November 2014 archive

The Floral Artist: Gaige Clark

Gaige Clark, founder of Spruce LA

Gaige Clark, founder of Spruce LA

Starting your own company is no joke. For many, it requires taking a leap into the unknown which can be scary. #Like A Boss is a salute to women brave enough to go off on their own and build a company from the ground up. There are two qualifications for being profiled on #Like A Boss. First, your company must be your primary source of income. Second, you had to have been the founder or co-founder of the company. These women mean business and were willing to put their careers on the line to prove it. They handle their companies with authority and finesse. LIKE A BOSS.

 

 

What is your company?
Spruce is a flower company that specializes in the care, design and packaging of flowers, plants, and botanical products.

What inspired you to start the company?
I love flowers, plants, business and numbers. Since the age of five I have always wanted to run my own business.

How many employees does your company have?
Between Spruce NYC and Spruce LA and Spruce Botanicals, we have twelve employees.

Spruce-submerged-mini-orchids_525x350How is your company different from your competition?
Spruce is different in that we have created a brand that is easily distinguishable from our competition. I created a new way of designing flowers called “New England Garden” the flowers look like they are growing out of the container, and they dry in there. Our arrangements are made to be sustainable. Our packaging and our store design also sets us apart as well as we have a clean, fresh and modern approach to everything we do.

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite sites/blogs you check daily?
I check out The Huffington Post, Justin Vivian Bond’s pages, and any site with cute animal videos.

What’s the most difficult part about running your own business? How do you overcome those challenges?
The most challenging aspect of business is when I am away from the stores, trying to have employees not text and facebook at work. The best way to overcome this is to make sure everyone is happy, creatively challenged, and interested in being an integral part of growing the company.

Spruce-Floating-Roses_350x525What’s the most rewarding part about running your own business?
The ability to be in a state of constantly creating new forms of flowers and plants.

What’s one word of advice that you’d like to offer to anyone starting their own company?
Please love what you do, have a light heart and a sense of humor, stay strong in your principals, be brave, kind, and loving.

What keeps you motivated?
I love my life thanks to Spruce. It keeps me going and is challenging in a delightful way. And, my employees feel like my extended family. Without them I am nothing. My main man Omar in New York, and Lars and Anna in LA.

What is your latest obsession? Restaurant, beauty regimen, workout, ect.
My latest obsession is developing a new art form as I started creating Plantsuits. It is a suit and headdress made entirely of plants and flowers.

What women in LA inspire you?
Hands down Tara Kolla of Silverlake Farms. She has paved the way for the sustainable agriculture and small farm movement in LA. We buy her flowers and are a part of her CSA. A true pioneer, wonderful heart, and creative talent. I have been blessed to get to know her over this past year.

Website: http://www.sprucela.com

Spruce-Garden-Pot_350x525

The Fabulous Financial Planner: Brittney Castro

Brittney.Headshot.1_350x525Starting your own company is no joke. For many, it requires taking a leap into the unknown which can be scary. #Like A Boss is a salute to women brave enough to go off on their own and build a company from the ground up. There are two qualifications for being profiled on #Like A Boss. First, your company must be your primary source of income. Second, you had to have been the founder or co-founder of the company. These women mean business and were willing to put their careers on the line to prove it. They handle their companies with authority and finesse. LIKE A BOSS.

Next up is Brittney Castro, founder of Financially Wise Women, who is guiding professional and entrepreneurial women to financial freedom in a fun and nonintimidating way. While Brittney feels a responsibility to educate women on finances, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. When she’s not attending to her duties as a financial planner or writing for financial media outlets like Daily Worth, you can find her posting fun Friday dance-offs on her fb page or on set taping her latest rap music video and rapping about what every hip hop artist raps about– money, of course.

What is your company?
Financially Wise Women. We are a financial planning firm specializing in working with professional entrepreneurial women.

What inspired you to start the company?
After working four years at Ameriprise Financial, a large financial planning firm, and three years with LPL Financial, an independent broker/dealer, I launched Financially Wise Women as a registered investment adviser, offering advisory services in the state of California. I focus my practice on helping people like me: busy professional and entrepreneurial women who are passionate about life. We are a solution to a problem. The problem being a lack of financial planning firms specializing in working with the unique challenges and needs of women. A place for women to learn about money in a simple and fun way and feel empowered making financial decisions for themselves and their families.  A place to inspire them to live their best lives using their money. To help women create a positive, loving relationship with their money and empowered them to earn more, save more, pay off their debts faster and invest in themselves and their financial future.

Financially Wise Women continues to grow and allow me to help even more individuals through my financial planning practice, online money class, YouTube channel videos, public speaking engagements, and live workshops.

