Here are 7 BELLA Bosses we admire…
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Title: Holistic Health and Wellness Coach
MY BUSINESS: 365zing is a wellness app created to get black women on track with their health goals physically, mentally, and spiritually. Allowing women to become their best-balanced version of themselves.
IN THE BEGINNING: I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and so I decided to take my healing into my hands. Along the way, I became certified as a holistic wellness consultant, yoga teacher, chef, and teaching artist. I wanted to gift people with what I had learned and make holistic healing more accessible. So I launched www.yesbabyilikeitraw.com, which then birthed 365zing.
MOST REWARDING: Helping people heal. I have so many stories to share. I think the most powerful ones have been with children. I worked with children who were nonverbal who found their first words and others they said would never do certain things reach milestones.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Having an amazing support system. I have mentors along the way who pushed me when I had doubt. Mindset has been a great driver and catalyst for me. I don’t believe in a box or ceiling. I believe everything is possible. If there is something, I don’t know I learn it and study it.
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Business/Brand/Company: 33 Thousand Dates
Title: Dating Entrepreneur
MY BUSINESS: Dating! I think I have one of the best jobs in the world at 33 Thousand Dates. It’s a combination of using my skill set with over 20 years as a dating expert and a love of helping singles find the “one.” I’m not a dating app—I help successful singles in their 30’s to 50’s navigate the world of online dating, writing dating profile bios, vetting their photos, selecting the correct dating sites for them, provide ongoing coaching and in general, help with everything online dating profile related! Here’s a few Tips for Hiring a Dating Coach/Expert!
IN THE BEGINNING: I never in a million years imagined this would be my career! However, in my 20’s, 5 weeks before my wedding my fiancée called it off—basically dumped me. So, after the tears dried I started dating again—-and how did you meet people in the pre-internet dating era? Your friends! I figured out very quickly whiling living in a big city (Chicago), that we all tend to hang out in small tight-knit circles and my friends were pretty clueless with fixups. But I was good at fixing up friends—from high school to college. So, I thought to myself, there has to be a better way to date in a metro area in your 20’s. What if there was a place you could go to that was like an executive recruiter, except for your love life? Hence, I founded It’s Just Lunch in 1991 and it was a success. A few years ago, with over 600 employees and 110 locations worldwide, I sold the company to a private equity group. But I wasn’t done! Dating was still my passion and I saw opportunity all over with online dating. With over 100 million singles in the US, what a market. The only issue was that here were smart, single men and women who while great at their careers, had no idea how to conquer internet dating. This began 33 Thousand Dates. I do all the work; they have all the fun!
MOST REWARDING: My first marriage occurred in the first 6 months of starting 33 Thousand Dates. I was invited and I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see this darling, shy woman in her gown. I’ve worked with over 33,000 clients in my career and have had over 4,200 marriages. I get so excited each time a client calls/texts me with news like “I think I’m in love and don’t need you anymore”!
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS:
I am not going to use that well known P word. It’s something more as I truly like my clients and over the 3 months that I coach them they become like family, like a good friend. We talk weekly so I get such insight into their life, personality and needs. I like helping people. I just like people in general. And I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my career that in finance/accounting (my major) would have never afforded me. I’m lucky….and happy.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Business/Brand/Company: Air Force One Z – (AF1Z for short)
MY BUSINESS: Antimicrobial Unisex Jumpsuits for travel, workouts, and everyday wear.
IN THE BEGINNING: The AF1Z was borne out of necessity 6 months ago when I was trying to figure out a better way to help protect my mom from Covid-19. My mom is a heart transplant recipient and therefore she has a compromised immune system, so while on a run one day, the idea hit me to create an antimicrobial onesie that she could wear over her clothes to better protect her from the virus, whether she was out grocery shopping, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, out on a walk etc. I excitedly ran home to tell her, my fiancé, our niece, and her partner about the idea; I even already had a name for it: Air Force One Z (AF1Z). It’s my experience as a film director that it’s impossible to do anything to scale alone. The team you choose is vital to any success. Luckily for me, all four were all in before I had even finished telling them the ideas! The brainstorming began that very night. How do we find antimicrobial fabric in the middle of a worldwide pandemic? Can we be competitive and environmentally friendly at the same time? Since we all like to look good when we go out, even to the doctor’s office, can we please do better than the hazmat-type suits we see out there on the market? While all five of us had our areas of specialty, we mostly worked as a single unit around the clock. In record time, we had built the AF1Z we wanted: we sampled multitudes of fabrics until we found a super lightweight and comfortable material that was antimicrobial and 100% made from recycled plastic bottles! We discovered two amazing companies who manufacture compostable mailers and labels. And we decided to design the onesie in a single launch color: navy blue with blue and white stripes to suggest the ultra-cool look of a flight suit. More colors, especially gorgeous pastels, are coming in the spring. My niece, Maya, created the stylish logo, we voted that Kalli’s tag line was the best, “Just Zip up and go”, and within 90 days the first 5000 were being manufactured.
