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Million Dollar Cupcakes!

2 Oct

TOP GIRL of the month goes to Andra Hall

For Andra Hall, entrepreneurship was a matter of medical necessity. In 2004, her 1-year-old daughter underwent a string of surgeries to correct a severe case of sleep apnea. “I did major soul-searching to come up with something that would be flexible enough to let me be there when Camille needed me,” she recalls.

Settling on her longtime interest in baking, Hall created a business plan and by 2006, she and her husband, Curtis, refinanced their house to obtain the $40,000 they needed to launch CamiCakes Cupcakes (www.camicakes.com; 404-748-4288). The money allowed them to buy secondhand equipment, create marketing materials, and put down a security deposit on the Orange Park, Florida, space they would rent.

In 2008, another store opened in Jacksonville, Florida, and a third store the following year in Atlanta. CamiCakes, named for the couple’s daughter, generated $1.1 million in revenues in 2009 and anticipates $2 million by year-end. But Hall’s path to business ownership wasn’t all sweet.

With 18 cupcake flavors—the most popular being red velvet, sweet potato, and carrot cake—CamiCakes’ rapid growth was one of Hall’s greatest challenges.

The baking began each day at 6 a.m., and the doors were open to customers from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.  When she opened the Georgia store, Hall drove the 350 miles between there and the Florida stores to oversee the baking and customer service in each store and handle all the paperwork. “I was just doing too much,” the 38-year-old recalls. “And then I got really, really sick and was down for more than two weeks.”

At that point, Hall knew she had to come up with a way to make sure each store could run without her constant attention. First, over the course of two months, she created a manual of operations so each store would have the same written standard operating procedures ranging from the recipes used to the steps to take if a register went down. “I’m more of a do er, so it was a challenge to have to stop and make sure everything was clearly documented for other people to understand,” Hall says.

Next, she chose one store to focus most of her energy on. Because Atlanta was the biggest market and the store there was the most profitable, Hall moved her family there and established it as CamiCakes’ headquarters. The third step, loosening the reins, was the hardest. Hall made the transition somewhat easier by hiring from within rather than seeking outsiders to manage the Florida stores. “I had faith that they could do the job,” she says.

Courtesy of BlackEnterprise.com

BLACK ENTERPRISE is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BLACK ENTERPRISE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers.

Black Enterprise is another one of the City Girl Business Club’s favorite magazines.

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At 17 she started an online boutique now worth $50million…get inspired!!

27 Aug

TOP GIRL of the month goes to Susan Gregg-Koger


Hello Ladies,

As you know the City Girl Business Club encourages everyone interested in starting a business to look for inspiration on a regular basis. This is important for many reasons, but mainly because it helps to keep you motivated so that you can accomplish your goals.

One of our favorite websites entrepreneur.com just recently posted an article on young millionaires,  we found the article to be very interesting and inspiring to say the least. One story that stood out to us was that of ModCloth.com‘s founder Susan Gregg-Kroger, so we decided to nominate her as the City Girl Business Club’s Top Girl of the month.

At 17 years old, Susan Gregg decided to open an online boutique that sold one of a kind vintage clothing and shoes. Her company ModCloth was launched from her dorm room with the help of her boyfriend, Eric Koger. The two drove from Pittsburgh to their South Florida hometown several times throughout college to pick up more stock. By the end of their senior year in 2006, ModCloth was getting 60,000 visitors a month, and plenty of them were asking for more.

Susan wanted to grow the business, so she decided she needed to raise enough capital to build her vision. She secured the money she needed by using her credit card,  borrowing from family, taking out student loans, and taking out a second mortgage. Then she hired designers to create an original, vintage-inspired collection.

Susan and her then boyfriend Eric are now married and run ModCloth from their Pittsburgh, PA offices. ModCloth gets around 2 million visitors every month and is on track to surpass $50 million in sales this year. They’ve raised $20 million in new funding to open up offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles this summer, and employee numbers are close to 150, and rising.

To get the full story and to check out one of our favorite websites, visit www.entrepreneur.com.

You can also find out more about Susan at www.ModCloth.com

Feel free to leave  your thoughts and comments, we love hearing what you think.

Inc.com introduces America’s Coolest Entrepreneurs under 30..

