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Interview: Cynthia Shaffer

The Mogul Mom | Interview Series
Every now and then we share interviews with inspiring entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into a successful business. Today, we’re talking with Cynthia Shaffer, photographer, author, and creative seamstress. This savvy mompreneur took her passion and parlayed it into a visual playground for all the world to enjoy!

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Tell us about your company.

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
For the most part my business is divided into 3 smaller factions. One third of my time is spent as a photographer, another third as an author and artist and one third as a photography teacher. In 2009, I started authoring craft books and my photography adventure happened naturally soon thereafter.

Since then I have had photographed more than 30 books for various publishers and editors. Additionally, I have photographed several art events, lots of “new faces” for one of the largest modeling agencies in southern California, as well as fine art for gallery books and publicity.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

How did you get started with all of this?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
Interestingly enough, I started learning about photography out of necessity when I was writing my first craft book. You see, after each project I completed I needed to send my editor a good photo of the project so that she could give me the thumbs-up. I needed to take really good photos so that I could “sell” her on the pieces I had created.

 

As for the writing of craft books, the publishing company Sterling/Lark saw some of my project and contacted me to be the artist for a new series they were putting together. I authored the first and third book in the Stash Happy series. Soon after, my editor asked me to write another book, Serge it, and from there I wrote 2 more books, Coastal Crafts (May 2015) and Simply Stitched Gifts. I currently have two more books that are in various stages of development inside the crazy world of publishing.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

What was your start-up investment?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

When I was first starting out, I inherited my husband’s old digital camera and one of his old lenses. After a year or so, I took the plunge and purchased a great digital camera, a Canon 7D, and a really good all-purpose lens, a 24-105mm f/4.

As for the investment in the books I have authored, most of them have been sewing based, and because I already owned several sewing machines, there really wasn’t any start-up investment for that portion.

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

How long did it take you to become profitable?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

The publishing world is a strange one. You work and work and work for months on a book, sometimes up to a full year, and then you get paid 6 weeks after the book is sent to the printer.

When I photograph craft books, each contract is a bit different but usually I am paid when I deliver the job. But of course for the first year or so almost every payment I received I was used to purchase more camera equipment, new studio lights or a new lens!

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Where do you find yourself flourishing?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

I have always loved to teach and encourage and inspire people so when I was asked to teach Photography 101, I was thrilled, but at the same time, it pushed me to really dig into photography and break it down into bit size info for everyone to digest. So yeah, I’d say that I love to teach and encourage others to just start and figure it out as you go!

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Where do you find yourself struggling?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

My biggest struggle is having to charge for my time. I would love to never have to charge for my work, and instead, just play and photograph lovely things and craft and then play some more- for free!

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Three business tools you can’t live without?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

Three things I cannot live without in my business are: my camera, my favorite 2 lenses and Lightroom 5.

I never go on a photo shoot without my favorite gear. I shoot with a Canon 5D and Canon 7D, 24-105 f/4 lens and my 70-200 f/2.8 lens and a variety of light modifiers.

I’d like to add a 4th tool, because I couldn’t live without my sewing machine. Sewing is the thing I was really good at, even as a very young girl at the age of 10. To this day, it’s still the one thing I can do almost effortlessly.

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

If you had to do it all again, what would you change? What would stay the same?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

I honestly don’t know what I would change about the beginning process of this business. Not that everything has gone smoothly and not that there haven’t been setbacks, but I feel like there is still time to make changes and adjust my plan to make the business more profitable and more enjoyable.

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

What’s the best piece of business advice you can share with new entrepreneurs?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

Just do it. And say yes! to new adventures, even if it means that you have to research and learn a lot before you can do that thing really well. Within reason, I almost always say yes, and then I figure it out. If I wait till I have it figured out, the opportunity will probably never come my way again.  Also, always try to deliver more than what is asked of you.

 

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Anything else you’d like to share?


Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

Be a constant learner. Take classes, put yourself out there and see what happens. Volunteer to do something that is totally out of your comfort zone. And, be kind to everyone, always!

 

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Connect with Cynthia online at:
CynthiaShaffer.com
+ http://cynthiashafferphotography.com
+ on her blog: http://cynthiashaffer.typepad.com/blog/

If you’re interested in some personal tips from Cynthia, you can catch up with her as she teaches at an upcoming business conference, Launch Your Creativity happening April 29 & 30 in Orange, California.

