Sabina and I were adding press links to our Pinterest press page, when I re-read this 2009 article at Reuters by Ellen Wulfhorst "Entrepreneurs Hope to Beat Economic Odds", which included several friends of Tin Shingle. Part of working our magic here at Tin Shingle is pitching stories to editors, with the meat of those stories being anecdotes from small business members at Tin Shingle. These anecdotes then serve as examples and lessons to other readers and business owners. This article came from one of those opportunities.
Right out of the gate, the first line of the article described a somber scene from the life of jewelry designer Rachel Dooley, founder and lead designer of Gemma Redux: "Rachel Dooley quit her high-paying job as an attorney a month ago to launch a jewelry business, and her friends think she is crazy."
But guess what: She wasn't crazy!! She listened to her gut, took a risk, and worked hard every day to stay on track and grow her business both creatively and strategically. Today, Gemma Redux is a major brand that has a cult following of customers and can be seen on celebrities including Blake Lively and Jessica Alba (and I could go on and on).
Inspired and hooked, I continued to read. BAM, there was another business still in business: Nomie Baby founded by problem-solver Katie Danziger, who hit their best sales year yet last year, selling thousands and thousands of car seat covers through different sales channels including Diapers.com, Walmart.com, Bed Bath and Beyond. A feature on the Good Morning America landed the then 4-year-old company into a happy tizzy of orders.
Oh, and it doesn't stop there! Jill Frechtman of the addictive chocolate covered pretzel company, Fretzels, is still feeding our chocolate cravings. Said Jill: "I could close up the business and then try and find a job that I don't necessarily love or I can ride out the storm and see how it goes." She's ridden out the storm, and continues to get Fretzels into new stores.
And as for SheFinds? Oh yes, they are still very much in business. As an internet magazine, they developed all sorts of different revenue streams to channel into their trusted brand. As for the then-beta company, It's All About Aging founded by Anne Maxfield, you might say it became all about something else...food. While developing the brand to help people with their aging parents, Anne was also quite passionate about locally grown food and how to cook it. Her blog posts on recipes were actually some of the most popular on her Aging website. Anne is another example of someone listened to her passion and developed a brand out of it, which is how The Accidental Locavore was born. It can also be found on Huffington Post.
To close this reflective article, I'll leave you with this quote from Rachel, as it is the bottom line every day for entrepreneurs and business owners. And to know that she overcame it, despite the fear, should give us all confidence:
"Watching my friends' careers go up in smoke and watching tons of people getting laid off gave me the strength," Rachel said. "I thought, 'Who knows when that's going to happen to me?'"
But does she panic? "Probably once a day," she said. "Looking at my bank account and seeing this is where we're at, and the only way this grows is if I do it, it's daunting."
Keep calm and shingle on, entrepreneurs and dreamers. Shingle on.