This week, I’m thrilled to introduce Bryn Jurkens, founder of SentHerWay.com, a great service that provides women monthly deliveries just when they need them — and they carry all the major brands of tampons, pads, and panty liners. I had the opportunity to meet Bryn recently while out networking, and she shared with me some tips on startups, based on her own journey…
Bryn: The idea of SentHerWay.com came to me while living in New York City. I used to have my dinner, dry cleaning, dog food, and even my groceries, delivered. I thought to myself, why not have the one thing I hate leaving my house to buy shipped right to my mail box monthly? Sent Her Way not only eliminates the chore of the store monthly, it takes the “oh no” moments out, too. You always have your supplies when you need them.
SG: How does it work? How do you feel this will help women?
Bryn: We simply ship name-brand Tampons, Pads, and Panty Liners every 30, 60, or 90 days for less than $10 a month. You can choose from pre-packed Panty Liners, Pads and Tampons like you would find in your local drugstore aisles, or you can take advantage of our most popular “Customize” option, which allows you to make your own multi-pack with the size and quantity of tampons you want. There are four easy steps to get started. Simply visit www.SentHerWay.com. Click on GET STARTED. Choose the Brand you’re loyal to. Pick a box count of 20 or 40 tampons and choose your size. You can receive shipments every 30, 60, or 90 days. You’re ready to check out.
Sent Her Way means convenience; we want to make that time of the month less frustrating and irritating than it already is. Of all the things we spend money on, Tampons and Pads are a necessity. Why not make it easier on yourself and have your supplies shipped to you monthly?
SG: What is the most challenging business decision you have ever made? How did it turn out?
Bryn: The most challenging experience was moving the website to a new platform. It was a big decision, because we had to ask our current customers to re-sign up for our service. It was a move that should have been decided before we launched nine months earlier, but after multiple function errors, it was the best decision for the business. Sent Her Way is a service of convenience, and asking our customers to re-create their profile was upsetting to me. Overall, it went well, and the drop off rate was low. We offered customers a discount, and many of them gave us great feedback and showed their loyalty by sharing our service with friends and family.
SG: What are the three most important things a startup should know or do before launching a new product?
Bryn: First: if you are going into a e-commerce, make sure your partner is a designer and programmer. For Sent Her Way to succeed, our site has to be working perfectly, with no errors. If it isn’t functioning correctly, we lose current and potential customers. Second: I think great customer service and a very clear and understandable business plan are important. The customer should know the What, Where, When, and How of your company in less than three sentences.
SG: What kind of shoe are you and why?
Bryn: I’m a motorcycle boot. These boots show my personality and that I’m not afraid to get my hands (boots) dirty. I consider myself to be a natural salesperson who has a flare for conversation. That is reflected in my boots. I’m a fast talker, a fast walker, and a fast worker. I can do all three in my boots.
It’s that time of year again — when stiletto gals kick up their heels in holiday cheer and enter for a chance to win a brand new pair of shoes! That’s right, it’s time for THE 25 DAYS OF SHOES!
Each week, we choose one lucky winner (at random) to receive a brand new pair of shoes, courtesy of Stiletto Gal and our friends at Sole Society.
Now’s your chance to freshen up your shoe closet and prepare for new additions. Our contest will run from now until 11pm on Christmas Day.
To enter, all you need to do is hop over to our Facebook contest page here: https://a.pgtb.me/9NSQx2. Enter the contest and you’ll be in the running for a new pair of heels!
Feel free to share this great contest with your friends and followers, and tweet us @thestilettogal. Good luck during THE 25 DAYS OF SHOES!
Today we are walking a mile in the tennis shoes of Elizabeth Ghaffari, founder of Champion Boards and Technology Place Inc. Both firms provide consultancy services for effective business management. She challenges you to think differently about your career and your business and the role that a great board of directors or circle of advisors might have for your future. Elizabeth is a firm believer in helping women take their business to the next level and why it is so important for women to be on boards.
Hillary Gadsby: What drew you to working with startups and predominately women-owned startups?
Elizabeth Ghaffari: Primarily because I am a woman entrepreneur who remembers how difficult it was to start my own firm from scratch. Beginning in the mid-1990s, I offered to teach Internet business courses to students at Pacific Coast Regional Corp., an entrepreneurial development entity. I realized how much help women-owned businesses needed to compete effectively in today’s more challenging online marketplace. I’ve continued to study and work with women entrepreneurs and women investors in an effort to “move the needle” and increase the number and enhance the quality of deals brought forth by women-owned businesses to the investment community.
HG: What has been the most challenging project you have been involved in?
EG: The most challenging project always is the one you’re working on now, because typically you’re in the middle of a host of new decisions, choices, and challenges. The projects you’ve finished have a finite character: you know what you did, you know how it turned out. The current project is the one with the greatest number of variables to juggle. The current one is the most likely to stretch your talents and teach you the most. These days, I’m working on tools to ease and enhance the dialog between entrepreneurs and investors. So, stay tuned!
HG: What is the best advice you can give to startups when building their board of advisors? How important is it to build a strong board? How important are women on boards?
EG: Startups that have a serious expectation of growth absolutely need some advisors on board. It does not need to be as structured as a corporate, fiduciary board; but there are unique benefits to tapping the right skills and expertise that you do not possess within the company. The real challenge is in knowing how to manage the advisors, as the head of your own company, so you don’t abdicate control over your firm. Rather, you work with them, consistently, to develop the strategy that is most appropriate to your firm and to your objectives. That’s what most entrepreneurs don’t understand – advisors are there to help you, not to do for you. It’s important to build the most effective board that you can work with to chart your course as a growth company. More important than simply “a strong board” is a board or a group of advisors (maybe even 2 or 3) with the right skills and the right collaborative talent to work with you at the stage of development in which you find yourself currently. As for the “women on boards” issue, it’s more a question of how important is it for women to be ready, willing, and able to perform at top tier board levels. A board role is not simply another notch on your resume – it is a frame of mind, a business perspective, it is a way of looking at economic opportunities with which you wish to be strategically involved. As I said in the concluding chapter of my book, Outstanding in their Field: How Women Corporate Directors Succeed: “How does a woman find a corporate director role? She doesn’t. She builds a career of achievement and leadership. When a board of directors needs her skills and competencies, it will find her. And she will recognized it as an opportunity too good to resist.”
