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How She Does It: Alicia Williams, Co-Founder & CEO of Aliste Marketing

Alicia Williams

About Alicia Williams

As the Founder & CEO of Aliste Marketing, Alicia Williams is the marketing professional mastermind behind the visionary concepts. She helps clients transition from unseasoned startups into unfettered successes.

Her impressive personal accomplishments and passion for helping fellow entrepreneurs realize their own dreams has garnered her numerous accolades. These include the 2016 Outstanding Women of Family Business Award Recipient, recognition as one of The Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty, and the honor of being the Spotlight Entrepreneur for Capital One Spark.

At age 21, Alicia launched her new venture from her laundry room during an economic recession when entrepreneurship was highly discouraged. Alicia refused to believe that her creativity and passion were limited to the 9-5 corporate realm, and more than a decade later, she continues to break the status quo as an industry leader.

Alicia’s gift for out-of-the-box creative strategies with real metrics to show ROI have won her a dedicated client base as well as the attention of branding giants like Microsoft and Staples both of whom have invited Alicia to present her take on marketing strategy. She’s also a Certified Women Owned Business, HubSpot & Sharpspring Partner Certified and Constant Contact Certified Authorized Local Expert. As a valued media commentator, Alicia has been featured on USA Weekly, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, CMS Wire and CBS Radio The Sports Hub.

She is the author of a boundary pushing marketing book, which lifts the curtain to give readers a glimpse at a highly actionable, step-by-step marketing plan that helps puts you, the business owner, in control of your own destiny.

About Aliste Marketing:

Our award-winning boutique marketing agency services aim at turning your unique story into an opportunity for brand recognition and, best of all, long-lasting success.

Alicia Williams, Co-Founder & CEO of Aliste Marketing

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, Alicia. Let's get started! Are there any lessons learned from your business that you'd like to share?

Alicia Williams: Great to be here, Deb. Every day there is a lesson to be learned! I think a huge one is to practice gratitude even when things feel tough. To switch your mindset into celebrating the smallest wins helps me personally through the ebbs of flows of being an entrepreneur. Being aware of where your started helps you to appreciate where you currently are- even if that seems like a lull! Be present in your business, be aware of the client experience and be eager to solve the issues!

Deb: What inspires you to do the work you do?

Alicia: Inspiration surrounds me- it's taking a walk and seeing a horrible designed advertisement, it is driving down the highway and smiling at the amazing campaign across a truck. What inspires me each day is pushing the boundaries of what I can do as well as the ideas that businesses have never thought of- that is what drives me. I’m inspired to see where this entrepreneurial journey will take me- I am just getting started.

Deb: What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

Alicia: Trust your gut- and if you have a bad gut surround yourself with those you trust. Regardless if your gender, running a business is not easy but it is the best choice I ever made. Have an idea that solves a need, listen to feedback from the market and those in the community, be strong in your decisions but ALWAYS remember where you started and support those that are starting this journey as well.

Deb: Great advice! Entrepreneurs are usually busy all the time. What's your favorite activity to relax and unwind?

Alicia: This is a funny question for me! I have young kids so the idea of relaxing and unwinding is a foreign concept at this point in my life. When I do have those 5 minutes to myself I really enjoy blasting my Pandora Alicia Keys station and redecorating my home. We have a joke in my family that you can never just walk in and sit down, I probably moved the couch!

Deb: What do you wish you could tell your younger self?

Alicia: Just breathe everything is figureoutable. The nay sayers and obstacles that I had to overcome to be where I am today, although at the time it didn’t feel like it, they were so important to helping shape my back bone and determination to succeed. Trust in yourself and stay true to what you believe- regardless of where the market takes you.

Deb: Thanks for stopping by, Alicia! Before you go, please share your website and social media URLs.

Alicia: Enjoyed it, Deb. Here are the URLs.


