Lifestyle

Working It: Meet 6 Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs on the Rise

Filed Under:

Today is International Women’s Day, and it’s time to take some notes. Created to celebrate the social, political, and economic contributions made by women for the world at large, we thought it an opportune time to interview some leading female entrepreneurs, all of whom share an innovative spirit for change and helping others, no matter how big or small the task at hand. The goal? To spread knowledge, ideas, and just the right amount of inspiration to get your own creative genius flowing. 

Latham Thomas


Latham Thomas is doing her part to make “maternal wellness” accessible. A graduate of Columbia University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Latham founded her website Mama Glow in 2013. Defined as “an abundant, radiant energy that comes from within,” Mama Glow “is a personal style that reflects confidence, beauty, radiance, and balance.” Its aim is education and support for moms-to-be through services and a wealth of information that spans foods for hormone equilibrium to reiki as self-care.

Instagram: @glowmaven
Twitter: @GlowMaven

If you had an overarching philosophy for living, what would it be?
“Own your glow”: Each of us has a sacred mandate to be uniquely ourselves and become the best version of ourselves. We can only do this by embracing all aspects of ourselves. Fall in love with yourself and stand in your power. Part of my purpose is to help women stand in that power. 

What was the turning point for you with respect to becoming an entrepreneur?
 
When I was pregnant with my son, who is now 13 years old, I noticed there was a gap between the client experience and [health] practitioners. It was hard to find grounded, credible, yet affirming information and people who would support me in the birth I dreamed of. I saw a need to celebrate the experience of pregnancy and motherhood, to elevate birth.

Why Mama Glow?
In founding Mama Glow, I committed myself to growing a brand that served a larger purpose—to transform the way women perceive their bodies, to help women reclaim their bodies as sacred and give birth in an empowered way on their own terms. When my baby was sleeping, I would dream up ideas, write, and work on what it would become. What started off as meet-ups in my living room and a film festival in the Hamptons turned into a booming practice. I grew the following organically by spreading inspiration and love and giving a peek into my world.

Is there a career mistake you made that you’re now grateful for?
I don’t look at any missteps in the past as mistakes. I see them as stepping stones along my journey and wide openings for personal growth. I am grateful for every failure and challenge in the same way that I am grateful for the triumphs and successes I have experienced. It’s all in the name of growth.

What’s different about being an entrepreneur in 2017 compared with when you started?
The Internet has made everything infinitely more efficient. With the advent of social media we have been able to share our brand journey, promote products or services online, and allow those who follow us to glimpse into our lives. That is remarkable.

Are there any pieces of literature that helped inspire your career ambitions? 
I love this book called DreamBirth, by Catherine Shainberg, M.D., which looks at how the mind helps to shape our reality and using guided visualization to make space for the life you want. It’s a great book for expectant and new mothers. The other book I really love is Women’s Anatomy of Arousal, by Sheri Winston, which is like a textbook for women to learn about the magic of their bodies.

If you had to create a vision board today, what are three things you’d include? 
I would include a New York Times best-seller—a goal I have for my upcoming book… not for my ego, but for my reach. I would include an image of the Greek Isles because that’s one of the most romantic places that I’d like to go. And I would place something representing women of all backgrounds united. I know that women are meant to work together to shine in this world, and part of my mission is to facilitate this unity.

Photo by Rachel Havner

Photo by Rachel Havner

Felicia Williams


Based in London, Felicia Williams works as the principal creative director for Microsoft’s HoloLens, a mixed-reality headset that launched in January 2016. As impressive and fascinating as this is, even more so is her ability to optimize her time in order to create and curate a globally minded retail platform—which is precisely what she did with her website, Black Hound. Here, Felicia gives a taste of the struggles she faced starting out and why theoretical thinking will carry you only so far.

Instagram: @cheersfelicia
Twitter: @cheersfelicia

 

If you had an overarching philosophy for living, what would it be?
Live life for the stories. Full stop. Whether things are coming up roses for you, or if everything is going sideways. At the end of it all, you’ll have learned something, you’ll have grown, and if nothing else, you’ll have a good story. And once you’ve got that, share it! Stories bring people together and play an important part in helping us understand and connect with each other. That and good WiFi, of course.

