24 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses

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 every brand.

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To Battle Skin Cancer & Save Lives

SwimZip sun protective clothing was started after my diagnosis with skin cancer at age 26. Skin cancer is the leading cause of cancer in the US. I chose to follow my passion and make products that help keep people sun safe. My business of UPF 50+ swimwear and clothing allows me to pursue a livelihood that allows me to continue my battle with skin cancer and helps save lives.

Thanks to Betsy Johnson, SwimZip

I Was A Busy Mom

I'm a busy mom with an idea. Gandzee offers entire wardrobe collections and individual pieces for babies and kids ages 2 to 6-perfect for busy parents who want to buy a season's worth of kids' clothes with the click of a single button. The clothing is adorable and the quality is what you'd expect to find at a boutique or high-end department store. I was inspired to establish a kids' clothing company that specializes in styling entire wardrobe collections as a direct result of being a busy mom and trying to dress my kids at the same time.

Thanks to Jen Nomberg, Gandzee

We Had a Pure Love  for Ice Cream

In our opinion there is not much better than a day with ice cream. But what kind of ice cream? Can you really go wrong with any flavor? We don't think so. And that's why we created and decided to turn the artistic scoop over to you, our customer! eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato was founded out of a pure love for ice cream and the power of a personalized gift. We love the idea of making ice cream as a GIFT that will be bringing a smile to someone's face and make a memory. Whether it's Birthday Ice Cream, Get Well Ice Cream or Thank You Ice Cream, we want to make the moment delicious.

Thanks to Abby Jordan & Becky App, eCreamery

Passion for Street Travel & Global Design

I spent almost 7 years as a corporate lawyer before taking the leap and starting Project Bly, a website built on the philosophy that to really know a city, you must wander its streets. Project Bly came from a passion for street travel and global design.The first seed for Bly was planted when I spent several months looking for a one-of-a-kind rug with history and story. It grew after a trip to Sao Paulo where my online research for the best flea markets and street art resulted in over 20 open tabs on my computer. And then it all came together on a trip to Mumbai, where I spent hours wandering through the crowded street markets of this old trading city: Why weren't there any travel sites focused on street culture?

Thanks to Rena Thiagarajan, Project Bly

To Solve A Problem for Myself

I started my business Hipzbag principally to solve a problem for myself. I was constantly losing, dropping or breaking my cell phone and, as a mom-on-the-go, I needed something to help make my phone easily accessible and protected. I looked for over a year and could not find anything that would suit my needs. I almost bought a fanny pack, but was just too cool for that! So I created Hipzbag. Hipzbag is the hands free and fashionable pouch that puts all of your essentials at your fingertips. With a built-in rear pocket that fits any cell phone, you'll never have to worry about dropping your phone or missing a call. Since then my little idea has generated multi-million dollars in revenues and is growing every year.

Thanks to Kathy Crifasi, Hipzbag

I Didn't Like the Products on the Market

I was a stay at home mom with two young girls and was mixing up oils and lotions for them because I really did not like any baby products available in the market. Either they were loaded with chemicals or if they were natural / organic they just did not smell very nice. I think we have changed that with our brand, Baby Mantra. All our products are certified natural and smell great! When my girls started going to school the other moms started taking some of my home made lotions and used them on their kids and loved them. That was when I knew this was something I needed to take to other moms. I got together with my sister, Vinnie, we incorporated and Baby Mantra was born! We initially launched on to test the response from consumers – and it absolutely floored us! Soon we were on, and We got all our products NPA certified, introduced great looking packaging and have now started generating a buzz with large retailers.So the answer to your question in a nutshell: I was a mom who wanted my girls to have personal care products made with the purest ingredients possible but also pleasant to smell – and I was convinced other moms had to be feeling the same!

Thanks to Nupoor Patel, Baby Mantra!

A Safe Haven for People with Injuries

Growing up I watched my dad suffer with debilitating back pain. He had numerous surgeries that failed and he ended up enduring pain for years. I began exercising to take care of my own spine, and eventually began personal training others that had their own issues. After working in health clubs for years, I was frustrated with the way the fitness industry (other personal trainers) treated those with back pain and other ailments. They didn't seem to care about the person's medical condition, and I couldn't stand to watch it any longer. I set out to create Medical Fitness Pros, a place where people would feel safe no matter what injury or medical condition they were dealing with. It turns out there are many people who want to exercise and get in shape, but are dealing with a past medical issue and are afraid of being hurt worse. As we have grown the company we have focused on all of our staff studying and learning about various medical conditions and have been able to help many people in our community get in shape when they never thought they could. Being able to help others with this business is more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.