7 Aug

As we always say at the City Girl Business Club, you’re never too young to start a business.

One of our favorite websites Inc.com always posts incredible stories about entrepreneurs who have launched successful businesses. We find their stories to be incredibly inspiring and think this is  a website  every entrepreneur should visit regularly.

We would like to share with you Inc.com’s list of 30 young entrepreneurs who are building incredible brands.

The list:

Name: Joe Mclure

Age: 29

Company: McClure’s Pickles

Website: www.mcclurespickles.com

2009 Revenues: $390,000

Story: Joe McClure spent his childhood in Detroit buying cucumbers and dill at farmers markets. Now, he pickles professionally. Today, an estimated 70 percent of McClures sales of pickles – a second, spicy, variety as well as new products such as relish and Bloody Mary mix – comes from retail stores, with online and market sales comprising the rest.

Name: Naveen Selvadurai

Age: 28

Company: Foursquare

Website: Foursquare.com

2009 Revenues:Undisclosed

Story: It’s been a busy month for Naveen Selvadurai. Foursquare, the location-aware social networking app that Selvaduri co-founded in 2009, picked up $20 million in a Series B round led by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen‘s venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Less than two weeks later Foursquare hit 2 million users, doubling the audience it had in April. The start-up is still growing steadily by 100,000 new members a week, with plans for a big redesign at the end of the summer.

Name: Jack Abraham

Age:24

Company: Milo.com

Website: www.milo.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: The San Francisco start-up Milo.com tracks 2.8 million products across 50,000 retail stores. “Amazon and eBay are Web 1.0,” scoffs founder Jack Abraham.Abraham got the idea for Milo.com when he was working at comScore. “We had data that showed people were using the Internet to research products, but buying them more often offline than online,” he says.  “Everyone was innovating in social media, but no one doing anything in shopping. Amazon and eBay are Web 1.0.”

Name: Sophia Bush

Age:26

Company: FEED Projects

Website: www.feedprojects.org

2009 Revenues: $1.5million

Story: The former president’s niece embraces social entrepreneurship with a growing line of bags sold online and at Whole Foods. FEED works directly with WFP, and other organizations such as UNICEF and Millennial Villages, to fund anti-hunger programs worldwide.Their bags are sold online, where buyers are told the exact impact of their purchase (for instance, purchase a $60 “Feed1” bag and you’ll be feeding one school child for an entire year). So far, FEED has sold just over half a million bags and provided more than 56 million meals worldwide.

Names: Garry Tan and Sachin Agarwal

Ages:29 & 30

Company: Posterous

Website: www.posterous.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: Posterous takes all the fuss out of posting content online.The concept for Posterous is decidedly simple: E-mail, its founders believe, is the gateway for sharing information—text, photos, and videos—online. Instead of logging into Facebook to post photos, or writing your thoughts down in a blogging platform, Posterous makes it feasible to do all that from an e-mail account.

Name: Sarah Prevette

Age: 28

Company: Sprouter

Website: www.sprouter.com

2009 Reveneus: Undisclosed

Story: Sarah Prevette has created a service that entrepreneurs can use to socialize, share tips, and ask questions in a rapid-fire, short-attention-span fashion. Using a Twitter-like format, Sprouter is a place online where entrepreneurs can socialize, share tips, and ask questions in a rapid-fire, short-attention-span fashion. Users leverage the site for a variety of needs, from getting peer feedback on their product ideas to learning the best practices for developing metrics for sales teams, to gleaning insight from other founders on pitching specific investors, and requesting introductions to media, potential corporate partners or investors. “Users support one another, motivate each other and help with day-to-day questions or concerns,” Prevette says.

Name: David Schottenstein

Age: 26

Company: Astor & Black Custom Clothiers

Website: www.astorandblack.com

2009 Revenues: $11,360,000

Story: A big fan of the British tailoring tradition, Schottenstein started Astor & Black, a company that sold custom bespoke clothing, at the tender age of 21. He used money he had saved from his previous business ventures to fund his vision, which was to bring custom tailoring to the general public at affordable prices. The suits, which are made in China, Hong Kong, Italy, and Brooklyn, start at $499; prices increase depending on the fabric, with the bulk of transactions in the $895 range.