 

Some of Cynthia’s work:
Cynthia Shaffer | The Mogul Mom

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Simply Stitched Gifts Cover

Cynthia Shaffer | The Mogul Mom

Interview: Stacy DeBroff

Interview with attorney and author Stacy DeBroff, founder of InfluenceCentral.com.
The Mogul Mom | Interview Series
 
 
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. This social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling parenting author, she has a lot of insight to offer her fellow Mogul Moms.
 
 

What led you start to switch careers and start your own business?

I took a very circuitous journey to launching Influence Central. As an attorney, I founded the Office of Public Interest Advising at Harvard Law School and worked there for nearly a decade — but I eventually left to spend more time with my family and began writing parenting books for Simon & Schuster.
 
 
After three best-selling books, I moved into brand spokesperson work, which led to consulting projects for brands looking to reach the Mom market. Ultimately, brands began asking us to reach influencers in other sectors — including Millennials, Women, Dads, and more — so last year we developed Influence Central as our umbrella brand, which better reflected our company’s dramatic growth and evolution. Despite beginning my career on a totally different path, it’s been an incredibly rewarding journey!
 
 
 

Tell us about Influence Central.

 
Influence Central delivers cutting-edge social media and digital influencer marketing campaigns that create powerful, meaningful results for the nation’s top consumer brands.
 
Through specialty divisions that include Mom Central Consulting, Millennial Central, Influence Central Canada, and Dad Central Consulting, we reach brand advocates in sectors that include Moms, Millennials, Women, Dads, Canadian Moms/Women, Empty-Nesters, and Military Families, as well as influencers with a specialty content focus such as food, fashion, beauty, fitness, and travel. We have offices in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto, Canada, and Inc. Magazine just named us — for the fifth consecutive year — to its list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately held companies.
 
 
 

What was the secret to growing your business from small start up to multi-city company?

 
For us, “influence” lies at the core of what we believe in as a marketing consultancy, and over the years, we’ve grown by delivering strong marketing results that harness the power of influence. We work with brands and agencies to develop strategic influencer programs that demonstrate that passionate, first-person recommendations can transform consumer behavior — no matter the demographic group.
 
 
 

How does being a woman influence the way you run your company?

 
I think being a woman CEO has profoundly impacted the way I run my business. From launching and operating debt-free to remaining a lifestyle business to embracing flexibility to concentrating on relationships as our primary business development tool, I’ve worked hard to make sure my company reflects my values.
 
So often entrepreneurs create their businesses using the latest marketplace trends or industry models, but I believe strong leaders build organizations that echo their vision and principles, fusing the best of their past experiences.
 
 
 

What was the best advice you were given?

 
I’m fortunate to have a longtime group of close women friends, and we’ve all become a great source of advice and counsel for one another. I’ve gained so much over the years from their collective wisdom, compassion, and insights that I find it tough to pinpoint what I consider the “best” piece of advice I ever received from them.
 
Overall, I believe passionately in mentorship, and I think it’s so important for women entrepreneurs to have one or more mentors who can act as a sounding board, a brainstorming partner — or to simply just listen.
 
 
 

What are three tips you’d give to other women who might be thinking about changing careers or launching a new business?

 
First, be open to discovering your passion and changing up the status quo — I might still work in the legal field had I not taken steps to upend my work life and become a parenting author, which had become a passionate new area of interest for me.
 
Second, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself — just because you’ve worked in one area doesn’t mean you can’t branch out into a totally new world. I realized a long time ago that I had to move past career-defining labels, such as “attorney” or “parenting author” in order to embrace the next phase in my career journey — becoming an entrepreneur.
 
Finally, you may wait a lifetime searching for the right time to make a career change or kick-off a new business venture. In reality, you’ll discover that there’s never an ideal time — you’ll always want a larger nest egg, more contacts, or a stronger economy before taking a new career plunge. But you know what? Sometimes, you just have to dive in!
 
 
Got more questions? You can get in touch with her [email protected]
 

Interview: Claire Ortiz CEO of Ortiz Industry™

 

Every month we’ll be introducing you to an inspiring entrepreneur who turned their passion into a successful business. Today, we’re talking with Ortiz Industry™ Founder and CEO, Claire Ortiz. She took her professional skills and experience and paired it with a bold investment to set out to build a fashion empire.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Tell us about your company.

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
The mission of Ortiz Industry™ is to provide men’s and women’s fashion apparel with highly advanced performance technology solutions that enhance and simplify the demanding lives of the active urban professionals worldwide. Ortiz Industry™ Tradecraft is a set of formulas combining a proprietary collection of innovative materials with advanced engineering techniques, each with a unique combination of functions and benefits, all with a luxurious feel and beautiful design.

