How thrilling is it?
As an entrepreneur with a self-directed path for practically my whole working career, this award is massively thrilling. To be recognized by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation whose work I respect is simply awesome.
Can I tell you how amazing the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is?
In addition to recognizing female entrepreneurs and honoring them with the gorgeous Tiffany and Co engraved crystal awards, the Spirit of Entrepreneurship recognizes and supports with cash awards and scholarships High School and College budding entrepreneurs.
How’s that Working?
A number of the High School and College past winners of the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s New Venture Challenge, have gone on to build their winning business plan into multi-million dollar businesses. I was so inspired to hear the stories of successful past student winners and see the great entrepreneurial ideas from this years finalists and winners.
When Did my Entrepreneurial Journey Start and Why?
When I was thirteen I wanted to have a second horse. I’d saved up for my first one and my mom had paid the board and feed bill for him. She said “no more” when I sold him.
I saved up doing various neighborhood jobs for my second horse and bought her. I needed a certain amount of money monthly to feed her and pay her board monthly. I sold stationary door to door and cleaned houses in addition to being a human guinea pig at UCSB in the biology department.
I did indeed support my horse successfully and it gave me confidence early on that I could dream up ways to make money.
Then what? Rufflebums Clothing!
I loved to go to garage sales. I parlayed that into my next business, Rufflebums. When I was sixteen I bought clothing at garage sales. I’d sew on buttons, clean and iron and display my chosen clothes – in our basement!
Every guest to our house got waylaid and taken to the basement where they shopped by the light of naked bulbs while standing on the dirt floor.
When I got tired of it I took Rufflebums, clothes, racks and mirrors, to the Swap Meet and sold everything and ended up with money for my savings account.
Waitressing GraveYard to Door to Door Sales
I talked my friend into training me to be a waitress at her restaurant job at Frimples when I was eighteen. The manager was slightly scandalized by my forwardness in asking for a uniform so I could blend in while learning. She wondered what I was doing.
Once trained I told the manager I wanted to work there. “You’re nuts,” she said. So I’d come by daily asking for a job. “You’re annoying, go away” she said.
After three days she put me on to fill in for a sick waitress. That very night a graveyard shift girl failed to show up and she called me. “You wanna work all night?” “Sure.” I went in and ended up with a job.
One of the patrons, Andy, always asked for my station. I hoped he didn’t want to date me or something, he was like way old. (Over thirty!) It turned out he wanted to hired me, to break the sex barrier in door to door sales!
He wanted me to be the first female Fuller Brush Man. (I bet I wasn’t really the first, but I never found out!)
I said “sure” and proceeded to work seven to eight hours a day doing door to door sales. It blew my mind how much better the earnings were in sales than other jobs.
My First Official Business – Being Cinderella
When I was nineteen I started Cinderella Services – House Cleaning Extraordinaire. I used my Fuller Brush cleaning product expertise to solve Santa Barbara’s biggest housecleaning night mare, hard water deposits.
After teaching a ton of my customer’s cleaning ladies how to deal with those deposits and having people constantly try to hire me to clean their houses, I realized I had a business here if I’d just walk into it.
My Second Business – Janitorial – Why?
After selling my Cinderella Services I started Ceiling Cleaning Company with a proprietary magic cleaning product I discovered in Entrepreneurial magazine.
My partner and I ran it successfully. What was I thinking? Been there, done that. So we sold that business.
Yes, really why? Well that’s too long a story for here, but I thought it’d just be a few year thing. Start it, build it up and sell it. After all that was working for me so far.
The normal way to be a jeweler was to have a store. Well I couldn’t afford a store, and I’m not normal, so I just bought jewelry and display cases and started selling jewelry.
Hey I figured if I could make a nice living selling Fuller Brush door to door I could do this, right? I visited my client’s one-on-one at their homes and offices. I became what I call a Personal Jeweler.
Thirty One Years Later
I’m still a Personal Jeweler and loving it. Being an entrepreneur and creating my business path has been so incredibly rewarding for me.
This is the quote from me about entrepreneurship that they read to the audience before announcing that I won the award.
“I discovered reserves of strength and positivity inside myself that gave me self-confidence and joy while on the road to business profitability. My business helped me believe in me.”