VOLUME ONE FALL 2017
BRANDING FOR THE CREATIVE & FEARLESS We work with organizations and businesses that are passionate about their stories and want to bring them to life through a dynamic design process.
lustrehome.com @lustre_home email@example.com
SLEEK + EDGY BRANDING + WEDDING PAPER GOODS
Web: guestroomcreative.com Chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: guestroom creative
VOLUME ONE | FALL 2017
Founder & Publisher Jaâ€™Nai Frederick
Alexis Courtney www.alexiscourtneyphoto.com @alexis__courtney
Virginia Strobach www.virginiagabriella.com @amigahormiga
Liz Susong www.catalystwedco.com @catalystwedco
Jen Siomacco www.catalystwedco.com @catalystwedco
Hair & Makeup Contributor Nikki Browning Immortal Beloved immortalbelovedrva.com @immortalbelovedsalon
Style Contributors Liza Tullidge LIXO Group www.lixogroup.com @lixogroup
Rebecca Piersol The Crystal Press www.thecrystalpress.com @thecrystalpress
Nadia S. Anderson, Morgan Botwinick, Emily Bruno, Elisabeth Edelman, Ali Greenberg, Shannon Siriano Greenwood, Christina Kern, Amber Manry, Michelle Mercurio, C. Stinson Mundy, Ashley Reynolds, Ann Schweitzer Riley, Kelly Sherman, Rupa Singh, Lauren Stewart, Christie Thompson, and Christina E. Todd
April Auger, Barbara Bliley, Becky Crump, Anika Horn, and Bella Weinstein
www.bsidecollective.com IG: @bsidecollectiverva | Email: email@example.com
Email addresses are provided for professional correspondence only. Views expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Copyright ÂŠ 2017 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography, or illustration without written permission is prohibited.
CO N TE NTS 6
Interviews with the Boss Babes of RVA MORGAN BOTWINICK Owner & Pastry Chef, Whisk ASHLEY REYNOLDS Founder, Cloth & Paper AMBER MANRY Founder & CEO, bitcubs EMILY BRUNO Co-Owner & Certified Professional Doula, MyBirth LLC
Experts to Help Grow and Sustain Your Business CHRISTINA E. TODD, CFP ®
Vice President & Financial Advisor, Cary Street Partners C. STINSON MUNDY, ESQ.
Founder & Attorney, Linden Legal Strategies PLLC SHANNON SIRIANO GREENWOOD
Business Coach & Marketing Strategist, Lemon Umbrella LLC MICHELLE MERCURIO
Brand Visualization & Social Media Strategist NADIA S. ANDERSON, CPA, CGMA
Certified Public Accountant & Certified Wedding and Event Planner, Virginia Grace ANN SCHWEITZER RILEY
Commercial Real Estate Agent, One South Commercial | One South Realty Group
20 Dear Boss Lady 28 We’re Better Together 30 Sharing Space
Business Advice from Ladies Who Know What They’re Doing
Thoughts on Partnership and Starting Campfire & Co. Together
How the Independent Wax and Wane Wellness Set Up Shop within Boketto Wellness
32 Mission Driven Business
How Catalyst Wedding Co. Grew a Business Centered on a Set of Core Values and a Desire to Create Social Change
34 The Broad
A Making Space and Social Club for Women and Femmes, Coming in 2018 to Jackson Ward in Richmond, Virginia
36 In the Bag
Rupa Singh Loves Brands that are Committed to Social Responsibility
IN S P I R ATI O N Q+ A Interviews with the Boss Babes of RVA
M ORGAN BOTW I NI C K Owner & Pastry Chef, Whisk
www.whiskrva.com | @whiskrva EDUCATION
University of Virginia, English (BA) The French Culinary Institute (International Culinary Center)
WHAT D O YO U K N OW N OW THAT YOU DI DN ’ T K N OW PR IO R TO OPEN I N G YOUR SHOP ? H OW D ID YO U D EVELOP YOUR B U SI N E S S A C UM E N ?
I always envisioned myself in the role of pastry chef, in the kitchen getting my hands floury, and for the first year, that’s how it was. I was in the kitchen full-time, while also trying to attend to business matters during the day and catch up on all my email and managerial work at night. The more we grew, the more frustrated I became, because I felt like both my jobs were suffering; I wasn’t as focused in the kitchen, and I wasn’t doing enough behind the scenes to ensure the business was running smoothly. I realized then how important it is to find talented and dedicated staff and to do as much as possible to retain them. What I’ve learned over the past year, after stepping mostly out of the kitchen, is how much I enjoy the creative work of actually running and growing a business. I’ve learned completely on the fly, basically making it up as I go along, while looking up to women like Vivian Howard and Jeni Britton Bauer, who have grown their small businesses into powerhouses, while staying true to their original missions. I N P R EV IO US IN T E RV IE WS, YOU HAVE M EN T I O N E D T H AT YO U REGRET N OT HAVI NG A B US IN E S S PARTN ER. I S THAT ST I L L T R UE ?
It is. While I’m extremely independent and had a very specific vision in mind for this business, it was exhausting handling every single decision by myself. I hired The Apple Cart to help with some of the logistical steps, and my family was extremely supportive, but I felt that our initial success or failure was 100% on my shoulders, which was — and still is — a lot of pressure. Thankfully, I now have some fantastic senior staff members, like Mary Hoffer, our General Manager, who has been with me since we opened and whose opinion I value highly, as she is just as invested in our success as I am.
WHAT D ID YO U LE A RN FRO M KI C KSTART E R? W HAT SHO ULD OTHERS KNOW P RIO R TO CRE AT ING A CAMPAIGN?
Kickstarter should be viewed as a marketing opportunity. If all you need is money, you should apply for a loan. WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT LOCATION?
My husband and I happened to see the brand new “For Lease” sign in the window the day after it went up, and what really struck me was that every time we returned, whether it was on the weekend or at 5:00 p.m. on a Wednesday, there were always people around, walking to work or home, and I knew that was a good sign. IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Farmers’ markets are great test markets to try out new ideas and see what sells and what doesn’t. They’re also an exercise in catering to your customer, while also staying true to what you want to sell. Since we make everything in-house and in small batches, we can pivot pretty easily, so if one of our seasonal pastries isn’t selling as well as we might like, we’ll take it off the menu and try something else. When making the leap to retail, “Plan for the worst, but hope for the best.” Overestimate your budget and time commitment because everything will always be more expensive and take longer than you expect. WHEN THINGS GE T TO UGH, W HAT KE E P S YOU GOING?
To be frank, the fear of failure and my own drive to succeed. I also think about my staff, which has tripled in size since we opened. I feel a duty and responsibility to them to be successful and keep growing, and in turn, I know they have my back and believe in me as their leader. HOW DO YOU DEVELOP KEY PARTNERSHIPS?
We’ve been able to partner with some local markets (like Stella’s Grocery and Little House Green Grocery) on retail products, which has been really rewarding and is something we’re looking to expand. IF YOUR LIFE WAS A BOOK, TELEVISION SHOW, OR MOVIE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie! Obviously I love cookies, and my nickname as a little girl was Mouse, but I also totally relate to the idea of always thinking about what’s next.