I believe FWW is the company that will change women’s financial lives for generations to come. To be the leading financial planning firm and be a pioneer in the financial industry to create the much needed change to serve women in a holistic, innovative and modern way.

What’s the most difficult part about running your own business? How do you overcome those challenges?
Managing all the moving parts and the cash flow challenges my business faces as I continue to grow and expand my company. I overcome any challenge by believing in myself and seeing it all as one big game I get to play and have fun with. It makes any challenge, big or small, seem doable which is the mindset you need when being a business owner.

What’s the most rewarding part about running your own business?
Teaching people about money and learning how I’ve helped them in their own financial lives and inspired them to go after their dreams and goals in life.

What’s one word of advice that you’d like to offer to anyone starting their own company? 
Trust yourself. You are more powerful than you think and have the ability to create and overcome anything in life, regardless of where you’ve come from.

What keeps you motivated?
My spiritual path and vision for the future. Ultimately for me it’s all about living a happy,
fulfilled life and Financially Wise Women is just an arena I get to play in that allows me to grow, expand, change and evolve on this journey of life and for that I am very grateful and blessed.

What is your latest obsession? Restaurant, beauty regimen, workout, etc.
Well, I’m definitely known for a lot of obsessions in life. Currently, I’m obsessed with coffee with steamed cashew milk. I was a big almond milk girl until I recently discovered cashew milk. So yummy! I’m also obsessed with dancing, all types, kick boxing and the color purple.

What women in LA inspire you?
Lately, its been the teen girls and college women I’ve meet through my recent speaking and workshop gigs. It is incredible to see how at such a young age, girls are creating businesses that change the world and have so much heart behind why they are doing what they are doing in life. Just this week I taught a teen money class, and one girl already had her own successful non-profit since she was 14 years old! The next generation is very smart, savvy, well-rounded and aware of the bigger meaning of life. I’ve always been an optimist and seeing what we as humans can create in the world always blows me away.

Website: http://www.financiallywisewomen.com

Changing How We Do Insurance: Mindy Lamont

Starting your own company is no joke. For many, it requires taking a leap into the unknown which can be scary. #Like A Boss is a salute to women brave enough to go off on their own and build a company from the ground up. There are two qualifications for being profiled on #Like A Boss. First, your company must be your primary source of income. Second, you had to have been the founder or co-founder of the company. These women mean business and were willing to put their careers on the line to prove it. They handle their companies with authority and finesse. LIKE A BOSS.

Next up is a woman who is changing how we view the insurance industry. Meet Mindy Lamont founder of The Insurist.

Mindy Lamont

Mindy Lamont

 

What is your company?

The Insurist is a modern day insurance agency with a focus on efficient technology and transparent communication. I like to say we’re a blend of the best of old world insurance agency management and new world technology. We create solutions for humans and companies with a need for life, health, disability and long term care insurance. And we do this without all the typical artifacts of the insurance industry (the suits, the cufflinks, the shoes). We’re real people who want to do business with real people. I recently heard an advertising company describe themselves as “owned and operated by refuges of large agencies” and that’s EXACTLY who we are.

What inspired you to start the company?

Oh gosh…is there a politically correct way to say bu***hit? I’ve been in the industry for a long time and have been blessed to work with only the finest. But. There are flaws in the industry that make it its own worst enemy at times and I wanted to do it without those flaws. And I have always dreamed of getting back to being an owner. I was 19 when I was in corporate management, and although it was GREAT for me and my future, it’s not of my same soul. I wanted to create a place where people who want to do good work with good people are given the space to do just that…without the time suck of endless meetings and corporate politics. I wanted to create an insurance agency where reality could be kept simple and fun. Most people don’t think of the word fun when they think of insurance products, but I say it’s possible.

How many employees does your company have?

We’re at five today and growing. If I had kept all who have showed up, we’d be at eleven. I’m really intent on keeping a culture of transparency, drive, fun, and creativity.

How is your company different from your competition?

It’s going to be hard to honestly answer this one without offending anyone, but we are quite different from the typical demographic of the industry. More than anything, I believe our approach to marketing and our branding is what sets us apart. If you compare our sites with our peers you’ll immediately see what I mean.

What are your favorite sites/blogs you check daily?

I try to stay out of the industry sites because there’s a lot of unnecessary noise there. That said, I do frequent LifeHealthPro.com and log on to the carriers sites first thing every morning to check the status of underwriting. The Kaiser Family Foundation has great information available on healthcare reform if you’re in to that sort of thing. Most of my blog reading is about nutrition and health: The Simple Veganista and Food Babe are two of my regulars. I’ve been a Seth Godin fan for years and when I want a good laugh I go to The Bloggess.