Diane Allen: Art Collector, Creative Entrepreneur & Philanthropist on Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Diane Allen: Art Collector, Creative Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Show #508

Diane shares her experiences and thoughts on:

  • How to support causes while supporting emerging artists 
  • Advice on how to start collecting art and why it is accessible to everyone
  • Female entrepreneurship & the future of philanthropy

Diane Allen is a renowned creative entrepreneur, jeweler, innovator, philanthropist and true Renaissance woman. Involved in a wide array of artistic endeavors, Diane opened her first fine jewelry store, 23rd Street Jewelers in Santa Monica in 1981.

While she has supported numerous charities throughout her career, including serving on the Boards of the VIA Art Fund and the DesertX biennial, Diane has also targeted healthcare and medical management as the leading causes of her fundraising and support efforts over the past decade.

Diane Allen: Art Collector, Creative Entrepreneur & Philanthropist As the Executive Vice Chair of PHASE ONE’s Board of Directors, Diane has helped raise over 20
million dollars for the organization dedicated to funding first round of clinical cancer trials, and has enlisted a network of over 3,000 donors to date.

Additionally, Diane is very passionate about implementing solutions for the national opioid addition crisis as it enters epidemic levels. She has founded multiple methadone clinics, which currently accept over 700 visitors daily.

Diane loves making a difference in the world and when she has time in between harmonizing her creative, philanthropic and executive purists, she can play a mean game of tennis.


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Diane Allen: Art Collector, Creative Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

How to tackle web hosting like a girl boss!

two women working on a laptop

You’ve done it. You took the huge step of the building and launching your own business—congratulations are most definitely in order! However, if you thought it was hard to get to this point, the challenge is even more difficult from here. How do you make the consumer aware of your brand? How can you make your business the most successful version of itself it can be?

One truly significant way to grow your brand is through the internet. After all, the first thing most of us do when we learn of a new business or brand is google (usually on our phones)! A 2016 study by Thrive Analytics, a digital marketing research firm, found that 30% of consumers would not even consider a business that didn’t have a website. That same study found that 70% of shoppers do searches on their mobile for product and service categories.

Now, you may think that having a social media presence on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram is enough—and for some people, it may be. But if you want your brand to shine, it needs its own home on the internet. A professional website establishes credibility, helps with marketing, and provides the opportunity to conduct more sales (potentially 24/7). It gives you complete control over your image and getting a website sooner rather than later means that you’ll have one less thing to worry about by the time your business has grown.

So, how do you go about making a professional website? You can always go the easy (but expensive) route of hiring a professional designer and site builder to do the whole thing...but we get this might not yet be in the financial cards. Another option is the DIY-ish approach, where you find the best web hosting service and build your site yourself.

While this is technically something you can do completely on your own from the ground up, most of us aren’t tech geniuses with amazing coding skills, able to drum up a beautiful website from a combination of zeros and ones. To that end, most web hosting sites offer ready-made templates that can be customized to your heart’s content. The best ones offer responsive, dedicated customer support, too, with lots of tutorials and step-by-step how-to’s.

When looking at different web hosts, aside from customer support and how easy it is to design your site, there are a few different additional considerations you should look at as well. Among the most important is the performance, or how reliable and fast the hosting is. Look for companies with fast uptimes, which just means how long it takes for the site to load. Secondly, the main reason we’re guessing you’re doing this yourself is price—so make sure to look for web hosts that have a variety of payment plans, especially since you might find that the web host you initially chose doesn’t work for you. Finally, check out the additional services, software, and integrations the web host provides. And make sure that you’re not just getting all the bells and whistles because they sound cool, even if you don’t need them.

Good luck with your website journey— We are rooting for you! #womensupportingwomen

Photo credit: CreateHer Stock

Mystery Author Faye Snowden on Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Faye Snowden
Show #506

Faye Snowden is the author of three published mysteries with Kensington— Spiral of Guilt (1999), The Savior (2003, 2004) and Fatal Justice (2005, 2006).

She has published short stories and poems in various literary journals and small presses including The African American Review, Calliope, Red Ochre Lit, Bay Area Poets Coalition and Occam’s Razor.

A new book, A Killing Fire (Flame Tree Press) made its debut in August, 2019.

Aside from her publications, she also managed two boys, a husband, five dogs and three writing fellowships over the years. Today, Faye works and writes from her home in Northern California.