AS H L E Y R E YN O L DS Founder, Cloth & Paper
www.clothandpaperco.com @cloth_and_paper EDUCATION
Virginia Commonwealth University, Business Administration (BS)
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
When I was 19 years old, I was hired by Capital One and stayed with the company for eight and a half years. In 2015 my husband and I moved to North Carolina for his job, and I took the opportunity to pursue my dream of starting a business. TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATION WITH MISTY COPELAND. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?
We reached out to Misty’s publisher as she was preparing the launch of her new book. At the time, we were looking for someone in the fitness realm to sponsor a healthfocused box as one of our monthly subscriptions. Misty was our first choice, and we saw her book release as the perfect opportunity to co-promote each other’s projects. The collaboration took months and months of planning, edits, and design, but we were able to solidify a collection that both of us were very happy with. The key to being able to work with such a big name was taking the chance to reach out and having a very solid and detailed proposal with a clear strategy of why it was a good promotional opportunity. IF YOU HAVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If you’re passionate about it, just start! I reflect now on the times that I had the opportunity to start, but didn’t. THE TOUGHEST DECISION YOU HAVE HAD TO MAKE.
The toughest decision I had to make was deciding to discontinue my job search when I left Capital One to move to Raleigh, North Carolina. However, to this day, it was the best decision I ever made. That’s when Cloth & Paper was born. WHAT LESSONS ARE YOU LEARNING AS YOU EXPAND FROM E-COMMERCE TO INSTORE RETAIL?
You can’t do it alone. I’m a control freak. Okay there, I said it. I like things done in a very specific style and a very specific way. However, if you want your business to grow, you have to learn to give up some control. Learn to lead and manage, and then get out of your own way. Hiring great talent is the key. YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL MANTRA.
“As you think, so shall it be.”
“If you’re passionate about it, just start! I reflect now on the times that I had the opportunity to start, but didn’t.” WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES FOR LEARNING AND RESEARCH IN BUSINESS?
Facebook groups, YouTube, conferences, and the like. Marie Forleo on YouTube has the best insight for entrepreneurs, in my opinion. WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH, WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING?
It takes a lot to get me down, and I like the challenge of having to figure things out, especially at the last minute. When things get crazy, I just turn to my favorite Pandora station (Chance the Rapper) and keep hustling. HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN THE INDUSTRY OF STATIONERY PRODUCTS?
When I started, there wasn’t much minimalist style stationery on the market, and I would have trouble finding things I truly loved. So, when I released my first range of products, I really focused on minimal designs with high quality finishings. I believe this has been the key to my success so far. Not only did I recognize an opportunity in the market, but I was also truly passionate about the products that I was designing. HOW DID YOU GET FUNDED, OR WHAT CREATIVE STRATEGIES DID YOU EMPLOY TO START UP?
I took my savings and income that I had made from eBay to get Cloth & Paper going. I taught myself how to use Adobe Creative Suite and Wordpress and “hired” my husband to help with fulfillment. Having a free employee and not having to pay anyone to do design for me in the beginning really helped to cut cost. I also started out of my spare bedroom. I really believe you have to follow a lean model (minimize costs wherever possible), and don’t try to do too much too soon. We started with just a few items and built out as we had the capital to invest in new product. YOU HAV E A MASSIV E INSTA GRA M F OLLOW ING; W HAT A RE YO UR TO P THREE TIP S?
Be consistent in the style of your pictures and posting frequency, have a clear message, and talk to your customers.
ALPHA FEMALE SISTERHOOD
Seo Kelleher intuitive coach www.couragetobe.com
Sarah Choi mover, doer & connector www.sarahchoi.rocks
P RO FE SSI O N AL S Q UAD
Experts to help grow and sustain your business
CH RISTI N A E . TODD, CF P ® Vice President & Financial Advisor, Cary Street Partners www.carystreetpartners.com EDUCATION
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Finance (BS)
I became a financial advisor after I experienced the ramifications of bad financial advice. My family placed not only their trust but also their financial future in the hands of a financial representative who did not provide the educated, personalized investment advice that my family needed. From that young age, I made the decision to educate myself in finance so that I could always strive to help others best achieve their personal financial goals. THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH A FINANCIAL ADVISOR INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
Planning. Financial advisors help you develop a holistic approach to your finances. In addition to giving advice about investing your money, advisors can help you develop a clear understanding of your financial path. They will guide you to satisfy both long-term and short-term goals by establishing a budget for your current expenses and helping you develop the discipline to put money aside for your future. Your advisor can help you design a plan to meet your goals, from buying a house to funding a college education or securing your
retirement. Advisors want to help you live a full life, both now and in the future. Experience. With specialized education and training, your advisor is knowledgeable about many different kinds of investments and can identify which may be most appropriate for you. Whether you are just starting to invest or are withdrawing from a retirement account, your advisor can help you make decisions, based on market conditions and your specific situation, for how to best utilize your resources. Peace of Mind. Many investors say that the biggest benefit of working with a financial advisor is less anxiety about finances. Your financial advisor is available to answer your questions and address your concerns, providing clarity and peace of mind. Together, you can develop a financial plan that decreases worries about day-to-day decisions and helps you focus on attaining your long-term goals. There are digital resources that can help you locate the right professional. The following websites are great places to start: Let’s Make A Plan (www.letsmakeaplan. org) provides certified financial planners by zip code or city, and BrokerCheck(www.brokercheck.org) gives a snapshot of a broker’s employment history, licensing information, and regulatory actions or complaints. AFTER SELECTING A POTENTIAL ADVISOR, SCHEDULE AN INTRODUCTORY APPOINTMENT, AND ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
• How does the advisor get paid? • What investment choices do I have? • Do you have any certifications (such as a CFP® or CFA®)? • Can I speak to a current client? • What are the advisor, custodian, and investment fees? • How will the success of this relationship be measured? What are the criteria for gauging performance? • What are the services involved/included with the advisor fee?
Christina E. Todd has a diverse background of financial experience, ranging from Wall Street to commercial banking portfolio management and financial planning. This breadth of experience enables Christina to provide thoughtful and wide-ranging advice to clients in pursuit of their financial goals. She obtained the Certified Financial Planner designation in 2015. Christina volunteers with and supports the VCU Massey Cancer Center and Lean In RVA, and she serves on the Finance Department Advisory Board and Recent Alumni Board for Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. In her spare time, Christina enjoys traveling, Hokie football, and equestrian sports.