Names: Michelle You, Ian Hogarth, Pete Smith

Ages: You, 29; Hogarth, 28; Smith, 28

Company: Songkick

Website: www.songkick.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: By meticulously compiling upcoming concert listings, the founders of Songkick have amassed an audience of one million fans—and the backing of Y Combinator, the prestigious incubator. The concept, which they named Songkick, piqued the interest of start-up incubator Y Combinator, which provided seed funding and counsel during the summer of 2007. Hogarth, the CEO, and Smith, COO, spent the summer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Y Combinator was then based, while You commuted from New York City on the Chinatown bus. She soon quit her job at Theme, a lifestyle magazine, to join Songkick full time as co-founder and chief of product. The company raised $1 million in an angel round led by former Skype VP of Marketing-turned-investor Saul Klein that winter, when it moved to London, and landed another $4 million in a Series A round led by Index Ventures last year.

Name: Ooshma Garg

Age: 22

Company: Anapata

Website: www.anapata.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: Ooshma Garg experienced the aha moment that led her to become an entrepreneur during her junior year of college when she served as co-president of a networking group called Stanford Women in Business. “Companies like Goldman and McKinsey would pay us $5,000 just to have dinner with my group,” Garg recalls. Yet corporate types were still pretty abysmal when it came to recruiting from a diverse field of applicants. So Garg launched Anapata, and online platform to connect employers and qualified job candidates. The name comes from a Swahili word that means “to find, attain, and achieve.”

Name: Amos Winbus III

Age: 26

Company: CyberSynchs

Website: www.cybersynchs.com

2009 Revenues: $2million

Story: Amos Winbush III has partnered with Sun to build an app used on 500,000 phones. “We’re taking the company global,” he says. “I’m super stoked.” It took losing 150 contacts on his cell phone for Amos Winbush III to stumble upon the idea for his company. In the summer of 2008, the aspiring musician and cousin of R&B singer Angela Winbush was preparing tracks for his debut album. After a late night in the recording studio, he noticed that his iPhone had gone black. That led him to investigate a way to synchronize data between his phone and his computer, and soon after, to launch CyberSynchs.

Name: Tim O’Shaughnessy and Eddie Frederick

Ages: 28 & 29

Company: LivingSocial

Website: www.livingsocial.com

2009 Revenues: $5-$10million

Story: With the acquisition of a little company called Buy a Friend a Drink, the online-bargain site LivingSocial came together in its present form. The online daily coupon industry may not be the sexiest space on the Web, but it sure has venture capitalists licking their chops. First, Chicago-based Groupon raised a whopping $135 million from Russian investment firm DST in April. And before you could say “discount,” LivingSocial had raised two consecutive rounds totaling approximately $40 million from U.S. Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Tim O’Shaughnessy, LivingSocial’s co-founder and CEO, estimates that, together, the two companies own 98 percent of the market. Both companies partner with businesses such as restaurants and spas to offer subscribers deep discounts on goods and services via a daily e-mail coupon. Right now, for instance, I could buy a LivingSocial coupon for a watercolor painting class for $47 – a discount of 69 percent off the regular price.

Name: Alexa Von Tobel

Age: 26

Company: LearnVest

Website: www.learnvest.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: Backed by Goldman Sachs and some successful executives, LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel seeks to give young women personal finance advice. LearnVest offers online budgeting calculators, video chats with certified financial planners on the company’s staff, and free e-mail tutorials on topics such as opening an IRA. The company earns revenue from advertising and by referring its users to companies such as TD Ameritrade. In April, after just four weeks of fundraising, von Tobel closed a $4.5 million investment round led by Accel Partners, which has also invested in Facebook and Etsy. (Incidentally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lived in the same dorm as von Tobel at Harvard.)

Name: Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss

Ages: 29 & 26

Company: Rent the Runway

Website: www.renttherunway.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: Rent the Runway’s mission, according to Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, is to bring the Carrie Bradshaw clothing experience to budget conscious fashionistas and turn them in to loyal customers of designer brands. Rent the Runway is a membership-only designer rental company where women can rent dresses and accessories from over 100 designers and brands including Herve Leger, Diane von Furstenberg, Proenza Schouler and Badgley Mischka.  Dress rentals start at $50 for 4 days and $10 for accessories.

