What inspired you to start your business?
Independence. Let’s face it, a person who is dependent can be on top of the world one day, and out on the street the next. Especially when you are dependent on a partner/spouse or an employer who decides one day without notice, that they no longer want to include you in their lives or workplace. I want to call the shots in my own life and am creating the life of my dreams on MY terms. One day, a light switch went on in my head, and I’ve never been the same since. I started my business because not only am I an entrepreneur at heart and love working for myself, but because the fear of being put out of my home with a baby without adequate income was a feeling I vowed to never feel again! I don’t even know who that dependent woman I used to be is anymore. If it is to be, it is up to ME!
What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
Challenges of buyers taking me seriously as I dove into the retail industry. I armed myself with certifications, education, received mentoring, and used my tenacity to follow my vision and learn the ropes, whatever it took, to get to that peer-to-peer level with gatekeepers and decision makers. I put in the time and work, so respect is something I earned. I go into meetings now thinking, “It’s MY turn!”.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Get certifications so you can network with others with the same dream that you have, who can help you grow your business. Allow yourself to receive help whenever it is available to you. You don’t have to be too proud to say, “Yes, thank you for taking that off my plate.” Do your due diligence when hiring or partnering with others. Making fast decisions has never benefited me. And finally, don’t be a part-time entrepreneur if you can help it. Go all in, and make your business a top priority if you want to be greatly successful.
What women inspire you?
Sara Blakely of Spanx, a young lady from my town here in Clearwater, FL, who cut the feet off of her pantyhose, which was the birth of Spanx; and Sheri Schmelzer of Jibbitz, a stay at home mom who accidentally invented a product by making little clay flowers to stick in the holes of her little girls Crocs shoes, and about a year later struck a $20 million deal with Crocs. I thought, “My invention is as simple as theirs and with an even larger market. If they can do it then so can I!”
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
It has been hugely instrumental by allowing me the opportunity to get in front of retail buyers through their own Supplier Diversity teams. No longer do I need to convince an arbitrary broker (who may or may not have the proper connection to a specific category buyer) to take me on as a client, and hope that they can land a meeting that develops into a live account. Also, the network of women who own businesses that I have access to now is invaluable!
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
The coolest trend in my industry is sustainability. I love how society is turning their back on one-use products, and going back to buying items that are quality and performance driven, and that are better for the environment because they are reusable and made with materials that are not harmful to humans, animals or the earth.
What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
The hardest part about being a business owner in the consumer product industry has been finding the right talent. It’s really best to work with people who come highly recommended, with a proven track record. No one can do it all alone in my business, and I need to rely on other people who I bring onto my team to get their work done so I don’t have to wear yet another hat.
How do you define success?
For me, success means that I am in control of my income. I can make as little or as much as I want. It’s all dependent on what I put into it. Things come my way when I focus and hustle. I watch, and copy how other successful people have done it.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
I am an inventor, so I have many napkin ideas as well as prototypes. The best piece of advice I got was from my dear friend and investor, William, who said “Don’t try to work on all of your ideas at one time. Pick one product that is the most time sensitive, and focus on that and make it huge. Then pick your next invention and do it again.”
What’s your favorite career moment?
Selling out on QVC and HSN! When I first sold out on QVC, I had hired and trained an experienced TV shopping spokesperson to present, demonstrate and sell the Green Glider Mop Pads on TV on my behalf. QVC is in Pennsylvania, and I live in Florida. I was watching the early morning airing at home. I was in bed under the covers, peeking over top of the blanket just barely enough to see the TV. All of the sudden the TV screen read “GREEN GLIDER SOLD OUT!” I threw my arms in the air and danced around the house like I had won the lottery! Because that’s what it felt like! It was my first taste of authentic success and it was as glorious as I had dreamed it would be!
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I would put more time into making my business successful and free up some more time to spend with my child during the day. I already steal sleep hours in order to work late and get tasks knocked out.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always creative and artistic. I loved mechanical drawing and architecture. I always wanted to be an inventor. But it seemed so impossible. However, I knew in my mind’s eye that if I came up with a great idea for a product, that I would be able design it and build it. I would figure out how to make it a hit, and be able to live the life of my dreams. Right now I have 10+ good product ideas on deck. Green Glider is merely the first one that I took past the prototype phase.
What do you like about your workspace?
I love working at home every day. It’s so great to just wake up and get right to work without having to dress up or put on makeup every single morning. I love that I am the boss. I could never stomach being micromanaged in an office environment. I always knew I was an entrepreneur at heart. I know what needs to be done and get the work on time without annoying supervision that makes my skin crawl.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... slow down and sleep on it. The answers come to me more clearly after a good night’s sleep.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… strike while the iron is hot. Get the item to market swiftly! Chances are, there are others who have the same idea who may act on it.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my network of other entrepreneurs.
By this time next year, I will be… the owner of the next household brand name!
The best thing that happened to me recently was… I attended the WBENC Summit & Salute and reconnected with the Supplier Diversity managers of Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, and Kroger.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… talk to kids who are young entrepreneurs. They have such pure intentions and aren’t afraid to say what’s on their minds or jump in head first. This helps me let go of any inhibitions and regain my childlike wonder.
The Green Glider Company
Reusable, washable, universal mop pad for the Swiffer type mops! With adjustable velcro straps, Green Glider Mop Pad fits onto all of the Swiffer style mop systems with the 10" mop head/base. It's a Durable, Top Quality and High Performance mop pad you can use with the Mop You've Already Got!