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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 and brand.
Making people feel better more than my prescription pad ever could
Fulfilling a life-long dream of becoming a doctor left little time for humor and creative expression things I didn’t realize were important until residency crowded them from my schedule, and all but eliminated them from my personality. After leaving the hospital, I discovered that I have enough artistic ability to convey my odd brand of verbal humor to an appreciative and expanding audience. Ironically, after twenty-seven years in the art studio, my drawings have made more people feel better than a scalpel or prescription pad ever could.
Thanks to Don Stewart, DS Art Studio Gallery
Building a language service with a business model based on service and quality
I’d lived and worked in other countries before going to college and loved learning languages and exploring other cultures. The decision to major in modern languages in college was a clear one for me. After graduation, I followed my passion for languages and got a job with a translation agency. I could see that the global economy was growing quickly and that businesses needed a more professional level of service than the language services industry offered at the time. I decided to go for my MBA so I could be knowledgeable about the business needs that language service companies could and should fulfill. In business school, I met Phil Shawe, a classmate with a background in finance. Together, we came up with the idea of offering language services based on a business model that focused on quality and service—with the goal of making it the world’s premier language services provider.
Thanks to Liz Elting, TransPerfect
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To help professionals present confidently and creatively
Theatre cured my of my public speaking fears. I used to be terrified- sweaty hands, sick to my stomach, shaking voice. But once I began acting, the physical symptoms and the fears began to subside. I have learned to channel my nervousness into an energy that fuels, rather than hinders, performance. I was called for jury duty in late spring 2012. As I sat in the jurors’ box, and listened to each lawyer make opening statements and question clients, I was struck by their obvious unease in speaking. I knew each lawyer could have been a far more effective advocate for his client, had he been more confident in his public performance. One lawyer simply did not display confidence. His constant “Um”s and “Uh”s made his case difficult to follow. The lawyer for the other side did not develop a character that carried rapport with his audience, and in fact, antagonized them, making it nearly impossible for jurors to invest in what he was saying, let alone empathize with his client. Had each lawyer been more aware of their personal presenting style, I knew they would have made improvements, and been better representatives for their clients, and better executors of the justice system. Not to mention, jury duty would have been more enjoyable! I founded Public Persona, LLC in the spring of 2013 as a way to address this need. Public Persona’s goal is to develop confident and creative public speakers in a variety of industries. Many professionals make their careers speaking in front of others, from client presentations, to board meetings, to courtrooms, to presenting papers. Lawyers, salespeople, entrepreneurs, must learn to channel anxiety into productive, positive energy.Great actors and great business leaders share similar qualities- authenticity and confidence create a great performance. Public Persona trains business leaders in theatre techniques to develop their own creative and confident public personas! Actors train to develop the skills to present a great performance. Business leaders can do the same! Whether the goal is to present, persuade, or close a deal, Public Persona helps professionals develop these skills.
Thanks to Nicole LaBonde, Public Persona, LLC
On the verge of bankruptcy…
I am a Pediatrician with 13 years of experience, completed residency at Mt Sinai/Elmhurst Hospital in 2003. I immigrated to the United States in 1997 and since then I have been busy taking exams and learning the language. Once we arrived to the USA I was fluent in Bulgarian, Russian and French but quickly learned English and afterwards even Spanish. As I started working in one of the most diverse areas in the world – Elmhurst , Jackson Heights Queens in the pediatric ER- as an attending, and the physician in charge at the Department of Health . The past 3 years ago I struggled financially , was not approved for business loan, had to short sale and was threatened to loose my house! Then the idea of opening a private practice popped up- I took the risk, with no loan – worked extremely hard in the ER to cover the expenses and started on the venture of developing the practice. I worked with volunteers only during the first 6-10 months. The creativity at that moment helped me look for foreign medical graduates who were willing to get some USA experience and found them on Craigslist. I had observers and medical assistants students who were coming every 2 months to work for their 200 mandatory training hours . We are a GREEN office, no paper – all electronic records. The efficiency of the electronic system helped me serve my patients 24/7 from any place – I would text ,e mail look at the pictures( with various skin rashes and abnormalities) of their children and treated them remotely for free. Today 3 years later , the practice is a well established, part time practice with MDs waiting to get into residency ( 2 of them already matched in Pediatrics programs in NYC). We serve the community in Rego Park proudly, providing 5 languages spoken in the office. As we learn together and keep growing as a team professionally. I did not file bankruptcy, I kept my house and returned all my debts ! All started with determination, devotion and LOVE – a love for children, a love for medicine and education.
