What a Monday it is! We’re kicking off the week with a bit more inspiration than usual, a bit more caffeine and a bit more energy for saying what matters. We are gearing up for our women’s photography retreat – SUBSTANCE – that kicks off this Thursday in Boulder, Colorado. All of the pieces are coming together for what is shaping up to be an incredible group of women – ready to take their photography businesses to the next level. We can’t wait to share with, - and learn from – them.
When sitting down and thinking hard – really hard – about what it is we do, the technical, the emotional, the inspirational – we gave a hard second look at our journey in our path as photographers. We’ve laughed and giggle-cried recounting all the stories along the way – the trying times, the overwhelming sleepless nights – the tiny victories that have come in the form of happy couples and simple emails of gratitude. Through all of these lessons, we’ve realized that we are not who we are without the people we’ve met along the way.
As part of this, inspiration would be lost if not for the women in business we’ve met along the way – women who are making it happen. They share the same dreams over the same cocktail napkins that we do. And while their businesses are each different and in different places at different times – the vision, the ambition, the goal is the same. To be bigger and better than you ever thought you could be. And that, they are.
As part of SUBSTANCE, we will explore topics in business as they relate to growing, excelling and taking risks. And how all of this fits into your life. We are excited to be welcoming an incredible panel of female entrepreneurs to join the conversation and share with us their stories and wisdom.
Here’s a sampling of the discussion to come!
Q: In the context of new ventures and possibility, we were recently introduced to the idea of the “Double Hump” (credit: imagine1day) – that emotional and logistical rollercoaster we’ve all experienced during the beginning phases of any new venture. The idea that you are climbing, climbing, gather, gathering information, you feel as though you are reaching the pinnacle – that golden ticket – that idea that is surely going to change your world and THE world. And then you meet a naysayer, or learn some facts that seem to make your idea impossible, impractical, foolish. Before you know it, you are no longer at the top – you’re certain your ideas aren’t possible, aren’t original…you have no talent and probably oughta stay where you’re at. This is actually just the valley floor – a precursor to the idea or venture that is actually going to take you to new heights in the proverbial “double hump.” Can you share with us your experience with naysayers and that vulnerability that comes with saying loud and clear, “I am an entrepreneur. I am going to make this happen.” What’s your “double hump”?
And to speak to these, we welcome these incredible women!
Sandra Hanna – Smart Cookies.com
Sandra Hanna is co-founder of Smartcookies.com, a web hub leading a positive financial movement by connecting and inspiring people to help one another reach their financial goals, and live a truly rich life – all without drudgery or deprivation. Just a few years ago, Sandra and the Smart Cookies were like many women in their twenties and thirties; despite great jobs, they were drowning in over $50,000 of consumer debt. Inspired by an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the five girlfriends formed a money group, and together started to share their goals and helped each other think about money differently. In just one year their financial situations had dramatically improved – and the girls had made major advances in their careers, relationships, and life goals. Their proven system for success has since been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, New York Daily News and Money Magazine. Sandra and the Smart Cookies are now the hosts of a fresh TV show on the W Network and the authors of The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough and The Smart Cookie’s Guide to Couples and Money.
Natalie Slevin – Owner, Sugar Bakeshop & Coffee House
Natalie Slevin is the owner of Sugar Bakeshop and Coffee House in Denver, CO. If the fact that her Easy Bake Oven was her favorite toy when she was a girl wasn’t a surefire sign of her future career path, then surely her need to try high altitude baking during her first trip out to Colorado at age 12 was. Working with butter and flour is most certainly what feeds Natalie’s soul, and turning her passion into a career was a natural step for this midwest transplant. After moving to Denver 5 years ago, Natalie saw a need for a fun, lighthearted bakery at the local farmers market. What started as just a Saturday morning market stand, quickly grew into a full time bakery business. After a few years of selling, networking, and growing into a legitimate wholesale bakery, Natalie is now venturing on opening her very first storefront. At 28 years old, she is beyond excited for this opportunity, yet still feeling the jitters of taking such a giant step. While she will never forget her original equipment, Easy Bake Oven, she is thankful for the capacity to be sharing her creations with more than just her parents…at high altitude no less. Taste her talent for yourself – Sugar Bakeshop & Coffee House will be opening at 3rd & Broadway in Denver, CO in the coming weeks.
Anna Walsh – anna be
Anna Walsh, along with her business partner Breanna Doll launched anna be in 2006 with the goal of creating a new kind of bridal shop. Inspired by their own (unfortunately disappointing) experiences when shopping for wedding dresses, they sought to open a design-forward, customer-centered boutique. A graduate of Harvard University, Anna never anticipated being an entrepreuneur. But a marketing background paired with a desire to build a better experience resulted in the start of a new business. Anna quickly rose to the top of the industry offering some of the most exclusive collections in the state.
Today, anna be is recognized as a market leader, bringing a chic and modern bridal experience to Denver. anna be has been voted “Top of the Town” in 5280 four years in a row, “best of” by The Knot, and a selected cool bridal boutique by Lucky Magazine.
Anna and Breanna are currently in the process of launching anna bebe, an online baby boutique, that will have the same philosophy of being a design-forward, customer-centered boutique experience. Additionally, Walsh is a consultant with Rodan + Fields where she is able to help build and develop a community of entrepreneurs.
Anna is the proud mama of a fiesty, three year old boy and a loving wife to her also-accidentally entrepreunerial husband. She loves reading, lounging, and just hanging out with good friends and family (that is when she’s not working!).
If you have interest in attending a SUBSTANCE workshop in the future, please let us know. While we have no concrete plans to host this workshop again in 2011, we will start a running wait-list – as it did sell out in 32 hours and were not able to host everyone with interest.
Here’s to a week of SUBSTANCE!
Jenna and Katie