From handbag design to start-up consulting, Melissa Talbert has found that collaboration, partnership and giving yourself permission to choose clients that match your mission can create business magic. Read on to learn more about Melissa and her business, Kaia Consulting, and how she can help your business grow.
I believe it's all about collaboration over competition, always, and when women work together amazing things happen!
Why did you decide to join The WMarketplace?
I love TheWMarketplace's mission of supporting, connecting, and promoting women-led businesses, especially small businesses, and it aligns very closely with my own mission of helping women entrepreneurs. I believe it's all about collaboration over competition, always, and when women work together amazing things happen!
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
You don't have to say yes to everyone! Find clients (or customers, sales opportunities, collabs, etc) that match your ideals and give yourself permission to pass on those that don't. The right partnerships create magic, while the wrong ones will just drain you and end up costing more in the long run.
What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?
I love the flexibility that owning a business allows me. I have two young kids and I am able to structure my schedule to balance time with my family and time for my business. Especially over the course of the pandemic I have been very thankful for that flexibility!
Also, I love having a diversity of clients, and meeting so many inspiring women! It's really rewarding to discover new opportunities in the market, and I learn something new with each collaboration.
How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?
I've had my consulting business for over 4 years. Initially, I was focused mostly on handbag design (technical drawings, designs, etc) but I quickly realized I could offer more to my clients by drawing on my experience with startups and creating a holistic program encompassing all aspects of setting up a direct to consumer business; including design, operations, sales strategies, and business development. Now my business has expanded to include apparel clients as well. It is so rewarding to help women bring their dreams to life!
...I love having a diversity of clients, and meeting so many inspiring women! It's really rewarding to discover new opportunities in the market, and I learn something new with each collaboration.
Do you have items, photos or mementos on your desk that inspire you each day? What are they?
I love a handwritten list, and my mousepad is also a notepad where I organize all my to-do lists. I love having it right in front of me, and being able to cross off tasks as I go!
Do you have any advice for other women who are getting started in business?
There is no one 'right' or 'wrong' way to do it! It's all about following what works for you personally, whatever that looks like. Running a business can easily be all-consuming, so it's important to find a way to 'turn off' and step away periodically, so you can come back with a refreshed mindset.
Are there any apps or business services that you just can’t live without that you would like to give a shout-out to?
Not so much for me personally, but for my clients with product-based business Shopify is a lifesaver and they have great templates for websites so you can save some money on web design at the start. Also, invest in hiring a copywriter! It makes a huge difference.
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your insights and your support for women entrepreneurs. Cheers to women supporting women!
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Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.