Thanks to Daniela Atanassova Lineva, MD
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Born out of frustration to a common household problem
My company, C3 Products International, LLC was born out of frustration to a common household problem: Where are the scissors? Whenever I had something new, I would always rip the retail tags off because I couldn’t find the scissors. This would make a hole in my new shirt, tear my finger or force me to use my teeth to get them off. After searching for a product like mine to purchase and not being able to find it, I decided to create my own, The Wizor.
Thanks to Angelica L. Cox, C3 Products International, LLC
Relieving business owners from their worry about legal issues
Like many professionals during the recession, I was looking for employment opportunities. At the same time, friends and colleagues started asking me for assistance with legal issues. I took my legal education and the skills I learned at law firms and am now using these to work with small – medium sized businesses. I want to relieve business owners from the worry about legal issues so that they can focus their skills and talents on doing what they do best – grow their businesses. My law practice focuses on small to medium sized businesses and I particularly enjoy working closely with startups. I want the business owners to know that they have a trusted advisor available to help them navigate the myriad of issues businesses face every day.
Thanks to Paula A. Schaefer
To fill a void in the organization field
Fill a void in the Organization field. I’m passionate about helping women organize their lives: their time, homes, family and goals. But when I was studying how to get my own life more organized, I had to go to many different sites to get the information I needed. Some sites had organization classes, other had recommended products and others had organizing blogs. There wasn’t one central resource for it all. So I created Life Is Organized to help busy moms take control of all areas of their lives, all from one place. Disorganization is one of the biggest stressors in life and when juggling home, family, career and community, moms get hit from all ends. However, when lives run smoothly, stress is lifted and people are happier. Helping women live happier and more fulfilled is my ultimate goal and why I started my business.
Thanks to Mridu Parikh, Life Is Organized
Getting to combine my passion for the environment and fashion
Last July I opened my own “Swapinista” boutique and in designing my business model, it was important for me to find something I was passionate about and that I could enjoy doing every day. They say if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life and thus far that saying rings true for me every day. I tried to combine all the passions I have into one service. I love fashion, I have over 12 years of experience in the fashion industry and I have compassion for this earth we live on. My boutique combines both of these in a unique package. Laney’s Closet, my “Swapinista” boutique allows members unlimited access to refreshing their wardrobes with high end clothing. The club allows members unlimited swapping access for a moderate monthly fee to swap their like-new or never-before-worn high end clothes for brands like 7 for all Mankind, Chloe, Coach, Cole Haan, Ella Moss, Free People, Hale Bob, Hudson, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Michael Stars and more. After the economy took a drastic downturn I decided I wanted to create a way that women who love fashion could help the earth and enjoy a guilt free way of shopping by way of swapping!
Thanks to Laney Vivo, Laney’s Closet
To help seniors and baby boomers downsize with less pain and more gain
As a Hall of Fame auctioneer, and a hands-on consultant in estate sales and downsizing for over 30 years, I started to see a new millennium trend as the population ages: Downsizing of the 50+ sector of the middle classes is reaching epic proportions. Every day baby boomers and their parents cope with making new and sometimes sudden life transitions — whether due to a move for retirement, a need for assisted living or a death in the family. How can the average person cope with the volume of stuff, some of it quite valuable, that they have accumulated after decades? Cars, appliances and tools, collectibles, furniture and more, all must be left behind, but should not be relegated to the dumpster or sold for pennies at a tag sale. The need for the average consumer to liquidate the contents of their home or business with both dignity and with profit, my decades of experience as an auctioneer and estate specialist, and the widespread acceptance of the public to auction sites like EBay, made forming MaxSold a natural. The hyperlocal approach of bidding online for goods close to home allows buyers to bid for local goods, attend an optional viewing day onsite and pick up the goods soon after the auction closes. For the seller, it provides the expertise of an auction team and preparation of a digital catalog. What’s more, with the adrenalin rush of a live auction, sellers can expect higher returns than tag sales, while eliminating the monitoring and shipping headaches of EBay, and the time and safety concerns of selling on Craig’s list.