What’s the most difficult part about running your own business? How do you overcome those challenges?

The roller coaster of entrepreneurial life. You have to have the stomach for it or you’ll crumble. My best tools for overcoming the mental strain are good nutrition, yoga, and time spent with those I love. Having an awareness for when I need to focus some time on those three things is the hard part…but I’m making progress. I think.

What’s the most rewarding part about running your own business?

Owning your own life. The upside of the roller coaster is having complete control over your own life. While you may work twice as much as a non business owner, you get to choose when you put in those 60+ hours per week.

What’s one word of advice that you’d like to offer to anyone starting their own company?

Research.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m having a ball. And I have no personal plan B. When I started The Insurist I was operating with a plan B. I hit a rough patch and, oddly, a former colleague called the next day about working together. I took the offer. It lasted three days and went down in a ball of flames. And then I knew I had no plan B and this was it. The pace of progress accelerated from there and hasn’t slowed down.

What is your latest obsession? Restaurant, beauty regimen, workout, ect.

Orange Theory Fitness. One just opened a five minute walk from my house and I love the workout.

What women in LA inspire you?

Sophia Amaruso. I love what she’s doing with her life, her business, and her community. There are not enough girls in this world with her level of moxie. I’ve also been a big Jane Wurwand fan since I heard her tell a story of handing an employee a tooth brush and saying “here’s our dental plan.” It takes a lot of courage to stand behind that and to have your people follow you through it. She’s done that and has built an amazing thing with Dermalogica and all the company does.

What’s your website address?

theinsurist.com is our home site, but we’re rolling out new web properties all the time as we enter new markets. Check out insuremomtoo.com. It’s our latest obsession!

The Artist: Elana Joelle Hendler

Starting your own company is no joke. For many, it requires taking a leap into the unknown which can be scary. #Like A Boss is a salute to women brave enough to go off on their own and build a company from the ground up. There are two qualifications for being profiled on #Like A Boss. First, your company must be your primary source of income. Second, you had to have been the founder or co-founder of the company. These women mean business and were willing to put their careers on the line to prove it. They handle their companies with authority and finesse. LIKE A BOSS.

Next up, Elana Joelle Hendler founder of home decor company, EJH Brand.

Elana Joelle Hendler

Elana Joelle Hendler

 

What is your company?

My company is EJH Brand. We’re an eco luxury candle and home decor company based in Los Angeles. It’s an art-driven brand, featuring a collection of black and white hand drawn artwork from a series of pen drawings that I created featuring wildlife.

What inspired you to start the company?
I started my company during a time in my life where I felt that I need to go out on my own and really test out the waters to find out what I’m made of.

How many employees does your company have?
Two in-house and we have up to 10 outsourced locally.

When did your company launch?
I founded EJH Brand in 2010 but didn’t launch product on the market until January 2013.

What are your favorite sites/blogs you check daily?
I probably spend the most time on CNN.com and SocialMediaExaminer.com

What’s the most difficult part about running your own business? How do you overcome those challenges?
The most difficult part about running my business is that I’m doing it by myself. I am working to overcome by exploring the possibilities of fundraising over the next year.

What’s the most rewarding part about running your own business?
The most rewarding part is when a perfect stranger walks up to me or sends me an email to tells me how much they appreciate my work. Creative work is so personal and it’s very special to know that someone you’ve never met has selected your products to put in their home environments or to give as a gift to someone they care about.

What’s one word of advice that you’d like to offer to anyone starting their own company?
Buckle up! Absolutely nothing can prepare you fully for what you will inevitably learn on the road. There will be ups and downs and challenges that might just blow your mind. The important lesson I’ve learned is to allow yourself to soak up the good moments, even if just for a short while before you plow into the hard stuff again.

What keeps you motivated?
Oh, man. Well, I would say generally speaking motivation is something you naturally have or you don’t. For me, it was that once I started, I couldn’t imagine it not moving forward so I wanted to do everything in my power to make it happen. When I have moments of burnout, it’s not always that simple. I think the lesson learned is to find the right professional support so that you don’t have to motivate yourself to do work that isn’t supposed to be yours to begin with. When you’re matched up with the right role in your company, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated.

What is your latest obsession? Restaurant, beauty regimen, workout, ect.
My new couch! I think there comes a time when you spend so much time working over a period of several years that something in you shifts, and there’s no place you’d rather be than cuddled up to a cozy couch watching your favorite shows.

What women in LA inspire you?
There are so many! Laura D Schwartz Muller from Four Point Design is such an inspiring lady! You should check her out!

Company website: http://www.ejhbrand.com