Claudia

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Claudia A. Hoexter

Name and occupation:

Claudia A. Hoexter, Founder and CEO of Alexa Brands, LLC

Inventor of the Beauty Spoon®, the innovative new beauty tool that helps you spoon out all the remaining liquids located in your product bottles and containers.

What do you love most about being a woman?

Everything! I love fashion, beauty, and design. I also love the hidden power we possess when we are confident, composed and in control.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

No, inventing, product development and manufacturing in general is definitely male dominated but I believe if a woman educates herself on all aspects of those things, people both male and female will take notice and listen.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

I am currently researching the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a possible organization to join.

Who or what inspires you most?

All women in power inspire me, Oprah Winfrey in particular. It is amazing how she came from such humble beginnings to the success she has achieved today. I believe women can do everything a man can in business if we put our minds to it.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I am the 7th child born out of 8 children total. I credit my birth rank to any success I achieve, as I have had to be independent, resourceful, and outspoken since I was a little girl.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything. The world is ours for the taking, but only if you are willing to work hard. Appreciate the little accomplishments along the way because the joy comes not from what we ultimately achieve, but from the process of getting there.

Website and social media links:

Mag

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Mag Retelewski

Name and occupation:

Mag Retelewski, President and Founer of Clarteza

What do you love most about being a woman?

Emotional intelligence.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

To a certain degree yes but I also experienced bias since I was born in Poland.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

Yes, I created my own organization and hire mostly women (not by design, but somehow it happens this way).

Who or what inspires you most?

I believe that Passion Persuades and this is the biggest source of my inspiration.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I am a violinist (with formal schooling!) and speak more than one language.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

Follow your passion and question a status quo.

Website and social media links:

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Shobha

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Shobha Tummala

Name and occupation:

Shobha Tummala

Entrepreneur – Founder & CEO of Shobha

What do you love most about being a woman?

I love that I can be both strong and soft at the same time which I attribute to my female ‘super powers’ —  innate compassion for others  and the ability to multi-task.

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

I’ve been very lucky when it comes to dealing with sexism, and really haven’t had to deal with much of it. However, I am aware of certain situations in which sexism is known to rear its ugly head – like raising money and selling companies. Those are the type of situations in which people say that women run into sexism.  Occasionally, I’ve experienced sexism during our construction projects when we build out our salon spaces, but now that we have done so many, I am familiar with the industry lingo and know what I am doing, so the guys get over it pretty quickly.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

I don’t belong to any specific organizations that are women centric. However, I do have a bunch of informal networks of women that we get together exchange ideas, get support and discuss issues. 

Who or what inspires you most?

Both my grandfathers inspire me the most. They educated themselves, built businesses, and went against the grain of the family to achieve it all. I am so proud of them. They forged their own paths and that is so incredibly inspiring to me. 

Something about you that would surprise us:

My family and I, including my very active and inquisitive two year old son, reside in Maryland, while my other babies – my three salons and product line live in New York, along with my team.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

1. Believe in Your Brand: In terms of creating a brand – or more specifically her brand – Shobha knew exactly what she wanted it to be. She was creating her brand based on her needs and personal pet peeves. Tummala says, “You have to believe and be passionate about it before others can believe in it.” In fact, when she first opened Shobha, Tummala was the receptionist in the salon, so she got a chance to not only get to know the clients, but bond with them. Tummala says, “It was probably one of the most enjoyable times in my life because I got to see every day what worked and what didn’t in a very direct way.”

2. Trust Your Gut: Tummala says, “For aspiring entrepreneurs, I can only speak from my own experience, and the one tip I can offer is to trust your gut.” She continues by saying, “You can do a ton of research and analysis, but when it comes to making the ultimate decision, it has to feel good, not only to me, but to my team and our clients.” Being an entrepreneur is challenging, but that’s partly why she does it – Shobha has the ability to right a wrong, change lives, and change the game of an industry!

3. It’s OK to Ask for Help: When thinking about the advice she would give to her young self, Tummala says, “I would tell myself to bring in more people to help me at the very beginning. I was in the business doing everything for almost 3 years before I really brought people in to help me. I was so afraid of failure that I never invested in the company or myself really early on. I wish I had.” It would have made those early years much more enjoyable for Tummala. She says, “Hindsight is always 20/20, but now I understand why they say experience matters. If I started a company, I would go about it very differently in some ways than I did back then.”

Website and social media links:

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headshot2

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Vee Carson

Name and occupation:
Vee Carson Owner/Operator Of Las Vegas Shoe Shine Girl

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?

Surprisingly for the most part I am very respected in my industry, but every once in a while you get one person that thinks you are not worthy of respect as a business owner, and the you’re not as good as them attitude.

I don’t think it has as much to do with being a woman business owner, as much as it has to do with the line of business. Historically not all shoe shiners are educated so people sometimes tend to think you are stupid or uneducated. Its actually kind of funny at times.

I actually had someone give me a card and say they’d pay top dollar for us to work a convention. When I called to follow up he gasped with surprise, maybe because he wasn’t expecting me to follow up. He was shocked so he sighed then paused as he said “ I was just being facetious.” After feeling kinda like a jerk he apologized and I just kindly told him that in the future if we can help you with your marketing efforts feel free to contact us. I don’t think he will ever do that again to anyone else.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners?

Not at the moment. Lately my time has been a little limited, but I love to network with other women and organizations that support women in business.

Who or what inspires you most?

People, experiences and challenges inspire me.

