Sophia Hyder, CEO of Papilia
I remember my ‘Aha!’ moment like it was yesterday. I thought I needed some pitching practice, so I decided to pitch the concept for Papilia at Triangle Startup Weekend for Women at HQ Raleigh in October 2014. Papilia ended up winning overall crowd favorite and second place. I thought it was pretty cool, and thought nothing of it other than the weekend being a fun learning experience.
Over the next three months, I had people coming up to me and asking me when this service would be available. I told them it was just an idea I had pitched for fun. It wasn’t until a few months later in February 2015, where I had that light bulb moment. If so many people are asking me when Papilia will be available, why am I not turning this idea into reality?
Manon M. DeFelice, Founder of Inkwell
Like many businesses, mine started when I noticed a problem and came up with Inkwell as a way to solve it. The problem was that everywhere I looked, I saw highly accomplished women leaving the workforce after having children; the result was a brain drain—a loss of top talent from the workplace.
Inkwell offers a solution: a way to connect people seeking flexible, rewarding work (think of all the rock-star moms that you know) with companies that need exceptional yet affordable talent. Both the women and the companies win.
Nicky Jackson, CEO of RangeMe
About three and a half years ago, my infant daughter had terrible eczema. I tried creams, ointments, basically anything and everything a mother could buy – nothing worked.
I actually ended up working with a local dermatologist to develop a cream that worked specifically for my daughter’s type of skin and ailment. And it worked miracles! My first thought was I needed to get this into the hands of mothers dealing with the same helpless situation.
I realized quickly that even despite my connections in CPG, I had worked for major players like Kellogg and Pepsico, that there were no doors open to me and my product, no channels for distribution and the pain of getting a product to market was real.
That’s when the idea of RangeMe came to me as an answer to the antiquated ways products were being discovered.
Tabitha Philen, Founder of Inspired Bloggers Network
Growing up in my home, being an “entrepreneur” was equal to “bum.” I would hear my father say, ‘Your cousin… he wants to be an entrepreneur. I guess he will be living with his parents forever.’ So being an entrepreneur was not something I planned. My goal was to write.
When I began blogging and meeting other bloggers, I realized that this was an entrepreneur’s lifestyle. I could make money blogging and teach others to do the same. And… my father was doubtful.
‘Come tell me when you make your first $1,000,’ he said, and I did. ‘Well, come tell me when you can make $1,000 a month.’ A month later, I called him with the news, ‘Dad, I didn’t make $1,000 this month. I made $4,000.’ He was stumped, and I was certifiably a PROFITABLE entrepreneur.
Jess Ekstrom, CEO of Headbands of Hope
During the summer of 2011 when I was in college, I interned at a wish-granting organization for kids with life-threatening illnesses. I saw so many girls migrating towards headbands instead of wigs after hair-loss. Headbands gave them the opportunity to regain their confidence without hiding what they’re going through with a wig.
I started searching for organizations that provided headbands to girls undergoing chemotherapy but couldn’t find any. Therefore, I founded HeadbandsOfHope.com in April 2012 during my junior year of college. For every headband sold, one is given to a child with cancer.
Diamond Greer, Co-Founder of Let’s Vibe
Our ‘Aha’ moment came in waves, like most things do as an entrepreneur. The first ‘Aha’ moment occurred when we were able to bring 40 women together to simply test our idea and gained a space and drink sponsor in just under 2 weeks (yes, we knocked it out in 2 weeks).
Our second ‘Aha’ moment occurred when we went from our original 40 to 218 women, 4 partnerships, and 1 client in just 7 months by word-of-mouth. We had a demand for designing experiences that were human-centered and inclusive.
Our community demanded more opportunities for meaningful connectivity and development, while individuals and organizations began coming to us to help them to provide their target markets with similar experiences. After our 12 months, we knew we’d be able to move from purely social to social entrepreneurship based upon what our target audience need as well as our future target market.