Name: Ryan Allis & Aaron Houghton

Ages: 26 & 29

Company: iContact

Website: www.icontact.com

2009 Revenues: $26.5million

Story: Within three days of meeting, Ryan and Aaron developed the idea for iContact: They would leverage a tool that Houghton had developed to help small businesses manage their e-mail marketing. iContact generated $26.5 million in revenue last year and has raised a total of $18 million from NC IDEA, North Atlantic Capital and Updata Partners.

Name: Dan Schawbel

Age: 26

Company: Millenial Branding

Website: http://www.personalbranding.com/

2010 Revenues: $100,000

Story: The mission of Schawbel’s business, Millennial Branding, is two-fold: He teaches members of his own generation why a personal brand is important and then shows them how to create one using social media; and he works on corporate branding strategies for companies including Time Warner and Citigroup.

Name: Stephanie Kaplan, Windsor Hanger, and Annie Wang

Ages: 21

Company: Her Campus

Website: www.hercampus.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: The three partners decided to create an online magazine that would serve college women nationwide with content in six different topic areas – Style, Health, Love, DormLife, Career, and World – and also house micro sites for other schools with campus-specific content maintained by students on those campuses.

Name: Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk

Age: 28, 28, 27

Company: AirBnB

Website: www.airbnb.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: San Francisco start-up AirBnB is like a Craigslist for the couch-surfing set . AirBnB is used in nearly 5,000 cities in 142 countries. The company landed a $20,000 investment from Y Combinator; recently, the Wall Street Journal reported an investment from Sequoia Capital, but the trio of founders won’t comment on that. The company is hiring so fast – and is still based out of the original South-of-Market apartment – that Chesky has been pushed out of his bedroom. That’s right – he’s pledged to be homeless. He’s using only AirBnB to find accommodations for the year. A PR stunt to be sure, but also a test of the infrastructure of this laid-back but wildly popular business that started with a “yeah, whatever.”

Name: Callie Works-Leary

Age: $29

Company: City Craft

Website: www.citycraft.com

2009 Revenues: $35,000

Story: Dallas entrepreneur Callie Works-Leary hopes to build CityCraft into the Crate & Barrel of the sewing world. To build a community of sewers around CityCraft, Works-Leary created a sewing lounge at the store. She describes it as “a studio fully stocked with sewing machines, cutting tables, and all the necessary supplies and materials to create beautiful sewn creations whether in a class, workshop, or during an open sewing lounge night.” On sewing lounge nights, the store serves complimentary wine and snacks and plays music. “Customers use the store like their own studio, sewing in an encouraging, relaxed group setting,” says Works-Leary. CityCraft also has summer sewing camps for kids and teens.

Name: Jeffrey Powers & Vikas Reddy

Ages: 27 & 26

Company: Occipital

Website: www.occipital.com

2009 Revenues: $1million

Story: The founders of Occipital launched one of the most successful apps around. Then they sold it, to help them fund yet more app development. The business has developed RedLaser, the best-selling iPhone app that lets users scan barcodes. RedLaser has been downloaded more than two million times, mostly at $2 a pop (Apple takes 30 percent of that), making it one of the most popular paid-iPhone apps on the market.

Name: Ashleigh Hansberger

Age: 28

Company: Motto Agency

Website: www.mottoagency.com

2010 Projected Revenues: $600,000

Story: To help companies launch, grow, and reinvent their brands through good, old-fashioned storytelling and innovative use of social media, Hansberger, 28, launched Motto Agency. Her Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-based company is on track for $600,000 in revenue this year.

Name: Fraser Doherty

Age: 21

Company: Super Jam

Website: www.superjam.co.uk

2009 Revenues: $1.2million

Story: Just call him Jam Boy. Fraser Doherty doesn’t mind a bit. In fact, he encourages it. Doherty, a boyishly charming Scot with a brogue to match, is the jam darling of the U.K Doherty’s big break came when he met a buyer at Waitrose, a major supermarket chain in Britain, and tentatively sold him on the idea. He then lined up a factory. At every step of the way, his age prompted skepticism. “I was a teen with no money and no experience, so most people rejected me,” he recalls. “But then I finally convinced a jam facotry to work with me and we figured out how to produce the recipes that I had developed in my parents’ kitchen on a big scale.” He also hired an ad agency, which came up with a comic book-like brand identity for the product.