C. STI NSO N M U NDY, E SQ . Founder & Attorney, Linden Legal Strategies PLLC www.lindenlegalstrategies.com EDUCATION
James Madison University, History & Women’s Studies (BA) University of Durham, England, History (MA) University of Richmond School of Law, Law (JD)
An attorney, an accountant, and a business owner walk into a bar…not long ago this combination of professionals was relied upon to forge incredible business plans, launch new product lines, and even get a few owners out of trouble. These days, it just sounds like the intro to a really bad joke. Attorneys have been relegated to the “only call when I’m in trouble” realm. Why? It’s partially fear of the unknown, part is fear of the cost (okay, a HUGE part), and part is a misunderstanding of the value a legal advisor can bring to you and your business. Attorneys help forge and execute your vision for growth and, hopefully, help you avoid costly missteps so that you can concentrate on what you love doing while we minimize the risks. The key is knowing when to bring us in, what to ask, and understanding the costs involved. LEVERAGE YOUR ATTORNEY’S EXPERTISE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
A great attorney can be one of the best investments you make in your business. She can help you navigate every essential element it takes to start, grow, and protect your vision. And because she works with a wide range of businesses, you get the benefit of her collective knowledge as she advises you in your industry. However, a lot of business owners tell me that they aren’t exactly sure what types of projects attorneys can help with. HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF WHAT AN ATTORNEY CAN DO FOR YOU:
• Help you start your business (formation) or add partners/members to an existing business (restructure) • Determine whether you should be using 1099 contractors or W-2 employees • Determine whether you need to pay your interns • Protect your intellectual property, your proprietary information, and processes
• Analyze your client-facing agreements (including your website terms and conditions, your return policies, etc.), counsel you on where you may have exposure, and advise you on how to best minimize that exposure • Analyze and negotiate agreements with your suppliers and vendors to protect your investments in their services and products • Put together a plan for growth outlining what it takes to open a new location or start a new product line • Negotiate and implement a funding strategy for growth, whether it’s through a bank, outside investors, or nontraditional routes (i.e. crowdfunding or venture capital) Every business, regardless of its size, deals with these types of issues. Bringing an attorney into the conversation early provides you with peace of mind as you move forward. All too often the problems we are brought in to fix could have been avoided on the front end, and without fail, it’s far less expensive to get it right in the beginning than to fix it after the fact. GET TO KNOW HER BUSINESS AND WHAT SHE BRINGS TO THE TABLE
Before entering into any relationship with an attorney or law firm, you should be comfortable with the individual you will be working with, her experience, and how she will handle your project. Every attorney works a little differently, and we all have our quirks. We won’t be offended if you interview a couple of us before you decide on the best fit — we don’t accept every client, and we don’t expect every potential client to want to work with us either. *This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Always consult appropriate legal counsel for specific questions related to your business. Some states may consider this attorney advertising.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD ASK US:
• What types of businesses do you work with and why? • What types of projects do you work on and/or enjoy the most? • How long have you been practicing? • How will we communicate, and who will be my point of contact? • How do you charge for your services? • How long will this project take? • Will you work on it personally, or are there other attorneys in your firm that will assist? Something to note: attorneys focus on many different areas of the law and usually have a vast array of resources to help guide them in areas they may not work in all the time. Never believe an attorney who says they know everything — they don’t. You want an attorney who can find you answers and solve problems, which usually means she’ll need to get back to you. We want to verify we’re giving you the best information, and if that means taking a little time to nail down the answer, we’d rather do that than give you one on the spot. UNDERSTAND YOUR LEGAL FEES (HINT: THEY SHOULDN’T BE COMPLICATED)
Most people’s biggest fear with legal services is the cost. Legal fees are expensive. Part of the reason for this is that the fees encompass more than just an attorney’s time. Every time an attorney gives you legal advice, she sets herself up for risk — risk that you won’t like the answer, risk that she’s wrong or something will go wrong, risk that you won’t listen to her, risk that you’ll bring a bar complaint, etc. As such, attorney’s fees are a mix of the value of her expertise and the risk she takes on with the project. Low-risk projects tend to be less expensive, and those that require more expertise and risk tend to be more expensive. In the business law realm, there are two main ways attorneys charge for their services: Bill by the Hour. Using this method, the attorney(s) and any support staff who work on your project will bill their time, in six-minute increments, and send you a monthly invoice for the total amount of time worked. Depending on an attorney’s firm and experience level, rates in RVA can range from $250 to $500+ per hour. You also need to know what the rate includes. For example, some firms charge extra fees for the costs associated with the project (i.e. copying, legal research, etc.). Flat Fee or Project Based. Using this method, you and the attorney agree on the scope of a project and the total fees related to that project. Most flat fee billing arrangements include all of the attorney’s time and costs.
As with hourly billing, the project fees vary based on the attorney’s experience and the complexity of the matter. Flat fees can create a sense of sticker shock up front, but they provide you an opportunity to budget accordingly AND know what your total cost will be. Another bonus is that many attorneys who charge flat fees will let you break out the cost into multiple payments. Personally, I’m not a fan of the hourly billing model. For small businesses without large budgets for legal services, it is hard to guesstimate how long a project will take and what the total cost will be in the end. I also find that business owners are less likely to reach out when they have a question because they worry about whether they’ll receive a costly invoice at the end of the month. Using a flat fee billing arrangement, that fear is taken out of the equation, and in my experience, it allows for more open and honest conversations with clients, putting them at ease with our relationship. If you currently work with an attorney who bills hourly and it works for you and your business — great! If it’s not working for you, it never hurts to ask if she’s open to a different model. WEIGH YOUR INVESTMENT AGAINST THE RISK OF DOING NOTHING
Legal services are a business investment with no easy way to measure the returns. You may not know if you avoided a serious issue with a client due to your agreement being airtight. You may not know that a disgruntled employee decided against filing a lawsuit because of how professionally you handled the termination with your attorney’s guidance. I like to tell my clients that “things are good, until they aren’t.” And when they aren’t, they can escalate quickly unless you’ve proactively worked to manage the risk. I’ve spent my entire career working with businesses, most of which had access to incredible legal resources, and others that unfortunately did not. Far too often, the businesses and entrepreneurs who need the most support rarely ask for it, while their larger competitors (and clients) have the resources to run circles around them. Part of our mission at Linden Legal Strategies is to break down the barriers that prevent businesses from accessing legal services, and in addition to fair and upfront pricing, we do that through education. Understanding how and when to leverage legal services can make all the difference in your business. And for most, the investment far outweighs the risk of doing nothing.
C. Stinson Mundy is an accomplished and experienced business law attorney and litigator, and she founded Linden Legal Strategies PLLC located in Richmond, Virginia. Realizing there had to be a better way than the traditional hourly billing model, she set out to start a law practice that broke down the barriers many businesses encounter when accessing legal services and opened the doors to big-picture thinking, deeper relationships, and open communication with clients.
