An update on three women-owned startups: Innovative ideas lead to business expansion

August 13, 2007


In addition to the yoga and pilates classes offered at Invoke, owner Amy Peddycord has added clothing from Lululemon, a popular Canadian apparel brand. She also has established a relationship with Santa Monica, Calif.-based Yoga Works, which has 14 studios throughout California and New York. Yoga Works will lead a teacher training program at Invoke in 2008.

Peddycord says hiring an office manager in 2006 was the best thing she's done. "Nicole [Schoville] quickly grew into the role and has thrived as the manager," she said. "Her detail oriented and organized ways complement my more entrepreneurial spirit and big-picture focus."

The biggest lesson Peddycord says she's learned is not to be scared to hire someone to do the day-to-day operations.

"It has allowed me to continue my work as a marketing professional with Beilouny Luxury Properties," she said. "I'm glad that I had a full-time job when I opened the studio, which took some of the pressure off financially. I continue to struggle with the 'pay yourself first' objective of small business."


Co-owners Melissa Keene and Brenda Webster have stayed with the same successful bed-and-breakfast experience built around scrapbooking that earned them mentions on Martha Stewart's daytime television show and write-ups in national magazines like "Creative Keepsakes" and "Girlfriend Getaways." Keene said Ladies Home Journal plans a feature on the business in an upcoming issue.

The pair also has branched out to host pri vate, sports-related scrapbooking nights. The first was July 12 in association with an Indiana Fever game at Conseco Fieldhouse. They're working on a package with the Indiana Pacers.

With an occupancy rate that continues to run in the high 90 percentile-fueled by many repeat guests-the women plan to "continue the level of pampering that guests expect and introduce many new scrappers to the joy of Crop-A-Doodle-Do, the Ultimate Scrapbook and Spa Getaway," Keene said.

JSK Apparel

"Mompreneurs" Sherry Compton, Jeanine Stewart, and Kelly Carlile started JSK Apparel in August 2005 with $25,000 in funding. Their professional sports teaminspired, "blinged up" apparel-designed for women's curves-is sold online, at select Finish Line stores and in boutiques.

Since the profile, the trio has expanded into the collegiate market, acquiring a license to sell Notre Dame and Indiana University JSK Fashion Wear. The new collection includes fashion jerseys, tees and hats.

Compton says Karen Sampson, wife of IU head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, and her daughter, Lauren, purchased the entire collection to wear to games.

JSK also has secured the licensing rights for University of Kentucky, Purdue University and Auburn University apparel, which is currently in production.

St. Vincent Women's Health boutique invited the women to create a line of tees and hats to honor women fighting breast cancer. JSK's "Healthy Self" collection includes products adorned with pink nailhead ribbons.

What lessons have they learned after two years in business?

"It certainly is never as easy as it looks," Compton said. "When I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, I always go back to ... how darn lucky I am to be working on projects and in a business that I have such a great passion for.

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