Thanks to Jason Hodge, Medical Fitness Pros

To be a Part of the Solution

In the early '90s, unemployment was crushing our little town of Trinidad, Colorado, a community of about 10,000 in southern Colorado. The area's major employer, the coal industry, was taking down its shingle and leaving town. After one particular soul-searching morning, my wife, Annie, and I resolved that we would stop talking about the problem and instead be a part of the solution. We sat down that day to figure out how we could combine our talents and create a local business. That was 1992. Today, Rendi, the child of our first company, Danielson Designs, continues to produce customizable photo frames, photo signs and decorative signs that are still made here in Trinidad. We're proud that we've employed hundreds of our friends and neighbors over the last 20+ years.

Thanks to Mark Danielson, Rendi, Ltd.

I am Passionate about My Community

I have always been passionate about my community. As a lifelong resident, I believe by promoting and encouraging positive action, we will foster more positive action. Finding a way to “leave things better than you found them” has been a goal of mine, instilled by my parents. Four years ago, I launched a lifestyle magazine promoting greater Prince William, both to its residents and others: Prince William Living. This lifestyle magazine celebrates the arts, businesses, activities and people behind our quality of life. It tells the story of greater Prince William, celebrating triumphs and encouraging residents to enjoy and support their community. Being able to help create a positive outlook drives me every day and makes me happy. Each day brings new challenges and exciting announcements. I get to meet new people all the time and learn about what others are passionate about. I get to work with top notch team of dynamic, creative people who have similar goals of community service. It allows me to have the flexibility I need for my family while touching many more lives than I could by myself. In the end, your body of work should speak for itself. I hope that mine will be a legacy of giving and service.

Thanks to Rebecca Barnes, Prince William Living

I Lost My Job

I worked in Management roles since I was 23 after years and developing the companies bottom line. I had learn a wide range of skills. I wanted to follow my passion and work in the outdoors. I took on a challenge to Climb Mt. Everest and raise $100,000 to build the Mt. Everest Primary school in Uganda with a friend of mine. Off the back of Climbing Everest I lost my job and vowed to set up my own business. I now own and run my own worldwide travel business managing groups and teams trekking and hiking around the world. I also speak internationally and an ambassador for the charity Fields of Life. This was the best decision I have ever made, challenging but a rewarding way to spend my time. I get to travel meet new people and see change at the Everest school which our company supports.

Thanks to Ian Taylor, Ian Taylor Trekking

To Contribute at a Higher Level

I found the market was lacking any products that were 1) useful and 2) a way to contribute and give back to a cause. Thusly OriginalBOS was born. Our first product was Balls of Steel whiskey coolers. Essential it's a merge of a cause supportive awareness campaign and extremely useful to chill drinks better than ice without diluting the flavor is tap water from ice melt.

Thanks to Grant Vollmer, OriginalBOS LLC

There Was No Information Available to Consumers of Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverage suppliers are not required to provide health or nutrition information to consumers. Even standard nutritional facts such as sugar and calories are not required. Furthermore, the only taste rating system available to consumers of wine, beer and spirits is subjective. Using this current rating system, an “expert” tells consumers what “they” like based on a 100 point scale…not blindly I may add. Considering that 67% of Americans consume wine, beer or spirits, we saw a real need. So, we hired a PhD in chemistry, purchased $1 million worth of lab equipment and are testing wines, beers and spirits for health and flavor compounds. Now, health-conscious consumers can visit our site and find alcoholic beverage low in calories, sugar, sulfites and heavy metals (e.g. lead and arsenic). Or they can find beverages high in antioxidants, vitamins and also, those that are free of common allergens like gluten. For the more taste-conscious consumer, we offer our Copy Cat taste comparison system. Copy Cat allows consumers to discover nearly identical beverages to their favorites based on the similarities of taste and aroma compounds. This disruptive information is provided freely to the public at

Thanks to Kevin Byrne, BeverageGrades

To Break my Comfort Zone and Dream Big

My company equips individual investors with stock analysis tools to make stock analysis and valuation quick and easy at an affordable price. The kicker is that I have no finance, business, investing and coding background. There was pushback from family and friends about the risks involved with growing a htake the business further. Unfortunately, their advice focused on “safety” and “stability. It was completely different advice to people who were already successfully running their own businesses. So I decided to ignore the “safe” advice from family and learned to trust myself and what the business numbers were telling me. That first step completely smashed my comfort zone and has helped me to become a big dreamer, not afraid of testing new ideas.

Thanks to Jae Jun, Old School Value

2 Reasons

I started my business for 2 simple reasons: 1) I hated working for other people, and 2) I saw a major problem in the industry I was working. There is nothing more frustrating to an intelligent and hard-working person than to witness malfunctions occurring in an industry. The lazy ones sit and watch them occur, the ambitious ones think of a solution, the crazy ones actually try to solve them. However, there is nothing more rewarding in this world than to create a scalable solution that makes millions of lives faster, better or easier.