Is there any career mistake you made that you’re now grateful for?
Absolutely! My first time at the director’s helm in a large company was a role I landed at the tender age of 26, which was stationed in another country and in another language. Suffice to say, I was a tiny bit of a disaster (ha ha!). I definitely learned a lot about my many strengths, my many, many weaknesses, and how culture can profoundly shape an individual’s perspective and work approach, regardless if you share a similar professional background. I also learned a lot about where I was willing and eager to stretch and change myself to achieve my needs versus times where I thought, This change will take me too far from who I am, so nope, not doing that. In business and in life, people sometimes interpret compromise or changing your position or opinion over time as somehow a betrayal to your true self. Not true. As humans, we’re meant to learn from our experiences and, hopefully, use those lessons as tools to better navigate our way through new and unfamiliar challenges. Deciding to ignore new information on principle, in an effort to prevent yourself from changing, just to stick it to someone else, is just silly. Our ability to evolve is a damn superpower. Don’t block yourself from using it!

What’s different about being an entrepreneur in 2017 compared with when you started?
The importance of social media is fascinating. On one hand, it’s a powerful medium where consumers can directly connect to the brands and products they love. It can inspire and pave the way for smaller, more specialized ventures to reach a larger and more appreciative audience. At the same time, over the years we’ve seen some powerful, social-media-savvy brands brought to their knees by the same audience that propelled them forward. People have so many choices when it comes to finding the products and services they want. Increasingly, the deciding factor is knowing that the brands they’re buying from are run by people who strongly share their values. Social media puts that front and center. Savvy entrepreneurs should be thinking deeply on this topic and be prepared.

Are there any pieces of literature that helped inspire your career ambitions? 
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Colin Wright, a brilliant writer and personal friend who has been a successful entrepreneur for a number of years and just finished up a tour for his award-winning documentary. I’ve learned a lot from him and other entrepreneurs, writers or otherwise, all who have kept the fires of my ambition roaring.

If you had to create a vision board today, what are three things you’d include? 
In life, the things that make me the happiest are good food, good friends, and good conversation. I would have a Polaroid image of one of my famous soirees, set on a beautiful rooftop at dusk, overlooking a glittering cityscape, people laughing and toasting each other as the sun dips below the horizon. Second, I’d draw directly on the board a series of fun doodles and general musings that could range from design thoughts to new ideas for Black Hound to questions to myself, etc. Lastly, I’d definitely include a stunning picture of Antarctica. I’m planning to go in the near future. To me, it represents the ultimate combination of adventure and the unknown. Think of it this way: It’s so alien to any other part of the planet that scientists use it as an analog to prepare future astronauts for colonizing new planets. How awesome is that?!

If you had one piece of advice for someone who wants to be her own #Girlboss, what would it be? 
I have solid advice for any gender and orientation! When you’re starting something new, as quickly as you can, get hands-on. Doing your homework is important, but don’t spend too long in your head. You’ll learn so much once you’re hands-on, and much of what you’ll learn are things that careful planning and theorizing wouldn’t have prepared you for. And yes, things may go sideways, your plan may fail, you might hit a wall or get outpaced by your competition. But remember, each time that happens it’s another lesson, another tool that you can arm yourself with and carry forward to the next challenge to slay it. Or not… but hey, at least it’ll be a good f—ing story.

Elizabeth Tuke


After heading up PR at The Outnet, Elizabeth Tuke started her own namesake firm, Tuke Consulting, in search of “fresh opportunities and experiences.” Her drive is as infectious as her good humor, and when you meet Elizabeth, you soon realize she’s the kind of woman who gets things done. Though only in her mid-30s, she’s amassed an impressive client list with top names in fashion and interior design—an inspiring story for seasoned professionals and budding entrepreneurs alike.

Instagram: @tukeconsulting
Twitter: @tukeconsulting

If you had an overarching philosophy for living, what would it be?
I still have a lot to learn and experience to truly identify an overarching philosophy.
I always strive to be the best for everyone else—best daughter, best friend, best student, best employee, best boss, best wife. I’m learning the importance of including “best me” in that equation. Confidence, laughter, authenticity, giving back—these are all important in achieving your best self, which ultimately leads to a pretty fulfilling life.  

What was the turning point for you with respect to becoming an entrepreneur?
My parents encouraged me to be creative, innovative, and noncomplacent, so I’ve always had a somewhat fearless drive. Becoming an entrepreneur was a natural and progressive career step for me. It certainly was not premeditated. Starting my own business was simply the next chapter that introduced new challenges and allowed for fresh, exciting opportunities and experiences.

Is there a career mistake you made that you’re now grateful for?
Losing confidence and taking it personally. In the past, there have been circumstances (and personalities) that have completely derailed me with regard to what I’m working for and toward. I’ve learned that those things generally had nothing to do with me. Learning to balance the emotional component in a professional space is key. Still invest and commit yourself, but know that it is JUST A JOB. These past experiences have taught me how to be a better leader in my business.

