STRATA Success – Lesley Kelly

STRATA Member Lesley Kelly – lil’ ol’ me

Lesley Kelly

After making a difference in the lives of children for 25 years in the daycare business, Kelly decided she needed to take her passion for helping children and creativity to a whole new level and make a BIG Difference! She started lil’ ol’ me, “cute n’ colorful, quality clothing and accessories”. Lil’ ol’ me is a statement, an attitude, a child’s right to be heard, “it’s all about lil’ ol’ me!” Kelly features organic lil’ ones, and toddler t-shirts as well as fun youth t-shirts and a teen line called LOM.

Kelly also started lil’ ol’ me Making a BIG Difference, a “foundation for the lil’ nation” that raises money through the sale of Lollipop Lane bracelets and fundraisers for kids to provide scholarships and therapy for children with autism. Kelly’s mission is to teach children the importance of tolerance and helping others with special needs as well as raise awareness among children about autism. She’s found when kids get involved with fund raising activities; it raises their self-esteem, gives them a sense of pride and purpose and focuses their attention on someone other than themselves. It also teaches them “if we all do a lil’ we can create something BIG”. Kelly read that 75% of children that volunteer do so as adults. What better way to create a better future for us all?

Lil' Ol' Me

After watching kids in her daycare with autism, Kelly learned more about it and slowly I became passionate about these children and this cause. She watched first hand the struggles both families faced, as well as herself, in her daycare with children with autism. Financially Kelly struggled as she lost kids in her daycare that were not tolerant of the children with autism. Families also struggle with the cost of services for their children, as most are not covered by insurance. This is why Kelly is so passionate to make a BIG difference in the lives of children and families with autism.

Being one of the many women without a college degree, Kelly used to think that limited her possibilities of a career. She found out that all she needed was the courage to follow her dreams, a lot of hard work and a lot of passion for the message that she is sending out.

Kelly launched her company in June 2010 and got her 501 (C) (3) in October 2010 for the foundation. Today is April 2010. Kelly has held 1 event at Chick-Fil-a this month where they donated 10% of the sales to her foundation. She has also partnered with Crazy Bands, the hottest selling kids product right now across the country. Kelly designed a “treats” package where a portion of the proceeds from each pack sold go to her foundation. They have already sold 10,000 packs in 1 month! As for Lollipop Lane, they have made their way to Bloomingdales as well as major chains like Learning Express, Pigtails & Crewcuts and 11 other stores. Lil’ ol’ me clothing is now in 4 stores.

Kelly has received Press from CBS Atlanta, Atlanta Intown, TD Monthly, Moms Like Me.com, Wob Wire, Career Apple, Mom Central, OC Family, LA Splash, and Kids Trends.

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STRATA Member Success – Dawn Hanson

STRATA Member Dawn Hanson – The Fairmount Group

Dawn Hanson

The Fairmount Group, a communications consulting firm in Cleveland Heights, Ohio recently was named one of 100 winners of British Airways’ Business Opportunity Grants program, part of a campaign lauding the importance of face-to-face connections as a crucial component of international business growth. The grant includes airfare for 10 round trip Club World business class flights, five free global shipments with British Airways World Cargo, $1,000 toward hotel accommodations at Courtyard by Marriott, five Regus Businessworld Gold Cards offering access to its business lounges worldwide, a Canon MX860 printer, and three face-to-face business introductions through ExeConnect.

In the company’s winning essay portion of the grant application, Dawn Hanson, president and founder of The Fairmount Group, explained that while she is an avid user of the latest communications technology, she still believes in the benefits of doing business the old-fashioned way – by meeting in person. British Airways selected the winning companies for the grants primarily based on how a year’s worth of business travel and face-to-face meetings would positively impact each business, its growth and its ability to meet objectives for 2010.

The Fairmont Group

Hanson is preparing for her first trip, next week, to Helsinki, Finland, where she has five meetings with business prospects looking to improve their marketing and communications efforts. Hanson is no stranger to Europe, having spent a decade there as a corporate communications executive prior to her move to the Cleveland, Ohio in 2000 to work for Eaton Corporation.

