Becoming your own boss
Ever dream of a boss-less existence? It really is possible. These entrepreneurs turned their dreams into reality.
Joomi Lim, 45, co-owns and designs at two-year-old jewelry company Joomi Lim, along with Xavier Ricolfi, 38. The duo’s initial investment was $100,000 and the company distributes to 10 to 20 high-end retailers a month worldwide.
What’s your vision? We design fun, chic jewelry with edge [and distribute it to] high-end boutiques.
How did you make it happen? It came naturally since I’ve already done it once. It took about eight months to create a new collection, a partnership and a website. Capital was raised through savings.
What’s one of the greatest challenges? Not having enough time and budget to create all the designs we want to develop.
Any advice? Utilize the power of the Internet as much as possible.
Emily Dubner, 26, owns Baking for Good, an online bakery that launched in September 2009. Fifteen percent of purchases are donated to a customer-chosen cause.
How did you turn your idea into a business? I began working with designers to develop the identity and branding. Simultaneously, I sketched out the framework of the site and worked with web developers to build [it]. I was also testing recipes, deciding which products I wanted to offer, and securing a bakery.
What do you wish someone had told you at first? Everything takes longer than you expect. Make a timeline, but be realistic about deadlines.
Any advice? I think it’s important to start small and test out your ideas in low-cost ways, rather than diving in and investing a lot of time, energy and money right away.
Katie Rose Crosswhite
Katie Rose Crosswhite, 27, started the online payment platform Subports in 2007. Subports allows users to buy goods and services from designers, musicians and retailers via SMS.
Where did you get the idea? The text-to-buy idea … was inspired mostly by my partner’s desire to do everything with his phone and to avoid salespeople.
What do you wish someone had told you? Unless you’ve secured a lot of initial funding … you are going to have to learn to do a lot with a little.
Any advice? Check out NYDesigns in Long Island City. They offer comprehensive business consulting for new, design-based businesses.
Shobha Tummala, 38, owns Shobha, a nine-year-old hair removal company specializing in threading. Tummala has three salons.
Where did you get this idea? I spent my early years in Hyderabad, India. It was [there] where I experienced the benefits of threading, the customary way to remove facial hair.
How did you raise capital? I used my own funds and when I needed a large infusion of money I relied on 0% APR credit card.
What’s one of the greatest struggles? People compare the business to a small baby … the main difference being that the business never grows up and stops needing you.
Any advice? Hire folks that can help you execute on the vision of the company early on.