les femmes 25

Meet the female entrepreneurs helping to shape the Boulder community.

With everything from orthodontics and law, to jewelry and clothing design, to publishing and tech, this collection of Front Range success stories speaks to these women’s humble yet fierce attitudes towards carving their own path. These entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers and solution-oriented, contributing to the uniqueness and strength of this community.

Brooke Berlin

Karoo Collection

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

To design my own line of luxury ostrich-leather accessories. But, that has completely evolved into an “Africa Curated” line, which is a vehicle for telling the story of both Karoo Collection, and other women-owned businesses, either based in Africa or inspired by Africa.

How would you describe your work ethic?

I am constantly striving, pushing, wanting more, and I hold other people to high standards. I have a hard time with work-life balance on a day-to-day basis as I get wrapped up in the to-dos. However, I will work hard for a concentrated period, and then allow myself to play hard.

From your experience, do you think being a female has influenced your approach to business?

I don’t think being a female has influenced my approach, I think being myself has influenced my approach. There might be men out there who are as heart-forward and bottom-line backward as I am and there might be women out there more driven with A-type personalities than I am. I have a hard time associating business with gender as I think it has more to do with the person, the industry and the end game.

Best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?

I practice yoga, and one of the best lessons from a great teacher was: lead with your heart.

Lindsey Laurain

ezpz

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

Originally, we just wanted to make family mealtime less messy, less stressful and more fun. But, we had no idea the impact our products would have within the special needs community. There are now many kids and adults with disabilities that are eating independently for the first time. We now have a Speech Language Pathologist on our team and work with medical professionals throughout the world.

Do you have a hero?

My husband. He is a rock star and has so many noble qualities that I admire.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Take joy in other people’s success.

Best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?

Be you, be kind, be honest and do what is right.

Would you describe yourself as a leader?

I prefer “Team Captain.” I truly love motivating and inspiring others.

Sara Bercholz

Shambhala Publications / Roost Books

What first inspired your idea or concept for 
Roost Books?

My father is the founder of Shambhala Publications and he always told me that I could explore all my interests in publishing. In my twenties, I was working in my family business and my interest in food was becoming an obsession. A friend introduced me to a food blog, a relatively new thing in 2007, called La “Tartine Gourmande”. I fell in love and could see immediately that the photographs, stories and recipes would make an enchanting book. That was the first seed for Roost Books.

What does a productive work day for you look like?

One in which I give my employees the support they need to do their jobs well and where I have a chance to do creative thinking.

Would you describe yourself as a leader?

Yes, but I was very reluctant to for a long time. But the older I get the more I realize that often younger women are looking to me as an example – whether it be as a business woman, mother, practitioner, or whatever.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about 
overcoming adversity?

Be kind in every situation.

Mara King & Willow King

Ozuké

What first inspired your idea or concept for your business and the work you do?

Mara: I have a background as a chef and Willow and I would get together and have “maker” days where we’d experiment with all kinds of yummy things like sausage, cheese, candles and kombucha. We stumbled across these amazing fermented vegetables. The fermented pickles were just so good and we saw a gap in the market for these products and thought to ourselves “why not”.

There’s a lot of uncertainty associated with launching a business or breaking out on your own, has there ever been a point where you felt overwhelmed or deterred by the risks?

Willow: A new endeavor always has risks and while the food business is not as cutthroat as other businesses, it is still no picnic. I could never have done this by myself. Mara is a calming force and a steady hand.  We also have excellent advisors and a stellar board of directors to help us stay on course and not get too overwhelmed.

From your experience, do you think being a female has influenced your approach to business?

Mara: I feel like we develop things with care and patience. We have also done a lot on a very tight budget, more so than some other similar startups we have heard about. This could be because we have had less confidence (in ourselves and in us) to raise money, it could be a certain conservative nature to make the most of what we have.

Do you think there are more roadblocks up for female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts?

Willow: Top female management and female investors are still far fewer than they should be. There are roadblocks but they are also being broken by smart, badass women all the time.

Rachael Shayne

Cubspot

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

34 million parents currently waste 1 billion hours a year planning activities for their kids—that time could be better spent. Our mission is to unlock potential for kids, families and for small businesses who help enrich our children.

Can you name three tools or resources you’ve come to rely on in your day-to-day of conducting business?

Slack, Trello and Intercom. Game-changing ways we run our business, keep it integrated, and mobile and this decreases stress, helps us move fast, and allows us to help customers faster. They completely negate the need for email internally which allows us to have guilt-free, device-free time with family and friends.

How has the community contributed to your 
company’s success?

Boulder is a great place to start a technology business. The candid advice and connections over coffee or during a hike are huge.

What would you argue is the best aspect of self-employment?

The multitude of opportunities to be a voice for impact and change, to be a job creator. You get to build what you believe in, and build it in a way you believe in. That’s hugely empowering and is helping shape the future of business.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about 
overcoming adversity?

The value of persistence.

Alison Hughes

Little Barn Industries

What first inspired your idea or concept for Little Barn Industries?

Our backgrounds at Apple, music and in tech have taught us that truly innovative and successful products are built with an awareness of the needs, desires, and motivations of the people who use them. Our non-traditional approach to engineering has always been about letting the problem drive the technology, not the other way around.

