About Astia

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Astia VP NYC, Jennifer Hill

What a fantastic day in New York City!

This morning I had the pleasure of appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s Your Business television show – filmed at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Plaza. Hosted by JJ Ramberg, journalist and co-founder of GoodSearch.com, I was joined by Cynthia Franklin, Senior Associate Director of the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Today’s episode centered on two women entrepreneurs – and one male entrepreneur -- capitalizing on the vast potential of tailoring products to the female market:

Erika Wilson, creator of Purse Flats, foldable ballet shoes that fit neatly into a stylish and elegant clutch purse.

Tish Ciravolo, founder and President of Daisy Rock Guitars, the first brand of guitars strictly for girls.

Frank Davern, founder of Cool Girl Decks (formerly Cool Girl Skateboards), skateboards geared specifically to girls.

As entrepreneurs passionate about their particular fields (guitars for Tish and skateboards for Frank), both zeroed in on the fact that the existing market’s product selection left a void: young women. Indeed, women worldwide make or influence at least 64% of all purchases across categories(1). However, what struck me about each of the entrepreneurs’ stories is a particular characteristic present in successful entrepreneurs: they make everything relevant.

Take Tish and Daisy Rock as a prime example. A guitarist from high school onward, Tish enjoyed a vibrant rock music career throughout the L.A. area. Her lifelong passion for music – and the guitar – was a gift she wanted to share with her two young daughters. Her dream was that “every girl who wants to play guitar is welcomed and inspired to do so(2).” Fueled by this dream – and her daughter Nicole’s drawing of a picture of a daisy – Tish realized that by making guitars more visually appealing, balanced in size and weight for women and girls of all ages, and tailoring the tools to create a welcome and inviting experience, more women and girls would pick up a guitar.

With that vision, Tish launched Daisy Rock Guitars offering rock, bass, electric, acoustic, and more in fun colors, shapes and sizes to fit the needs of female guitarists of all ages. Her products are valued by more than 150,000 women and girls worldwide in 26 countries, including famous professional artists such as Avril Lavigne, Joan Jett, Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson, Dolly Parton, and even men(!), including the Cure’s Robert Smith and Chris Stein from Blondie(3). She transformed her love of music into a business and channeled her passion and energy into a platform for female empowerment through music.

Tish is a phenomenal example of an entrepreneur who connected the dots from her background, passions, skills and industry experience into a new path that expanded a market and launched an entrepreneurial venture. In other words, she made everything relevant. Through such links many great challenges are solved, new paths found, and inspiration ignited into action that adds to innovation.

Entrepreneurs find inspiration everywhere – from a chance conversation, an otherwise ordinary data point, or even a prior experience that left them wanting for a solution. The relentless desire to pursue a dream enables them to see and form connections that might not otherwise be found. By evaluating, examining and applying accumulated experiences, a new business can be created. This is a lesson for all of us -- regardless of whether our goal is to launch a new venture or simply to adopt a different perspective to a pressing situation.

Inspired by this week’s guests, I encourage each of you to take a page from their books and spend a few moments pondering how you can make your accomplishments, skills, beliefs, passions, creative inclinations, adventures and hobbies relevant in a new innovative way. You might just find that you are launching the next great company …

[1] Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre, Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest Growing Market (Harper Business 2009).
[2] Tish Caravalo – Founder and President, Daisy Rock Guitars (2010).
[3] Id.