SH ANNO N SIR I ANO GREENWO O D Business Coach & Marketing Strategist, Lemon Umbrella LLC
Temple University, Marketing (BBA)
The first time I opened a business, which was a brick and mortar boutique fitness studio, I was absolutely fearless (and clueless). I thought if I worked harder than everyone around me, hustled from sun up to sun down, and did everything “right,” I would be “successful.” Yes, my business was profitable, popular, and received praise from local press, but I wasn’t very happy. I was tired, depleted, and more tired. I was doing, doing, doing all the things I thought successful people did to grow a business, but I was honestly missing the point. Fast-forward to two years later: I sold my business and was ready to start over. I decided I would find a way to work smarter, not harder, and I would teach other people to do the same. I set a personal goal of making twice the amount of money in half the amount of time (working just 20 hours per week). I got my first client (a yoga studio owner), and then another (a cleaning company), and another (a fitness studio owner). Things were happening. What I discovered from starting two businesses is that there is always a more streamlined and focused approach to the work we do. There is a way to simplify our efforts, get really clear and focused, and set ourselves up to spend time doing the work we love without so much hustle! Marketing can get a bad reputation for being salesy and sleezy, which is why a lot of business owners try to avoid it. When marketing is genuine, it has the power to build an authentic community around your business, which is way more effective in increasing sales than the number of likes on an Instagram post. This is why hiring a coach is a business investment equal to finding the perfect location, or the perfect logo design, or the perfect website.
“It is important to know that a business coach is not going to do the work for you.” HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A COACH:
• Is it someone who has been where you are? • Do they understand your unique challenges? • Does their work style align with yours? • MOST IMPORTANTLY, do they practice what they preach? It is important to know that a business coach is not going to do the work for you. For instance, I bring a specific skill set in marketing to the work that I do with my clients, but I do not take over marketing operations. Because I work primarily with owneroperated businesses, teaching them to do marketing for themselves (and enjoy it!) is more effective than removing them from the process.
Shannon Siriano Greenwood worked as a marketing professional for eight years before taking the leap in her first entrepreneurial venture, Richmond’s first locally owned boutique cycling studio. Shannon later sold her shares of that business so that she could focus on coaching and mentoring other entrepreneurs full-time. She founded Lemon Umbrella, LLC, a company that offers small business strategy and coaching support to owner-operated businesses in product, service, and retail businesses.
M ICH E LL E M ERCURI O Brand Visualization & Social Media Strategist
www.michellemercurio.com | @michmerc EDUCATION
University of Puget Sound, English (BA) University of Phoenix, English (MA)
A storyteller is probably one of the last people you think you need when starting a new business. Yet when dreaming about a business, entrepreneurs begin by thinking about their business name, identifying the narrative of why they are starting the business, and designing the concept. In essence, before even beginning heavy business operations planning, a new owner starts to build a story. Savvy entrepreneurs know they need a solid brand identity as a foundation for their business. But brand goes deeper than a logo, color palette, and fonts. The heart of your business is your story — which is why a good storyteller, in the form of a brand strategist, is one of the first people you should have on your team to help you determine your plan and craft the best visual and
verbal elements to tell your story in the right way, on the right channels, to land the right clients. Brand agencies are often a one-stop shop for finding the specialists who can help you with everything from market research, to market positioning, to developing visual identity and brand voice and tone. For a comprehensive experience, these services would be paired with a strong marketing plan to help the business owner achieve the set business goals. But agencies are often expensive and cater to established brands. However, an individual brand strategist may provide what you most need to market yourself and your business. Brand specialists vary greatly, and the scope of the role is broad and often not all-inclusive. Some brand strategists are more analysis-based and focus on market research and positioning, while others are more concerned with visual identity and the design essentials, and some focus on marketing and communications planning and tactics. The best approach for finding someone who meets your needs and can position your business for success is to take inventory of what you need the most to get started. It’s easy to get caught in the mindset that says you need all things immediately. You don’t. To get started, you do need a strong visual identity to market yourself online, in print, and in person. Equally important is a compelling, concise story to tell on your social channels, marketing materials, and when meeting someone face-to-face. Choose a strategist based on an initial conversation about your business needs and compatibility with her skill set. Even if you’re sure of what you need, but especially if you’re not, ask about projects the consultant has completed for other clients to determine how the consultant will approach your work. Most importantly, choose a strategist who is good at listening and whose initial recommendations and proposal resonate with you in an authentic manner. Every business is different, and a good consultant tailors strategies and prioritizes your recommendations rather than offering a cookie-cutter approach. Whether you’re in startup mode, growing in the early years of your business, going through a redirect or transformation, or sustaining your business, the right brand strategist can help you clarify your story and communicate it authentically to connect you to the right clientele. You need a storyteller.
“The right brand strategist can help you clarify your story and communicate it authentically.”
Michelle Mercurio partners with driven entrepreneurs to visualize brands, strategize social media, and write stories to reach the right audience. She also uses storytelling exercises to deliver one-on-one coaching and group workshops on a variety of personal and professional topics in order to help clients grow and achieve their goals.
NADIA S. A N DE RSO N , CPA, CGMA Certified Public Accountant & Certified Wedding and Event Planner, Virginia Grace www.vagraceevents.com EDUCATION
University of Virginia, Accounting (BS) (MS)
For the past decade, I’ve focused on working with nonprofit organizations and small businesses as a certified public accountant (CPA). I’m also a certified wedding and event planner and the owner of Virginia Grace, an event management company. I chose to study accounting because I connected with the material in my first accounting class, recognizing it as business fundamentals. I also knew that I could always find work. Every business needs an accountant, no matter the industry or the state of the economy. HERE ARE A FEW INDUSTRY TERMS TO KNOW:
• Accounting: the theory and system of setting up, maintaining, and auditing the financial records of a company; the art of analyzing the financial position and operating results of a business. • Accountant: a person whose profession is inspecting and auditing accounts; think data analysis. • Bookkeeper: a person who does the work of keeping account books or systematic records of money transactions; think data entry. • Certified Public Accountant: an accountant certified by a state examining board as having fulfilled the requirements of state law. It is important to understand the distinction between these roles because each is critical to the financial health and sustainability of your business. You need a bookkeeper to update your financial records in real time. An accountant can ensure that you have complete and accurate financial records by reconciling accounts and classifying transactions. A CPA can advise business owners about regulatory compliance, provide strategic analysis of business performance, and assist with growth planning. Tax preparation is a separate discussion altogether, and you should focus on accounting for your business more often than just at tax time.
“I like the analogy that accountants are to your business as mechanics are to your car.” The definition suggests that accounting is both a science and an art. It is likely that you will choose different individuals to fulfill these roles. When selecting financial professionals to work with your business, check their credentials (CPAs are listed with the state board of accountancy), and ask for references from organizations in your industry that are similar in size. Ask about their experience with the federal, state, and local statutes in the geographic area where you do business and form relationships with financial professionals who are focused on the growth and success of your business. I like the analogy that accountants are to your business as mechanics are to your car. There are some general maintenance tasks that you would trust to anyone, like washing the car; however, there are some tasks you only allow a trusted specialist to perform. As a startup, you may be able to handle the accounting on your own or find a bookkeeper. However, if your business is growing and the financial transactions are increasing in amount and frequency, or if you’re hiring more employees to carry out the day-to-day tasks, it becomes more important to be connected with a financial professional who knows your specific company or industry well. Best wishes for a smooth ride!
