06 November 2013

Admirable Makers Part 2

Owning a business is a goal for a lot of people, myself included. It's a daunting endeavor but for the many who have started theirs and recount their stories of success and failure, only ignites courage -- that little push we need -- within us.    

This was the theme of Martha Stewart American Made, a recent fair in New York City, celebrating the maker, the handmade, and the local enterprise. Part of the event was an night of award giving to businesses that showcase quality and innovation. I featured some of the nominees yesterday. Here's the last of the batch:

Back to the Roots, urban mushroom farmers.  Founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez went into business instead of pursing a career in the corporate world. Their goal is to develop products that connect families to food. Their advice for those who wish to start their own business: "Get out there and demo and talk to customers! Share your idea –– don't get caught in the idea that "someone will steal this." A passion or idea is 1% of the challenge, executing is the other 99%. Sharing your passion with others –– customers, partners, friends –– and getting their feedback and thoughts will help you see where the opportunity exists. What about it gets them most excited? Just share and talk to as many people as possible. Get a booth at farmer's market, and don't leave till you talk to 200 people. You'll leave with a much better business plan than any online research will get you!"

Woodberry Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant. Founders Mike and Amy Gjerde's food for thought: "Do what matters to you, and only what matters to you."

Pinnell Custom Leather, maker of leather products. Founder Charles Pinnell has this advice: "Stay true to your work, stay true to yourself, and stay true to your customer. Say what you mean and mean what you say."

Archi's Acres describes themselves as "developers of sustainable, hydroponic, organic farming to create opportunities for our returning veterans." Everything about that statement is TADA! Founders Karen and Colin Archipley have this to say about turning one's passion into a business: "Be willing to dedicate 100% to making sure your dream is realized. Prepare, prepare, prepare....Know your product, who your customer is and know your competitors and be ready to devote your life to making it a success."

I hope you found their stories inspiring. See you tomorrow!

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