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.
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R&R INTERIOR DESIGN 365
MY BUSINESS: We are a full-service design firm based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in interior design for residential/commercial spaces. R&R Interior Design 365 has three key principles: to inspire, design, and create. We believe interior design should inspire you to design the life that you want to create.
MOST REWARDING: The ability to transform a space into a client’s dream home is so fulfilling. As an artist, when you’re allowed to use your gift and tap into your creativity it’s an overwhelming feeling of joy. Reveal day is probably my favorite part because we get to see our clients’ reactions to all our hard work come to life.
THE WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: My mother, Audrey James. Growing up, my mother was extremely creative and would sew clothing for my sisters and I. She had a love for design as well and even created custom home decor with silk plants among other things. She also worked in many home decor stores. My dad was in the army, so we moved a lot, and she’d always decorate each and every home we lived in immediately. She wanted our space to feel like home to help us transition quicker to wherever we moved. Because of my parents tremendous help, I was able to leave my Corporate America job of 15 years and start my design business. They support me and help with my children beyond what grandparents would normally do.
CEO AND FOUNDER
MY BUSINESS: Pear Nova is a luxury vegan, cruelty-free and nontoxic (10 free) Nail Lacquer brand that launched in 2012 inspired by my love for beauty, fashion, and art.
MOST REWARDING: Since its launch Pear Nova has released over 70 classic lacquers, 20 gel lacquers, several nail care items, and won numerous beauty awards such as the Essence 2020 “Best in Black Beauty” and Allure 2020 “Best of Beauty.” Additionally, Pear Nova was included in Oprah’s 2020 Favorite Things List, has partnered with brands such as Square, Nike, Google, American Express, and recently partnered with TNT’s hit TV series, ”Claws,” on a collaboration collection.
THE WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: Nova Henry, my sister-in-love. Pear Nova is devoted to cultivating a secure and nurturing female community. Our support for causes such as domestic violence awareness and mental health awareness is demonstrated through both community outreach and online content. Through her life, Nova inspired our company’s core values. We honor her spirit through our efforts to uplift and protect women.
New York, NY
SPECTRUM NEWS NY1
MY JOB: NY1 News is a 24-hour news network covering the five boroughs of New York City.
MOST REWARDING: I love telling stories of people who go out of their way to do amazing things. It also feels really good when your story is the reason someone gets the help they need.
THE WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: My mom. She has always believed in me and taught me to always keep an optimistic outlook no matter what.
Staten Island, NY
JMT MEDIAOWNER & CEO
MY BUSINESS: I opened my firm when I was five months pregnant with my son. With a rolodex of contacts, I have now created the largest public relations and marketing firm in Staten Island, New York. We offer public relations, design, social media, event management, and video production for small- to midsize businesses.
MOST REWARDING: The most rewarding aspect of what I do every day is working with other small business owners. I understand the same challenges they are having. I understand the sacrifice to hit payroll every two weeks, so when I work with a brand, I look at each client as if it was my own brand. Their success is my success.
THE WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: I do everything in a #HumbleandHustle capacity so I would have to identify a few women, because it truly takes a tribe. From the award-winning Dolores Morris, the first woman I ever met who had five Emmys and three Peabody awards to the Honorable New York City Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks, to my spiritual leader Miss Katia Gordon and to my fearless mother Sheila, there is not one woman but many who come before and after me.
New York, NY
SCENTERPRISES INC – SUE PHILLIPS FRAGRANCE
SuePhillips.com + Scenterprises.com
MY BUSINESS: After a successful corporate career in executive positions at iconic companies such as Elizabeth Arden, Lancôme, and Tiffany & Co. where as VP – Fragrance I developed and launched the first Tiffany perfume for their 150th anniversary, I established Scenterprises Inc in 1992 primarily as a global consulting company. It was there that I created and developed fragrances for Burberry, Avon, Lancaster, and Trish McEvoy. After the financial crash of 2008, I opened The Scentarium, New York’s first custom perfumery in Tribeca, and created fragrances for A-list celebrities, such as Jamie Foxx, Katie Holmes, Zendaya, Laurence Fishburne, the late Cicely Tyson, and thousands of fragrance lovers who wanted a signature scent.