“I’m thrilled and honored to receive this grant. Since establishing the firm in 2006, I have always had a goal to eventually expand the business abroad in order to capitalize on my international experience and global contacts. It looks like this is going to be my year! I am looking forward to taking full advantage of this opportunity and bringing business back to Cleveland,” said Hanson.

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STRATA Success – Susan Baida

STRATA Member Susan Baida – eCareDiary

Susan Baida

eCareDiary.com is the first centralized website to help caregivers of aging parents manage the complicated process of long term care. Whether trying to locate a care facility, keep track of parents’ medications and appointments, store medical records, or shop for eldercare products, caregivers can find all the tools they need in one place, free of charge. eCare Diary not only gives caregivers the ability to keep their parents’ information confidential but also enables them to share it with their designated circle of care. Most of the time, the role of caregiving is an unexpected and emotional experience. eCare Diary also provides a supportive community through blogs, videos and radio interviews.

eCare Diary was born out of my personal experience as a caregiver and professional experience in internet marketing. A former marketing executive, I changed careers after plunging into the role of caregiver twice and witnessing the battles in my family over the care of my grandfather who suffers from dementia. After my latest caregiving experience with my father-in-law who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, my husband and I developed the site based on our frustrations with coordinating care for him and finding helpful information. We were stunned by the lack of centralized resources and by how antiquated the world of long term care is. We fulfilled our goal of bringing long term care into the 21st century by making it accessible, centralized and relevant for today’s caregivers.

eCareDiary

Since going live on Monday, September 14, 2009, the number of visitors as indicated by Alexa and Google rankings has sky rocketed. We rank in the top levels of websites in the U.S. The number of registered users exceeded our expectations for the first 2 months. eCare Diary is resonating with caregivers and the eldercare community beyond what we envisioned. We have been approached by major websites, bloggers, investors and companies who are impressed with eCare Diary’s innovation and have expressed interest in partnerships. We learned that funding is back in play and healthcare is at the forefront of public interest. We find ourselves in the position of being in the right place, at the right time.

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STRATA Member – Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings

STRATA Member Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings – Gigi Hill

It all began when two moms met on a soccer field and decided that there had to be a better bag for a mom’s everyday life. They talked, they researched, and ultimately they created Gigi Hill.

The inspiration behind Gigi Hill can be traced back to a wonderful piece of oilcloth from France that a mother brought her daughter. From that very piece of oilcloth, an idea was born—to design and sell stylish, functional bags

The creativity has paid off with 150% revenue growth each of the past three years. Based on this success, Lynn recently launched a worldwide licensing program, which will enable people across the globe to run their own Let’s Gogh Art business. Let’s Gogh Art is certainly on the right path with a nomination for Best Overall Company in the 2007 Stevie awards and features on more.com in the Reinvent Yourself section.

Gabrielle DeSantis-Cummings and Monica Hillman both desired to have a high-quality, stylish bag that offered the functionality necessary in today’s fast-paced world. So they decided to join forces and create Gigi Hill.

As Gabrielle and Monica shopped for fabrics and gathered ideas, they knew their bags had to be made of the highest quality and fashion-forward designs. They spent many months researching and crafting their unique line of Gigi Hill signature pocket design products. In each bag there is a pocket for everything from water bottles to cell phones to lipsticks, and a key fob to ensure keys can be found in an instant. Finally, their vision became a reality: a line that is modern and chic yet feminine, a collection that bridges the gap where fashion and function collide.

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STRATA Member – Kelly Lambrakis

STRATA Member Kelly Lambrakis – Boys Can Cook Too!

Kelly Lambrakis

Kelly Lambrakis, a LWL Orange County STRATA Member, recently started a business called Boys Can Cook Too. Since January of this year, Kelly began the process of self publishing a cookbook called “Boys Can Cook Too!” This is a cookbook specifically for boys to encourage them in the kitchen.

The cookbooks will be sold on Amazon.com by the end of March, in addition to Kelly’s website, and other brick and mortar stores. By June of this year, Kelly’s goal is to have the cookbook for sale in other major bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders.

Kelly’s company is still in the start up phase. She recently designed a website and a blog. Boys Can Cook Too is a web-based specialty shop, selling cookbooks, cooking utensils and bake ware for children, specifically boys.

Boys Can Cook Too!