A Killing Fire by Faye SnowdenWebsite: www.fayesnowden.com
Twitter: @faye_snowden
Instagram: fayesnowden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faye.snowden.9

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Mystery Author Faye Snowden

How Women Entrepreneurs Manage Intense Travel Schedules

Life as an entrepreneur is no easy task, especially as a woman. Flexibility and drive are necessary to adapt and face each obstacle that comes your way. Taking a look at how successful women manage their own schedules can give you insight into how you can better manage your own decisions.

With the increasingly global economy, travel is a factor often necessary for success in building a thriving business. It becomes practically inevitable. Regardless of whether your business is in the travel domain or another, having business trips mid-week or every other week can be a norm.

So, we wanted to know how some of the most incredibly successful women entrepreneurs handle their time in the air. These ladies fly more than most can imagine. Their tips are great for either vacation or business travel. We can see that they have mastered how to manage productivity, stick to self-care and prioritize comfort. With their tips, you can also take your business ventures to the next level and manage your travel time effectively. Take a look at these easy tips Reservations.com collected and next time you fly you can incorporate them into your own routine.

Provided by Reservations.com

"Why it's Time To Get Visible In a Real & Big Way and Stop Hiding Behind Your Keyboard" with Kellsie Moore of Be Marvelous You on Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Kellsie Moore
Show #509

Kellsie shares why video is a must for marketing online, how to connect with your audience without coming across as fake or stiff, what social media platforms you should be focusing on for your video strategies, and more. 

Kellsie Moore is an Actress and On-Camera Expert for high-achieving, purpose driven Entrepreneurs to help them craft their unique message in a way that creates a powerful and authentic connection to their audience so they can stand out from the crowd and create a magnetic brand. 

Everything she coaches stems from a success, growth mindset perspective to help her clients become more natural, comfortable, charismatic and confident in front of the lens to make the impact they desire in the most accessible way possible, through video. 

Free training link:

Retreat info Nov 15-17th Denver, CO

Instagram @kellsie_moore 

How to Be a Good Manager

woman standing at a white board in a business meeting
You may be working hard towards your next career goal; becoming a manager. Dreaming of the time your director will present an offer letter to your next adventure — leading your own team.

Or maybe you are on the opposite side of this and already have your own team, you are just wanting to improve your leadership approach. Regardless of the two differences, becoming a manager is like rocket science.

You are leading the biggest asset of the company; employees. This isn’t easy, and there isn’t an easy step-by-step guide on how to be the perfect manager for every team. Every company has a different set of goals, expectations, team members, and company culture.

Luckily, Fundera connected the dots on some of the most common characteristics good managers have and how you too can better your practices, and company culture.

Think about it, companies couldn’t succeed without having a strong, hard-working team standing behind them. Even with the development of AI in the workplace, they still haven’t mastered a seamless business structure without the act of human individuals.

Remember: Employees don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers.

What Are the Characteristics of a Good Manager?

Managers don’t just get handed their position just by chance, they have put in the hard work to earn the spot they are in. They have mastered the industry they wanted to lead, whether that was on their own time or supported from moving up the corporate ladder within the same company. Fundera laid out the 6 common characteristics successful managers have in this infographic.

1. Leadership

Successful leaders influence their team to come into the office with their best selves every single day. They’re always looking at the big picture in a positive mindset and know when to proactively reach their next set of goals.

2. Expertise From Experience

Most of the time, leaders have years in this field. They have made it work through the good and bad times with their team, and are always exceeding expectations. Most importantly, successful managers have put in the needed time to master the subject to help their team every step of the way.

3. Reliability

Managers are always the point of contact when something good or bad happens. Managers pick up the slack when times get tough, and they are the ones making the calls and answering any questions. Showing your honesty, sticking to your word whilst putting out the fires and celebrating the achievements.

4. Time Management

As managers are in control of their teams time, being realistic with their time frame can lead your team stress-free. Along with that, good managers schedule weekly, monthly, and yearly goals breaking down each step of what your team is wanting to work towards collaboratively.