Nadia S. Anderson is a natural connector, encourager, entrepreneur, and event enthusiast! She has worked as a financial statement auditor with public and private companies. When Nadia is not working, she enjoys reading, exploring the Richmond food scene, attending live concerts, indulging in spa treatments, and discovering new corners of the Earth on unplugged vacations!
ANN S CH W E I T ZE R RIL E Y Commercial Real Estate Agent, One South Commercial | One South Realty Group
www.rva-spaces.com | @rva_spaces EDUCATION
University of Virginia, English (BA)
Growing up in Warrenton, Virginia, I spent many summer evenings walking through neighborhood homes that were under construction. My family would admire and critique one stick-frame home at a time. We imagined their completed layouts, finishes, and backyards, projecting how these spaces would look and feel as the homes they were destined to be. Little did I know that these impromptu discussions on design, form, and function would lay the proverbial foundation for my career in real estate.
I have a fascination with space — how we live in it, how it can affect moods and interactions, and how it can impact one’s way of seeing the world. With One South Realty Group I have branded my own practice, RVA Spaces, with a simple mission: to focus on high quality space that encourages and cultivates a creative and entrepreneurial spirit. The name “RVA Spaces” was a natural analog for conveying the symbolic multitude of spaces that inspire visioning, community, and future-building, in addition to becoming a catalog and showcase for all that Richmond already has to offer. The commercial real estate agent is a licensed expert who understands the factors that impact business space, including the economy and market, ordinances, lending, and construction. An agent is an advocate and negotiator. The professional you employ should have administration support, experience or familiarity with your industry, successful case studies, and a brand that is aligned with your business and project. If you are looking to lease or buy commercial space, it is important to find an agent who is knowledgeable about the market, patient yet energetic, and well-connected to current happenings within the local business environment. BUSINESS OWNERS NEED TO ASK PROSPECTIVE COMMERCIAL AGENTS THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
• How long have you been in the business? • How much of your practice is allocated to leasing versus sales? • What is your specialization (office, retail, industrial)? • What geographic locations do you work in? • What is the process for finding and securing a space to lease or buy? • What industries do your clients work in? • Do you have a minimum requirement in terms of deal size? • What are the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) sources you utilize to find property? (Most commercial agents should have access to, at a minimum, CoStar and/or LoopNet. If they have access to the local MLS as well, even better.) • Have you helped a client build out their space? (If applicable.) • Do you spend more time working with tenants or landlords? Buyers or sellers?
“I have a fascination with space — how we live in it, how it can affect moods and interactions, and how it can impact one’s way of seeing the world.”
Ann Schweitzer Riley has pursued her fascination with buildings and love of urban planning and design as a real estate appraiser, nonprofit affordable housing legal assistant, commercial project manager, and international corporate real estate firm sales and leasing associate. Ann is currently a leasing and sales agent at the progressive and highly collaborative One South Commercial | One South Realty Group.
DEAR BOS S L A DY
Business advice from ladies who know what they’re doing.
Dear Boss Lady,
SKRT, SKRT! I just received an unjustified one-star Yelp review. How do you handle bad press, the social media trolls, and the Debbie Downers?
MORGAN BOTWINICK | Owner, Whisk
“I make it a point not to read most of our public reviews. I generally don’t find them to be particularly constructive, and they can be distracting. I try to focus instead on how many of our customers are regulars, some of whom we see almost daily, which helps me remember that we’re definitely doing something right.”
RUPA SINGH | Owner, Love This
“I really haven’t experienced this too much, but I would definitely go to the Boss Babes RVA Facebook group for advice if I did!”
C. STINSON MUNDY, ESQ. Founder & Attorney, Linden Legal Strategies
“Don’t ignore them! Let your customer service skills shine through. Rarely do customers expect perfection, but what they do want to see is that if/when you make a mistake (and we all make mistakes), you own up to it and work to make things right. This can be really hard when you don’t agree with the review, BUT the better your response, the better you’ll come out looking.”
Public Relations Specialist, Golden Word “In the case of a legitimate negative review, I advocate responding swiftly and personally, initially addressing publicly, then moving off-platform for a more in-depth discussion. Regarding trolls, I ignore them — my time is better spent elsewhere. If they are egregiously distasteful, delete.”
Dear Boss Lady,
I am ready to step up my game. What are your favorite tools or resources for small business?
Public Relations Specialist, Golden Word “The one must-read, change-everything book is Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. His theory of focusing energy on your highest point of contribution compelled me to start my own PR firm. The practice of ruthlessly prioritizing is applicable to not just work, but also your personal life. I also live by Todoist, an online task manager, and enjoy the Google Chrome extension Momentum, a productivity tool.”
CHRISTINA E. TODD, CFP ® Cary Street Partners
RUPA SINGH | Owner, Love This
“Google Suite, QuickBooks, Trello”
• Mint.com, a website to aggregate all your financial data • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Founder, Cloth & Paper “My favorite book is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. My favorite podcast is StartUp. I also have a favorite app that allows me to focus on business strategy and my personal development: the Dunkin’ Donuts app. The option to order coffee from phone has become VERY important for workdays (everyday). Furthermore, the Instagram analytics feature is awesome. You have to upgrade your Instagram account to a business account in the settings, which is free. Same goes for a Facebook business page. I am a huge fan of paid ads on these two platforms.”
• Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis • The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
C. STINSON MUNDY, ESQ.
Founder & Attorney, Linden Legal Strategies “I recommend every new business owner read The E Myth by Michael Gerber and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I’m currently reading In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney and LOVE learning about how others started and run their businesses. I’m currently listening to The Next Tuesday Podcast, which features local(ish) women sharing their incredible stories.”
Dear Boss Lady, Help! I need some tips on networking and business cards!
Public Relations Specialist, Golden Word “When networking, you will be better served by having a true conversation with one or two people than by meeting everyone in the room. Look for and follow chemistry; that’s when things get interesting. I also like to connect beyond the surface. What does the person I’m talking to care about? Everything about a relationship will be more powerful if you take time with a conversation and are thoughtful.”
C. STINSON MUNDY, ESQ.
Attorney, Linden Legal Strategies “Be yourself. It’s hard to remind ourselves sometimes that we don’t want to work with everyone. Repeat that. You don’t want to work with everyone. You want to work with people you click with, who love your product and understand your value. The only way they figure that out is if you are yourself in all of your interactions. Business Cards: I believe that less is better. Let me know how to find you, and then I’ll do the rest. I love a clean card, and when businesses put too much on there, it starts to look messy. Personally, I upload the information into my contacts and then recycle the card. Networking: Don’t judge the success of an event by the number of business cards you give out and instead, judge it on the number of cards you receive from quality contacts. I consider an event ‘successful’ if I receive one or two cards from other professionals I want to follow up with, and then I make sure to reach out within 48 hours of the event. That way, I am in control of the initial follow-up and am not waiting for others (who are equally as busy) to take that first step.”
EMILY BRUNO MyBirth LLC “Talk to anyone who is interested in learning about what you do. Rather than opening conversations with people you already know or feel comfortable with, make a point to seek out those you don’t know at all, introduce yourself, and ask about what they do. I listen for parallels between our two businesses and then build the conversation off of those observations.“
Our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Becky Premock â€” beautycounter.com/beckypremock â€” firstname.lastname@example.org
Empowering your brand. + Inspiring your success.