Name: Andrew Kortina & Iqram Magdon-Ismali

Ages: 27 & 26

Company: Venmo

Website: www.venmo.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: Venmo is a mobile-based platform that allows friends to exchange money using their phones.
Say you’re having a drink with a friend and you’re short on cash. If your buddy also has Venmo, you can use your iPhone or Android to pay him for your share of the tab by simply texting Venmo “pay Andy $12.50.” You can keep a balance to draw from in your Venmo account, or your payment can be charged to a credit card or bank account that you register with the company. Your friend can then transfer the money from Venmo to his bank account. “Every time a payment is issued from your account, you get a text message and an email,” says Kortina. “And you can pin protect your transactions.” Venmo also allows you to set up “trust” relationships with other users – typically family members or close friends – who can draw upon your Venmo account without prior authorization.

Name: Chris Easter & Bob Horner

Ages: 26 & 29

Company: The Man Registry

Website: www.themanregistry.com/

2009 Revenues: www.themanregistry.com

Story: The Man Registry, a website with more than 3,000 gifts that appeal to grooms, Easter was two months away from marrying Horner’s younger sister. t was then that the two became aware of what they saw as an appalling lack of guy-friendly gifts on traditional registries and decided to do something about it. “We’re all about groom involvement in the whole process,” says Horner. So in March 2008 he and Easter teamed up with several retailers that offered gifts for guys, such as sports apparel, grilling accessories, and the always popular remote control beer cooler. Orders are placed through The Man Registry and then the retailer ships the items directly to the customer, allowing Easter and Horner to avoid the burden of maintaining inventory.

Name: David Graff, John Wirtz, and Brian Kaiser

Ages: 27

Company: Agile Sports

Website: www.hudl.com/about

2009 Revenues: $475,000

Story: The Broncos, the Browns, and the Jets all use Agile Sports’s software to help players memorize offensive and defensive schemes. A month after signing with the New York Jets in 2008, Brett Favre memorized between 40 and 50 percent of the team’s complex offensive playbook. By the season kickoff, he had 75 percent of the plays down cold. He did it all with the help of coaching software developed by three twenty-somethings in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Names: Maverick Carter

Age: 28

Company: LRMR Innovative Marketing & Branding

Website: www.lrmrmarketing.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: If you’re a basketball fan who followed the LeBron James free agent chase, the name Maverick Carter should be a familiar one. Alternately labeled as James’s “business partner” and “manager,” Carter has emerged as one of the most trusted voices in the inner circle of basketball’s most dynamic young star. He has put together sponsorship deals for James with McDonald’s and State Farm, and he negotiated a contract extension with Nike when James’s original deal with the sports apparel mammoth expired this year. Carter says James will now focus on strengthening his partnerships with his corporate sponsors rather than adding new ones. Forbes estimates that James made $43 million in salary and endorsements in the past year.

Name: Tyler Balliet & Morgan First

Age: 29 & 26

Company: The Second Glass

Website: www.secondglass.com

2009 Revenues: $230,000

Story: Balliet and First loved wine but felt that no one was marketing it properly to their generation. Their company connects wine sellers to young consumers through wine tasting events, called Wine Riot, and through its website. The Second Glass, an online resource for wine information geared toward Millennials, was founded by Balliet after a part-time job in a Boston wine shop taught him that customers were yearning for basic information presented in a down to earth way.

Name: Luke Biewald & Chris Van Pelt

Ages: 28

Company: Crowdflower

Website:www.crowdflower.com

2009 Revenues: Unidisclosed

Story: Crowdflower matches an international online workforce with companies that need a large volume of simple work completed quickly. The cost to companies that use Crowdflower is based on the difficulty of tasks, the accuracy they require tasks to be done with, and a mark-up that varies depending on the complexity of finding quality workers, and assuring the quality of their work. By just filling out an online form, businesses, for a cost that’s much lower than hiring a temp staff, or opening a phone bank, can access a global workforce to do projects that range from mundane to time-intensive.

