Running a thriving business takes drive, determination, and a whole lot of hustle! We’re spotlighting seven savvy entrepreneurs whose immense success proves how a little belief and a big leap of faith can land you a leading role in your own life. Looking to recalibrate your career path? Let their accomplishments be your compass.
Los Angeles, CA
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
MY BUSINESS: Pluto is the first and only custom sleep pillow that’s crafted to your body stats, how you sleep, and what you like. Our mission is to elevate your comfort and sleep because we really believe that getting better sleep results in the best you. How we’re doing that now is through customizing sleep pillows at scale. We’re leveraging data to create the best way to purchase a pillow and taking the guesswork out of a typically confusing process.
IN THE BEGINNING: The reason we launched with pillows came from a personal pain point. I’m super passionate about cars and I’m really into tracking cars, go-karting, and autocross. Out of the blue one day, I started to develop really bad neck pain and realized I couldn’t even turn my neck to make the breakneck (pun intended) turns at the track!I approached the problem like any other 21st century consumer—descending down the internet rabbit hole of pillows. I looked at hundreds of pillows, did a ton of research, and still ended up buying and returning more than I’m comfortable to admit. I became really obsessed with the idea of whether we could create a better experience and materials for the modern-day consumer. Pillows are such an important element to our sleep and something that everyone needs; it’s time to improve the way we buy them.
MOST REWARDING:It’s a tie between working with the best team, one that continues to inspire me everyday, and when our customers share stories of how their Pluto Pillow has impacted their lives for the better.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Starting a new venture is supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and encroaching on your business. The fact that it is such a hard thing is good. If you can persevere and figure it out, you’ve essentially created a moat around your business against all of the potential competitors who don’t have what it takes.
MY BUSINESS: At wellthy, our mission is to move away from a linear model of jewelry design and production, and instead further close the loop by minimizing waste and breathing new life into existing resources of precious metals. We do this by creating luxe sustainable jewelry made from 100% post-consumer recycled 14k gold and sterling silver.
IN THE BEGINNING: Realizing that these precious metals derived from electronic components, industrial metals, and old jewelry can be reused is the reason I started wellthy. To me, being conscious of our finite resources was incredibly important—we only have one earth and we have no choice but to be more responsible with our footprint on it.MOST REWARDING: It’s really rewarding to create something that further advances the conversation around sustainability from just considering materials and packaging to now involving design. Sustainability isn’t only about recycling, it is also about longevity and versatility. We aim to always create functional and enduring designs that can be worn in a variety of ways for our customers’ personal styles and also for their sustainable values.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Building upon our core beliefs, and creating something purposeful with intention.
CEE & LEARN, INC.
LITERACY AWARENESS AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MY BUSINESS: Cee & Learn’s mission since 1995 has been to eliminate illiteracy one person at a time. Our slogan is “Literacy Matters.” We set up literacy tables at events where we give away new and gently used books and include fun games and activities and prizes for all ages. We donate books to parents who would like to create a home library, daycares, preschools, organizations, or anyone who has a desire for reading. We also partner with organizations to facilitate literacy walkathons to expose their communities to their local libraries and offer tutoring and basic budgeting sessions to illiterate teens and adults.
IN THE BEGINNING: Growing up with a stuttering impediment was challenging. I was a victim of bullying, teased and mocked whenever I had to speak and read out loud in class. So, I decided to escape into the wonderful world of books. Reading allowed me a chance to mentally travel outside of my inner city environment while increasing my vocabulary and comprehension.
MOST REWARDING: The most rewarding aspect of what I do is that I get to witness the excitement of a child selecting their own books from our literacy table knowing they will be traveling in their minds to places like I did as a child!
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: Tenacity. There will be hardships and you will have to get back up when you fail. Dance, cry, laugh, and travel while you learn what went wrong. It will prevent burnout. Correct, adapt, and reinvent yourself to adjust to societal changes. Keep learning and never give up!
“STYLED” BY ANDREA
MY BUSINESS: Having designed junior, contemporary, and plus-size clothing for many years, I have paid close attention to what people are looking for in their day-to-day wardrobe, and how different clothes and a good fit make them feel and look. I also realize that many people need help creating their individual style, or simply just don’t have time to shop.