5. Communication

Communication is key in any sort of relationship. Effectively communicating clear expectations and listening to what your team may be having struggles with can ensure constant growth. Knowing what is working good and not so good can help you allocate extra time need to be spent elsewhere.

6. Organization

As managers are delegating time and directing those that may need extra resources and training, organization is key. Staying organized with you and your team’s time and having easy access to any resources that may be needed.

Check out our infographic below to see our 7 easy ways to improve your managerial skills.

How to Be a Good Manager

Tips To Elevate Your Online Listings

tips to elevate your online listings

No matter what you’re selling online, writing creative listings that grab the attention of buyers is the key to success. Online users skip through each listing quickly, only stopping when words pique their interest. This means you need a marketing strategy that uses the right words and headlines to engage with consumers long enough to make that sale.

Keep Consumer Psychology in Mind

Using psychology is an effective way to appeal to customers. Writing listings with just the right wording can engage buyers and keep them reading and interested.

Use these tips to get the most from your listings:

Build emotional ties

People respond well to positive feelings. Create a genuine connection with customers by adding in words that garner an emotional response.

Provide the facts

To make the information in your listing more authoritative, back up what you’re selling with accurate stats and explanations.

Anticipate consumer needs

Determine what your customers are looking for and look ahead to how you can provide a solution to their concerns.

Spotlight your prices

Online sales need to factor in pricing. Consumers are more apt to buy something if they think they’re getting a deal, so make sure different price points are easy to read.

Specific Listing Elements to Keep in Mind

It’s not just the psychology behind persuasive copy that’s going to get your listing the attention it needs – there are specific elements that go into making online listings pop:

  • When you post matters, so you can get the most exposure from your listings. Evenings after 5 p.m. and weekends see more online activity as consumers have more time to shop.
  • Accurately describe what you’re selling, using bullet points when possible, for easy reading. Consumers want to know exactly what they’re buying.
  • Add images, videos, and other interactive elements. Consumers want to see what they’re buying, and visuals can give them more confidence in what you’re selling.

How to Create Text That Stands Out

Don’t forget to create text that’s unique and stands out. The first thing consumers will see is the title or headline, which should be eye-catching and compelling. Keep headlines relevant and short – anywhere from 40 to 80 characters is ideal.

Other ways to make text stand out:

  • Use adjectives that are bold and rich in context. Instead of describing something as “nice”, substitute power adjectives such as “state-of-the-art”
  • Optimize font by making it easy to read – a good option is sans serif Verdana, using 10 to 14 pt for the main copy of the listing.

In order to make your listings stand out, you need to make sure every aspect of the listing is attractive to consumers. With the above tips in mind, you’ll be able to write online listings that help you make the sale, beating out your competition with the power of words. To download or save these pointers, check out the visual below by ForSaleByOwner for a culmination of their listing tips.

Karinna Karsten: Tech & Media Entrepreneur and Relationship Expert on Women Entrepreneurs Radio

Karinna Karsten
Show #507

Karinna Karsten is well-established as an authority in the dating industry and helps people improve their relationship lives. She lives and breathes as the modern reincarnation of Sex and the City, dealing daily with the dating problems and challenges we face today.

Karinna is the CEO & Founder of an upcoming app revolutionizing the way people make relationship decisions. From why did he ghost me to how to find the perfect partner - she helps thousands of millennials daily to navigate their app-dominated complicated dating lives.. Karinna started her career as an international model and Elite Look of the Year Finalist, travelling the world before discovering her passion for human connection and emotions. As a relationship advisor she appeared in major publications like Cosmopolitan, SELF, Women’s Health and networks like CNN, NBC or OK! as a celebrity relationship expert.

Karinna is also the founder of LOVE TV, a platform dedicated to providing success-minded individuals empowering love content to create meaningful relationship experiences. Karinna brings more than a decade of experience, data and research to the eternal topics of love, wellness and intimacy by creating real-world solutions for the dating and relationship industries.

