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Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Gentry Lane

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When it comes to being a StilettoGal, we always give back to the community or other people.  This amazing woman is taking giving back to the next level by giving back to both the environment and to people in need.  I recently had the opportunity to meet with Gentry to hear her entrepreneurial story.

StilettoGal:  Tell us about yourself and your company?

Gentry Lane:  I’m the CEO/Founder of a social-good startup called Proper (www.ProperSoap.com).  Proper is a luxury, natural, vegan, bath, body & candle line that raises funds for clean water and sanitation programs.  Proper harnesses voracious luxury consumer good spending and leverages it for solutions to humanitarian crises. We turn luxury consumers into high-impact social-good activists.

Proper combines hippie values with a luxurious, sophisticated product. I’m very passionate about eliminating toxins from my personal groom products, but a lot of non-toxic products are patchouli or hemp scented….which is so not my style.  Proper’s fragrances (like Elderflower, Lychee, Pear with Marine notes) are inspired by a really sophisticated olfactory palate.


SG:  What was the inspiration behind launching your company?


GL:  The inspiration behind Proper is two-fold, really.  As much as I am a lover of sensual, luxurious delights, I am someone who cares about making the world a better place.  I wanted to make a beautiful, true luxury, high-integrity product…that helps the world in a high-impact way.

Somebody had to do something because our charity system is broken. People who need help aren’t getting the aid they need and people who want to help aren’t able to make a high-impact difference. I was interested in fixing this inequality without requiring a major consumer behavior change or sacrifice. A lot of companies share profits with charitable causes, but Proper’s business model is higher-impact, more immediate and more direct than our predecessors.


SG:  What has been your biggest challenges thus far in starting a business?


GL:  With Proper, I’m doing two things at once: building a new brand and building a brand new way to do business.  Proper is both a digital-direct consumer company and a charity disruptor.  It’s not an either or. We don’t fit neatly into a particular portfolio profile.  The challenge has been explaining to investors that it’s ok to be outside the box.


SG:  What are three tips you could give to young entrepreneurs about launching a business?



1.      Know who you are and stick by your guns. People *love* to give advice and sometimes it’s not well thought out.  I listen to everyone with an open mind, but I get all kinds of contrary advice from really smart, established, business leaders.

2.      Go through an incubator or accelerator to get feedback & momentum. I run Kick Los Angeles http://www.kickincubator.com/in/los-angeles/

3.      Count on everything taking longer and being more expensive than you thought.


SG:   What do you want to leave as a legacy?

GL:  Sanitation infrastructure. I’d like for Proper to be responsible for the end of this crisis in my lifetime just like the Gates foundation eradicated polio in India.  I’d like to get better than basic sanitation to the 2.2 B people currently living without.  Just that. Nothing big.


SG:   What kind of shoe are you and why?



GL:  Chanel stiletto spectators.  They’re classic with a twist. And they’re Chanel. I wear mine nonstop.


shop online: ProperSoap.com

Follow us on Twitter: @ProperSoap.com

Like us on www.Facebook.com/ProperSoap

Proper is fundraising: https://angel.co/proper


NEW! Read about Proper on Fox Business News

Read about us here in the NYT

Read about us here in Forbes





Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Candice Bar

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Hey Stiletto Gals!

StilettoGal and Candice

There are very few people in this world who truly understand people and how to connect them and they are called Master Networkers.  I recently had the opportunity to meet Candice Bar who happens to be one them.  She doesn’t have a website as she is so exclusive, only referrals are welcome.


StilettoGal: Tell us about your company and how you got started


Candice Bar: My company Vision Aries Network started about 5 years ago after I had desolved my chain of networking groups. Old members started to contact me asking me to network and connect for them. I thought..I’ve never heard of that before, I could do that. That’s my business! That’s my life’s purpose. I just seemed so clear.


SG:   Who inspires you and why?


CB:  My clients inspire me. They are so passionate about what they do and I have a real need and want to see them succeed. Truly.


SG:   What are some challenges you have had and how did you overcome them?


CB:  In the beginning I had priced myself way to low. One of my clients helped me see my niche and my value.  You are as much as you think you are. Thanks to her since then, I had increased my prices 7x. I can proudly say I am expensive. I’m OK with that.


SG:   What are some tips you can give to new entrepreneurs?


CB:  One big tip I would give new entrepreneurs is to really value their time. Not every event is worth it, not ever meeting is worth it. Not everyone is worth having a meeting with. Be very selective who gets to be in your space and get your attention.


SG:   What do you want your legacy to be?


CB:  Its my lifes mission to connect the world. We are already at an international level and I just want to expand more and more.  There are only 17 master connectors in the world so I feel privileged to be one of them.  Magic is being made when you connect the right people together. I just want to help continue the magic for as long as possible. Vision Aries Network is not just a company I see it becoming a great enterprise.


SG:  What kind of shoe are you and why?


CB:  I would say I’m the Cinderella shoe by Jimmy Choo. It just resonates with me. The first time I saw them my heart skipped a beat for a second, lol.