804.798.1245 email@example.com boomhitch.com
Brand | Web | Marketing
AMB E R MAN RY Founder & CEO, bitcubs
University of Virginia, Systems Engineerings (BS)
HOW WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO COMPUTER PROGRAMMING?
IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
When I was about four or five years old, I saw my brothers use a BASIC program to print out their names. We also had an Atari 2600, a Commodore 64, and all the latest video games that were marketed to boys in the 1980s.
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF BEING A WOMAN OF COLOR IN THE TECH INDUSTRY? HOW DO YOU RISE ABOVE THE NAYSAYERS?
Quitting my job and leaving a steady salary.
Despite what others might think, my experience has been pretty positive. In order to work well with people, I’ve always focused on what I have in common with someone. I had a very similar upbringing to many developers. I played the same video games growing up, and I had all the STEM-related toys: Capsela, Mouse Trap, and Steve Austin of The Six Million Dollar Man were popular in our house. As developers, we have a shared mindset in terms of problem-solving. In a sense, we are trained to remove emotion from the equation in order to find a solution. Focusing on commonalities has helped me to surround myself with people of all races and genders, who are supportive of me, and avoid the naysayers.
Gosh, there are so many lessons learned. Here are a few:
That’s not to say that I have never experienced sexism, racism, or ageism. As a Filipino woman in her 40s, my identity is a triple whammy. I can sense when people doubt my capabilities solely based on my looks. I’ve learned to just prove them wrong. I will say that as a female minority in IT, climbing the corporate ladder to reach the C-level suite is an elusive feat. It’s much easier to create that role for yourself and start your own company, which is what I’ve chosen to do. If you’re a government contractor, you can work toward getting 8A status for your company, which acknowledges that you are female or minority-owned, potentially helping you win work with the government. HOW DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OR IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Back in 2013, my daughter’s preschool had a career day for parents to talk about their work. I knew I didn’t want to show a bunch of three-year-olds a computer screen. So I invented a game that teaches kids to break down their actions into a sequence of commands, which is what a computer program is. This is when I stumbled across the idea of incorporating physical play in order to teach coding, which is the basis of bitcubs.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST DECISION YOU HAVE HAD TO MAKE?
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
• Brace yourself for rejection. • Find your product/market fit first. • Learn the nuances of Facebook advertising and AdWords before wasting too much money. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
The kids. When I see a kid’s eyes light up because they’ve discovered something or they feel proud of accomplishing something, there aren’t words to describe that feeling. I once had a girl tell me, “I thought coding was boring, but it’s actually fun!” I will never forget that moment. HOW DID YOU GET FUNDED, OR WHAT CREATIVE STRATEGIES DID YOU EMPLOY TO START UP?
I chose to bootstrap myself. If you have the means to do it, then I highly recommend going this route. You aren’t beholden to anyone else, and you can change your business plan at a moment’s notice. This flexibility is important because it allows you to be nimble and have a pulse on the market. The ability to make quick decisions is critical to your success. For me, this independence also means I won’t scale my business before I’m ready. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WITH YOUR BUSINESS?
I hope to scale my business out to different geographic areas, starting with my old stomping grounds of the DC Metro area. I’m also working on a couple ideas for children’s books and hope to have those projects completed in five years.
E M I LY BRUNO Co-Owner & Certified Professional Doula, MyBirth LLC www.mybirthrva.com @mybirthrva
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT LOCATION? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON THAT?
Primarily, we wanted to make sure that we were centrally located and close to public transportation. MyBirth has clients that come from all over Central Virginia, and Scott’s Addition has easy access to 95, 195, 64, Broad Street, and Boulevard. We also considered what we will need as our company continues to grow over the next five years. We asked questions like: Would we need to move again if the business takes off as we hope? Could our landlord accommodate our growing needs for parking, layout changes, build-outs, heating, air, and plumbing? Would there be room for more employees and more product? Thankfully, we found a location that meets all of those needs. WHAT A R E T H E C H A L LEN GES AN D B ENEF ITS O F A PA RT N ERSHI P?
I’ll list the benefits first because those are numerous and easy: having a shoulder to lean on, being able to turn to a partner when you need help or to share the workload, having other voices to temper my sometimes unbridled enthusiasm and help me stay productive, having partners that can see the big picture and be just as invested in the outcome because they are partners and not employees. Challenges? Well, I have a lot of big ideas, and sometimes it’s hard to hear that they may be big, but they aren’t necessarily good. But that’s another benefit to having partners that you trust, right? I can take the criticism without taking it personally. And sometimes it can be frustrating if I’m out-voted on an issue, but that’s the price that I pay to have this steady sisterhood and shared responsibility. IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be honest with yourself. After that, get help with the things that aren’t in your wheelhouse. For example, if organization or finances are tough for you, find a bookkeeper or accountant. Don’t waste hours of your life trying to learn which taxes to pay on which day to which office. If you don’t have a ton of capital to start out, find some free or low-cost workshops in your community where you can get help and guidance. One example is your local SCORE office; MyBirth has benefitted tremendously from their free mentoring. WHY DO YO U D O W H AT YOU DO?
First and foremost, I’m a birth doula. I feel fortunate to have found a true calling in life, and I’d go so far as to say it’s my vocation. My work is founded in my belief that all people deserve respectful care with full autonomy for decision making, particularly during childbirth when we are at our most vulnerable. Respectful, evidencebased care during birth is a human right, not a luxury.
Unfortunately in the U.S., we have maternal and infant mortality rates that are on par with developing nations, and they continue to INCREASE. A birth doula’s job is to be in the room as an advocate for her client and to ensure the client is always the voice of power in the room. Our vision at MyBirth is to bring the doula profession into the mainstream of American birth practices, becoming recognized as integral to satisfying, safe births. As we work to offer franchise opportunities and to license our educational classes, I hope to see MyBirth offices opening in cities all over America and our unique curriculums taught in many hospitals. YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL MANTRA?
“Success isn’t behind you; it’s on the horizon.” Basically, yes, you will have competitors. As your business grows and you help to create more demand in the market, other people will be inspired to follow suit and attract those same clients. If we spend all of our time looking behind us at what our competitors are doing, we limit our own vision and growth. As tempting as it is to try and follow each step of another business’s strategy, we must remember that it was our own innovative thinking that brought about our success, not our imitation of others. WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WERE NOT PREPARED FOR OR EXPECTING WHEN STARTING OUT? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THAT?