At LOVE TV, Karinna has successfully developed a sought-after digital platform by addressing users’ obstacles in dating and relationship building, while executing record-breaking partnerships with millennial-focused companies. Examples include a Valentine’s Challenge with PicsArt and launching newsworthy Joint Ventures with Pluto TV and Shout Factory for the Dr. Ruth Birthday Marathon in 2017.

Karinna is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Influencer Awards 2018 in Los Angeles. She also speaks at leading industry conferences such as the International Dating Conference Miami, Media Summit NYC, and Digital Hollywood Los Angeles.

Karinna is the author of Intimate Wisdom: The Sacred Art of Love which was a bestseller on Amazon and the creator of Sacred Love-Making, which was distributed by Netflix. Currently she is working in the field of AI and relationships and ready to further transform and disrupt the dating industry.



Instagram: @Karinnakarsten

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Karinna Karsten: Tech & Media Entrepreneur and Relationship Expert

How to Take More Risks to Reach Success

It’s easy to become complacent. We live busy lives and sometimes we learn to love when things slow down. In life, you may be happy with your home and relationships. At work, you might be grateful for a steady income and great colleagues. These times are great to reflect on your progress and set future goals for yourself.

They say that if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. That’s because it usually takes some risk to get there. Taking risks can be scary because there is a threat of failure, but by playing it safe, you could miss out on opportunities to grow.

In your career, you may take the chance and offer new ideas or apply to positions outside of your comfort zone. It may even mean changing your entire career path to find your happiness and success. Entrepreneurs are no stranger to taking risks. When they do face failure, they take it as a learning opportunity to make them even stronger.

Whether you decide to move to a new city or face your fear of heights, taking risks is a great way to show yourself what you’re made of. With the right safety net or backup plan, you can take risks rather safely too.

For a fun spin on risk-taking lessons, look to some of the riskiest professionals in the biz: stunt drivers.

You don’t have to risk your life, but these pieces of advice from stunt drivers can help you evaluate the risks you do want to take and reach success at the finish line.


Infographic from https://www.thezebra.com/

5 Tips for Creating A Search Engine Optimized Website

SEO picture
by Marla DiCarlo

If you build a beautiful website, but there’s no one around to see it, does it still exist? Unlike the similarly posed philosophical question about sound, there’s little debate here. Your site does still exist, but if you aren’t getting traffic, then it’s easy to feel like your website doesn’t matter.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the key to getting search engines to rank your website on the first pages of search results. 75% of searchers will never go beyond that first page of results. So, it’s crucial to search engine optimize your website.

Here are five tips for creating a search engine optimized website.

Tip #1: Choose Your Keywords Wisely

The foundation of a good SEO strategy lies in keyword research. Start by figuring out what people are searching for within your niche. Look into search volume for relevant terms to see if people are searching for that keyword and to see how competitive it is.

There are three basic types of keywords: short tail, medium-tail, and long-tail. Short are usually one-word highly competitive keywords with a lot of search volume. Long-tail are several word keywords with very low competition and lower search volume. Aim for medium-tail keywords, because they have less competition but still have a decent amount of search volume.

Once you’ve decided on a list of keywords, place them in strategic places around your website. These places include:

  • URLs
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Title Tags
  • Headers
  • Body of Website Text

Tip #2: Maintain a High-Quality Blog

A HubSpot study found that the more frequently a company writes blogs, the more their organic traffic increases. Blogs provide a place for keywords and direct people towards your website. Additionally, it’s an excellent opportunity to create high-quality content that people will want to link back to on their sites. These links are called inbound links, and they’re essential for any successful SEO campaign.

When it comes to blogging, you shouldn’t just cram a bunch of keywords into a page and hope that it works. Blogs are also an avenue for you to communicate with your visitors. Focus on creating engaging “evergreen content.” This is content that stays relevant for a long time. Since SEO often takes a while to build, your blogs need to be written to outlast trends.

Plus, there are several SEO blogging best practices to keep in mind:

  • Optimize those meta descriptions and use all the characters.
  • Make sure you optimize all your blog images with image alt text.
  • Only pick 1-2 keywords per blog post and incorporate them organically in your post.
  • Be sure to put them in your title tag, blog URL, body, and header.

