It is hard to believe that one week ago, I attended the kickoff of Spark and Hustle, 2012 with Tory Johnson. From illustrious speakers like Barbara Corcoran to 500 other women in business like me, it was quite a day.
I am not going to go on and on about the importance of the Spark and Hustle Community. I have already written about that here and here and yes, here, too. If you know me, you know that I adore Tory and the hustle that she brings to all the women who attend her conferences. It is contagious.
Actually, the Spark and Hustle bug is so infectious, I begged Tory to bring her 20 city tour to Pittsburgh, and she is stopping in the ‘Burgh on August 9th. Starting this week, Tory will be jetting around the country with her ego mobile, stopping in 19 other cities.
I do want to share a bit of what I learned last week in New York City at the kickoff for Spark and Hustle so you get a feel for the fabulous information that fans your hustle. With a different and crazy fabulous lineup in each city, women in business everywhere will be able to groove, hustle, and share amazing sparks of knowledge.
Whether you have a ‘hobby that you want to make BIG’ or you are ‘afraid of the pink slip’ or you already have a growing business, Spark and Hustle with Tory is for you. Tory greeted women in all of the above categories with enthusiasm and encouragement to make new business best friends and think about our businesses in terms of what the speakers had to say TODAY … not in 5 years!
That is exactly what I did!
Here are the highlights of the event for me:
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, Co-Founder, Vera Bradley Bags, who like mine, her dad was in sales and taught her to ‘Sell herself 1st, her company 2nd, and her product 3rd.’ This is the exact principle that I was raised on, yet it is incredible to witness first hand a fascinating woman who built such a venerable brand like Vera Bradley on the concept.
Bradley also spoke words of wisdom on the subject of looking for partners – ‘Find people who are better at what you are not.’ In other words, don’t look for your twin, but someone who is complementary.
Noha Walbsnaider, Founder, Peeled Snacks (which is sold at Starbucks!! WOW!!) addressed those who were looking for distribution. Walk outside and sell is what she did, and Starbucks found her!! There is a marketing effect if your product is in a lot of places.
Mica May, Founder, May Books who calls her company, ‘people against ugly notebooks’ encouraged everyone to find their niche and look for all the different roads there.
Both Noha and Mica reinvigorated me to keep pushing forward with my product development in addition to writing. Product development, branding, and placement appears to be sexy and elusive, but is extremely stressful. Witnessing these TWO moms in business first hand and hearing their stories and successes was just what I needed to keep me moving in a forward direction. That is the powerful after-effect of Spark and Hustle.
Nicole Feliciano, Founder, Mom Trends addressed how ‘every mom carries a megaphone in her smart phone’ and every experience can be amplified! What a remarkable marketing strategy – right? Feliciano’s marketing reminders were 1 – every email is an opportunity and 2 – celebrate the success of competitors which in turn lifts everyone in your space. Another strong force of Spark and Hustle – supporting the whole community of women in business.
Liz Lange, Founder, Liz Lange Maternity and Shopafrolic answers all her own customer service emails! Really! Liz recognizes the importance of staying in touch with customers. Simple yet so dramatically profound and admirable!
And the piece de resistance – Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul and Shark in the Shark Tank, captured the audience with her story of growing up one of TEN children in a 2 bedroom house, poor and not interested in traditional studying, yet her ‘wonderful imagination’ encouraged by her mother propelled her to take a loan for $1000 and turn it into a 66 million dollar business! Barbara saw her business, The Corcoran Group, as an insurance policy for the rest of her life when her marriage broke up.
Now a fan favorite on the show, Shark Tank, where Barbara funds new and up and coming businesses and products, her advice is priceless. I will share two of Corcoran’s 10 tips…Expand before you are ready. Barbara refers to this as leapfrogging. This goes along side by side with Tory’s encouragement to think about your business NOW rather than in 5 years. I LOVE this need to be in the NOW, expanding NOW, and not focusing on the future plan.
Finally, I will leave you with these words from Corcoran: ‘You have the right to be here.’
I believe more than anything that women struggle with this. We MUST realize that we have the RIGHT to be here in this space, whatever space we are in, and claim our stake.
THAT is what Spark and Hustle provides – not only how to get your hustle on but stake your claim in the business world for women!!
Thank you to Tory and everyone involved with Spark and Hustle for a Fabulous DAY!
If you live in Pittsburgh, I know that I will see each and every one of you on August 9th for a day that will exceed all your expectations.
For everyone else, follow the Spark and Hustle Car to the city nearest you!