HG: Who inspires you and why?
EG: I’ve written two books describing the persons who inspire me on boards of directors and in a variety of work settings. I’ve taken the initiative to find and interview, hopefully for the benefit of the next generation of women in leadership, a vast number of very talented women. The women I’ve interviewed inspire me because they defy all of the myths that too often are bandied about concerning women leaders. They teach us how not to limit our horizons. They break the mold and push the envelope in every field of endeavor. And they are gracious, above all. Whenever I have a moment’s hesitation about facing some new challenge, I have the gift of imagining one or another of them on my shoulder, telling me “You can do this.” “We need you to do this.” And I try. Also, I have read and written about the works of women authors who have educated and informed me and expanded my understanding of the topics they’ve researched. Women like Pat Heim and Susan Murphy, Elga Wasserman, Joline Godfrey, and many others are examples of authors you might not know, but you would benefit from knowing their work as business women.
HG: What kind of shoe are you and why?
EG: I offered to share my running shoes because exercise is such an important part of life. I learned this through the LA Leggers, the Marathon Training Program now approaching its 25th year helping people “go from the couch to the Coliseum” – safely and with enjoyment. Running shoes represent the fact that the most difficult thing to do, when you are facing any great challenge (such as a marathon) is to put on the shoes, lace them up, and go out there and “just do it” (to cite the Nike motto).
HG: What are your top 3 tips you can give for a successful business?
EG: Earlier in October of this year, I wrote in my ChampionBoards blog about the key factors women entrepreneurs need to consider if they are serious about starting and growing their business. My point was that, if we want women to build profitable, successful enterprises, they need to think much more purposefully about the nature of the business, the problems they believe are worthy of solution, and the customers and markets which they realistically can address. I described five core topics women entrepreneurs must address: Problem – Solution analysis Customer – Revenue nexus Team building Executing up to scale Returns to investors – the “end game” Any three of these is simply not enough. I’d be glad to elaborate on these or the reader is referred to the post on October 3, 2013. See: http://www.championboards.blogspot.com/2013/10/on-horns-of-dilemma.html “If we want more women entrepreneurs to succeed in business, then these are the expectations we and they must meet in today’s more competitive economy.
It’s up to us – nobody else can do it “for us.” To find a copy of Elizabeth’s books, check out the sites below.
To learn more about Elizabeth and her books, check out the links below.
Rose, Snyder & Jacobs LLP
Gadsby Media Group is thrilled to announce the addition of a new client to our midst: Rose, Snyder & Jacobs LLP is a CPA firm doing great things for businesses of all sizes, and especially for women-owned businesses. Based out of Encino, CA (with a satellite office in Las Vegas), RSJ knows that “the real magic comes from taking a uniquely broad business perspective and combining it with the deep knowledge of an experienced team of financial and business professionals.” We are excited to help RSJ in the areas of marketing and business development as their firm grows. This includes a new initiative that will focus on women-owned businesses – a cause that is close to my heart. RSJ helps the following types of companies (and individuals) grow their competitive advantage through smart financial accounting that spans beyond mere numbers and data:
- Closely Held Companies
- Public Companies
- Families and Individuals of Wealth
- Women-Owned Businesses
- Non-Profit Organizations
- International Business
Last week, I attended more than one tech event on behalf a law firm client. I’m always excited when I see titles like Women in Technology and Women Venture Capitalists, but these events left a bit to be desired. Let me explain…
It’s common knowledge that men outweigh women in the tech sphere, whether you’re talking traditional IT infrastructure or the world of mobile development and social media. So I was eager to hear from female leaders in the industry and felt optimistic about the messages I’d hear.
But optimism wasn’t on the menu. Instead of hearing about the tips and tricks females should use to stay ahead, the first event (an amazing panel of Women Venture Capitalists) veered off course and focused on the negatives: the pitfalls that women face in the tech industry and in business overall. Despite a panel of accomplished and well-educated female pros who are indicators of success, the moderator framed the conversation with depressing statistics and steered the conversation to a place of doom and gloom.
Women don’t have “pitfalls” in business; they simply do business differently than men. Where was this discussion? And why didn’t I hear stories directly from these women about how they succeeded? Instead, I only heard about how they avoided failure.
The second panel had a slightly better tone, and I learned a few things from these women (ranging from media to fashion to HR cloud services) about how women do business differently. Some highlights:
- It takes everyone, both men and women, to move the needle forward in a company.
- Help one another to be better opportunists. Men do it, why can’t we?
- Appear effortless.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes it is better to say no than to say yes to something that you cannot do.
- Give back and help other people. As women, collaboration is key to success. Find mentors who can help you to be better and more efficient.
- Be a woman and own your femininity. (I have to say that this is my favorite quote.)
Most of our clients happen to be men, which is a natural result of serving companies in the financial sector, so I know what it’s like to operate in a male-dominated industry. And that’s why I started this blog – to move the conversation from “pitfalls” to reality. I want panels like I attended to begin with optimism and intention, and for us to move forward rather than dwell on difficulties.
What do you think women in business (and in tech) need to know? How can disadvantages be turned into uniqueness? Let’s start with the positives – share your story and tell us how doing business differently has aided your career.