Kelly is currently working on two other cookbooks called “Boys Can Cook Too! – Fast Snacks“. This is a cookbook of healthy fast snacks that kids can make in less than 15 minutes. The other cookbook is called “Boys Can Cook Too! – Incredible Cookies“. This book will help kids with their baking skills and is filled with fun and easy cookie recipes. The launch for these two books is scheduled for release in late April.

As a wife and mom of three busy and active boys, Kelly feels very successful that she’s been able to even find time to start a business. She has been married for 14 years, and is a stay at home mom. Kelly’s boys are 11, 8 and 3 years old. Over the past few months, Kelly has truly enjoyed working on her business. She thought of the idea during the holiday season when she was looking online to find a few cookbooks for my boys. Kelly was looking for cookbooks specifically for boys, and couldn’t find anything. That’s when Kelly got the idea to make her own for the boys. Kelly’s boys have always helped her in the kitchen and enjoy cooking. It’s all about getting them involved and letting them experiment. She tries to bring them in the kitchen and teach them the basics. If they never cook, they will never learn how. In addition to spending time with her boys and doing something she loves, it is wonderful to watch them take so much pride in their cooking and manage to have fun in the process.

Kelly’s idea grew when she decided to make small business plan, a blog and website, in addition to establishing her own publishing company, South Paw Publishing. So now, almost four months later, Kelly can see all that she’s accomplished and where she wants to go with this new company.

Kelly is scheduled for a few book signings at local toy stores and book stores in her area. In addition, two local newspapers have featured the stories of Kelly’s business.

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STRATA Member – Danielle Griggs

STRATA Member Danielle Griggs – Tidy Kidz…

Danielle Griggs and her 7 year old daughter Isabella recently launched a business together called The Tidy Kidz Company.

Tidy Kidz™ was created with this in mind – help kids develop good habits that will last them a lifetime and encourage a harmonious family environment. Through developing tidy habits, children can focus more on the things they love to do. Parents can spend less time prodding children to pick up after themselves and more time ________(you fill in the blank).

Children are naturally drawn to other children, which makes them great educators to one another. We have created entertaining videos demonstrating how kids can participate in keeping, not only their rooms, but the whole house tidy. Our “Tidy Tip” videos demonstrate solutions to everyday household scenarios children recognize and can apply to their own daily living. In addition to the videos, you’ll find a collection of tidy charts to help kids keep track of their successes, a blog full of helpful tips for parents and much more!

Isabella and Danielle were recently guests on the NBC affiliate WSMV NewsChannel 4 “More At Midday” show based in Nashville, Tennessee. This was a goal we reached within 60 days of their launch date!

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STRATA Success – Rachel Rofe

STRATA Member Rachel Rofe – Burn Your To Do List

Rachel Rofe

A woman I’d hired to do some freelance work told me her full-time employer just fired her and 33 other workers, completely without warning. I felt so bad for her that I created a company just to help them all have jobs again. Before, they were each an assistant to a dedicated client. I planned on duplicating that and finding them new clients. While this sounded great in theory, it was a total disaster. The workers individually had a few strengths, but not enough to be dedicated to one client only. My reputation was going down the drain.

After a very miserable few months where I was constantly doing damage control for clients and trying to fix mistakes, I ended up having a “Eureka” moment when I realized it would be smartest to change up the business model. Now, instead of each person working with a dedicated client, I pooled together everyone’s talent. Clients no longer paid for one specific person’s services. Instead, they paid for a certain amount of “credits”. When a client used a credit towards a certain task, the best person for the job would do it. There was no room for disappointment because things were now done a lot better, faster, and easier.

Burn Your To Do List

I ended up getting 125 clients my very first week. Because of this, we also were able to give a lot more people full time jobs. As it is now, we’re able to help almost 100 providers earn money, as well as help over 200 entrepreneurs expand their business (we’ve since gotten more clients). We’ve been featured on entrepreneur.com, and it feels awesome to be able to have such a fulfilling company!

