mundane tasks (accounting!), critics (they laugh at you, then they copy you), and a learning curve. You only learn from making mistakes. All of this makes you a better businesswoman in the end. Be tough as nails, but wear fabulous and comfortable shoes.

 

Thank you for reading! Remember we award an Amber Grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply! We hope you all have a great weekend!

September’s Amber Grant Finalists!

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Happy Friday ladies, (and gentlemen)! I figured before you get started on your weekend plans, I’d deliver some good news and announce our September Amber Grant Finalists!

Here they are – Continue to read below to learn more about our finalists,  their products, services and what each organization brings to the community!

September Amber Grant Finalists — 2014

sling
Sling Hammocks
Nicole Otero
www.slinghammocks.com
Nicole is a lover of the outdoors and hammocking. This inspired her to start designing hammocks and hammock straps. Through trial and error she’s finally created the perfect product. Click on her website and give it a look!

 

readysetgo
Ready Set Go, LLC
Carol Cooper
website
Since Carol started her journey, she’s taught life skills and instructional reading in a private school. Carol’s constantly trying to find new and creative ways to keep her students motivated, as a result she created Ready Set Go, LLC which has inspirational jewelry and two soft plush bears named Brian and Brianna – which mean “strength.” Each bear is accompanied by a book that has been personally written in a way that will make it easy for children to understand.  A portion of Ready Set Go sales is donated to organizations that help children with autism / ASD and special needs.

 

puffs
Puff’s Preserves
Kirsten Dawn Farabi
www.puffspreserves.com
Puff’s Preserves is Kirsten’s little boozy jam creation. The inspiration comes from her grandparents. Kirsten’s grandmother taught her how to make preserves at the age of twelve. They have been making them together every Summer since. Her grandmother was always so creative with her concoctions, adding herbs, spices, and booze. Kirsten’s grandfather Hugo “Puff” Farabi bootlegged sugar, homemade wine, and whiskey during Prohibition. So she put the two concepts together and created Puff’s Preserves. She make boozy jams, jellies and preserves with fresh fruit, herbs and spices, and local Colorado spirits.

 

MagnaReady
MagnaReady
Maura Horton
www.magnaready.com
The concept for MagnaReady came about when Maura’s husband was diagnosed at an early age with Parkinsons disease. As someone that travels for business, he was anxious about getting into a situation while he was on the road. As he shared his concerns, Maura knew right away how she could help him with this daily challenge. By magnetically infusing the buttons on his shirts, she created a product that could restore freedom to his daily routine.

 

Danica_Yoga
Danica Yoga
Danica Lister
www.danicayoga.com
Danica has a vision of inspiring others to live at their happiest. She especially wants to work with people who suffer from depression. So she has decided to start working towards opening up her own studio based on depression as well as other chronic illnesses… fibromayalgia, cancer recovery, etc.

SmileOnU Win’s August’s Amber Grant!

Monday, September 15th, 2014

After announcing our finalists late last week. We’re happy to finally be able to announce this months Amber Grant winner. Meet BB, founder of the non-profit organization, SmileOnU.

Read on to learn more about her organization’s mission to create healthy and beautiful smiles.

BB Maboby Bahadarakhann
SmileOnU
www.smileonu.org

SOUHShoot

WN: What gave you the idea for SmileOnU?

BB: Born into a refugee camp in Thailand during the Khmer Regime, I always wanted to give back to the community for saving my family from a dismal situation. I was 10-months-old when my Pakistani and Cambodian parents and family were relocated from the Thailand to Chicago, IL through the aid of the United States government. Even with nothing, my parents were both very giving people. As a young child, I saw the radiant energy they received by giving and it was contagious! It was the way I wanted to live my life. It was the most beautiful thing.” After graduating college in 2009 and I worked in oral surgery sales, where I often coordinated the interaction between dentists, clients, laboratories and implant companies to assure surgeries went smoothly. I noticed the cost of these procedures was out of reach for those who needed them the most and realized something needed to bridge this glaring gap. My vision in the creation of the non- profit organization, “SmileOnU” was a way to change this and bring hope to people who have limited means for such extensive dental procedures.

WN: How many patients do you take on in a year?

BB: SmileOnU works to give the gift of smile! We are currently taking on 1 Hardship case a month. Our goal is to give 100 smiles a year to those in greatest need.

WN:  How are individuals chosen to receive dental help, are they nominated or do they have to apply?

BB: We work with the local foster homes and different resource centers. We also have an open application online.

SMILEONU TARGETED POPULATIONS:

  • Foster Youth
  • Former Foster Youth
  • Low-income College-age youths and adults with physical disabilities
  • Young adults, 18-25 years old, who have been raised in the child welfare system and are responsible for their own financial support
  • Adults, ages 25 or older, with dependents in their family unit

WN: Do you run specifically off of donations, or fund raise all of the expenses?

BB: We run solely on donations and contributions.

WN: Are you planning on expanding your business in the near future?

BB: We are currently establishing a network of volunteer dental professional across the United States in hopes to give the gift of smile

 

Thank you for reading! Remember we award an Amber Grant every month – if interested here’s the link to apply! We hope you all have a great day!