Every time I shine a pair of shoes at a convention or event, and my clients are complimented on what a great idea it was for them to have shoe-shiners in their booth it just makes me want to keep going. Happy customers are what makes it all worth it. It’s not just the bad things that make me strive to work harder, but it’s the good things that inspire me. For example, my husband and my little brother really inspire me. Sometimes just talking to them about something else they will make me have a bright idea or give me something cool to brainstorm about.

I believe that if something is meant to be it will all fall into place not because people say it, but because I have experienced it. When I got my first call and I had no idea how I was going to pull it off, and everything just fell into place, that is when I got really pumped up and inspired. I knew then, it was really my calling.

I received a call for a TV interview from my first client before I even had my shoeshine stands. Amazingly the money, the shoeshine stand and everything came all as if it was meant to be. Three years later I am still here and things are getting bigger and better each day.

Something about you that would surprise us:

I love shoes??? But, seriously I really do love what I do. It is actually therapeutic. I have an entertainment background as a radio show host and entertainer.  I am a also a web designer, public relations, and marketing consultant for small business owners.

I have shined shoes for over 10 years off and on before I started my own business. I gave Mr. Universe 2009 his very first shoeshine and also shined the shoes of many celebrities.

I have a book in the works called “ Not Just A Stupid Shoeshine Girl” and I also have a new radio show called “Shoeshine And An Interview”.

I really love sharing information with aspiring business owners so if I can share some info or tips feel free to send me an email and I will be glad to share what I can to help you out.

Advice for women entrepreneurs:
Don’t do what you’re told! Listen to what people say but only absorb what applies to you.
Don’t tell everyone what you are planning to do because some people don’t want to see you happy or successful and they will try to get you down and depressed so you don’t keep going. If people try to make you feel bad because you are a mom, a wife, or a caretaker there is nothing wrong with having dreams and going for it and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting more!

If you don’t give something to yourself then you will be no good to anyone else! Ask for help. Even when it seems like it’s impossible, remember its not. Each situation is unique and we all have our challenges, but there is always a way to do things even if that means five mins a day, early in the morning, or late at night when everyone is sleep.

Pace yourself. It’s hard to be patient when you want it now, but nothing happens over night. Nurture yourself, your ideas, and your business so you don’t get burnt out, stressed or depressed. Everything takes time. Never think – If I don’t do it now it won’t happen. It will happen. When everything is suppose to it will all fall into place.

Even if you don’t have any money you can still start a business either by taking a few bucks from a current job, freelancing, or creating your own work until you get what you need to get going. It can be done, trust me. I have had my fair share of road blocks and challenges. If people are trying to stop you maybe it’s because you are going to be really successful. Don’t give up and ask for help!

Your local SBA (Small Business Association) sometimes has some really cool people who can offer advice and resources. You can also call your local trade schools and colleges for an intern to help with odds an ends. It’s a win win they get to learn and you get help getting your goals accomplished.

Don’t let other people discredit you or your ideas. Don’t let people control you it will be the downfall of you and your business. Stand your ground, be yourself. and don’t be afraid to say “No” when you have to.

Website or social media link:

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Bleau Royale

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Bleau Royale

Name: 

Bleau Royale

What do you love most about being a woman?  

What I love most about being a woman is the ability to be soft and sweet or hard and tough as nails when the situation calls for it.  Women are extremely underestimated and it’s nice to surprise people with how strong, smart, or excellent you are at something you do.                                                       

Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry? 

I have never had to deal with the issue of sexism.  If I were ever approached with the issue I’d be ready.  I love a good challenge any day, and having to show my capabilities to operate within a certain capacity or field wouldn’t be hard to prove.

Do you belong to any organizations catered to women business owners? 

I am currently in process of joining NAWBOLA (National Association Of Women Business Owners).

Who or what inspires you most?

What inspires me the most is God, my children, and my struggles.  Life hasn’t been easy for me by far.  It has made me stronger than I could ever imagine I would be.  God has been and will always be the pillar of my first strength and my children give me my second wind.  Strong will and perseverance run through my blood inspiring me to accomplish nothing but greatness.

Something about you that would surprise us: 

I’d have to say my imagination will surprise you.  My imagination surprises me at times!

Advice for women entrepreneurs:

The advice I have for women entrepreneurs is they must have a lot of confidence, knowledge, and a tremendous amount of faith in God.  They are in a leadership position regardless of their particular station within their organization. Each leader contributes to the success of a company which is only one reason you need to be confident. There are many aspects to leadership, confidence, faith, and improving in all areas. Your success in a leadership role depends heavily on your knowledge of your organization. The knowledge of your organization is imperative to function and efficiency. 

Many of the everyday aspects of business life will impact your confidence building ability. Success is within your grasp, all you need to do is reach out and grab it by increasing your sense of good business practices to manage your success in every aspect of your job.

The first thing that needs to be is realized is that all of the different parts of business are separate. This is also a fact for the rest of the company. Your business is influenced by many influences as a whole as well as separately. Whether or not you realize it you can draw confidence from the success of others as a company as well as individually. 

I highly encourage women not to dismiss prayer as something that will help them build their own confidence. Vision comes before any desire and dream. If there is no vision of what you desire and dream about having you will never succeed.  You will quickly see that there are hurdles in every business, and prayer will definitely help you jump over them. Stay focused and do not give up on what you desire or dream of. Clear one obstacle at a time, don’t give up, and you will learn to achieve the confidence levels you so desire, and operate within your full potential.

Website:

www.bleauroyale.com

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