Without doubt, there are challenges that come with owning a business. There are websites and blogs and forums dedicated to advising one another on how to be better at work and at home and in life.
We use these outlets to share our struggles and tips for overcoming them and to tell stories of persevering when staying open another day seemed impossible. Then, in quiet moments—especially ones in November—we can give thanks for the skills we possess that allow us to support our families and shape the economy.
At rosieMADE, one of our goals is to increase the number of women engaged in entrepreneurship. We hope that by sharing the reflections of other female entrepreneurs, it will serve as a reminder that we all have a talent, ability, or passion, and it has the power to have a positive economic impact in our lives. Here are three of those inspirational stories.
Green 3 Apparel
Sandy Martin started Green 3 because she wanted to make an impact, not just on the fit and feel of women’s clothing, but on the community she serves. In producing organic cotton T-shirts and accessories for women and men, Green 3 creates American jobs, including jobs for adults with cognitive disabilities.
By using organic and recycled cotton and reclaimed materials, as well as environmentally sustainable dyes, Green 3 is doing its part to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals used in cotton production and the overall carbon footprint of the apparel industry. And we can all be thankful for that.
In building the Green 3 brand, founder Sandy Martin has been able to turn her environmentally conscious mission and experience in the apparel industry into a business that supports her family and provides a positive impact in her community.
“I am thankful for many things, namely the ability to include my family in the business, the opportunity to provide jobs within our community, and the honesty and decency of the business partners we have worked with while building our brand. But I am most thankful for our customers and the ultimate consumers who have been passionate in the support of our brand and the principals it is built on.” - Sandy Martin-Owner, Green 3 (Est. May 2006)
Vintage Vinyl Journals
Vintage Vinyl Journals launched in 2011 when Katie Pietrak dreamed up a new way to repurpose the beautiful but damaged vinyl in her massive record collection. Before she knew it, she had a product that was an outlet for her love of music and crafts. Not only that, her product also had the ability to inspire the end users to create or indulge in their own passions, too. Vintage Vinyl journals could be a place to write poems or bucket lists; to draw creative works-of-art or product designs; to collect concert tickets or postcards.
Between the nostalgic beauty of Katie’s journals and her boldness in marketing, Vintage Vinyl Journals captured the attention of famous craftsman and carpenter Ty Pennington as well as actress and influential hipster Zooey Deschanel. Since then, Katie has been scouring record stores to keep up with demand and rescuing vinyl that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
“I am most thankful for the support of multiple people along the way who had no vested interest in helping me but did so anyway. I am grateful for every introduction, every supportive word, every piece of good advice, and every helping hand since I started my business.” – Katie Pietrak-Founder and Owner, Vintage Vinyl Journals (Est. March 2011)
Erica Riegelman found a way to help artists and crafters, who might otherwise only be hobbyists, make an economic impact with their talents. With three family members, she created aftcra.com, an online marketplace for American-made goods. American crafters can set-up their “shops” on the site, and consumers who want to buy quality handmade goods can shop from a growing variety of American craftspeople.
Erica was inspired to create aftcra.com after watching her artist mother struggle to earn a fair living selling her wares through boutiques that took a 50 percent consignment fee. And sure, there were other ways to sell the goods online, but no single place that catered to buyers who wanted to buy American made goods and shop with a certain standard of social responsibility. With Erica’s corporate job leaving her feeling as if she lacked control of her own destiny, she took the leap.
Erica lives by a mantra: “There are always a million reasons why you shouldn’t do something, and there is never a better time to start than right now.”
“By owning my own company I’m thankful for three things: having the freedom to manage my own schedule (and my life), contributing to something bigger than myself, and being able to meet people of different backgrounds and experiences I would otherwise never have the opportunity to get to know.” – Erica Riegelman-President, aftcra.com (Est. 2010)
What are You Thankful For?
As consumers, we can continue to help businesses such as Green 3, Vintage Vinyl Journals, and aftcra.com when we choose to buy American made products from small women-owned businesses. We know these businesses reinvest in their communities, so supporting them has a positive effect with a much greater reach than when we buy imported merchandise.
I am thankful for every purchase, made by every customer and every person who has shared the rosieMADE message. I’m thankful for those rosies creating a positive influence on others and for every mentor, friend, and stranger who has shared good advice with me. Most of all, I’m thankful for the ability to dive into the deep end of the entrepreneurial pool. I’m a better person and better businesswoman for it.
What are you thankful for?
About the Author
Alicia Vanderschuere is the founder and CEO of rosieMADE, LLC, an online community for women-led businesses and a resource for products made by women in the USA. Go to rosieMADE.com for original gift ideas and to learn more about what it means to give a USA-made gift from rosieMADE. While you’re there, join the Rosie Network of women-led businesses.