Walk A Mile In Her Shoes: Adriana Gustavson

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Hey StilettoGals, 

It is that time again to introduce you to another amazing entrepreneur, Adriana Gustavson.  I recently met Adriana at a women’s conference I spoke at a couple of weeks ago.  I am very excited to share her story as I absolutely love pretty things, especially lingerie.

StiletttoGal:  Tell us about yourself and your company?

Adriana Gustavson:  Well, I went to Harvard and got my Master’s in Business, after running away to join the circus, then used my fortune, after marrying Prince Henry, to startup… haha, just kidding! Isn’t that how we always think that it happens? Some kind of fantastical miracle?

My story is just as colorful, but not as pretty. I was born here in the valley of Los Angeles, to a teenage mom and a very poor family. Compared to the unique hardships my mother and grandmother have endured, I had it easy growing up. They worked very hard to provide a wonderful life for me, full of loving family. They instilled values that have helped me tremendously through starting this company, such as: spending money wisely, always giving back, having strong work ethics, taking the road less traveled, and always keeping others in mind.

I dropped out of college when I started my own tutoring company, because I realized I would much happier doing what I love and working for myself, than working a 9-5 job, building someone else’s dream. After teaching and tutoring math for 6 years, I realized that I preferred PEOPLE over numbers! Who would have guessed? Over the years I tried out different fields to figure out what I was passionate about: the restaurant business, the entertainment industry, real estate, property management, and massage therapy. The common thread in all of them was people, building relationships and building businesses. So, I became a Certified Life Coach, specialized in Relationships and Sexuality and did a tremendous amount of programs and trainings over the last couple years. Along the way, I discovered how important sexuality was to me, so I became an Educator at the Center for Positive Sexuality, where I teach on panels at local universities about minoritized topics around sexuality. I suppose you could call me a Jane of all trades at this point!

I started The Panty Drawer as an expression of myself. Yes, that’s right, panties are a way to express yourself, too. It’s a sex-positive, risqué company built to bring out both, the adorable, and the sexy. It’s a subscription-based panty sales company for women. You sign up for a monthly box to be delivered to your door, and you receive a beautiful box, with three pairs of new panties and a surprise along with it! The surprise will be something that makes you feel pampered, like hand-made bath salts, delightfully smelling body butter, or high quality jewelry. The box is meant to serve as a reminder to pamper yourself every once in a while, because you deserve it!! It’s like getting a gift every month!

I will also be using this company as a way to give back to the teen mom and pregnant teen community. Growing up with a teen mom was hard, but being a teen mom must have been a real challenge. If I can make a difference for someone like my mother, THAT is what will make this company fulfilling for me. As Sabrina Kay said, at SoGal’s event last month, “It’s PURPOSE that turns your career into your calling.”


SG:  What was the inspiration behind launching your company?

AG:  I’ve learned a lot about masculinity and femininity over the last few years, becoming a certified Relationship Coach. I’ve come to realize that the women in today’s society battle major challenges in the workforce. These challenges go beyond the glass ceiling and fighting for equality. They extend to our mental, emotional and physical health.  Forbes recently released an article about women in the workforce burning out by age 30, because they’re not taking care of themselves. Let me repeat that, AGE 30! Women are burning out before they even become real women! The term the “burnout syndrome” has become popular to describe it. Studies show that men are more likely to take breaks, get sufficient sleep, and take care of themselves, than women doing the same work. Women tend to set aside their own needs for long periods of time, in order to accomplish something. It’s like in romantic relationships, where women will go months, years even, going without what they really need, in order to keep a family together, or to keep her marriage working. It happens all across the board.

I wanted to start a company that helps women pamper themselves. That REMINDS them to pamper themselves, at the very least. That’s why it’s a monthly subscription, and that’s why each box comes with a surprise that women can pamper themselves. Panties are a symbol of the little things we can do to make us feel confident, sexy, and powerful. It’s the simple things that make the biggest difference. I can thank Steve Jobs for teaching me that one.

SG:  What has been your biggest challenges thus far in starting a business? 

Previously, with other business attempts, my biggest challenge was reaching out for help. Now that I successfully conquer that challenge on a daily basis, my biggest challenge has been letting go of doing things the “right” way.

I keep getting attached to doing everything “right,” before moving forward. I had to be the “right” age, have the “right” product, file the “right” paperwork, advertise the “right” way, etc, etc. Whatever that even means. Sometimes it’s helpful, mainly in giving me peace of mind and confidence, but that’s about it. Let me give you an example. I was waiting to launch this company next month, after I had the perfect video done, and the perfect advertising crew, to launch the perfect Kickstarter to take all of my presales. An incredible advisor of mine, Dominique Moralez, pushed me to JUST DO IT. He challenged me to start selling right away and make my first 10 sales that weekend. I had every reason not to even try. I didn’t have a functional website to take sign ups, I didn’t have the right plan of action, and it was a holiday weekend. Long story short, I took on his challenge, and in TWO DAYS, I had a fully functional ecommerce website up and not ten, but TWENTY sign ups!