Thanks to Michael Chasin, Law Kick

Every Child Should Look Adorable on their Special Day

I founded Black n Bianco children's formal wear because I wanted to provide affordable children's formal wear. As a mother of three it was difficult trying to find a tuxedo or suit for my sons because of the prices. A regular generic boys suit would cost well over $100 dollars. It was hard trying to justify that price when they would only wear it once or twice if lucky. I saw a need and decided to start my own children's formal wear line. By offering affordable children's formal wear, Black n Bianco was created. With time we were able to find the best quality fabric for our suits without overpricing our products. Now every child no matter what background they come from can own a pair of boys suit.

Thanks to Black n Bianco

There was a Fight

I was producing a weekly MMA program for a cable network and at one of the events two of the ring girls got into a fight. Apparently it was over who would get to enter the cage during the main event when the biggest television audience would be watching. Fists started flying and suddenly every eyeball in the place was glued to these two attractive girls fighting – no one cared about the two guys in the cage anymore. As people tried to pull the girls off each other I thought to myself, ‘That right there is a winner'. The next day I started pitching Lingerie Fighting Championships to cable systems and 200 systems later I still haven't heard a no. Our next event is April 11 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.

Thanks to Shaun Donnelly, Lingerie Fighting Championships

To Offer the World More

If I really look back over my “professional” career, I remember the big, and realistic, ideas that were grounded because the powers that be felt they were too innovative, too over the top, and too aggressive. However, what I was recognized for and were some of my most significant achievements over the course of my professional career were the result of my innovative, over the top and aggressive ideas. At some point, you simply realize that you have more to offer the world. When you get to that point, the desire to get up everyday to work for someone else is simply not there. When I reached that point, I knew that I had to exit for my own sanity. I had ideas that I wanted to execute, without limitations and fear from others. My business was birthed out of frustration and a desire to make a greater impact around the world.

Thanks to Kimberly O'Neil, The Giving Blueprint!

I Noticed a Problem

I've been doing some form of web development for almost 20 years, but as the technologies have gotten more complex, I started noticing a problem: web designers were limiting their visions to what they knew how to code. Because they can't realistically keep up with all the advances in both design and development, they were forced to make compromises. When I realized my development experience was exactly what they needed to have true creative freedom, I knew I'd found my niche.

Thanks to Sarah Lewis, WP Moxie

To Scratch My Itch

I was running an online lead generation company which involved using teams in the Philippines to generate leads for my clients on the internet. I wanted a simple way to quickly create procedure documents and track as my staff completed them. I couldn't find the product anywhere, so I build it! I thought that if I had a need for it, surely others would too, and I was right. Now thousands of companies from all around the world use Process Street to manage their Standard Operating Procedures.

Thanks to Vinay, Process Street

It Was Needed & There Was A Gap

I thought that women needed the service and that there was a gap in the market for it. My Beauty Matches offers customers personalized recommendations based on their age, skin type, hair type and lifestyle. They are then able to use the price comparison feature, the first of its kind for beauty, to get the best deal that suits them. I saw this concept to be very useful for women with a busy lifestyle as it saves them time and research to find out what beauty products are suitable for them.

Thanks to Nidhima Kohli, My Beauty Matches

To Help Save Lives

I first realized there’s something wrong with online health information when my best friends were coping with their daughter’s leukaemia. They spent hours sorting through the information found on the Internet! For people who are coping with serious conditions such as cancer, information can save lives. But while there’s plenty of great information out there, very quickly this body of information becomes overwhelming. It’s not clear what is credible and can be trusted, what applies to a particular case of interest and what is current. Also, staying abreast of the latest developments is nearly impossible, but even worse, most of the cutting-edge information is written for medical professionals, most people can’t understand at all. I truly realized the magnitude of this problem when I shared this with some of my friends who also had a similar experience: Oren, who lost his mother to cancer, figured there must be a better way; one should cherish the time with his loved ones instead of wasting it going over endless piles of irrelevant data. Steve, as a top physician, shared his daily experience with patients, coming with piles of information they found on the web, disappointed to find out that often it was not relevant to their specific case and more ominously simply wrong. Our joint passion and innovative spirit drove us to make it happen. We set about to revolutionize health information by making it personal.We founded Medivizor with the fundamental belief that people have the right to be informed about the best health information out there – trustworthy, free, state-of-the-art, understandable, and, most importantly, relevant to their specific situation – namely, health information, now personalized.

Thanks to Medivizor, Tal Givoly!

