April 17, 2019


In: Lifestyle


There are an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States that employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in revenues. 

Source: The State of Women Owned Businesses Report; American Express

As female entrepreneurs, we’re always on the look out to connect with, share and learn from incredible women who have cultivated their own amazing brand, business, and name for themselves. There are so many of them out there! We’ve reached out to a few of our favorite personal and business inspirations, to ask them what the main challenges facing female entrepreneurs are, and to share a few tips with other women looking to start their own business.

Women Owned Businesses - Joyce Horn Antiques, Ltd.
Joyce Horn Antiques, Ltd., established in 1979, is a family owned and operated business founded by Joyce and Will Horn. Their company continues its 36 year tradition of specializing in hand procured, fine European antique and reproduction furniture and accessories. In addition, each beautiful piece is fully restored by their in-house team of experts.

Joyce Horn, of Joyce Horn Antiques, Ltd. says, “Women have to be tough. In this age of ‘the liberated woman’, the female entrepreneur must be strong and resilient.  With the freedom to work outside of the home or to run your own business, comes the realization that not only do women maintain the traditional roles of homemaker, mother, wife, etc., but have also added the additional role of business owner.  Be prepared to ask for, or arrange for, help on the home front – superwomen can be susceptible to burnout!”

Women Owned Businesses - Segreto Finishes by Leslie Sinclair
Colorist and owner of Segreto Finishes, Leslie Sinclair, loves to share her design adventures though her awarded blog Segreto Secrets. With a staff of 45 artisans, and work featured in numerous publications such as Architectural Digest, Veranda, Traditional Home and Country French to name a few, there is no shortage of design inspiration and lifestyle subjects for her to share. Currently working on her 4th design book, Leslie hopes to share with you the secrets which will inspire beautiful living in your clients homes and discuss with you the tools she used to grow her business.

“Carving out uninterrupted family time is crucial. For us, from dinner to bedtime was family time. I would stay up late or wake up early to play catch up for work.” says Leslie of Segreto Finishes.

Women Owned Businesses - FOUND Ruth Davis
Ruth Davis established FOUND in 2007 with a goal to build a trendsetting home-décor boutique driven by a novel mix of period antiques, vintage and contemporary pieces, custom upholstery, art, and accessories.  In addition, she wanted to create a space to bring together artisans and designers to showcase product and concepts. FOUND strives for an aesthetic that will expand its customers sense of what is possible with design – the mix is playful, unexpected and never boring.  And the result is a must visit resource for your home furnishing needs.

“I was fortunate that my daughters were in high school when I started my business.” – says FOUND founder, Ruth Davis – “I didn’t have to juggle raising my children with starting a business. I’m in awe of the young women I know who seem to do it all effortlessly.

Women Owned Businesses - FOUND Ruth Davis
FOUND Ruth Davis

Davis continues: “I can truly say that the only time I felt discriminated against was when we were first looking for a space to lease.  The leasing agents never returned my calls.  My husband called from his place of work (a national retailer), and they called him back immediately!  I take pleasure in knowing that I now get solicitation calls and emails from leasing agents.” 

Interior Design - Lucas Eilers Design Associated L.L.P. Office
Lucas Eilers Design Associates L.L.P. office

Sarah Eilers emphasizes the importance of experience: “Starting a business requires time – not to mention experience, which can go a long way. Working for someone else provides solid grounding, teaches you what to watch out for and mistakes to avoid. We see our background of working for another firm as a gratifying experience and a mentorship, and setting up our own business was just a continuation of that.”

Interior Design - Lucas Eilers Design Associated L.L.P. Office
Lucas Eilers Design Associates L.L.P. office

But what are some of the key ingredients for success?

Joyce’s advice, “Love your product. It will show in what is produced. I have been lucky to be married to a man with an MBA and who loves numbers.  Those of us who are driven by their right brain, and tend to gravitate to more creative endeavors, should line up a good accountant and CPA. Their input is essential to keep things real! Be committed and expect to be taken seriously!”

We couldn’t agree more. When starting out, it’s really important to know what your limitations are. Especially, if the ins and out of doing business wasn’t part of your education. Surround yourself with people that supplement your skill-set. You want to hire people who not only enhance what you’re doing, but help you get better and grow, too. 

Interior Design - Women Owned Businesses - Lucas Eilers Design Associated L.L.P. Office
Lucas Eilers Design Associates L.L.P. office

Ruth Davis adds: “Only do it, if you are passionate about the business. It’s a lot of work, and the financial rewards may not come right away. Learn to delegate. It’s not going to happen overnight, so learn to be patient. People love to share their knowledge.  Don’t be afraid to ask.”

Women Owned Businesses - FOUND Ruth Davis
FOUND Ruth Davis

“With gratitude to my parents, I was taught some valuable lessons that paved the way for my becoming an entrepreneur.” – says Leslie Sinclair – “Many of these life lessons have helped me tremendously in navigating my career. Here are a few I’d like to share:

  • If you can visualize something – dream it – you have the ability to make it happen.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Without failure there is no success.
  • Do the very best at whatever you set out to do and opportunities will present themselves. You just have to notice them.
  • Never work for money as your main goal. Do what you love. The rewards are higher.
  • Learn something new every day. Learn especially from your mistakes.
  • You are never too old to create! Keep your mind always open to new possibilities.”

“The only rule is that there are no rules. Anything is possible….It’s all about risk, deliberate risks.”

– Helen Frankenthaler

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