We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.
Meet: Jennifer Walsh, the founder and creative director of Pride & Glory, the country’s first collegiate beauty brand. The products are specifically made and packaged for individual universities. Walsh, a serial entrepreneur, donates 2 percent of the profits of each item sold to the charity of the school.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jennifer Walsh: I wanted to be like my dad, an FBI agent. As a child I despised wearing dresses and walked around with a baseball mitt at all times. A very far cry from where I wound up in what people consider the most “girly” of worlds!
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own first business?
Walsh: I created my first business, The Beauty Bar, in 1998 because of my weekly TV segments. In 1998, I became the first “On-Air Beauty Expert” in the country and weekly showcased brands that people had never heard of nor could they find–brands [that are well known today], such as Stila, Fresh, Bobbi Brown, LUSH, La Mer and Kiehl’s.
Lesonsky: Why did you start this new business?
Walsh: I ultimately wanted to create a brand that could give back. I was trying to think of a way to give back to local communities and who had the strongest voice. This was the catalyst for creating a collegiate beauty brand. The collegiate market has such a strong voice, not only with students, but also with fans of the schools and the alumni!
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Walsh: I am not shy about creating something different or new. I have been told many times that I was crazy to do what I am about to do. I have never regretted a moment of moving forward. If I had listened to all of the naysayers around me, I would have never have spent my time creating newness in the beauty category.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Walsh: Be the best in your field. Be the person the industry comes to for advice, and never stop learning!
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Walsh: Assemble a team of mentors to surround yourself with, to best help guide and direct you in ways you might not be thinking about.
Lesonsky: Do you have a small business prediction?
Walsh: Hyper-localized marketing. Customers love to be a part of a brand’s story. What better way than to be more “mom and pop” in your thinking? Large brands are now trying to think “small” to truly [emulate] a local home-grown business.
Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?
Walsh: I reread The Alchemist every two years.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Walsh: I came up with a quote when I started my first business in 1998, put it up on a whiteboard and never took it down until I sold the company in 2010: “Risk Is What You Take To Encounter Possibilities.”
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.