What role would you say mentors have in achieving success? Do you have a mentor?

I’ve had many mentors over the years and they’ve been wonderful. Great mentors don’t necessarily have answers; rather, they assist one in wayfinding as they move forward. Great mentees empower great mentors through trust and a willingness to at least “try on” their suggestions.

Do you think there are more roadblocks up for female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts?

One big roadblock for female entrepreneurs is VC funding. Less than 3% of venture capital went to women-led companies last year.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

When making big decisions, be sure you are moving towards something, not running away from something.

Carol Ann Wachter

Carol Ann Wachter Fine Clothing + Art Objects

There’s a lot of uncertainty associated with launching a business or breaking out on your own, has there ever been a point where you felt overwhelmed or deterred by the risks?

In the beginning, I found the ups and downs overwhelming, but now I understand that’s part of being an entrepreneur.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about 
overcoming adversity?

Production has taught me to become a better communicator. A line in the wrong place or the wrong size buttonhole can create issues in terms of cost overages and missed deadlines. In the beginning, I thought stores we’re primarily judging my work based on design, but I learned quickly that they wanted to ensure that I had my production processes finely tuned.

Do you think there are more roadblocks up for female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts?

In the past, I did think it was more difficult for women, at least in the art world, but I don’t think so anymore. The time is ripe for women entrepreneurs and I feel all the obstacles are clearing. Women are supporting one another on many more levels, insuring each other’s success is the key to a better world.

Best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?

The universe is bountiful, be open to receiving. It is just as important as being able to give.

Carin Reich

Carin Reich Studio

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

My original mission was to be a creative professional that promoted others. 
My mission has evolved in that I realize I must promote my own brand. I used to make Carin Reich the second priority and now it’s the first.

Many people find the idea of being their own boss attractive, have you come across any downsides to self-employment?

Self-employment can be lonely.

How has the community contributed to your 
company’s success?

It is very ‘we’ oriented. I have mostly been a digital artist but now I’m exploring other mediums and I’m excited about what is to come. Ultimately, the Colorado community is supportive and wants to see community members be successful.

What would you argue is the most effective way to network today?

Find your tribes and immerse yourself in those communities.

What does a productive work day for you look like?

Early morning hike with my dog, meditate, get kids off to school, get to the Studio and work on client project work for a lot of my day, connect on some new business and then make time for my art to create something, meet with someone or email to further expand collaborations.

Jan Yamashiro

Yamashiro Orthodontics

There’s a lot of uncertainty associated with launching a business or breaking out on your own, has there ever been a point where you felt overwhelmed or deterred by the risks?

Absolutely. Trying to establish oneself as a young woman in a society where most people associate the word “doctor” with a male figure can sometimes feel like a hopeless endeavor.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about 
overcoming adversity?

Be creative, not competitive.

How has the community contributed to your 
company’s success?

Much of the personality of Boulder exemplifies the culture my office was founded on: small town living. We wanted to be a business with big city sophistication with a small town feel and Boulder screams that.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

“You get what you deserve.” I heard it from two different places, but once I stopped being a victim of something and started taking responsibility for everything, that was heartbreaking and empowering at the same time.

Would you describe yourself as a leader? Why or why not?

Yes and no. I try to be a good leader for others, but right now I’m also trying to be a good follower.

Care Enichen

The Law Office of Care Enichen, LLC

What first inspired your idea or concept for The Law Office of Care Enichen?

After over 25 years in government jobs, first as a Boulder County Deputy District Attorney and then 16 years as a Boulder County Court Judge, I was ready for a new challenge where I can directly help people.

How has the community contributed to your 
company’s success?

The Boulder Legal Community is remarkably collegial and supportive.  As a criminal defense attorney, I still maintain close relationships with Boulder County Prosecutors. We may be adversaries, but we are all seeking fairness and justice.

Would you describe yourself as a leader?

I prefer to see myself as a mentor and a teacher. I enjoy explaining the complexities of a legal concept, or describing court procedures. The legal system is a foreign world to most people.

Work-life balance is a hot topic in business these days, do you feel it’s something you’ve been able to achieve? Why or why not?

This is the number one personal challenge of my career. I have frankly never achieved the perfect balance, though it has been easier in the private sector to, for example, be able to work nights or weekends to spend after school time with my family.  This is a constant challenge and I am mindful of it every single day.

Tracy Hobbs

Eleanor and Hobbs

There’s a lot of uncertainty associated with launching a business or breaking out on your own, has there ever been a point where you felt overwhelmed or deterred by the risks?

Overwhelmed, yes. Deterred by risks, never. My oldest son has Autism and I believe that nothing in my life will ever be more difficult than that journey. I love learning. I am constantly learning with this business and that keeps me on my toes.

What would you argue is the best aspect of 
self-employment?

The pride that you feel when people are thankful for your service/business.

From your experience, do you think being a female has influenced your approach to business? Why or why not?

Absolutely. We have created a community here at Eleanor and Hobbs where most women come to find more than clothing. We have become friends, confidants and sisters.

What would you say is the most effective way to 
network today?

If you provide good service to your customer and a wonderful place to shop, word of mouth is the most effective way to network. A great outfit and a good experience speaks volumes.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Do the best you can every day.