Women Entreprenur Series Conference

Last year my BFF and I opened a small business called Trata Threads. We had an awesome idea about making products that celebrate cultural identities. How many times have you walked into Babies R Us to see an endless variety of bibs, onesies and t-shirts talking about Auntie, and Grandma or Uncle? That’s all well and good for those people who use traditional American names for their relatives, but in my family, Auntie = Titi, Uncle = Tio, and Grandma = Abuelita, and there are names that are missing like Madrina (godmother) and Padrino (godfather).  One of the best part of this country is diversity, but we don’t see much of it in our stores. So we decided to do it ourselves.

The problem is that we don’t know the first thing about business.

Fortunately the State of NJ is trying to become business friendly. In these interests, they are hosting a series of conferences for Women Entrepreneurs. I missed the first one, but my bestie, and our friend at LJ Treasures in the Sand, carpooled to yesterday’s second in the series conference.

After exploring a few tables of vendors who are specific to helping small businesses obtain financing, we helped ourselves to some breakfast and met some interesting people. There was a representative, Josephine Ho, who was on the planning committee for this event and was also a member of the New Jersey Chinese American Chamber of Commerce. People were very friendly and interested in discussing the different businesses and ideas for businesses we all had.

The morning keynote speaker, Tracye McDaniel spoke about the efforts NJ is making to encourage businesses to set up shop in NJ, and bring jobs to our state. She stressed the importance of small businesses in helping our economy and closed with a few tips on how to stay motivated. She said “Motivation doesn’t last…but neither does bathing”, so we have to find ways to stay focused and motivated on our goals. She suggested changing your screen saver to an ima

ge that motivates you, whether it’s your business card, or even a business card/logo of a business that inspires you. Use a strategically placed white board to deliver daily affirmations to yourself. Finally, she said, Know your circle of influence.

This is an important one to remember, because whether we realize it or not technology has given us the opportunity to maintain contact with more people than ever.

Keynote speaker, Tracye McDaniel, talking about NJ’s efforts to encourage businesses and on staying motivated.

Use your social media tools for networking and help other people succeed. Every person you know is potential referral. With that in mind S, over at LJ Treasures in the Sand, created a facebook page to help Women in NJ achieve this goal. On the Women Entrepreneurs- NJ group page you can find women like you, who are starting out or trying to expand their small businesses. You can vent your frustrations, read informative articles, or use it as a venue to get your company out there. We hope to see you there soon.

For more information on the Women Entrepreneurs Series, click here.


My Bizzaro DIY Mother’s Day Gifts-

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to bust your budget

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Same time every year. The day before payday. No matter how much better we’re doing, somehow Valentine’s Day always finds us without the ability to indulge in the lavish Valentine’s Days of my past. It’s my favorite holiday (don’t judge me-I deal with that concept tomorrow). Before Greg I used to make sure I celebrated in a big way. It never mattered if there was a man in my life. For me Valentine’s Day is about love–all love. I used to take weekends away with my best girlfriend at the time, or go out to expensive dinners. There were always flowers and chocolate of some kind, and maybe even some sparkly bauble to gush to my friends about.

Now that I’m older, broker, and wiser I find that I don’t need all that craziness. I mean, I’d love a weekend away, but it doesn’t have to be in February. Any old weekend will do for a SAHM who is in desperate need of a vacay. In fact, I’d hate to know that Big G spend big bucks on flowers that are half the price any other day of the year. I’m not a big fan of chocolate, and never eat an entire box. I have all the baubles I can wear. With a kid in the mix now, finding a single sitter is harder and harder to do, and I wouldn’t dream of asking my Mom to sacrifice her romantic evening with Daddy just so we could go out (not that she’d say “yes”). I’ve even found that the food on V-Day isn’t as good, and the service is certainly crappier.

That does not mean that Valentine’s Day won’t get celebrated, however. For the last few years I’ve gotten into finding a creative way to make something for Big G. Last year I took all the movie tickets I’d saved from our whole relationship and decoupaged a box with them. I can’t say it turned out as awesome as I’d imagined, but it’s a pretty cool keepsake. This year I made a book for him, complete with hand-colored illustrations by yours truly. Grace is getting a Valentine’s Day Barbie I got at the supermarket. She’s easy to please.

As for dinner…well, I’m cooking. I’m a pretty darn good cook, if I don’t say so myself. So for a fraction of what it would cost out at a jam packed restaurant, I’m making filet mignon with garlic shrimp and scallops and garlic smashed potatoes. I’m celebrating my loves without all the hoopla, and not because anyone is making me, or expecting me to. It’s just because I want to.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year?

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