By Heidi Isern (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)
Last night I attended the event, “Face to Face: The Women Behind the Brands,” sponsored by Gilt City. Present were founding members and key executives from brands like Minted, Eventbrite, Decorati, SkinnyScoop, Ecomom and others.
Over champagne and mini cupcakes, each woman gave an interesting fact about herself before presenting her business. Interestingly, the personal story that each woman revealed was intimately tied to her company’s product. The companies were launched as an extension of personal passion.
Founder Mariam Naficy of the crowd-sourced site Minted had a personal interest in fine stationary and the (hand) written word. While dating her husband they wrote letters to each other for three years when he lived in Japan. However, you don’t have to be in a long distance relationship to appreciate accessible designs. Minted has been growingly rapidly as remote designers are connected to the stationary savvy. Minted’s first contest had 600 entrants. Their last one had over 2,500. “I am bringing talent from all over the world to the buyer!” Mariam said.
Larissa Dinh, Co-Founder and Head of Product for Skinny Scoop, an information sharing site for women, is not only passionate about creating lists, but also for creating a product for women. “Most male designers think they can take some object, paint it pink, and it’s for a woman, “ she said. Larissa, however, paints more than just pink and works hard to create something uniquely of value for female information seekers. “The web is like my canvas.”
Founder Kimberly Danek Pinkson of Ecomom said, “Enthusiasm is crucial to being an entrepreneur as you invest so much effort and time.” Kim is enthusiastic about being healthy and wants to empower other’s shared passion for health by providing a range of organic products on her site.
Founder Shane Reilly of Decorati was a high-end interior designer that was frustrated by the lack of products and services available online. She felt inspired to create a site that would provide broader access to high quality products and design inspiration. Decocrati grew rapidly and was acquired by Gilt Groupe just this past March.
Founders all nodded in agreement when I asked them if they loved what they did. “If you love what you do, then it’s not work!” said one. Another chimed in, “Life is too short to do anything less than something you are passionate about.”
Sweat and money are important, but in these women’s cases it was passion that was the key ingredient for entrepreneurial success.
About the guest blogger: Heidi Isern is a writer, strategist and entrepreneur who is based in San Francisco, California. She is the founder of Chameleon Endeavors, a boutique consulting firm that helps both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies grow their brands. In addition to working with Women 2.0, she also sits on the advisory board of the Fearless Women’s Entrepreneur Network and is a regular contributor to blogs and online publications that serve women’s audiences. Follow her on Twitter at @hisern.