Why Did You Start Your Business? Week of February 3rd

Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may remain the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each entrepreneurship and brand.


Because our generation needs a true change before it's too late

I founded Secret Entourage years ago because I realized that someone's worth is not defined by their wallet but only as large as the impact they make on others. As a serial Entrepreneur, Life coach, and luxury lifestyle expert it only made sense for me to put all my skills together and create a platform to help change the direction of Entrepreneurship for Generation Y. I created a platform that made it easy for anyone with a proven track record, even if not very large to help motivate, inspire and educate our newest generation of Entrepreneurs. The platform is free for users and provides them with fresh and relatable content. The major difference between our platform and others is that we mix Entrepreneurship and Lifestyle together in order to appeal to a younger audience, but yet share a powerful message about “purpose” rather than about money. Our generation Y entrepreneurs need to change their focus from money to innovation and my platform is helping drive a shift in the industry by showing them what they want but teaching them what they need.

Thanks to Pejman Ghadimi, Secret Entourage


To give ‘travel-sized' options began when we (the Shrater family) were on a vacation to a cottage in New Hampshire. When we realized we would need to throw away several bottles of condiments at the end of our trip, we thought, “wouldn't it be great if there was one place you could go for the small packets of condiments — better yet, a place to get all of your travel accessories and travel size item needs?” Sure you can go to your local grocery store or pharmacy for some of the items, but they don't always have the best selection. What if you've always used Colgate, and all they have is Crest? Would you really want to drive all over town to cobble together items for your trip? Thus, was born.

Thanks to Paul Shrater, Minimus


To feed my inner creative self and solve a problem for all women

I always had the creative eye and spent 25 years as a professional photographer gathering an impressive portfolio. I had always been frustrated with handbags and never carried one because I could never find anything inside. One day in 2010 I decided to do something about that. I then researched, developed and patented a designer handbag with built in lighting system. Now with a patent and many models produced, I feel I have solved an age old woman's problem of finding their belongings in their handbag. I also get to satisfy my creative urge by creating each design myself.

Thanks to Tamara Leuty, Glass Handbag


Focused on creating modern specialty goods

As college students in the business college at UNCC-C, we were very privy to the difficulties that graduates were facing n landing a good job; I am also a returned student myself, having been laid off from the Financial Services sector. Along with this, as aspiring entrepreneurs, we have been very plugged in to the Start-up movement happening across the US, and the success stories that have been coming out of it. I also run the Young Entrepreneurship Association at UNCC and one story that I came across in 2010 that was very compelling was the AirBNB cereal box story – where a couple of guys launched a company by raising an initial funds selling specially designed cereal boxes around the election theme in 2008. AirBNB has since grown to a Billion dollar valued company. Wanting to launch our own internet start-up, my business partner (also a UNC-C student) and I decided to launch something that would work along the lines of the AirBNB cereal box. So, essentially, we launched as a bootstrapping effort in itself to raise money for out technology start-up. However, since the launch, because of the market response to the pieces, WordBiLLY has transformed into a business in itself and have been featured on and are gearing up for a Valentine's day feature on the ever-popular It took us about just a little under a month to launch our company. My business partner and I had been looking at this idea in January of 2012, and we decided to launch the company with in the week. We began prototyping our product, the WordBiLLY, and also began coding our website. After readying a few iterations of the prototype (handcrafted in the garage), we spent some time – about a month, working out the feasibility, pricing etc. for the product. After this, we worked on the branding, bought the domain name and launched our online store. This was all done in just a little under a month. Since then, we have sourced local partner-manufacturers here in the United States but continue to hand finish our orders before shipping.

Thanks to Fahad Firdausi, WordBiLLY


To avoid going on disability

I freelanced as an administrative professional before actually starting my administrative consulting business. The turning point was after I became ill in 2005. I suffered Congestive Heart Failure, and a week later was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. After being on disability leave for nearly a year from the company for which I worked at that time, I realized that I would not be able to return to my job because of continuing difficulties with my illnesses. But I also needed to work! So I decided to take the skillset that I already had and parlay that into a business that would allow me to work at a pace conducive to my health issues and the medication schedule I must follow each day. I now provide administrative consulting and support to professional speakers and business book authors through my own company, Agenda Administrative Services. I've also created a training program for administrative employees called Your Desk Is Your Business and I'm currently marketing that to corporations around the country, which is allowing my business to evolve into something that will work even better with my particular health issues. Sometimes life forces you to do the things you're meant to do but that you hesitate to do-and for me, that was being an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Chela M. Hardy, Agenda Administrative Services


Born from frustrations over internet security for businesses

Digital Locksmiths was born out of my own frustration from seeing small businesses to enterprises alike not doing enough to protect themselves from security breaches. The idea was to have Digital Locksmiths become an extension of the Clint's team by focusing solely on Security, privacy and investigative services. This would save the customers money by out tasking security to us and not have to hire and train dedicated people. As hackers and fraudster find new ways to attack, companies will need to stay vigilant by getting specialized training for their staff, or outsource to the experts.