Name: Sean Whalen

Ages: 28

Company: AlterG

Website: www.alterg.com

2009 Revenues: Undisclosed

Story: When soccer star Oguchi “Guch” Onyewu ruptured his patellar tendon last October during the United States team’s game against Costa Rica, it seemed unlikely that the defender would recover in time for the FIFA World Cup in June. But recover he did, helping the U.S. tie England 1-1 on June 12. Sean Whalen likes to think that his company, AlterG, which makes the anti-gravity treadmill that Onyewu used for rehab, had something to do with the win. “To recover from that in seven months, and be fit for the World Cup, is simply an amazing feat,” says Whalen. “To us, it really validates the power and effectiveness of our technology.”

Name: Maia Josebachvili & Bram Levy

Ages: 26 & 30

Company: Urban Escapes

Website: www.urbanescapesusa.com

2009 Revenues: $250,000

Story: Josebachvili has a passion for skydiving but when she was an undergrad at Dartmouth she couldn’t afford it. So she recruited all her friends and acquaintances to go along with her and she was able to skydive for free.After graduation she continued to coordinate skydiving and other outdoor trips even while working as a derivatives trader on Wall Street at Susquehanna International.  In 2008, Josebachvili decided to take the plunge and create Urban Escapes, offering a varied assortment of outdoor escapes such as hiking and hang gliding. In the company’s first year, it brought about 500 people on trips.

Name: Joshua Dziabiak

Age: 23

Company: ShowClix

Website: www.showclix.com

2009 Revenues: $4.5million

Story: ShowClix helps small venues distribute tickets entirely over text message and e-mail. ShowClix has gained some 1,000 customers and delivered more than 1 million tickets. The company sets itself apart by delivering tickets by e-mail or by text message, and by offering its customers access to real-time sales reports. Earlier this year, the business debuted an app that enables venues to scan tickets on customers’ phones with any Android-powered device. ShowClix charges venues between 7 and 15 percent of ticket sales—a much lower fee, Dziabiak says, than that of any of its competitors, including Ticketmaster.

For more information and to see videos of the entrepreneurs, please visit www.inc.com

Tina Wells – from a teen reporter to a multi millionaire!

15 Jul

TOP GIRL of the month goes to Tina Wells

Hello Ladies,

Here’s more inspiration for those of you considering starting your own business. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start living your dream.

Tina Wells, 30, is the CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group, a multi-million dollar company that surveys teenagers and advises Fortune 500 companies on how to reach that target audience.

Tina began writing product reviews for The New Girl Times, a national newspaper based in New York City at the age of 16. When companies found out about her, they hired her to review the products and offer feedback through the eyes of a teenager. It wasn’t long before Tina began receiving more products than she could review by herself.

In three short months Tina had acquired 40 clients , but she had to hire ten friends to help her with the work. In 2000, CosmoGIRL! Magazine held a contest that featured Buzz, and Buzz received 15,000 applications.

Since then, it has grown as a teen and young adult oriented company conducting peer-to-peer research, product testing, and promotions, among other things.

In keeping with the mission of BuzzMG, Tina has created a network of 9000 teen consultants (“buzzSpotters”) with who have the same passion for pop culture as herself.

Through innovative marketing strategies, research initiatives and youth marketing, Buzz has acquired clients in the fashion, beauty, entertainment, business and lifestyle sectors such as: St. Martins Press, PBS, Procter + Gamble, AMAZAR Holding, SonyBMG, And1, Sesame Workshop, and Time Inc with many more under her belt.

Tina’s ascent from teen dreamer to CEO has landed her a long list of honors such as: Essence 40 Under 40, Billboard’s 30 Under 30, AOL’s Black Voices Black Women Leaders in Business top ten list, Inc Magazine’s 30 Under 30 and 2009 Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Tina has also been appointed to the National Board of Directors for the Friends of Orphans, and is on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

She has been quoted and featured in such high profile publications as O Magazine, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Essence, Entrepreneur, CosmoGirl, Brandweek, Savoy, Justine Magazine, Ebony, Brass CU’s cover and Link Magazines.

Find out more about Tina and Buzz Marketing at www.buzzmg.com

She Made Millions from Nail Polish!!!!

23 Jun

You’ve seen nail polish with colors like sky blue and winter green, but do you know who started the trend?

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of “Hard Candy Cosmetics”, but do you know the story behind it?