 

Armed with a plethora of professional knowledge and research, co-founders Claire Ortiz and Heather Park set out to make clothing that is not only tailored and elegant, but also sublimely comfortable, while functioning specifically to exceed the ever evolving demands of life; and, by their interpretation, that means getting dressed in the morning and forgetting about it for the rest of the day, regardless of the tasks at hand. Everything Ortiz Industry creates has to provide superior performance, be washable, comfortable and absolutely beautiful.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

How did you get started with all of this?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
For more than 25 years, I’ve helped build infrastructure and led teams in startup environments and global corporations like Nike, Wilson and Underarmour, as well as at my own startup companies. I’ve been making clothes since I was 14, and have always been a technology geek, a voracious reader, and an obsessive perfectionist. After leading well-known brands into major success, and developing other startups, I’ve decided to put my expertise in materials development to create an unmatched value to the brand through proprietary formulas for performance materials. My tech geek side emerged while collaborating with the likes of DuPont and Optimer to invent compounds for new technical fibers, and Heather and I are excited to be literally creating an emerging market for performance fashion that looks and feels good from a skateboard to a boardroom.

 

As Global Creative Director at Nike, I was hired by basketball legend Michael Jordan to turn Brand Jordan Apparel into a success. This was an immense amount of work, as I carved out distribution channels and partnerships across the U.S., Asia and Europe that took the business from $15 million in 2000 to $128 million in 2005. Having led creative campaigns for more than 100 NBA, NCAA and NFL teams, and more than 2,500 world-class Nike athletes during the 2008 Olympics, and working successfully with Wilson Sporting Goods and UnderArmour, I went back to my entrepreneurial roots to start Ortiz Industry with Heather Park. Together we spent countless hours in research and development – literally studying human behaviors, as well as technological advances that we could weave into apparel. So, it was a project of passion built on a platform of necessity – we are taking action to provide consumers with what they need, apparel that reacts to the wearer, with each movement, while looking and feeling chic, modern and beautiful.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

What was your start-up investment?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
My initial start-up capital raised was $500,000.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

How long did it take you to become profitable?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
We’re still working on it. We’re in year three with this and we’re lucky enough to last long enough to make it this far.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Where do you find yourself flourishing?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
We seem to be doing very well with advance innovation platforms and next generation intelligent fashion.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Where do you find yourself struggling?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
Traditional retail settings can be difficult. We also have some difficulty with understanding next generation innovation which therefore becomes a barrier to entry.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Three business tools you can’t live without?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • My business partner who also serves as my confidant providing much needed comic relief.
  • My notebook!

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

If you had to do it all again, what would you change? What would stay the same?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
I think I would put more trust in our gut instinct and less on what people told us we should do. I would also have less tolerance for mistakes (internally and externally), and would shut them down quicker. We spent too much time playing nice in the sand box, and thinking about personal relationships versus making tough business decisions. I’d keep everything else the same.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

What’s the best piece of business advice you can share with new entrepreneurs?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
Stick to your guns. Just because you are a startup, doesn’t mean you have to be at the mercy of established companies/suppliers and customers. Know that you can’t please all the people all the time, and you must do what is best for you, your business and your team. Hold your ground, and be sure to play fair and expect the same.

 

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Anything else you’d like to share?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
As a female entrepreneur, I would just say that we women must remain extremely business minded. Too often we fear offending others, coming across too tough, or demanding. We have to take the personal out of the equation and keep business and personal separate. That isn’t to say that we should all be sharks, with no emotion or compassion. That is simply to say, we must do what is right for our business and ourselves, versus what we think might be right for everyone else.

 

 

Visit online: http://ortizindustry.com/
Follow them on:
Facebook
& Twitter

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Got a success story you think our readers would like to hear?

Drop us a line with your story and you may be chosen to be part of our interview series!

Interview: Kasia Cummings

The Mogul Mom | Interview Series
Every month we’ll be introducing you to an inspiring entrepreneur who turned their passion into a successful business. Today, we’re talking with the founder of Buffalo Gal Organics, Kasia Cummings; a mompreneur who took her education and experience and launched a soul full venture out of her own kitchen.

 

 
Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Tell us about your company.

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
I’m Kasia Cummings, head mix master, mad scientist and gypsy soul behind Buffalo Gal Organics, a vegan, organic, bath, body, beauty, and perfume company based in Buffalo NY.