Thanks to Thanks to Terry Cutler, Digital Locksmiths


To have a more flexible job and be at home more

I was inspired to start my own business while pregnant with my first daughter as I wanted a flexible job that would allow me to be home more. I had no experience in the computer industry or with app development but I saw an opportunity in the market. At the time, there were no triathlon based apps available and being a former professional triathlete with a background in kinesiology I knew I could fill in that niche. So, I decided to take a huge risk and create an iPhone app (with the help of my computer savvy brother who did the coding) to help train someone for their first triathlon. It was more successful than I had anticipated and so soon after we launched another app, Triathlon Trainer. It's an amazing feeling to get emails from all over the world from customers thanking me for helping them to complete their first triathlon. I love to help people become fit and we just launched an indoor cycling app called iRideInside that I hope will help keep people moving!

Thanks to Jamima Wolk, JammyCo


Merging my business training with passion for personal development

I started my business following a long corporate career during which I spent much tine searching for the vehicle that would allow me to merge my corporate and formal business training with my passion of personal development. it took some time to find the right vehicle, and it has evolved over time and no doubt will continue to evolve as I find new and more powerful ways to serve my clients. The real driver to actually do something rather than just talk about it was to have control over my destiny and to be able to steer my own bus, rather than be subject to the whims of corporate decision making. I experienced redundancy which caused me to think about taking control, but was not the final catalyst. It took another two roles working in environments that where I found leadership styles that in my view were falling short, so rather than whinge about it, I decided to put my skills in the behavioral and positive psychology fields to use.

Thanks to Narelle Lee, The Performance Masters


To help guys get in the kitchen and create simple meals

I'm DAN the MAN. I started my cooking classes and catering business to meet a growing demand from hungry guys to cook, and enjoy, simple, tasty, real food. Many schools teach varied and interesting cuisines but very few schools focus on making an amateur feel comfortable in the kitchen. People should be more engaged in the food making process. Every day, I endeavour to introduce people to good food in an interactive and meaningful way.

Thanks to Dan Lewinsky, Dan the Man Cooking


To break free from restraints

Like many others, I'm sure, I reached a point where I realised that working for an employer, be they a small or large company, places many restraints on how we can utilize our skills and experience. I believe that no matter how good we are our jobs, we tend to get pigeon-holed, to fit in with someone else's agenda. Starting my own business has given me the opportunity to blend my passion and skills into a single business idea, whilst allowing me the freedom to work on my own terms.

Thanks to Monique Brierley, Done…Tick!


Because we were fed up with traditional service providers

As busy professionals my husband and I had very little spare time and needed help to get things done around the house. We tried calling numbers from the back of the local paper and searching for help through Google. This would invariably result in “sorry but the number you have called has been disconnected”, our messages would never be returned, or more often than not the service provider just was not interested in the smaller jobs. That’s when we decided to start work on Occasional Butler. Occasional Butler is an online marketplace that connects busy people with others in their neighbourhood who can help with small jobs at a fraction of the price.

Thanks to Jodie and Erz Imam, Occasional Butler


To have control over my time, income, and lifestyle

I started Little Miss Organised because I wanted control over my time, my income and my lifestyle. I wanted to create something I could be proud of, that came to me naturally and that created a positive impact on those around me. Little Miss Organised is helping me achieve those dreams. By helping others get their homes and lives organised, I am creating a more balanced and healthy lifestyle for my family, while helping others to do the same. I am leaving trails of organisation everywhere. Not only are people discovering precious lost objects, but they are learning to live with less ‘stuff' and they are loving the feeling. I am loving feeling passionate, energised and inspired whilst creating a more organised world.

Thanks to Bonnie Black, Little Miss Organised


To give me flexibility around my family

After a long corporate career, I wanted to create a business that gave me the flexibility around my family that I was no longer able to find in the corporate environment. Plus the internet was just starting to gain traction, so that also inspired me to ‘invent’ a business using this emerging technology. I wanted to create a business that could be flexible, fun – and my original vision was to change gifting in Australia for ever, with a big hairy audacious goal of selling 2 million experiences by 2015 – which we are on track to exceed. I also wanted to challenge the ‘stereotype’ of a corporate working environment and explored how to increase engagement via simple reward and recognition programs that organisations could utilise – with our own experience vouchers as part of the reward.