IN THE BEGINNING: After many requests from family, friends, coworkers, and confused, stressed-out, frustrated women in dressing rooms, I decided to launch my personal styling company, “Styled” by Andrea Caprio, in 2012. I’ve never looked back.I’m passionate about style. I believe that when people achieve their own effortless style, it opens the door to endless confidence. That’s why I work hard to uncover each person’s unique look. Whether it’s starting over or simply adding a fresh perspective, my goal is to help everyone start each day in great-fitting clothing and feel their best.
MOST REWARDING: By far, the most rewarding aspect of being a stylist is teaching clients how to dress their unique shape and shop with purpose. Every closet has a story, and every client has a vision of how they would like to look. Style is about knowing who you are and having the confidence to express yourself.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: I knew what I wanted to do from a very young age. It really is about finding your passion. Follow your passion and let it branch out to other things.
Dr. Julie Davelman
Tinton Falls, NJ
JULIE DAVELMAN, PH.D. LLC
ABRAMS PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES
MY BUSINESS: Mental health concerns interfere with a person’s ability to function at their best. As a psychologist, I get to help my clients develop the skills that will enable them to overcome their difficulties and work toward becoming the best that they can be.
After completing therapy—therapy isn’t meant to last forever—my clients feel like they can handle what life throws at them. I specialize in the treatment of caregiver burnout and parenting issues, as well as forensic cases. I give back to the community by providing workshops, writing a blog, and speaking on my YouTube channel on topics that can help people improve how they handle their daily lives.
MOST REWARDING: It’s helping someone gain the confidence that they have the skills to overcome something that only a short time ago seemed insurmountable.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: I have succeeded in achieving my goal in my business by being persistent and keeping my eye on the long term. Even though building networks and relationships was not going to generate immediate results, these activities had to be given priority and time because in the long run they were going to help the business thrive.
DANIELLA WOOLLEY CONSULTING, LLC
MY BUSINESS: My company is currently focused on causes, connections, and customer experience. There are so many positive businesses and initiatives in this world, there is no reason we should feel alone or stuck or be competing with each other. The more we can work together, the further our impact goes and the more money we can all make together. I am actually in a growth period as we speak, and excited for the next phase as it unfolds.
MOST REWARDING: Sometimes clients are just missing one piece of information, or need to hear one idea, or connect to that one person to move forward. It feels amazing to be a part of that work while also being able to tie it into supporting the causes I care about. Through the support of my clients and the relationships and partnerships I’ve built, we’ve been able to help animal rescues, women’s organizations, food banks, young adult mentorship programs, startups, and more.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: My network is my (not so) secret to my success. It is through my connections that I see the most aligned and successful opportunities both personally and professionally.
If you don’t feel supported, or don’t know where to start with building your own network, start by getting involved with a cause you care about, or ask someone you know to introduce you to someone in their network. If that feels weird, then keep your ears open for someone who needs help with something that you can assist with; it doesn’t necessarily have to be about business. Connect on a human level first, and from there comes the business and opportunities. Finally, set boundaries, know your worth, and charge for it!
Kelly P. Carson
Lighthouse Point, FL
K-SKIN WONDER NATURAL SKINCARE & FRAGRANCE
MY BUSINESS: K-Skin’s mission is to be a solution for those with skin concerns like my own. I want everyone who is looking for skincare products to have easy and effective options. I want them to be able to find what they have always searched for and wanted for their skin. I created K-Skin so we could all feel good in our own skin without harsh application or fear of damage. I wanted self-care to be easy and fun, with different kinds of products and different scents and textures. K-Skin was made with love and passion, and I want it to expand into the lives and routines of people everywhere.
MOST REWARDING: I love seeing how people react to my products. I enjoy seeing how others with skin concerns are raving about my products because they actually work for them. I love being able to receive comments and feedback on what I created. This brings a smile to my face and really warms my heart in the best way. The satisfaction of others is more rewarding to me than anything else.
SECRET TO MY SUCCESS: The secret to success is having an open mind. I believe having a humble and warm heart, but a very intuitive and strong-willed mind will help you on your journey.
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