MOST REWARDING: The day our first Air Force One Z sample design arrived and my mom tried it on. We were all so excited, not only could this help better protect her when she went out, but it was stylish, super comfortable and eco-friendly, everything we hoped our AF1Z would be!
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Finding a need and filling it with love. As corny as that sounds, this project has completely been inspired out of a need to help a loved one and has turned into an exciting business for our family to help better protect others during Covid-19, and after. And with the sale of every AF1Z we are donating to families who have been hit hard by Covid. So far, we have received such kind and positive responses from customers that even after things return to normal, we will continue making our AF1Z’s and expand the brand into different fabrics, styles, and colors, all the while keeping the eco-friendly and antimicrobial aspects to our designs. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support, and to BELLA Magazine for this story on us, so exciting! Stay healthy and safe, from our family to yours! J Caroline, Frank, Eva, Maya, Kalli
Diana Coffield Baisa
Location: Indiana, USA
Business/Brand/Company: My Shield Masks
IN THE BEGINNING: In the beginning I discovered sewing as the ideal outlet to satisfy my obsession with textures, colors and movement. Over the past 42 years while mastering the art of design and clothing construction, I have learned how to market my talent and skills, building several businesses from the ground up. I did not go to college: My professional education came from long hours, trial and error, and resiliency. A successful textile businessman once gave me sage advice many years ago: “Hang on through the tough times, never give up, and keep quality and customer service first. Eventually, you will be the last one standing.” In many ways these words have come true. My current business is an expression of my being…a little creative chaos, bright lighting everywhere, the sounds of laughter and machines humming, with delightful colors and textures all around.
MOST REWARDING: Customer reactions to the products I design and sew is one of the most rewarding things about my business. My drive is to produce high quality apparel and accessories that enhance the individuals who wear them with classic, timeless styles. With my new business, MyShieldMasks.com, I have a 55-78% return rate every single day! Clients have become fans, and they love to share the news of my beautiful, no muffle masks with others. They are elated to tell everyone their stories about how they won’t wear anything else but MyShieldMasks! The customer reactions make all the struggles and challenges worth it.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: The secret to my success is that in the many chapters of my career, I have been keenly alert to many voids in the marketplace and routinely diversify my skills and resources to fill those niche places with beautiful, quality products and personalized customer service. When a need presents itself, be the first willing to take action.
Location: Irvine, CA
Business/Brand/Company: Manna Kadar Cosmetics
MY BUSINESS: Manna Kadar is the self-made, self-funded minority mom-preneur behind the fast-growing Manna Kadar Cosmetics family of brands that includes Manna Kadar Beauty, Goddess by Manna Kadar, Beauty and the Bump, Haute Dog luxury pet products, Mason Man Skincare, and Manna Kadar Luxe Bath and Body. The creator of the “7 Minute Face,” Kadar’s three-step, award-winning Beauty Simplified System quickly gained the attention of national outlets such as E! News, Good Morning America, and The Today Show. Her innovative approach to both beauty and business earned her a spot among the “Top 40 Under 40 Beauty CEO’s,” along with being named 2018’s USC Alumni Member of the Year. The Manna Kadar brand made Inc. Magazine’s 2020 “Top 5,000” list and is published among the fastest-growing enterprises in the LA Business Journal. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently named her 2020 Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Leading with heart, Kadar sits on the boards of Goodwill and USC’s Women in Business while giving back 10% of the company’s annual profits to philanthropic organizations.
