The Story Behind WEofC
I've had the honor and privilege of working with some of the world's most valuable and iconic brands such as The Coca-Cola Company, Sears, The Weather Channel, FIFA World Cup, and The Olympics.
But when I moved from Atlanta to Charleston, SC in March of 2015, I decided to bring my experience in enterprise-level marketing to startups and small-to-medium sized businesses, by launching my very first company, MEL BAR MAR.
During the first two-and-a-half years of running by business I experienced immense joy, extreme despair, and everything in between. I made money, lost money, was brilliant, was out-bid, and was pushed to my limits.
I discovered that while I was good at marketing, I lacked many of the skills I needed to run a company.
I spent hours behind my computer sorting through startup blogs, buying business books, sitting through webinars, and reluctantly reaching out to anyone who would give me advice.
I attended any meet-up, happy hour, networking group, and conference that had the word "start-up," "women," or "entrepreneur" in it -- often at the sake of time home with my son -- but there was still a tremendous gap for me.
I couldn't help but think... there has to be a better way. There has be a way that I can get answers to the questions I have and overcome challenges faster. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Being a business owner has given me 3 incredible gifts:
- Personal Fulfillment
I was able to turn an idea in my head into my livelihood and that is humbling and incredibly fulfilling.
- Financial Freedom
When I moved from Atlanta to Charleston I faced a likely $50,000 pay cut due to the market variance in my industry. Starting my business allowed me to overcome this chasm and take control of my financial future.
- Time Freedom
Flexibility of my work hours means missing out on less with my family and the things I enjoy most.
I decided to focus on Charleston because I believe that while there is tremendous value in the mass reach that technology provides through online forums and social networks, there is little that can replace women gathering in a single place with a single purpose. I also believe local city dynamics are a major influence on the small businesses in which they are born out of.
Despite the advantages of business ownership, only 36% of businesses are women-owned. And, I believe there are unique differences in women and men interact, learn, and share information that were important for me to capture.
Finally, I believe there should be a place where learning and knowledge exchange can take place in a way that aligns with the demanding schedule of a woman business owner. And, because I believe that if I had had access to a community like WEofC when I started my business I would have run a more profitable, more efficient business, even faster. And that is what will make more women embrace the benefits of entrepreneurship.