Thanks to Naomi Simson, RedBalloon


To help people understand the behavior of cats

In the early 1980s I adopted two kittens and not knowing the first thing about cats I proceeded to be the worst cat owner on the planet. So much so that my veterinarian told me to euthanize the cats. Instead, I went home and became determined to fix what I had messed up. Back then there was ZERO information on cats and behavior problems. Dogs? Yes. Cats? No way. So since there wasn't a path already paved for me, I paved one for myself. I apparently did a good job because the veterinarian started sending his worst cases to me. Word spread around NYC about my skill and an accidental career was born. I abandoned my dream of being a singer (probably a wise move on my part) and began a career of doing cat behavior consulting in 1982 when NO ONE had ever heart of such a thing. I was laughed at for years because people thought the idea of training a cat was insane. I kept at it (much to my mother's huge embarrassment) and became the best-selling author of 7 books, the founder of the cat division of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and am considered a pioneer in the field. Now that I'm an old geezy girl of 58, I am enjoying the fact that I have been a mentor to many and influenced what is now a very popular profession. I am also the host of Discovery Channel UK's upcoming TV series “Psycho Kitty.” I am the behavior expert to Friskies and have been for about 10 years. In my career I've been the behavior expert for Yahoo, ivillage and Cat Channel. Been the behavior columnist for Cats Magazine, Catster and the Daily Cat. Been interviewed and profiled in countless magazines and newspapers.

Thanks to Pam Johnson-Bennett, Cat Behavior Associates, LLC


To change how business is done

A number of years ago, I developed adult acne and after a painful, frustrating experience with prescription acne medications, I decided that there had to be a better way of taking care of my sensitive, unhappy skin. My research and experimentation eventually led me to making my own personal skin care products, which were heavily influenced by my active environmentalism, a deeply rooted belief in organic farming practices, and a frustration that all the “organic” products available were either not truly organic or were priced beyond my financial budget. Those influences have now become the driving force behind my company, Sustainable Shanti, as I believe that businesses can be platforms for positive change. I don't just make and sell organic skin care products; I educate consumers about their daily choices and the impact of those actions. In short, I use my products as an opportunity to change the world, one person at a time.

Thanks to Emily Trower-Young, Sustainable Shanti


To transform shaving from a task into a treat

After years of working long hours at accounting firms, I was craving a creative outlet. I picked up a soap making hobby and one day discovered that one of my handmade soap batches made a wonderful shaving cream. My legs were so unbelievably silky smooth with my new shaving cream creation. After some research on shaving cream products, I became aware of all the toxic chemicals that go into many skin care products, most notably shaving cream. I made it my mission to create a shaving cream that is all natural, moisturizing, protective, and leaves skin smooth and rejuvenated after shaving. Shaving cream doesn’t need to be complicated with pre-shave creams and aftershave. I love that my shaving cream protects, moisturizes, and provides a healthy glow all day long, all in one step. Shaving should be a treat, not a chore. I took an entrepreneurship course with Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization in my neighborhood, and finally started selling my shaving cream online and in local shops. It’s rewarding to know I am helping people solve their shaving issues like razor bumps and razor burn. Many of my customers have sensitive skin. I love it when my customers tell me GreenShave is the only shaving cream they can use to prevent residue or itchy skin after shaving. My loyal customers inspire me and they keep my business growing.

Thanks to Moira Brett, GreenShave


To practice law in a better way

After 10 years in a ‘traditional' law firm – four of those as Managing Partner – I realised that the law industry operates under old assumptions which don't deliver value for customers and aren't aligned to the business practices of today. As part owner in the firm, I tried to convince my peers that customers (traditionally referred to as clients) deserved more than bills for minutes, stamps and phone calls. But I quickly discovered that, as with many ’old’ industries, law is rife with resistance to new things and my customer-centric approach was certainly seen as a ‘new thing’ by some of my more traditional peers. I wasn't prepared to let go of my vision of a customer-centric firm, so I decided to escape from the constraints of the tradition al firms and build a firm from the ground up. In mid-2012 McCormicks was founded with a clear focus and drive to practise law in a better way – better for customers, people and myself. My goal is for McCormicks to offer not only customer-aligned pricing, but true partnerships, alignment of goals and most importantly, value. This approach to law has received positive attention from customers, peers, the industry and the media, with articles being published in The Australian and Lawyers Weekly. I'm looking forward to what the future will bring for McCormicks and haven't looked back since I started the business.

Thanks to Matt McCormick, McCormicks Law + Consulting


To work on an interesting project with my friends

Before Simply Made Apps, a group of a few friends of mine would meet once a week at a local bar and talk about anything and everything over some beers. Frequently, our conversations would turn to technology and the latest trends. It was great to talk about new tech with other passionate programmers, but none of these awesome gadgets were items we were working on. Like many programmers, we were stuck working on other, less entertaining projects. We all had itches that we wanted to scratch, so it made all the sense in the world for us to scratch them at the same time. From that point forward, it wasn't long until an idea emerged. A weekend of solid work later, the seeds for Simple In/Out were planted.

