Once a month, I get together with 3 other women entrepreneurs for a “working” lunch. It’s always fun … we share a laugh and catch up on each other’s family news. This is always the first order of business. Eventually, the conversation switches to work related topics and it is amazing how many problems are solved by our collective efforts. Who would have thought that 4 totally separate businesses have so much in common?
One of my friends, Christy, is the founder and owner of TeachMy.com. She has successfully launched 3 separate learning kits for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Her product is sold in big box and boutique stores across North America. Another friend, Joanne, owns Seasons-UV, a company that manufactures UV protection active and swim wear overseas in China although they are currently shifting production to Mexico. Her product line is available throughout North America and increasingly overseas. Tonya owns Hamilton’s Theatrical Supply which manufactures ballet and skating outfits that are sold across Canada. In addition, she runs a costume rental business and is expanding in to children’s birthday party events. Her business employs 15 full time staff. And then there’s Tail Wags Helmet Covers, my small business with one full-time staff… me! I design, sew, package and market my own helmet covers.
Obviously, all 4 of us are extremely creative but each of us uniquely brings something different to the table each time we meet. Christy has a PR background, Joanne is an accountant and Tonya grew up learning the family business under the guidance of her parents. My background is teaching and costume design although I’ve always had strong marketing and sales skills. I am also the first to admit that I’m hopeless at accounting and financial stuff. It’s our varied interests and expertise that we all benefit from. We are happy to share our knowledge, business contacts and resources. If we can find a way to promote each other’s businesses, we’re happy to do so. In other words, “together we are stronger”. Isn’t this the way the world should always work? I know that’s a rather simplistic world view and, in an ideal world, there would be no competitors, but I’d like to think it’s something worth striving for.
I’m sometimes asked for advice from other mompreneurs who are considering starting their own business and I think my most valuable recommendation is to find a support group. I know that this resource is vital to my success and sanity.
Author: Karyn Climans
Tail Wags Helmet Covers Inc.