Thanks to Barry Gordon, Maxsold
Helping young execs with career shortcuts
After a 30+ year corporate/nonprofit career in creativity management, I wanted an ‘encore career’ helping execs and entrepreneurs under 40 achieve personal goals while maintaining a sensible work/life balance. After becoming a certified life coach, I developed niche coaching tracks for those working in marketing, creative services and sales. These niches help provide navigational coaching so clients can set their own career agendas, define life goals and community enrichment objectives. The benefits are clear: more focus on authentic priorities lead to greater personal and professional satisfaction.
Thanks to Douglas Arnold
To help companies navigate and manage the new era of inbound marketing
It’s not often that one has an opportunity to witness and work in not just one, but two major industry transitions. I’m fortunate enough to do just that. In 1992 I co-founded my first my own PR agency. This was the early days of interactive technology and it transitioned into the launch of the Internet – our agency was one of the first in the country to have our own website. The agency grew from 2-25 employees over five years. Fast-forward to 2013 and we’re seeing another huge transformation in marketing and communications. The days of “outbound” marketing are rapidly dwindling. Its too easy for audiences to ignore or tune out the waves of messages consistently blasted at them. The power has shifted to the consumer – they are now able to search for and seek information and solutions for their unique problems. I launched Kaufer DMC to help companies and organizations navigate and manage the new era of marketing. I’m excited that I am again in a position to impact businesses.
Thanks to David Kaufer, Kaufer DMC
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I got fed up with all the waste around me
I have been working for years in the fashion, production and supply chain industry and as Designer myself I know designers have a huge responsibility in current environmental situation – the worst thing is that not all of them are conscious about this responsibility. Well, I have an obsession for Sustainability and Beauty and I tried myself to make my own series of designs which I also showcased at the Milan Design Week 2011, but I’ve been always eager of getting more results than celebrity. So it has been perfect when I met my co-founder Luca who has worked in online marketing and startup realities – obsessed with online and tech-innovation who tough me that a community gets results much faster than any single “diva”, so here we came up with Moorbi.com. We began imaging an online world for Sustainable Design Industry where an endless Eco Design Week for all Intelligent designers work towards building a greener and richer future not on just cosmetic objects to sell to collectors and galleries. In our opinion an innovative and straight-forward Industry cannot think to change the world fitting traditional offline channels.
Thanks to Julia Giesbrecht, Moorbi
To help support our rockstar farmers
I’ve always been a mad foodie, I managed to work in some of London’s top restaurants to follow my passion of food, at the end of a hard day at work consulting at an Oil company. After arriving in Australia, I was blown away by the amazing local produce available, but was shocked at how it is under utilised and hard to find. Its also no secret that farmers are struggling, they either sell at the farmers market hoping customers show up, or sell to agents and wholesalers where they rarely get enough money to cover costs. So I quit my comfortable consulting role and started Food Orbit to change all of this. We started to build and will be launching in late June, an online platform to enable wholesale buyers of food, such as cafe and restaurant owners, catering companies, hotels, schools and hospitals, to connect and trade directly with responsible, local farmers and producers online. We’re shortening the supply chain to ensure farmers get a fair price and giving local farmers a place for them to tell the story, about their farm and farming practices, list their inventory and promote their business online. We’re doing this in a highly visual and searchable format to allow buyers to easily search for produce by location and farm before placing one order from multiple farms. Our vision is to improve the food system and make buying and selling local and responsibly farmed food, simple!
Thanks to James Nathan, Food Orbit
Based on the desire to help others
I started my business based on the desire to help others. When I was young at the age of six I started selling stickers for koalas, then launched a small community magazine to support my local neighborhood in western Sydney. This soon led to me mistakenly come across small business and websites. I slowly developed over time and gained a real interest in this area, so much so that my passion led to me learning how to build a site from scratch and developing marketing plans for existing businesses. I love the fact that my business is here to help others survive, and not the other way around. It is always exciting to have a new client at my doorstep, I really enjoy exploring new ideas and seeing others grow and develop into another success story.
Thanks to Ray Pastoors, LYF Solutions
Creating our own company from experience
With 20 years of experience at a once nationally recognized baby company, I had developed a discriminating eye towards the leading companies in the juvenile market, this allowed me to stay up to date on new products, new standards, safety regulations, and the latest fashion trends. So when the business owner announced closing the location where I had spent my formative years, I was devastated. I had so many emotions, not just for myself, but for my co-workers. We had grown to be family, and no one could afford to be out of work. After careful consideration, research and exploration of our market area, the global industry, and most importantly my family situation, my husband Kal and I decided to open our own baby gear retail business.