Thanks to Brandon Medenwald, Simply Made Apps


To make more of a difference by being self-employed

My name is Andrew Mills. When I turned 44 and my wife was 41, we both left our corporate careers to become entrepreneurs and to found, own and run our global beauty business from the UK and Switzerland. I had served for 26 years in the British Royal Navy Submarine Service and my wife, Charlotte left her job in insurance after 15 years. We now travel the world marketing and distributing our own brand of high end beauty products. With us both having worked in the supposed ‘Establishment’ for 26 years (British Royal Navy and Insurance Broking), not only were we desperate to be our own bosses and have our talents and efforts rewarded beyond the limitations of a salary structure, we also believed wholeheartedly that we could make more of a difference to our and others’ lives by being self employed in a business that brought good to the lives of our customers and staff with whom we work and serve.

Thanks to Andrew Mills, Nephria


To fill a void in the mobile app world

PlayTales was created to fill a void in the mobile app world; as more and more eBooks were being developed and sold, my partner and I noticed that there was a lack of interactive books for children that could be accessed through mobile devices. Why should parents have to spend more money buying an eBook reader specifically for their child when they could just hand over their Smartphone or tablet? We wanted to give families the opportunity to read not only entertaining books, but educational ones as well. We also added interactive features to our stories to hold children's attention and make them more interesting to young readers. This is why PlayTales was started; to provide families with a wholesome kid-friendly application that provides unlimited, top-quality stories which are accessible at anytime and anywhere in the world.

Thanks to Enrique Tapias, PlayTales


Taking advantage of a huge untapped market

We started SpareFoot because we saw what seemed like a huge untapped opportunity and we wanted to run with it. Also neither Mario (the other founder) or myself was particularly excited about the half baked post college plan we had at the time, so we dreamed that if we could get this thing off the ground it would be a much better use of our time.

Thanks to Chuck Gordon, SpareFoot


Out of need and coincidence

I was forced to resign from teaching and was working a contract job at the time. I began my blog and to keep myself occupied. After a few months, people started asking me to help with their online presence, cover events, etc. I was told I needed to get paid for all that I was doing for free. So I registered my blog as an LLC. Now I run a networking event company. I always wanted to own a business but wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Nor was I sure how to start or run a business. I was content having a job until I was forced out. Then my mind began to truly explore why I should own my own business. Owning Women Are Gamechangers allows me to use my gifts that I wouldn't have the opportunity to do if I was still teaching.

Thanks to Vernetta R. Freeney, Women Are Gamechangers


To publish amazing content

I started my company, Livingly Media, Inc. (previously Zimbo, Inc.), because I wanted to produce amazing content and get it read by millions of people. My partner and I had both previously worked for other media companies but felt like they were focused on the wrong things, and ultimately decided that we could do it better. At Livingly, we've concentrated on hiring talented people, giving them the tools and resources that they need to succeed, building cutting edge technology to help publish and distribute digital content, and then measuring the results. We also have a lot of fun at work. It's been a successful recipe — we now publish three of the most popular websites in the world, including (top 10 entertainment news site), (top 5 fashion and beauty site) and (up-in-coming home and interior design site).

Thanks to Tony Mamone, Livingly Media, Inc.


To start a photography studio for people like ‘us'

I started Studio 84 after hearing friends complain from poor quality and customer service from local photography companies. I felt that special treatment shouldn't cost extra and wanted to create a place that went above and beyond for every client. Getting photographs taken is a big deal, and I want it to be a special and gratifying experience for people. Our approach to photography is based on the belief that all people regardless of race,color, gender or appearance judged by a narrowly defined standard of beauty are valuable. Our photographs expose the beauty of authentic people and evoke a sense of wonder and appreciation. We pride ourselves when people look through out portfolios and think the portraits are of professional models. If these photos have a missions, it is this: to progress us as a people to a stage where all physical features are embraced and to broaden our already narrowly defined standards of beauty. Studio 84 Photography is based out in Newark, Nj and has been creating photographs for over five years.

Thanks to Zellie Thomas, Studio 84


Because I couldn't find a casual massage class for couples

I started my business because I couldn't find a casual massage class for couples. I wanted to learn how to massage my ex-boyfriend better without hurting my hands, but there were no class outside of massage schools. I had never dreamed of becoming a massage therapist but determined I spent $1,000 and took the introductory Swedish massage class. I quickly fell in love with the healing arts and became a massage therapist. After learning many modalities and massaging thousands of hours, I created non-sexual massage class for couples to take care of stress and promote deeper connection at home. I grew up in Japan where there is a culture of kids tapping the shoulders of the parents and grandparents to show love and respect. I hope to help improve the quality of couples’ relationship through the power of caring touch at home.

Thanks to Yasuko Kawamura, Bliss Squared Massage


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