Starting a business has this initial flurry of activity that felt really overwhelming. You have to get a license, pick your tax status, open bank accounts, find an accountant and a lawyer, do marketing and advertising, find a location, get customers — the list doesn’t end! I naively thought that there would come a time when things would “settle down,” as if there was a finish line ahead and once we crossed it, everything would be easier. As time went by, it felt like someone kept moving the goal post. I’d pass a big milestone and feel relieved for a few days, but then I’d find my proverbial plate full again. The realization that I eventually came to is that starting a business is like having a baby (I can make anything into an analogy about birth): being a parent doesn’t end after gestating your baby and giving birth — you just transition into the next chapter of parenthood.We never stop being parents no matter how old our kids are, right? So that’s how it is with the business. A business left alone will not thrive. It must be fed and nurtured; it takes time and energy and attentive care. I F YOU H AV E O NLY T HRE E IT E MS O N A DESERTE D ISLA ND , W HAT A RE T HE Y?
Sunscreen, a knife, and a solar-powered CommRadio. Is that too practical of an answer?! (laughs) That’s just my nature, I guess. If I were to pick items that weren’t crucial to my survival, they would be coffee, my Kindle with an endless selection of Regency-era, historical romance novels, and sunscreen (because tattoos are an investment, and skincare is always important).
W Eâ€™RE BETTER TOGETHER Thoughts on partnership and starting Campfire & Co. together. WRITTEN BY LAUREN STEWART, CHRISTINA KERN, & CHRISTIE THOMPSON
Starting a business is a big decision, and the one thing that’s made it a little less terrifying and lot more fun is doing it together. For us, it was an easy decision. We had been through four years of college together and a six week road trip across the country, and we still managed to be really excited about the potential to work side by side every day. There are a lot of ups and downs in business, especially as you’re just starting out. Sometimes that makes having a partner a little bit harder, but mostly we find it to be incredibly helpful and rewarding. When working with clients in the startup phase, we always suggest identifying at least one person in your life who can act as a sounding board and support system. It’s a really valuable relationship. Like we mentioned, becoming partners was very organic to the decision to start a business. On that six-week road trip across the country, we talked a lot about what type of work we wanted to do as designers and where we saw ourselves making a mark in the industry. We hatched the idea of Campfire & Co. during those discussions in the hours between national parks and campsites. In between college graduation and this road trip, we had taken slightly different paths in the industry. Christina took a more traditional path, working for a large corporate firm, applying her unique skill set of graphic design and spatial planning in AutoCAD to master plans for military bases. Lauren had launched headfirst into the small business world, working for one and two-person design firms and getting her feet wet as a freelancer. She was a little burned out from working alone and not necessarily being in charge of what type of clients she worked with. On the other hand, Christina was jealous of Lauren’s freedom and flexibility in the freelance world and really wanted to find a way to make that lifestyle work for her. She had a mortgage at the time, and she was a little worried about the risk of not having a guaranteed income, so she found a part-time job leasing apartments that made her feel more comfortable getting on board. Fortunately, our work picked up pretty quickly, and Christina was able to leave that job after only six months. Starting any business has pros and cons, but there are a few that are specific to partnerships. For starters, we had to make more money to become financially stable. We needed enough income for two of us, effectively doubling the amount of work a solo-preneur would be comfortable with. But, when you have someone else to answer to and be responsible for, it also forces you to tackle some important questions very early on. We had to get all of the legal and financial items buttoned up from the start. For us, that meant being more intentional and planning carefully for what we wanted our business to become. It was really valuable to do that at the beginning.
Finding the right partner is also really important. We almost felt like it was meant to be for us; we had previous experience working together in school, and our skill sets, along with our personalities, complement one another. We also really lucked out because we just so happened to be great friends. It probably doesn’t happen that easily for most entrepreneurs. We’re really thankful for that, and we do spend a lot of time nurturing the relationship, as we do the business, to ensure its continued success. It’s not always good vibes though. Disagreement is a given. The fact that our personalities complement each other also means that sometimes the way we want to do things is different. This is where having clear goals and smart resources available is really helpful. We often have to agree to disagree and move on, but if we know our goals are aligned, how we get there can be negotiable. Additionally, relying on other resources can help solve areas of disagreement. For instance, having someone help with financial planning or strategic business planning allows you to learn together so that difficult problem solving is rooted in a solid understanding of the issue or topic. If you’re looking to partner up in your business, we have a few final thoughts and considerations: • Test out the working relationship. We did this with our projects in school, and it helped us know how good of a team we would be for clients. • Understand your strengths and weaknesses. The fact that we both worked in the industry for a little while before starting our company helped us understand what we were good at and what skills we were lacking. • Be very aware of who you’re around early on. The advice of others around you will have a profound effect on how you grow, so make sure those folks are the ones with the best answers and experience. • Having a partner helped demonstrate legitimacy even when we were a very young business. Something about there being more than one person made our company seem more legit. (And pro tip: having a professional space to meet clients in was also a big factor in gaining respect). Even though it may be tougher at times to share control, we feel that being partners is one of the biggest reasons for our success. We’ve had the benefit of two sets of skills, two networks, two personalities, and two perspectives, and the total turned out to be much greater than the sum of our parts.
S H A RI NG S PA C E How the independent Wax and Wane Wellness set up shop within Boketto Wellness. WRITTEN BY KELLY SHERMAN L.AC., CHN
After studying acupuncture for five years at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and completing a two-year certification program in Eastern medicine dietetics (food as medicinal therapy) with the Wellspring School, I came to Richmond at the suggestion of a good friend. Prior to my relocation, I visited the area twice. Both times, I reached out to several acupuncturists requesting to either join a practice or share space, but I was unable to find an ideal opportunity. I envisioned having a space similar to Boketto, which was not established at the time, that had a retail area in the front and a practice in the back. It just did not exist, so I was resigned to opening my own space and ready to take out a small business loan. It was daunting because I had student loans, and it was difficult to find an affordable location, even with a real estate agent. Serendipitously, while I was putting together a professional website and Instagram account, it happened. I came across Jelena and her new practice concept, Boketto Wellness. There was no indication that she was either renting space or looking for another acupuncturist, but I loved her vision and just messaged her. Within two days, she accepted my request to meet, we talked for two hours, and she showed me her space. We really hit it off, and she offered me the opportunity to join Boketto as an independant practitioner. Jelena wanted an acupuncturist on site so that she could focus on her retail business on the front end. She was super flexible with me being a new practitioner, so we easily worked out an arrangement, and I started two weeks later. Inside Boketto there are four practitioners. We each have our own independent businesses and agreements with Jelena and Boketto regarding our hours, rent, etc. We work well together by offering complementary services like massage therapy, esthetics, and workshops. It is convenient to have products that I normally recommend to my clients available right here, where they can try samples and keep it local. Overall, we have a great business arrangement that makes this partnership seamless. THE BENEFITS OF SPACE SHARING
In addition to the fact that I am an extrovert by nature and like having people around, this model also offers an opportunity for lower overhead. I am in a better location that is more visible and much nicer than anything I would have had as a new, solo practitioner. Additionally, this environment creates a great referral network because my target market is already coming to the shop for complementary services and products. Lastly, Boketto is a space where I can provide workshops and community education, which is a wonderful service and marketing tool.