To Create A Unique Business

I started Anthem in 1999 because I wanted to create a unique business. I thrive on the ability to create and I see business as an art in many ways. I can create concepts that are enjoyable and fun, profitable and worthwhile, or both, which can help people on various levels depending on which type of client they are. This creativity I enjoy also goes hand in hand with energy, pace and ambition. I want to define how Anthem moves and progresses, and now as the company is reaching another maturity stage, it can move (almost) as fast as I want it to. Another reason I started Anthem was to have freedom – not freedom in the sense of doing only whatever I want, but freedom to move in different directions whenever appropriate. Yes, there is a great sense of empowerment and responsibility that comes with this freedom, but it is something I truly enjoy.  Finally, I love having the ability to shape the environment around me. This can mean anything from building our team to shaping our culture. I absolutely LOVE to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. I started the business to create a new culture and day-to-day environment. There is essentially no ceiling on what we want to do and I love that Anthem has given me that freedom.

Thanks to Chris Sinclair, The Anthem Group

Breaking Into A Blossoming Billion Dollar Industry

After graduating from college, I worked in the floral industry for three years, designing arrangements for weddings and managing a staff of 4 employees. My titles included head designer and new business development manager. I was very passionate about creating arrangements, loved using my artistic talents, and greatly valued the day-to-day client interactions; somehow I still felt unfulfilled. After doing some research, I discovered that the floral industry is extremely profitable; a 6 billion dollar a year industry and rapidly growing. I realized there was an untapped market in the B2B floral delivery, since there is such a heavy focus on weddings and personal arrangements. I pitched the B2B idea to several of my business mentors, and received positive feedback. Taking a huge leap of faith, in 2013, I created EJ Blooms, a floral design company in the largest US market…and I haven't looked back since.

Thanks to Elisabeth Santana, EJ Blooms

Leverage Technology to Bring People Closer

Just after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I went to Biloxi, MS to offer help to those impacted by the disaster. Once there, Red Cross told me my services weren't needed because they had plenty of help. I felt helpless and decided to rent a truck so I could drive around the area and pass out care packages to people I met along the way. This experience inspired Givatude, as I became interested in how small, meaningful exchanges can create an instantaneous bond between people. My co-founder, Shamik Desai, and I believe technology is doing an amazing job connecting people, but not necessarily bringing them closer. We wanted to start a company that leveraged technology to create bonds between people. Givatude enables individuals to send small, meaningful gifts and experiences to people anytime from merchants in their community. We believe giving and gifting should be fun, convenient, and frequent–Givatude makes all of that possible.

Thanks to Joydeep, Givatude

Why did you start your business? Did you have a favorite story? Tell us in the comments below.


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  1. My business started accidentally actually. My husband was working with a producer (as an actor) and I sent cookies to the set one day. She asked if I would make a basket of my best items for her friends to thank them for a great vacation. I had never done that before so I said yes. Turns out her friends were Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw. Steven and Kate started ordering that week. That was fourteen years ago and they are still my biggest customers!

  2. My business started accidentally actually. My husband was working with a producer (as an actor) and I sent cookies to the set one day. She asked if I would make a basket of my best items for her friends to thank them for a great vacation. I had never done that before so I said yes. Turns out her friends were Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw. Steven and Kate started ordering that week. That was fourteen years ago and they are still my biggest customers!

  3. I started my career as a nanny, working for a family with five children. I quickly learned what families need, and applied those real-life lessons to my business. I’ve been a nanny, owned a nanny agency, started,, and, and wrote “100 Tips for Nannies & Families” and “The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny For Your Family.” Plus, I’m a wife and mother of two young boys, so I know first-hand what it’s like to balance work and a family. I believe that women can have it all, but they need help to do so! My company provides that necessary help and support.
    Since I was young, I’ve always been a motivated, outgoing self-starter. My parents were self-employed, which motivated and inspired me to do the same. I had a great idea for a business, and I’ve experienced tremendous growth by meeting the needs of other families like my own – who need a little extra help at home.

  4. I started this publishing business because my sister-in-law wrote a book back in 1980, and no publisher was interested. I edited the book somewhat, and tried running it past publishers again, in 2005, but still no interest. The book is a personal memoir about her family’s traumatic experiences in World War II as German civilians in Eastern Germany as the Soviet Army invaded. It tells how the family was split up when both parents were taken for forced labor into the Soviet Union, leaving four little girls ages 4 through 10 alone in a burnt-out town, to fend for themselves. Later, my sister-in-law sent me a transcript of her mother’s story, typewritten from tape, and I turned this into a book as well. By this time, my wife (who was the four year old in my sister-in-law’s book) suggested we might as well try to publish the two books ourselves, since we believe the story needs to be heard by today’s readers. So the publishing company was born. So far we are just a two-trick pony (“Yesterday’s Sandhills” and “The Bones of My People”), but perhaps later we will be much more!

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