Hard Candy is the brainchild of  Dineh Mohajer.  Dineh was a 22 year old student when she came up with the idea. She enlisted the help of her sister Pooneh and her boyfriend Benjamin Einstein, and the three came up with $200 to buy some nail polish and supplies from the beauty store. One business plan, and a few sample shades later, they decided to pitch upscale fashion shop Fred Segal. While going through the pitch, a 16-year-old customer saw the shades and wanted all four instantaneously. The owner set the price at $18 a bottle on the spot and sold them to the demanding teenager. With no supplies left, Fred Segal placed an order with Dineh for 200 bottles that same day.

The company’s first product was nail polish that Dineh mixed herself – a shade of baby blue named “Sky” to match her sandals. In that same year, actress Alicia Silverstone appeared on the Late Night with David Letterman and, when asked about her pastel blue fingernails, replied, “It’s ‘Sky’ by Hard Candy,” causing an overnight explosion for the brand. Within approximately 2 years, the business grew to a $10-million-dollar company. Dineh kept the creative juices flowing by staying in touch with her target market of 15 to 25-year-olds. She created new mod shades called Porn, Trailer Trash and Jailbait. It wasn’t long before cosmetic giants had a contender and big companies took notice of this new cultural phenomenon.

Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), who owns Donna Karen, Givenchy, Sephora, TAG Heuer, and Veuve Clicquot acquired Hard Candy in 1999 for a reported $30 million. The acquisition afforded Hard Candy greater distribution and a brand to attach itself to. Hard Candy is now Urban Decay Cosmetics LLC dba Hard Candy. Dineh Mohajer, alongside Jeanne Chavez, recently left Hard Candy to form cosmetics brand Goldie. Benjamin Einstein is currently President of Einstein Cosmetics LLC.

Teen entrepreneur worth $15million by age 19-how she did it!

30 May

Hi Ladies,

As you all know, the City Girl Business Club is not only here to teach you how to start a business, but also to inspire you to follow your dreams. From time to time we like to post inspirational stories of people just like you who had the guts to take that leap of faith, and found remarkable success as a result.

Today’s entrepreneur is Juliette Brindak who is truly an ispiration to both kids and adults. At the tender age of 10, Julie launched a website called Miss O & Friends.  Juliette Brindak’s idea targeted tween girls who were tired of playing with dolls, and were not quite mature enough for Britney Spears and other teen idols.“My friends and I looked at Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and other teen idols and realized they were not like real, everyday girls,” explains Juliette Brindak.

Using characters  with names like Harlie and Isabella, Julie’s website offers young girls the chance to play, create, learn, exchange ideas, compare experiences, get published and more Says Juliette, “Our goal is to help girls build a sense of self and self-esteem so girls will be less likely to fall prey to the pressures of fitting in and being popular.”

The idea  got the attention of tween girls around the world. Now the site is visited by millions of girls each month.

Julie did not stop with just the website,  at age 16, she authored a successful book that sold 120,000 copies.

Julie is now 20 yrs old, and a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, she continues to serve as an inspiration to female kids interested in business.

Some interesting facts:

– The Miss O website is on over 7,000 classroom websites across the country.

– Miss O is hyperlinked alongside the White House, National Geographic and NASA

– Their website “Dear Abby” column (“KidsCounsel”) is syndicated worldwide via McClatchy-Tribune

– They claim to have 11 licensees, including Knight Ridder/Tribune (McClatchy), and VNU

Visit www.missoandfriends to learn more about Julie and her inspirational website.

One man’s rags to riches story-inspiration for the ladies

3 May

Farrah Gray is  a philanthropist, best-selling author, syndicated columnist, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. Now in his twenties, he is one of the most sought after motivational speakers around.

Growing up in the projects on Chicago’s south side, Gray became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14. At six years of age, he started selling   home-made body lotion and hand-painted rocks (to be used as book-ends). At age 7, he was carrying business cards that said“21st Century CEO.” At 8, he became co-founder of Urban Neighborhood Enterprise Economic Club (U.N.E.E.C.) on Chicago’s Southside. He later founded another organization called the “New Early Entrepreneur Wonders (NE2W)” which was located on Wall Street. NE2W helped at educated and at risk youth by creating and developing legal ways for them to acquire additional income. Gray is the youngest person to have an office on Wall Street.