Are there any pieces of literature that helped inspire your career ambitions? 
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind—Scarlett O’Hara was the ultimate go-getter for me. She did not wait for anything to fall in her lap.

If you had to create a vision board today, what are three things you’d include?
La dolce vita! Visualizing a clean, happy, beautiful life filled with culture and travel, luxe art and spaces, laughter, friends, and family has always been a trigger of motivation for me. I’d also include shelter magazine clippings of the perfect office space, an illustrious spot in Europe, beautiful fashion editorial shoots, images of friends laughing… choosing three things is impossible because my visions are multilayered!

If you had one piece of advice for someone who wants to become her own #Girlboss, what would it be?  
Be personable, but don’t take it personally.

Anne Serrano-McClain


Anne Serrano-McClain founded MCMC Fragrances, a small-batch perfume company, in 2010. Working alongside her sister out of a work space in Brooklyn, she creates formulas as unique as those who wear them. Having studied at the Grasse Institute for Perfumery in Provence (what Le Cordon Bleu is to the world’s best chefs, Grasse is to the world’s best “noses”), she has committed 500 natural scents to memory, lending everything she mixes a sense of pedigree by way of expertise. Below, we learn about her entrepreneurial roots and the book that cultivated her obsession with smell.

Instagram: @mcmcfragrances
Twitter: @MCMCFragrances

 

If you had an overarching philosophy for living, what would it be?
I don’t always practice it, but I know that gratitude is the key to being happy.

What was the turning point for you with respect to becoming an entrepreneur? 
In my 20s I became obsessed with perfume. After being self-taught for several years, I took a huge leap of faith and moved to Grasse in the South of France to study at a vocational school for perfume creation. The goal of the program was to prepare us to work in a corporate environment, and it’s there that I realized I had so much I wanted to say using the medium of scent, and I didn’t want to work on client briefs. After studying perfume all day at school, I’d spend the evening brainstorming my future company.

Are there any career mistakes you made that you’re now grateful for? 
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch! As an entrepreneur, a lot of opportunities come your way. So many times I’ve let my mind wander and fantasize about a project that’s still in the works, only to have it not pan out. That’s always disappointing, so now I plant the seed and move on or put my full effort into pursuing it, but let the response come in its own time.

What’s different about being an entrepreneur in 2017 compared with when you started?
I spend more time thinking about and caring about social media than when I launched in 2010. Social media existed, but not to the extent than it does now. The news cycle is so fast and it’s harder to have a proper launch or promote a new product because it’s only news for so short a time.

If you had to create a vision board today, what are three things you’d include? 
A photo of a beautiful interior, simple line drawings, and Oregon sunstone.  

If you had one piece of advice for someone who wants to become her own #Girlboss, what would it be? 
Listen to yourself. You’re the one on this journey, and only you will know how to navigate it. You won’t make all the right decisions, but you’ll get where you’re going.

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez 

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez 

Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise


Danielle was a model and actress, while Whitney was working on Wall Street. Both suffered from weight fluctuations and stress, so they put their heads together and transformed their struggles into the power-packed seeds from which their company Sakara sprouted. Read on to find out how the two exchanged toxicity for health, starting an organic-meal-delivery service that treats the foods you eat as “the building blocks for the rest of your life.”

Instagram: @sakaralife
Twitter: @SakaraLife

 

If you had an overarching philosophy for living, what would it be?
Our mantra is “What I think, I create.” Your thoughts are powerful… they become things! So don’t think small.

Is there a career mistake you made that you’re now grateful for?
Kale + lemon + salt over time = a very smelly sulfur bomb. Glad we learned that lesson early on!

What’s different about being an entrepreneur in 2017 compared with when you first started?
When we first started we were doing it all—sourcing ingredients, cooking the meals and delivering them to clients on our bicycles, plus marketing, customer service, PR, ops… and everything in between! Since then we’ve been able to hire a team to take on many of those roles, which allows us to lean into our strengths, like driving the business, recipe and product innovation, and keeping the brand point-of-view strong.

If you had one piece of advice for someone who wants to become her own #Girlboss, what would it be?  
Work hard and be passionate. And don’t assume that you have to do things the “normal” way. Act in a way that inspires you and you’ll inspire others around you!

Related: A Dream Office for Glamour Magazine’s L.A. Editor

Filed Under:

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

Comments are closed.