I am lucky that this arrangement doesn’t really have downsides. That is not to say that there are no issues — there can be growing pains. We are new and evolving. Yet, we are flexible and have open communication, with monthly meetings where we find remedies. As an example, in a multi-practitioner space, soundproofing can be a concern. We have learned to revamp the space with sound dampening curtains, sliding doors, and white noise machines. We work as a team to create a great environment for all of us. I love my space sharing agreement.
“It is convenient to have products that I normally recommend to my clients available right here, where they can try samples and keep it local.” HERE ARE MY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ANY PROFESSIONAL CONSIDERING SOMETHING SIMILAR:
• Be very proactive about voicing your concerns. • Know your boundaries, expectations, and nonnegotiables. Utilize the expertise of an attorney to hash everything out on paper in a way that is agreeable to both parties. That way, it will be easier down the road if situations arise. • Find a landlord who encourages a team environment by being realistically flexible. • Know yourself. I was hesitant about the space sharing model at first because I can be a little bit of a control freak. I was initially worried about personality clashes and so on. So I knew from the beginning that I needed to get over myself, be amenable, and be willing to give up a certain amount of control.
MI SSI ON DR I V E N How Catalyst Wedding Co. grew a business centered on a set of core values and a desire to create social change. WRITTEN BY LIZ SUSONG
By starting a business you have agreed to participate in a capitalist economy, but that doesn’t mean you’ve sold your soul. You probably want to make a difference in the world, and your business might even incorporate that vision. As a small business owner, you are charged with moving money in your local economy, and money means power, access, and quality of life. So congrats! As someone who makes and distributes cash, you have the power to effect change. IF YOU DESIRE SOCIAL CHANGE BUT AREN’T SURE WHAT ROLE YOUR BUSINESS PLAYS, HERE ARE A FEW SUGGESTIONS:
Leave it to the experts. Partner with a local nonprofit and donate a percentage of your profits or product sales to their efforts. Or simply donate a portion of your company’s time to volunteering. Share your talents. You have a skill set that benefits your community. Consider creating a limited number of scholarships for your services, or dedicate a portion of your creative energy to projects that really align with your values. Hire outside of your circle. As you grow, you will rely more on various professionals, like accountants, attorneys, and brand consultants, and you may even expand your staff. Ensure that you have a diverse group of people whom you work with and that you aren’t just relying on people in your immediate circle who are familiar and likely think the same way you do. Spend your money intentionally. Your company has monthly expenses. Track where that money is going, and ensure that you are spending your money with companies that share your values and local businesses when possible. If you purchase materials, take steps to ensure those materials are sustainably produced and that the makers are fairly compensated. Pay people fairly. Ensure that in your efforts to profit, you are not taking advantage of people or requesting free labor. If you’re not in the position to pay much, get creative about other ways you can elevate the folks you work with. Connect them to beneficial networks, trade goods and services, or find another small business to employ them part-time. You have a lot more power than you might think. While all of these suggestions may not feel possible in year one or two of business, I encourage you to just start with one. As you grow, so will your impact.
You can follow Catalyst Wedding Co. on Instagram @catalystwedco , and you can find out more about their mission at www.catalystwedco.com .
Photo by Shawnee Custalow
for vendors and couples who do weddings differently
THE BROAD A making space and social club for women and femmes, coming in 2018 to Jackson Ward in Richmond, Virginia. WRITTEN BY ALI GREENBERG
The Broad is a Making Space: a community center where we can learn from each other, a workspace where we can get it done, and a clubhouse where we can connect in real life. It’s a place that exists to make more space for all women in our city, in our community, and in our world. It’s a big idea — broad, even — but it is also a simple one: in a society where we are still put second (in compensation, reproductive rights, and even the cost of razors), there is a huge need to make more space for us and an extraordinary beauty in taking up more space together. On a functional level, there aren’t many spaces that consider a modern woman’s experience in the span of her day; few facilities take into account lactation needs, properly stocked menstrual products, or quiet spaces to decompress between meetings or calls. The growth of coworking and creative entrepreneurship has not been coupled with growth in lady-centric design and flexible work arrangements. So, we’re building a space with us in mind. At The Broad, our bathrooms will be stocked with plenty of tampons (never cardboard), and our kitchen will swap out the broworking kegerator for a wine cabinet. Our walls will be covered with local art representing the diversity of our city, and our library collection will showcase books by and about women. And beyond phone booths and private spaces for meetings, we’ll build a wellness space that will be furnished with everything needed for a mindful moment, a pumping break, or an ugly cry. We are designing 2,500 square feet of a multifunctional space where we can come together across industries, ages, and cultures. The Broad will be a place to take a meeting over coffee in the morning, grind out work during the nine to five, catch up with a friend for happy hour, catch a weekly yoga class, or enjoy a workshop or panel on astronomy or astrology — because we are multifaceted people in a multifaceted world, and it’s totally cool to be invested in the stock market AND the outcome of The Bachelorette. The Broad will be a “safe space,” though that doesn’t mean a place that is precious or boring. At The Broad, a safe space is one where we can freely discuss the complex issues that matter to us but are too often brushed aside — topics like ambition or illness or power or sex or race. We’ll bring in experts for panels on starting your first business or starting a new routine, we’ll have talks on pleasure and printmaking, and we’ll host workshops on appreciating your own body and full-bodied wines — all without mansplaining.
Sound like a space for you? You can follow The Broad on Instagram @wethebroad , and you can find out more about membership at www.wethebroad.com .
R U PA S I NG H Mobile Boutique Owner, Love This www.lovethisrva.com @lovethisrva EDUCATION
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
“The brands in my shop are committed to social responsibility. These global goods are not built en masse by machines or by workers in factories without safe environmental conditions, fair treatment or pay. Each curated piece is crafted by a human with a name and a story. Slow manufacturing is the key to creating quality products, returning respect to the maker, and effecting change in the mindset of the consumer.”
IN TH E BA G
Rupa thinks the notion of work-life balance is a load of BS. She manages her family and business straight out of a vintage Airstream trailer looking flawless and wellprepared. She believes in business for social, environmental, and economic good and practices what she preaches. Rupa’s bag is stocked full of curated goodness that is ready for any situation. A do good item not to leave home without? Rupa makes a special effort keep a gift card on hand for those in need.
LETTER FROM THE B I hope you enjoyed B SIDE collective’s introductory issue, a compilation of the people, places, and resources one needs to build or sustain a business. This mini-magazine is designed to spotlight a diverse set of women in Richmond who demonstrate some serious entrepreneurial game. We’re on a mission to be the guide for business inspiration, knowledge, and local resources. Follow us at www.bsidecollective.com and on Instagram @bsidecollectierva. Watch for our expanded issue, coming Spring 2018. BUT, WHAT DOES THE "B SIDE" MEAN?
B is for business, and “B SIDE” refers to the flip side of a record. While the mainstream deems it the less important side, the true audiophile understands that the B SIDE is where the real “gems” are found. The B SIDE collective represents the betas of society: women, non-binary folks, and people of color.
FOUNDER, B SIDE COLLECTIVE
Meet the Artists Behind this Issue
Thanks to Our Additional Sponsors
Published on Nov 18, 2017