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Hello, 

We hope you had a marvelous weekend full of relaxation and some productivity moments of course!

We would like to share one thing with you... Success can't happen without you surrounding yourself with likeminded people and people who understand that world is really limitless and you can do whatever you put your mind to. Finding the right people who will fuel your success is really crucial and a step that cannot be skipped. Every business is built by people and for people (well, most of the time). Take time to find the right group of people and stick with them! It's a hard thing to do, but very rewarding if done right.

One of our entrepreneurs, Belma McCaffrey, wanted to share an amazing article with you that she has written about finding your tribe and building a quality network. You can read it by clicking here. 

 

 HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVORITE INTERVIEWS... BECAUSE WE ALL NEED SOME SUNDAY MOTIVATION: 


1. DIANE JANKNEGT, FOUNDER: WIZENOZE

BASED IN: AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Children are constantly online, searching the internet for information, but finding the relevant and readable information is very difficult for them when they use the common Search Engines. It is our mission at WizeNoze to make the internet a more suitable place for children (6-18 years), by giving them access to trusted content in various reading levels. An 8 year old receives easier to read material than a 14 year old. We also we want to make sure that the content providers write easier to read material. That is why we developed a content editor that can help an author to translate a difficult text into something that is easier to process.

How did your past experiences help you get to where you are today?  

When I worked for Microsoft, I have seen that scalable software can have a massive impact in the world. I also have seen that you can solve big problems with software if you are capable of building a very strong, smart and successful team. This experience helps me every day.

Is entrepreneurship something that anyone can tackle? What is the most important thing to consider?

When I left Microsoft I never thought that I could be an entrepreneur. But after taking time off for a year, many coffees with other entrepreneurs and after truly listening to my heart, I decided that I wanted to start my own business. If being an entrepreneur is doing what you really love to- everyone can be an entrepreneur. Make sure you are not doing it for other reasons than a true passion, belief and drive!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW NOW


2. OLU VANDENBUSSCHE, FOUNDER: MANEL PRINTS

Belgian textile designer Olu Vandenbussche founded her design studio Manel in spring 2015 as her answer to Fast Fashion.

Olu: My aim is to promote Slow Textiles through projects, workshops and my own line of sustainable fabrics. To me Slow Design means a continuous search for quality, sustainable fabrics to print on and eco friendly printing processes. It means building meaningful and lasting relationships with my clients, suppliers and partners. It means taking the time to explore new ideas, draw prints by hand, translate my clients’ wishes to prints that fit their personality. For this ‘slow’ approach Manel was awarded the Bizz Buzz Award for Social / Sustainable Entrepreneurship last December.

How important is it to focus on building a strong team?

I recently launched my own fabric line. Not an easy decision with all the competition! And when you look at it superficially, my fabrics have a few ‘disadvantages’ over other ones: they’re printed on demand to avoid waste which means customers need to have a little patience. European production in small quantities also makes them slightly more expensive than your average fabric. On the bright side, they’re gentle to your skin (toxin-free), to the environment and to the people who make them. But, in order to make people change their buying behavior, you need to inform them properly. That’s why I founded the Slow Ambassadors, a group of talented sewing bloggers who review my fabrics, enabling me to make improvements and ensure my clients only get the best. Their enthusiasm keeps me going. This dress (photo 2) was made from my fabric called ‘Meanwhile below the Surface’ by Slow Ambassador Sylvia from the beautiful blog Lily & Woody.

I got my first freelance job as a textile designer through another entrepreneur and I’m currently partnering with designers from other domains to co-create diverse ‘slow’ products.

I strongly believe that future entrepreneurship will be all about collaborating and sharing: knowledge, tools, contacts, workspace etc. Especially in these times when it’s hard to get a loan from the bank, or get noticed by the media.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW NOW
 

3. HEIDI ZAK, FOUNDER: THIRD LOVE


I founded ThirdLove to solve a recurring experience that every woman dreads — bra shopping. I knew we deserved better than the usual routine with handsy saleswomen, bright lights and product that falls apart after a few washes. I thought to myself, there has got to be a better way —  a way to use technology to solve the 'fit' issue and a way to design beautiful, high quality bras that fit real women’s bodies.

Our patented sizing technology makes it easy for women to discover their perfect size without having to leave their home. We offer signature ½ cup sizes that can’t be found anywhere else, and 40% of our customers fall into these unique sizes. We use only the highest quality materials including gold hardware, foam fasteners, and luxe fabric to create designs that are comfortable and supportive.

What piece of business building advice has really stuck with you over the years of running your company?

Do something you’re passionate about. Building a business is really hard and there are a lot of valleys along the way. If you're not really excited about what you're building you won't be able to push through the hard times. Your passion will be integral to hiring an amazing team who is equally passionate about the company's mission and vision.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW NOW

4. MERIN GUTHRIE, FOUNDER: KIT

BASED IN: HOUSTON, TEXAS

Merin Guthrie is the CEO of Kit, a year-old women’s clothing company that marries the impeccable fit and personal customer care of old-school dressmaking with the convenience of e-commerce. Each Kit garment is designed, created and tailored to fit in Houston, TX.

What is the inspiration behind the company- how did you get started? 

Clothing should be made to fit the woman; the woman should not fit the clothing.  I realized people come in lots of sizes while clothing only comes in six or nine. As a busy working woman who always struggled with fit – I’m pear-shaped – I really wanted to build a clothing company around what I needed and wanted out of my clothes: impeccable fit, great construction, beautiful fabric, classic style. In short, really wearable, adaptable clothes that made me look and feel confident.  

As someone who doesn't have a background in the retail industry, you are able to bring a fresh perspective, which is amazing- how were you able to go about this?

I’m a business model person; I love models, developing them, fine-tuning them, and scaling them, and since I am my own customer – which is true of our all-female team – we spend every day trying to figure out how to adapt our model to the needs of our customers. Essentially, we’re much more connected to our model and our customers than we are to ‘fashion’ writ large. And I think that gives me a very different perspective.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW NOW

5. STEPHANIE J. WONG, LICENCED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

LOCATION: USA AND SAN MATEO

I am a Clinical Psychologist/Therapist of Color/Asian American Therapist, who provides high-quality counseling and psychotherapy to individuals in the Bay Area.  I specialize in the treatment of Addictions, and social/relationship, cultural, career, and mood concerns, and work with special populations (e.g., Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, military veterans).  I have the most “un-selfish-selfish job” because I am able to be a part of an individual’s transformational journey.  There is still so much stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment and some individuals who have difficulty seeking help, need a provider who understands their hesitation when coming to treatment.  

Is it important to have mentors and mentor other people? Why?

Absolutely!  Mentors have been integral to my career. My best mentors have been collaborative and willing to open doors for me to new opportunities, such as networking with other helpful professionals.  There is also a positive psychological aspect of having someone believe in you, as demonstrated by putting their reputation on the line for you (e.g., introducing you to their mentors, colleagues).  A mentor is a supportive guide to turn to when you feel lost; someone who offers his/her perspective to advance you towards your goals.

In return, being a mentor is a way to ‘pay it forward.’  When you invest in someone else and see them succeed/reach their goals even in the face of adversity, it changes that specific person and a great many others who this person interacts with.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW NOW


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