IN THE BEGINNING: Born in Paris, Kadar relocated to Lincoln Heights, California by age 5 and was raised by a strong single mom and grandmother. Growing up in a tough neighborhood, she witnessed first-hand the everyday battle to survive, viewing education and enterprise as a way out of the struggle. At age 16, she purchased her first cosmetics store at the local mall. At age 18, she became one of a handful of students accepted into college. Kadar stayed close to home, studying Finance and Distribution Management at USC. A natural-born entrepreneur, she used what she learned in the classroom to grow her mall-based cosmetics chain to 7 stores in 6 years. After college, she sold her beauty business to enter the world of corporate banking. Over the next 6 years, Kadar excelled rapidly, yet missed the fulfillment and purpose that entrepreneurship provided. In 2007, she exited the finance world, taking everything she learned and applying it to her new venture: developing a chain of tanning salons that would one day lead to the Manna Kadar Beauty empire. Seeking to creatively maximize revenues, Kadar turned her tanning salon lobby into a beauty bar. The idea quickly gained traction, giving Kadar her first opportunity to develop an original cosmetics line. By really listening to the needs of her customers, she was able to craft products that delivered real-world beauty solutions, growing the small company into what is today a family of six brands with more than 600 SKU’s in 40,000 stores nationwide – all without outside investment. Realizing that her motto – “when you look good, you feel good” – means something different to everyone, she designed products to suit multiple concepts of beauty, from minimalist to glam. Understanding that makeup can feel time-consuming and too technical for some, she developed her signature three-step Beauty Simplified System, coordinating instructions with numbered products to streamline application. More than the opportunity for profits, Kadar is drawn to the hope and self-confidence she can encourage in others through her work. She has found that providing people with multi-functional, high-quality cosmetics can change their whole outlook on life, helping them become the best version of themselves.
MOST REWARDING: Making people look and feel their best.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Get up, get dressed, and get ready. When you look good you, feel good. Every mom needs a boost of confidence and so much as a little makeup can give you a much needed glow inside and out to get you through the day, Do the best you can. Do not get down on yourself for not feeling or being perfect, there’s no such thing. Every parent is different, every child is different, and every family is different. Everyone is trying to do their best, and that’s really all you can do right now. Be sure to still touch base / vent to friends and family, don’t keep all the stress in, you’ll be surprised, once you voice your frustrations, you really do not feel so alone in your emotions.
Location: Newark, NJ
Business/Brand/Company: Institute For Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL)
Title: CEO/Small Business Champion Organizational
MY BUSINESS: The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership is a nonprofit organization focused on eradicating systemic level barriers to entrepreneurial success experienced by historically marginalized populations. We operate three primary programs. Through our Women of Color Connecting movement and the Success Circles business model, we connect amazing women of color entrepreneurs with the allies, champions, and investors who can open the doors that enable success to be possible. The Making of Black Angels campaign is driving diversity and inclusion in the angel investing sector. We believe this will lead to more black entrepreneurs receiving angel capital…often the onramp to venture capital. Small Businesses Need Us was created to help struggling businesses through the overwhelming challenges of the pandemic and leverages the power and knowledge of an experienced volunteer force to help entrepreneurs move forward faster.
IN THE BEGINNING: It felt like such an uphill battle to get people to care about the systemic barriers facing black and brown entrepreneurs. With the mass awakening that happened after the murder of George Floyd, more people are receptive to listening and learning. We have expanded our capacity enormously by engaging powerful, committed people with the ability and willingness to open doors on behalf of our mission. We are always looking to engage people who are committed to inclusion.
MOST REWARDING: The most rewarding experience is to witness the wins, both small and big, by the entrepreneurs in our women of color community. When I am feeling overwhelmed or disappointed, I think about the challenges that our entrepreneurs have overcome and their victories in the face of often insurmountable odds — businesses like the organic skincare line that we helped to re-launch and re-brand and the catering company whose capacity we helped to double, all in the face of a pandemic…pretty exciting.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: The secret to my success is in keeping myself immersed in the community that we serve to be able to effectively communicate the unique barriers and issues faced by entrepreneurs of color in pursuit of the American dream. Every day we think about how we can add value for them so that they can stay focused on building amazing businesses. We especially look for opportunities to advance our message in bold new ways so that allies, champions, and investors want to step forward and raise a hand to be part of the solution.
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Business/Brand/Company: Elate Cosmetics
Title: Founder & CEO
MY BUSINESS: At Elate Cosmetics we make beautifully designed, high-performing vegan and cruelty free cosmetics with an ethical supply chain and sustainability-conscious practices. We are all about reducing waste when it comes to your personal care rituals as we believe that small daily choices can create big global impact. It’s our mission to change the world, one lipstick at a time.
IN THE BEGINNING: My first venture into the beauty industry came when I was 20 years old. I took my first job managing a salon, just after dropping out of university. I wanted to be an accountant but realized quickly that was not the career for me. It was then that I fell in love with helping people feel and look their best through beauty. I went on to pursue many other roles, including becoming an editorial makeup artist, before starting Elate Cosmetics in 2014.
MOST REWARDING: The most rewarding part of running my business is seeing my team grow and thrive through the pursuit of our shared vision. Changing the status quo takes time and passion and I am so grateful to have my team with me every day.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Listening to that little voice inside that says: nothing is impossible, and taking people with me for the ride.
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