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Updated: November 19th, 2020
Being a business owner is equally challenging and rewarding. It takes time to figure out how to overcome obstacles, but one of the best ways to learn is by listening to other business owners.
In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month this October, we’re sharing advice from 18 different women business owners. Below, they talk about how to stay true to your vision, satisfy customers, and grow from your mistakes.
Kirstie Wang’s paper goods brand, A Jar of Pickles, is joyful and colorful. Her creations feature fun, unique lettering, eye-catching designs, and plenty of puns. In addition to clever greeting cards, you can also find notepads, gift tags, stationery, and prints.
Aashi Vel is changing the way people eat when they travel. Her company, Traveling Spoon, connects curious travelers with local hosts for private meals, cooking classes, and market visits. Not only does each experience teach travelers about the food culture and culinary traditions in the area, but it also gives local entrepreneurs and chefs the opportunity to run their own micro-businesses.
Anita Lee’s San Francisco-based macaron company delivers — literally. Colette Macaron specializes in gorgeous, delicious macarons you can order for a gift, dinner party, office event, or birthday. Choose from innovative flavors like Thai tea, matcha lemon, pumpkin pie, basil chocolate, and birthday cake.
Annette Stepanian is on a mission to help entrepreneurs grow their dream businesses. She takes a savvy, fun, and straightforward approach to the legal side of entrepreneurship, assisting business owners with incorporation documentation, copyright, trademarks, client contracts, and more. She also teaches workshops and offers one-on-one business counseling.
Alison Mountford knows it’s tricky to decide what to cook each night and figure out how to use up all the food you buy. The average family of four sees $2,000 worth of good food go to waste each year. That’s why she created the meal plan service, Ends + Stems. When you sign up, you’ll receive recipe packets and customized meal plans designed to help you eat smarter, cook with ease, and limit food waste.
American Standard Safes, owned by Melissa Bettin, is the leading safe provider for hotels throughout the United States, Canada, South America, and the Caribbean. The company prides itself on offering reliable, secure, and affordable safes that last.
Natalie from Z Dog wants to help take care of your favorite furry friends. Her pet care business promises a safe, open environment with an indoor and outdoor play area for your dogs. The company offers daycare, overnight care, dog walking, and bathing — and even sets up parties for your pups.
Pay-Less Logistics, a family-owned produce and wholesale company, is the sister company to Pay-Less Supermarkets, a grocery chain on Guam founded over 50 years ago. Located in San Francisco’s Wholesale Produce Market, the company, owned by Vero Cavo Garces, exports fresh produce, dairy, beverages, and specialty grocery products to Asia and the Pacific.
Owned by Rose Kirshner, SF Dance Gear offers a range of affordable, functional dance apparel and accessories for both adults and kids. Think: leotards, tights, skirts, pants, pointe shoes, dance belts, tutus, and toe tape.
Jetpack, owned by Fatima Dicko, is a genius service that helps busy, scattered college students get the random items they need within minutes. Using the app, students can type in what they need, whether it’s a Halloween costume or computer charger, and connect with people nearby who have what they’re looking for.
Martha Daligan handcrafts gorgeous accessories and home items out of repurposed sweaters and fabrics like cashmere, merino wool, alpaca, mohair, chenille, fleece, and cotton. Her products include cozy hats and scarves, colorful mittens, chic tote bags, and kitchen towels, to name a few. Together with Aruna Designs, Daligan’s company partners with a Fair Trade organization in South India that employs over 200 local women to design and create handcrafted goods.
Jaclyn Leong is committed to providing the best pet care for your animals. Her business, Fuzzy Comfort, is located in Fremont, California and offers grooming, daycare, and dog walking services that come to your home. She also teaches her clients practical techniques and solutions for creating a safe pet environment and building bonds with their animals.
Legion is a shop and art gallery located in San Francisco and owned by Sydney Pfaff. The beautiful, light-filled space showcases prints, ceramics, textiles, small batch fragrance lines, and original artwork that rotates monthly. It’s the perfect place to buy home decor, peruse gifts for loved ones, or just delight your senses for an afternoon.
Artist and business owner Shelly Harper uses locally sourced metals and materials to make simple, striking jewelry that works with any outfit. All her jewelry is handmade and designed in Oakland, California, where she’s inspired by local street art, 80s fashion, and industrial hardware.
ellaprint helps you promote your business better. The San Francisco-based commercial printing manufacturer specializes in engraving, sandblasting, woodworking, pad printing, fabric printing, and more for everything from awards and coffee mugs to signs and hats. Owner Fran Herman makes a point to use recycled, reusable, and sustainable materials to help minimize the company’s carbon footprint.
Emily Wirowek believes in building genuine relationships with her clients. Her company, Wirowek Law Group, P.C., helps people throughout California with estate planning, special needs planning, business and exit planning, and trust and estate administration.
Kate Lester uses her design and architecture knowledge to create spaces that feel livable and approachable, but still luxurious. Her business specializes in ground-up design — in other words, everything from ideation to building and installation. She also has a store in Hermosa Beach, California where you can purchase home products.
Patti Garrand’s business, TreePaad Fun Center, is a veritable kids’ paradise. The play and party space in Malta, New York has everything a child could want: a bounce house, rock climbing wall, basketball, laser games, and a video arcade.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.