Tip #3: Intuitive and Responsive Design

Did you know Google really loves mobile. In fact, they say it’s the third most important factor in determining site rank. Beyond that, they crawl the mobile version of your website, before the desktop version. So, when it comes to design, you need to make sure that your website is responsive and mobile-optimized.

On the topic of design, it’s vital that crawlers can easily access your site. If you don’t know, search engines use something called crawlers (also called spiders or bots) to index websites. Sites unknowingly block these little bots by txt files, HTTP headers containing status codes, and meta tags blocking crawlers. Be sure you aren’t unintentionally blocking these little spiders from crawling your pages.

Finally, when assessing design, you need to have a robust internal linking strategy in place. Internal links help search engines understand the structure of your website and allow you to prioritize your most important pages.

Tip #4: Optimize Those Meta Descriptions

Meta tags and meta descriptions describe the page or post to potential visitors. Search engines often take these meta descriptions and tags and display them alongside the corresponding search result. They’re an opportunity for you to provide a snippet to explain what visitors can expect when they visit your page.

These are important, because it’s your pitch to entice readers to come to your website. You need to make sure to include your keyword in the meta tag and description organically. It can’t seem like incoherent, keyword-stuffed text. While search engines say that they don’t use meta descriptions or tags for SEO ranking, they are important to increase your click-through rate.

Tip #5: Increase the Speed

Google prioritizes site loading speed in site ranking. So, when it comes to SEO for your website, you need to crank up that speed. There are several options to increase your website’s speed. Some of them might require help from a developer, but there are several quick things you can do to speed things up:

  • Make sure you’re caching.
  • Decrease image sizes and compress images.
  • Embed large files rather than loading them onto your website.
  • Remove unnecessary plugins.
  • Make sure all your scripts, themes, and plugins are up to date.

If simple fixes don’t do the trick, it might be time to call in some help. You may need to change your host or adjust some more advanced codes and processes on the backend of your site. However, do what you need to do to make sure your site loads quickly.

In Closing: Creating a Search Engine Optimized Website is Important
While this list of tips is in no way complete, it’s a start to getting your website on the first page of Google. Don’t underestimate the power of SEO and its effect on your future success. If you try these simple tips, you’ll be well on the path to being on that first page of search engine results. Soon, you won’t have to question your website’s existence with philosophical questions.

About the Author: Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell their business so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.

How She Does It: Denielle Finkelstein, Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer, TOP The Organic Project

Denielle Finkelstein
Denielle Finkelstein
Denielle Finkelstein is a seasoned retail executive-turned-entrepreneur, with a passion for brand building and social impact initiatives. Finkelstein graduated from Union College with a BA in Art History, and soon after moved to NYC to begin her career in fashion retail at Ann Taylor. From there she went on to Coach, Kate Spade and most recently, Talbots. Finkelstein loved finding white space and growing opportunities within household brands. She was challenged to take risks, think outside of the box and try new things, but she was yearning for a deeper purpose.

After spending 22 years in fashion retail and at the height of Finkelstein’s career, she took a major risk, both professionally and personally. She left the corporate world to join Thyme Sullivan, Co-Founder & CEO, to launch TOP The Organic Project. She is grateful for the opportunity to build a brand together—as family, moms, women and friends. The duo has set out to create a brand of premium feminine hygiene products that are better for you, better for the planet and better for others.

About TOP The Organic Project (TOP):

TOP The Organic Project (TOP) is an emerging, women-owned feminine care company based in
Thyme Sullivan
Thyme Sullivan
Duxbury, MA, that aims to empower women to make better choices, protecting their bodies and the environment. TOP offers 100% organic, biodegradable, hypoallergenic tampons and pads that are accessible to everyone.

Founded by Thyme Sullivan and Denielle Finkelstein—mothers, cousins and seasoned executives with decades of relevant corporate experience—TOP is on a mission to generate national awareness of period poverty, deliver high-performing organic products, and eliminate the taboo of feminine hygiene for good.

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Women Entrepreneur Secrets blog, Denielle! So, tell me, how did you and Thyme get started together as entrepreneurs? 

