Female Founders: Women Who Are Pioneering Creative Entrepreneurship

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Momentum’s May Meetup featured four leading women in creative entrepreneurship. The Founder Panel + Discussion highlighted female-led businesses who have completed CCE’s Accelerator program. Karen Cuthrell (The Feelings Company), Jenni Earle Hopkins (Jenni Earle), Beryl Young (Momtography/Teentography), and CCE’s own Margaret Collins discussed the obstacles many female entrepreneurs face in the cultivation of their businesses and how they have achieved success while pursuing their passions. 

All panelists emphasized the importance of passion in their work. In overcoming barriers to success, Karen Cuthrell advised entrepreneurs to “take it back to their why,” or the reason why they do what they do. Karen founded The Feelings Company after her six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with depression. Upon discovering that the vocabulary of feelings was not included in school curricula, Karen pioneered an educational platform to develop children’s social and emotional intelligence. When faced with challenges, she focuses on her personal connection to her company through her daughter. Karen encourages all business owners to “love their numbers.” In developing strategies to meet financial goals, she refers back to her numbers as well as her overarching mission: developing tools for children’s emotional development. 

Momtography, founded by Beryl Young, also has a deeply personal connection to her business. Beryl turned to photography as a means of coping following the loss of her unborn daughter. Her business model is inspired by her resiliency and creativity during an especially hard time. Momtography emphasizes the importance of capturing memories and moments through its community of mothers. Beryl had great advice for early entrepreneurs struggling to find a seat at the table. “Make sure you’re at the right table,” she says. Focusing on your own strengths and abilities will draw teammates and allies who will support you in your endeavors. Beryl also encouraged entrepreneurs to think critically about their business models. Consolidating your range of products can simplify your financial roadmap and bring you closer to your mission!

Jenni Earle Hopkins, founder of Jenni Earle, infuses her passion for authenticity into her hand-dyed “talismans of bravery and adventure.” Growing up in West Virginia, Jenni cherished times with her grandfather who encouraged her to chase her dreams. Grandpa Earle’s handy bandanas inspired Jenni’s company which champions empowerment and self-love. Jenni understands the challenges that women face when advocating for their businesses; they are often perceived as aggressive when trying to make their voices heard. Jenni advised her female entrepreneurs to let go of the desire to be complaisant. “If you have something to say, say it. If it is not understood, change the wording. If you believe that you deserve a spot, go get it,” she said during the Momentum Meetup.

CCE’s founder Margaret Collins also spoke to her experience as a female entrepreneur. Unable to find resources for creatives in inception stage businesses, Margaret founded CCE to propel creativity and entrepreneurship. Margaret spoke of her experiences as the only woman in a business meeting: “If you’re able to articulate your position and stay strong, you will be heard.” In developing CCE, Margaret has created networks of creatives who can support their peer’s initiatives. Providing this community uplifts female entrepreneurs and creatives that are not typically represented in large business settings. 

We are thankful to our panelists for sharing their insight in our second Virtual Momentum Meetup. Please join us for our next session during our Virtual Momentum Summer Social on June 24th! 

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