We started in 2010 in my kitchen making handmade lotions and potions, but officially launched on Etsy and with our own site http://BuffaloGalOrganics.com/ in 2011. We offer a large variety of natural products from aromatherapy, perfume, organic skincare, mineral makeup, balms and creams, along with the newer additions of gemstones, candles and energy infused jewelry.

I’m also a Holistic Practitioner that works with Energy and the chakras as a Reiki Master/Teacher and Reflexologist so I wanted to bridge my spiritual and holistic side with bath and beauty products that are good for you too.

 


Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

How did you get started with all of this?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
My younger daughter was having terrible rashes on her hands (from the hand sanitizer that they bathe in at school) and since I’m a little bit of a crafty gal (and a chemist) I figured that I could make something to help. I did a ton of research online, ordered some raw materials and off I went. It was funny though, as I started to make lotion one day, I literally knew that I was doing what I was supposed to be. It was as if there was a spiritual ‘a-ha moment’ as I was playing around that day. The rest is destiny and history. So I refined my products to make sure that they were in line with my personal vision and Buffalo Gal was born. We now make products that are vegan, cruelty-free and created from organic ingredients so that they are good for you inside and out.

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

What was your start-up investment?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
My start up investment really was $100, but evolved slowly over time as initially it was just for my family. Then my friends wanted some , and strangers wanted some so… I slowly put money into buying supplies (I had a full time job at the time so anything that I made I could reinvest if so chose to.) In reality if one were to start up right now to get a full sized operation going it would take about $10,000 to do it right (including supplies, raw materials, office supplies, website, marketing budget etc.)

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

How long did it take you to become profitable?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
It took about 2 years before Buffalo Gal Organics, but I was really, really part time. I worked 50+ hours a week and had a family and a jewelry business as well. So, this was a slow go. I truthfully didn’t start to see measurable profits until a few years ago where I knew that I either had to stop doing my business because I was working 80+ hours a week or I had to take the leap and leave my safety net. I jumped in Jan 2014 and never looked back!

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Where do you find yourself flourishing?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
This whole process has been an amazing self development tool. Things that I never thought I could or would do are now a part of my everyday life. I would say that where I have grown the most in the realm of marketing and promotion. It’s necessary to help you go from hobby to real business.

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Where do you find yourself struggling?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

Time! I still have a family to take care of, but when you are self employed you are always “on”.

I’m also in the process of creating a retail/workspace/holistic treatment space that would put all of my eggs in one basket so that I can expand and grow. It’s a big leap financially since to this point I have not taken out any loans to make this dream a reality. It’s about to get real and big pretty quickly so I am really having to take a step back and keep perspective on what the next right step is. And finding the best fit in a retail space is a challenge (I’m pretty picky!) so wish me luck!

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Three business tools you can’t live without?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom
Three things that helped me on my journey…

 

•Tons of personal development! The book ‘You Are A Bad Ass’ by Jen Sincero is one of my ultimate faves. It’s great if you want to get clearer on yourself and get out of your own way.

•I partook in B-School with Marie Forleo 3 years ago. While it is geared toward non-product marketing and branding, it did help me to find a clearer picture of my “why” and “how”.

•I’m a pretty spiritual gal, so I would say that my INTUITION has been one of my biggest tools. If I doesn’t feel right, or if it gives me static or isn’t easy feeling (meaning feeling right and without negativity) then I don’t do it. If you can stay focused on that inner voice and not get in your own way then you have hit it big!

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

If you had to do it all again, what would you change? What would stay the same?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

I wouldn’t change a lot except that I would have taken the leap sooner and not listened to the negative people that said that I was crazy to do this/leave the security of a good job/that I would fail.

I had to really step back into myself and find the courage to tell them all to take a hike and pursue what would make me the happiest. Is it work? Yes. Do I work a lot? Yes. Do I love it? BIG yes!

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

What’s the best piece of business advice you can share with new entrepreneurs?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

If it feels right, do it. Don’t cut corners and give the best customer service EVER. If it means that you need to grow slower by doing things right that is ok…. your foundation will be much firmer for the future.

 

Interview Question | The Mogul Mom

Anything else you’d like to share?

 

Interview Answer | The Mogul Mom

We all have a gift to share with the world. It is up to us as to how we share it. Always share it, you never know who you will help!

 

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As a treat, Kasia is offering Mogul Mom readers an exclusive discount.
Just use coupon code BEAUTY15 at checkout to save 15% on any purchase!

 

 

Shop online at:
http://buffalogalorganics.com & http://buffalogalorganics.etsy.com
You can also connect via social media on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Got a success story you think our readers would like to hear?
Drop us a line with your story and you may be chosen to be part of our interview series!

 

 

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