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Ernestine Lammers

Owner/Founder of Kanti Goods


What inspired you to start your business?

When I traveled the world, I found all these beautiful goods made by beautiful people with beautiful stories.

What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

Proving yourself and that you idea can become a business. Once we were still in business after 5 years, people started to take us more seriously. We just kept going, adjusting all the time, and made sure to connect with the right people, most of the time women!

Because women know how to build supportive networks.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Start small and surround you with the right people. Make sure you have some startup money.

What three traits define you?

Honesty, Trust and Respect.

What women inspire you?

Women who are creative and think out of the box.

How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?

WBENC has helped me start connecting with those people that think out the box. Especially during the pandemic, WBENC is very supportive and I love the digital form. Normally you stay with the group you know; now you are forced to be in a Zoom calls with 9 different women from different backgrounds and with different jobs. I have made great connections that way.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

The giving back and socially responsible component — more and more people are starting to buy with that in mind.

As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?

How to sell my goods through different platforms, dropship, wholesale etc. — especially during the pandemic when everything came to a grinding hold. It is a big learning curve.

What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?

To make a living out of their ideas/business and keep up with the constant changing social media trends.

What do you love about being a business owner?

Being my own boss, being creative, exploring new ideas. Just do it!

What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?

To be by yourself — what is sometimes a great thing, is also a hard thing. Knowing where to go next! Is the next step the right one and where do I spend my money wisely?

How do you define success?

Positive responses from people around you, when people nominate you for an award, when people like to listen to your story.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Starting a business is a challenge, but I like to take on the challenge.

What’s your favorite career moment?

Traveling to Nepal when we were making our documentary about our silversmith. We didn’t know we were making such a big impact, not only in his life, but in the lives of many more people of his village. We created a product that became a gift that keeps giving!

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Start getting my interior design degree.

What are you reading or listening to now?

Reading the books about the seven sisters is very relaxing.

What’s the best way to start your day?

Swimming a couple laps in the pool and then FaceTiming with my two small grandchildren, so I can be a part of their lives.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child, I wanted to be a teacher — and I was for over 25 years before I started Kanti.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

I love to go outside walking and if possible, depends the wind, row on the lake.

What do you like about your workspace?

I love working from home.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... love to take the challenge and try to figure it out.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself you can do it, you can do it, you can do it! You can measure success in many different ways.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my computer.

By this time next year, I will be… doing more wholesale and online sales and less in person-shows.

The best thing that happened to me last week was… I started doing Facebook Lives “Coffee with Kanti” and someone asked to be featured on my “show”.

To get my creative juices flowing, I… think outside the box.


Kanti Goods works with a global network of artists who are doing their part to improve the social fabric of their communities and encourage the use of local materials and fair production methods. Their goal at Kanti is to support women and small-scale artists around the world by providing them with jobs so that their families and communities can thrive. Kanti means ‘beautiful’ in the ancient language of Sanskrit, and each of our beautiful goods are infused with a beautiful story. “Be Beautiful. Be Kanti.”

Learn more.

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