Denielle Finkelstein: Great to be here, Deb. My business partner, Thyme Sullivan, is first and foremost my cousin, which many folks aren’t aware of. Thyme had spent 25+ years as an executive serving household brands like Nestle, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola with extensive CPG and distribution experience, and came to me with her value proposition for organic feminine hygiene products in perfect timing.

Thyme had already taken the market deep dive and identified the key gaps within the existing landscape: lack of transparency and education, major environmental concerns with certain materials used, and a focus on domestic social impact. I was looking for a major career change at that time as well, after dedicating decades of my life as an executive with deep experience in merchandising and brand building, and a desperate yearning for work/life integration.

We recognized our individual and collective strengths, and realized how well we could complement one another on the business front. I decided to take the leap of faith with Thyme after the new year, and haven’t looked back since!

TOP the organic project logo

Deb: What inspires you to do the work you do?

Denielle: Our mission is to empower all women, particularly the next generation of young girls, and save the planet with organic feminine hygiene products. The average American woman will use more than 12,000 tampons in her lifetime, yet significant challenges like affordability, environmental waste, and unsafe toxins have been largely ignored. With biodegradable, 100% organic, hypoallergenic tampons and pads, our goals include delivering easy-to-digest education to young female consumers, generating public awareness, and offering a viable, eco-friendly alternative that is as strong as the women we’re supporting nationwide!

Social impact is at the forefront of our agenda. Recent research shows that 1 in 5 girls in the U.S. have missed school due to lack of access to feminine hygiene products, which hit home for Thyme and me, who were inspired to start this company because we wanted to make a difference for our own daughters and for others. With every purchase, we’re donating tampons and pads to schools and organizations with the goal to diminish “period poverty”, given food stamps, health insurance, and flexible health spending accounts do not cover the essentials.

TOP the organic product

Deb: What’s your vision for your business?

Denielle: Our vision is that TOP will be accessible to women everywhere throughout the U.S. To start, we are penetrating the market via key distribution partnerships, including household retailers soon to be announced, who will be adding our products to shelves in designated grocery stores across the U.S. by early 2020.

We’re also collaborating with wellness events and like-minded organizations, such as Beautycounter, Girlology, EmpowerHER, The Penny Pack, and Period.org, who are working diligently to provide education and eliminate the period taboo for young girls which aligns with our core brand values.
What are some of your successes and challenges?

TOP the organic product

Having this opportunity has been a major success to date, both personally and professionally.  We both had great careers, but TOP has allowed us to take what we know, learn new things and to do things our way.  Being able to build a brand from concept to execution with tangible traction has been so been so rewarding.  We appreciate the opportunity to show our children the risks taken to build TOP, and their role as an instrumental driver for us forward. My life has more meaning now, and I can see how I am impacting theirs.

Our biggest challenge has been fundraising.  We have been self-funded up to this point, and are now looking for investors who are eager and aligned to help us grow the brand to the next level.  The stat that only 2.2% of all Venture Capital dollars go to women was our reality this summer as we began fundraising.  We know we will find the right person in the coming months. When TOP becomes an incredible success, my commitment is to back and support female entrepreneurs down the road as an investor.

TOP the organic product company photo

Deb: Funding can be a challenge, particularly for women-owned businesses. What advice would you give to women entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

Denielle: Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding and challenging endeavors I have ever taken on.  For anybody looking to get started on your journey, I would say to follow your dream.  The path is there for all of us.  You need to be patient, fluid, prioritize, learn from your mistakes quickly and most importantly, find an incredible support system.  In the low moments, it can be extremely lonely and you need that network and relationships to give you advice, cheer you on, provide feedback and push you forward.

Thyme and I are so lucky to have one another as co-founders.  We are able to push each other along our path and recognize when we need to shift directions.  We take the time to celebrate together and in the low moments, have some tears but quickly dust each other off and move on. 

Deb: That's wonderful advice, Denielle. Thanks for stopping by. Please share website and social media URLs.

Denielle: Enjoyed it Deb! Here you go:

Facebook: TOPOrganicProject
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