In his teens, Gray launched a new project seling KIDZTEL pre-paid phone cards, he also started a One Stop Mail Boxes & More franchise and developed The Teenscope “Youth AM/FM” interactive teen talk show. Gray also launched Farr-Out Foods, “Way-Out Food with a Twist,” aimed at youth familiar with the company’s first Strawberry-Vanilla syrup product. Farr-Out Foods “Foodfulooza” generated orders exceeding $1.5 million.

Gray is the author of “Reallionaire” which was nominated by NBC & Publishers Weekly Quill Awards in the category of “Health/Self-Improvement.” His book appeared on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s Bestseller List two weeks before its international release. “Reallionaire” was also named as the #1 Best selling Nonfiction Paperback Book in the August 2005 Issue of Essence Magazine. Gray’s book and his journey to succeed against the odds have become required reading and part of classroom study from elementary school to entrepreneurship departments on college campuses. “Reallionaire” has been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, Pierre Sutton, Stedman Graham, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Gray is also a Contributing Author to Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul.

The timeline of Gray’s accomplishments listed on http://www.drfarrahgray.com/ is as follows:

At Age 6,
* Farrah Gray sold body lotion for $1.50 from door to door

At Age 7,
* he carried a business card that read “21st Century CEO”

At Age 8,

* in Chicago, Farrah started UNEEC (Urban Neighborhood Economic Enterprise Club)

At Age 9,
* At 9, almost 10, Farrah co-hosted radio show “Backstage Live” in Las Vegas reaching 12 million listeners every Saturday night

At Age 12,
* Farrah had a lucrative nationwide speaking career commanding $5,000 – $10,000 per appearance

At Age 13,

* Farrah started Farr-Out Foods, a specialty foods company headquartered in New York, targeting young people

At Age 14,
* Farrah officially became a millionaire by hitting sales of $1.5 million for Farr-Out Foods
* Farrah started New Early Entrepreneur Wonders (NE2W) Student Venture Fund

At Age 15,
* Farrah negotiated selling of Farr-Out Foods for one million plus
* Farrah founded the Farrah Gray Foundation
* Farrah was sent a special invitation to consult and oversee an entrepreneurial institute for The Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce
* Farrah was elected by the United Way of Southern Nevada to sit on the Board of Directors for a three-year term as the youngest director ever to sit on any United Way board nationwide
* Farrah had the distinct honor of serving as the youngest Board of Advisor for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce

At Age 16,
* Farrah acquired INNERCITY Magazine from Inner City Broadcasting Corporation

At Age 17,
* Farrah financed a comedy show on the Las Vegas Strip, which gave him the distinct honor of being the second African-American after Red Foxx to own a show production on the Las Vegas strip

At Age 19,
* Farrah signed his “Reallionaire” book deal with HCI
* Farrah Gray became a Contributing Author to “Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul”. Both books were published by Health Communications Incorporated (HCI) publisher of the New York Times and USA Today Best-Seller Chicken Soup for the Soul Series

At Age 20,
* Farrah, as a real estate investor, was elected as youngest member to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. Region 15 (N.A.R.E.B.®), the oldest and largest minority trade association.
* Became an International best-seller with the book “Reallionaire”.

At Age 21,
* Became Spokesman for the National Coalition for the Homeless.
* First Premiere Bank released the “GoFarr” Farrah Gray Mastercard.
* Launched University of Business Futures (UBF), an entrepreneurship school, developed in a partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and graduated with 300 students.
* Became the youngest in HBCU history to receive an honorary doctorate from Allen University.

At Age 22,
* Co-founded Realty Pros a property asset management company.
* Became Spokesman for National Marrow Donor Program African-American Initiative
* Became a syndicated columnist through the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of 200 weekly newspapers, reaching over 15 million readers.
* Became an AOL Money Coach.

At Age 23,
* Released the “Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success” (Dutton Hardcover) and Brilliance Audio Book on CD, Cassette, MP3 CD

At Age 24,
* Realty Pros reached over $30 million in total assets under management.
* Serving second term as Chairman of The National Coalition for the Homeless Bringing America Home Campaign
* Released “THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU RICH: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity” (Plume Paperback)
Gray’s books have been translated into Russian, Korean, Indonesian and Vietnamese languages with book sales in Africa, Australia, and Europe and in Central and South America countries.

To find out more about Farrah Gray please visit www.farrahgray.com

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