Thanks to Meha Maniar, Our Baby Our World
Starting somewhat by accident
They say that having kids will change your life in unexpected ways, and well, for me it truly did. *BABYBEARSHOP Organic* is a certified organic skin care line that I started somewhat by accident as I could not find anything safe or effective enough for my young babies who had severe skin allergies and eczema. I had a deep desire to soothe my children’s discomfort, so I started making batches of what has become our bestselling product, Cheeky Baby Butter. What makes my business truly unique is its commitment to transparency and organic ingredients—something hard to find in the skin care industry. *BABYBEARSHOP Organic* was created from a personal need and based on a passionate desire to put a product on shelf that I felt was the best and safest option for my own children. The number of parents that reach out to me who experience the same struggle in soothing their children’s eczema prone skin and are trying to avoid allergy triggers is astounding. Although I started my business for personal need, their need and support makes is what makes this venture possible.
Thanks to Diana Lussenden Stewart, BABYBEARSHOP Organic
Giving temps an easier boot camp training for temps
As a human resource professional for over 20 years, I dealt with the challenge of training new temporary employees their first day on the job. This type of training is more “boot camp” in nature because temps need to know the very basics and need to know them quickly. A new temp’s knowledge gap produces a drain on productivity in two ways: 1) An untrained temp is an unrealized value and can’t contribute at capacity, and 2) Full-time employees often have to train temps, which takes them away from their own work and away from colleagues/bosses who may also need them. Grappling with this situation for many years and my passion for training, I was driven to find a better way. As a result, I developed a basic online “virtual boot camp” training program for temps that companies could adopt and customize to suit their needs. In the end, companies will save time and manpower while shortening the time to productivity; temps will be better educated quickly and become more engaged. And that makes everyone more profitable.
Thanks to Cathy Reilly, Onboardia, Inc.
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My entire life dream was to help other people
My entire life dream was to help other people. When I was in college my professors doubted my ability to make it into a Master’s degree due to my writing abilities. I grew up with a learning disability and always had difficulty with writing and comprehension. I didn’t let that get in my way of going after my dream. After graduating from my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, my dream was to have my own private practice with a focus on relationships. I began interviewing other therapists about starting up a practice and every one of them discouraged me to do it. They told me it would take several years to have a full practice or that it would be impossible to have cash paying clients (no insurance) and enough clients to make an income. My passion and determination to help people had me push through to get what I wanted. I had a full private practice before I was even licensed. The ability to connect with people and help them during difficult times was finally a reality. Now I have a full private practice, two interns, a relationship column, a #beinglovedis campaign connecting with community, and putting on events raising money for non-profit organizations. Dream come true.
Thanks to Jennine Estes, Estes Therapy
Helping entrepreneurs find great office space
There are too many barriers in the way of great entrepreneurs trying to build awesome businesses – finding space shouldn’t be one of them. And, there’s a lot more to space than just square footage. It’s culture. It’s environment. Finding and sharing office space shouldn’t be so damned difficult. That was, and is, the motivation behind the PivotDesk team. Helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Getting small startups out of the outskirts, the coffee shops, and their mother’s basements, and into office space downtown, working alongside other smart people trying to grow a great business
Thanks to David Mandell, PivotDesk
Creating a wearable sensor
Heapsylon was started by three guys from Italy (but who lived in the NW for many years). About three years ago we were together at a pizza party (Mario former Kinect XBOX guy is our CTO and makes a mean pizza!) and started talking about the economy in Italy not getting any better… Still isn’t! We also agreed that we had a common vision, that the clothing and fashion industry over there could reinvent themselves if there was a way to inject technology in what people wear every day. The goal was to create a wearable sensor technology that could be embedded in garments to make them become smarter. But what part of the body should the small start-up focus in on? We looked at the map of wearable devices out there and it became immediately clear that the human foot was both constantly under pressure and also underserved by wearable devices and pragmatic innovation. Sensoria is the name of our enabling technology. Sensoria is the part of the brain that gathers and computes all the different information coming from our nervous system. That’s also what our vision is about: each piece of clothing should become a computer passively gathering data and moving it to the cloud for the user to analyze and make informed decisions about his health and fitness. We hope this kind of smart fashion catches on soon, and somehow inspires our friends back in Italy!
Thanks to Davide Vigano, Heapsylon