As the proliferation of celebrity and designer scents grew, corporations realized how important memorable experiences were for their clients and employees and wanted to incorporate scent into their events. We created and presented innovative, interactive, ‘scentertaining’™ corporate and team-building events for Fortune 500 companies.
With the pandemic also came enormous business challenges, and understandably many corporate events were cancelled, so I put pen to paper and wrote my book, “The Power of Perfume,” never thinking it would be so prophetic. Through the power of perfume I have helped so many COVID sufferers regain and rediscover their sense of smell.
MOST REWARDING: I love having my own company and meeting people from around the world and creating so many different innovative, interactive multi-scent-sory events, e.g., Scent Dinners, Scent Parties, ambient scenting, team-building, and corporate experiences.When we get the most positive responses from our clients who absolutely love their signature scent, I get such pleasure knowing I have helped someone reflect their individuality and personality.
THE WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: My mom, Grace Phillips, was really the most inspirational woman to me. She was an artist, calligraphist, painter, singer, musician, amazing homemaker, and all around “Renaissance woman.” There was nothing she couldn’t do, and she looked elegant and beautiful all the time. I dedicated my book to my mom and to my daughter who is also changing the world through her work in the areas of leadership, training, and communication.
New York, NY
FINE ARTIST, FOUNDER, CEO
MY BUSINESS: ArtSugar is a female-founded e-commerce retailer pioneering art curation for the Instagram generation. ArtSugar successfully bridges the gap between mass-produced wall art and home decor and the high-end original art market with an exclusive selection of eye-catching, affordable art prints and decor by popular artists on Instagram, expertly curated by me, a fine artist. Plus, ArtSugar donates proceeds from every purchase to a selection of notable charities.
MOST REWARDING: I had an eight-year career in the fine art world in New York before launching ArtSugar in 2017. With an MA from Christie’s and a BFA from Cornell, I began my professional career at Christie’s and held positions with artist Peter Tunney and at Skarstedt Gallery before founding ArtSugar. While I was working at the art galleries and museums, I realized there wasn’t a great platform for artists who were growing their businesses on Instagram. I launched ArtSugar to give them an optimized platform to sell their work and connect with a broader audience, which is rewarding. ArtSugar also gives back to great causes, which is special to me.
THE WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: Teddi Lightman, the founder of Rae of Light, has a similar mission to ArtSugar—to make high-quality, eye-catching, and on-trend products with accessible price points for on-the-pulse shoppers. Teddi and I launched a handbag collaboration to promote female founder empowerment and breast cancer research. I admire Teddi’s work ethic, determination, and creative flair.
New York, NY
AUTHOR OF “GREED & GRACE” + PRINCIPAL OWNER OF GRACE WEST AND GRACE MEADOW PROPERTIES LLC
MY BUSINESS: I’m the author of “Greed & Grace,” a powerful memoir recently released worldwide to rave reviews by Trilogy Publishing with TBN. An entrepreneur, occasional model, SAG/AFTRA commercial actor, and mother of two, I’m also the proud fourth-generation trustee and vice president of my family’s nearly 75-year-old philanthropic foundation in my home state of Oregon. Additionally, I’m the principal owner of Grace West and Grace Meadow Properties, LLC, as well as an independent business owner with a direct sales company.
MOST REWARDING: I believe that what I do defies definition as I wear many hats, some of my own choosing and some of which chose me. Being the first woman in my family to find her own voice through challenging circumstances that were not part of my life plan ultimately helped me rise as an independent woman, entrepreneur, and as a new author. Perhaps the greatest reward of sharing my personal story through my memoir, “Greed & Grace,” is hearing how others have felt much of their life experiences within the pages of my book, and that like me, they see they can also rise from the ashes and begin again.
WOMAN WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME MOST: The younger generation in my family has inspired me to consider a deeper perspective on the world, and the most influential female among them has been a multi-talented artist, musician, budding producer, and authentically grounded young woman who also happens to be my daughter. Ava McCoy has encouraged me to embrace the second half of my life in ways that have freed me from generational and patriarchal bondage. Her unconditional love, candid advice, and fierce encouragement helped propel me to write my personally candid memoir, which ultimately gave me the freedom I needed to find my own voice and to be a stronger example to her and others by putting my pain onto the written page with purpose and grace.
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