If it weren’t for Dom, and his push, I never would’ve talked to Adam Maciel, who was also an integral part in my successful launch. Adam advised me to use a marketing strategy that made it all possible.

Failure, and doing things wrong, can be a scary thing. I have to conquer that fear on an hourly basis sometimes, but when I do, miracles happen.


SG:   What are three tips you could give to young entrepreneurs about launching a business?


1. Share

2. Share

3. Share!

Share about what you’re doing. Share about your goals. Share your ideas. Share with your family. Share with your friends. Share with strangers. Share your successes. Share your profits. Share your company.

You don’t have to do this alone. Reach out to people. Ask for support. Be authentic. People are more willing to help you than you think. People WANT to be a part of your success, and WANT to be there to help you up when you fall. Let in the love, and share it with them. Get interested in what you can do for others. It’s easy to make it “all about me,” in life AND in starting a business. I know I was really attached to the first few businesses I started. I couldn’t let them go and grow on their own. I was too selfish to let other people take it over, and had too little self worth to ask for help. Give back to the community. I look at every business as an opportunity to be a community project. How can your ideas benefit the community? How will your service or product impact human kind? How can you give back to the communities you’re most passionate about? You’ll be surprised how many helping hands you have on board the moment you get outside of yourself, into other people’s world, and act as a part of a community.


SG:   What kind of shoe are you and why? (this is supposed to be the type of personality you are and what that shoe represents)

AG:  Bright pink, fuzzy stilettos with sparkles.

They’re sexy and adorable all at the same time! They look soft enough to pet and cuddle up with, but sexy enough to go out in a cute dress with. They demand attention, they’re out of the ordinary, they’re feminine, and they’re playful!


AG:  As a thank you to the amazing Angel that Hillary is, I’d like to offer all of you readers a gift!
Use promo code SHOES at www.pantydrawer.io to get your first box FREE when you sign up :)
Social Media:
Instagram: thepantydrawersubscriptionbox
Twitter: @ThePantyDrawer

Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: Pocket Sun

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There comes a time in our lives when we meet someone who reminds us of our younger selves.  If you don’t know Pocket Sun, you should.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting this amazing young lady at one an event she hosted back in November last year.  She has a very inspiring story and I am more than proud of all of her accomplishments thus far.

StilettoGal:  Please tell us about yourself and how you started GirlsUp.


Pocket Sun:  I was born and raised in northern China until I came to the US for college in 2009. I’m a travel enthusiast and I’ve been to 22 countries. Currently I’m a student at USC Marshall, studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I started GirlsUp in November 2014 when I felt the lack of female presence in the startup environment at USC. Everywhere I went, men were all over the place, speaking, judging, mentoring, investing, pitching or sitting in the audience. But where did the girls go? Entrepreneurship should not be a men’s world. I saw the need to create a chic community for young female entrepreneurs because there was no organization that focuses both on entrepreneurship and young millennial women.


SG:  Who inspires you and why?


PS:  The women I have met since I started GirlsUp are amazing! I get inspired everyday by women that I come across on my journey. Each of them has a different story, but they share the great energy and the willingness to help other women. Hillary is definitely one of them! I’ve benefited so much from her warm encouragement.


SG:  What has been your proudest moment?


PS:   It will have to be this Saturday! I’ve put in a good two and a half months of hard work into the SoGal Summit and it’s incredible to see it take shape bit by bit. I was very discouraged in the beginning, but Hillary and many other women and men helped get me back up. I am incredibly grateful for the great community that has shown so much support! I am super excited to see all my efforts turn into reality and to empower many young women to chase their dreams.

SG:  What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?


PS:  Taking ownership means tremendous responsibilities but also unlimited opportunities. I love seeing that my work is recognized and my organization is growing so fast. It’s been so rewarding for me even though I work like crazy. Owning it gives me more purpose and drive to put in whatever I have into it. I’m creating value and a positive impact to the world! It makes my heart sing.


SG:  Can you give 3 tips to aspiring entrepreneurs?

- Trust yourself. You are just as good and equipped as anyone else. If people tell you that you can’t, it’s they can’t. Have faith in yourself! (Thanks Alexis Jones!)

- Be ready to be in a relentless, constant execution mode. You own it now, so you can’t just quit! (Thanks Aaron Levie)

- Set a goal and implement the “be – do – have” methodology. Want to accomplish something? Throw yourself into that reality, do everything you can to make it more real, and you will own it. (Thanks Jason Okuma!)

- Bonus tip: Help people around you to reduce their stress. When you put yourself in their shoes, make their life happier and their work easier, people start to gravitate towards you. That’s how you succeed. (Thanks Mark Cuban!)

SG:  What kind of shoe are you and why?


PS:  Pointed flats. Feminine, ambitious, easy to make rapid strides.

We hope to see you this weekend at The SoGal Summit.  



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