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STRATA Success – Ronna Detrick

STRATA Member Ronna Detrick – RENEGADEconversations

Ronna Detrick

Ronna Detrick is compelled by and committed to amazing conversations around the topics of faith, feminism, and telling the truth. RENEGADEconversations is the business through which she writes, speaks, and provides spiritual direction/companionship to incredible women. Why RENEGADE? Because way too much of the time we live our lives confined by roles and responsibilities, unwilling to rock the boat, feeling the pressure to conform. RENEGADEs live out loud. They are risk-takers. They have impact. Why conversations? Because they are the place in which we’re most profoundly heard, seen, and transformed. And who wouldn’t want that? RENEGADEconversations: they’re worth having.

RENEGADEconversations

After being laid off from her job, Ronna decided to attend an Incubator through Ladies Who Launch. By the middle of week two she had put up a website and begun the process of furthering her presence in social media realms. Now, nearly a year later, Ronna’s business continues to grow, her readership expands, and her opportunities to speak and teach continue to expand. What’s more, Ronna recognized anew each and every day that this is what she is called to, love, and can’t not do. Though it always feels somewhat tenuous and risky to be an entrepreneur, there’s no going back!

Ronna’s goals have been numerous, including getting an established and trafficked website/blog, creating a free give-away for her newsletter subscribers, establishing a weekly newsletter publishing schedule, guest-blogging on others’ sites, and creating a presence on Twitter. All of these things have happened. In addition, Ronna has been thrilled to be interviewed for numerous online publications, receive unexpected speaking gigs, and has built beautiful relationships with women all around the world. Ronna’s having RENEGADEconversations every day!

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STRATA Success – Tanya Gagnon

STRATA Member Tanya Gagnon – Miss Details Design

Tanya Gagnon, Miss Details Design

Miss Details Design is a graphic design firm specializing in business branding. We learn about your business – what makes you unique, vibrant, and most importantly, what inspires you. We then tell your story visually by creating your business identity so that your brand tells and shows people when you can’t be there to tell them yourself.

From single design projects to complete brand development, we work with clients of all sizes: launching businesses looking for help from a graphic designer, mid-size businesses looking to re-brand, and large businesses needing outsourced or overflow graphic design and print management.

Miss Details Design

To grow a business, you must take risks. I have realized that it isn’t truly a risk unless I am uncomfortable. For me it was networking events, then speaking at events, both of which I still get apprehensive about. This success story I am sharing with you is regarding the most recent uncomfortable situation I stepped into being in front of the camera and writing an article.

One of the services I offer is photo styling. I help my clients set up and arrange a photo shoot to best showcase their products. I am always behind the camera. I don’t even have a professional head shot yet! This time I was the subject and I got throughit and am all the better for it. I am on the cover of our local Scottsdale magazine called The Airpark News, www.scottsdaleairpark.com. My article, my face and my business are featured on the front page of their site as well as delivered to every business in my area. It’s a little strange, but lovely at the same time. It makes me want to write another article and find another magazine with which to align myself. I hope my small success will inspire someone to take a risk to be uncomfortable. It’s worth it!

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STRATA Success – Michele Mattia

STRATA Member Michele Mattia – Life Design

Michelle Mattia

Life Design is a creative, professional coaching and creative strategies practice specializing in the areas of life, career and business. As Founder and Life Design Coach, Michele Mattia’s mission is to inspire, co-create and support all the possibilities her clients are courageous enough to demand. Michele establishes creative partnerships with her clients and utilizes innovative and insightful processes from exploration to design planning to implementation. We work together to uncover your gifts, talents and skills while redesigning your Life’s Dash (the precious time between arrival and departure from this world) from stagnation to a passion for life!

Life Design

On Monday, February 22, 2010, Michele Mattia’s interview with Ida Siegal, of New York’s NBC News Channel 4, aired on their 11 pm news. Michele was the premiere guest on Ida’s new segment called “Starting Over”, which is dedicated to highlight those who take command of their life and start over with a new career, business and/or life. Ida found Michele through a former teacher and was intrigued by her story of leaving a successful consulting firm that she owned for almost 12 years to start Life Design. What made the interview even more interesting was Michele’s new company works with the very people who are looking to start over, shift careers and/or strike out on their own.

Michele and Ida were able to discuss the importance of doing what you love and of going to work with a smile on your face and a passion of following your life purpose. This was Michele’s first network news interview and she was blessed to have the Olympics as a lead in! The response she’s received since the interview aired has been amazing, and she is grateful to those who have shared their inspirational stories with her.

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