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How the founders of these women-owned businesses find empowerment through entrepreneurship

March 15, 2022 | Published by Faire

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At Faire, we’re proud to help a vibrant community of gifted and innovative female entrepreneurs chase their dreams. Following International Women’s Day on March 10, we’re highlighting a few of the many women-owned businesses on Faire—and the powerful individuals behind them. We spoke with Grace Cheng, founder of Mylk Labs, Nirali Guzman, founder of Casa Amarosa, and Adrienne Lee Wiley, founder of Covet about their paths to business ownership, lessons learned, and what female entrepreneurship means to them. 

Mylk Labs

Mylk Labs was founded in 2017 by Grace Cheng, with a mission to share healthy food without compromising flavor, nutrition, or conveniences. Mylk Labs uses all-natural ingredients to create their signature oatmeal cups, in delicious flavors like blueberry and Vermont maple, and strawberry and Madagascar vanilla.

Faire: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Grace Cheng: I grew up with entrepreneurial parents and always watched them as a child. They worked A LOT and it was never easy, but I’d see how excited they got when a deal closed or when they had a good work year. That inspired me to do the same. Something about seeing your hard work come into fruition and feeling that satisfaction of “I did that” really pushed me to start my own business rather than go the corporate route. 

What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Move at your own pace, enjoy the journey, and don’t feel like you’re lacking or not doing enough. For a long time, I was such a workaholic—it became a habit where if I wasn’t working 24/7 or on the weekends, I’d feel like I was slacking. But ultimately I realized you don’t have to be working all the time for there to be progress and growth. There’s a happy balance– you just need to find it.

What’s the best part about running your own business?

Every day, I wake up feeling so blessed that I get to create, nurture, and work on something that I’m so passionate about. Sharing something that I love with the world and having it paid back in positive feedback from customers is so awesome.

What kind of impact do you hope your work has on others?

My values and goals for Mylk Labs have always been pretty straightforward: to share wholesome food that nourishes and fuels the body without compromising flavor, nutrition, or convenience. Ultimately, I hope to make everyone’s lives a little easier, healthier, a lot tastier!

March 10 was International Women’s Day, and March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and the U.K. What does that mean to you?

It means we, as women, are no longer limited to, defined as, or capped in any position, industry, or situation. We are powerful and capable of doing more than the world can ever imagine—and we will.

Casa Amarosa

Nirali Guzman founded Casa Amarosa—a wholesale-only company offering goods that are handmade by artisans in India—with a vision to bring ethically sourced and handcrafted home goods to retailers around the globe. Casa Amarosa strives to remain a socially responsible company by empowering local communities and celebrating Indian craftsmanship. 

Faire: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Nirali Guzman: The decision to become an entrepreneur was not a huge stretch, as I was born into it. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family in Mumbai, India. I was surrounded by inspiration and conversations related to entrepreneurship during my formative years which played a big role in why I chose to become a business owner today. While my passions are unique, the path to entrepreneurship was a gift that I was fortunate to have been exposed to. It’s something that I will work to keep alive and instill in my children as they get older. 

What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

I would say take more risks, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way—you’ll learn from them. Make it a priority to follow your curiosity and passion. I would tell my younger self to believe in myself regardless of where I am on my journey and to understand that every chapter is going to have its own unique challenges and celebrations. 

What’s the best part about running your own business?

There are several wonderful aspects of being able to run my own business. Most importantly, it’s the independence and complexity of it. It lets me set my priorities. I make my own schedule which allows me, as a working mom, to spend time with the most important people in my life. I love how every decision that I make has a direct impact on the future and legacy of the company.

What kind of impact do you hope your work has on others?

Growing up in India and witnessing the reality of marginalized communities around me influenced my earliest business decisions. It made me realize what kind of impact you can have when you purchase a product, let alone bring that to scale. While the impact is felt throughout the supply chain, it significantly improves the financial reality of the rural women artisans we work with. 

I started this venture with a vision to bring the rich cultural techniques and textiles of my homeland to the rest of the world. From its launch, Casa Amarosa has been guided by the ethics of social responsibility, to empower communities and celebrate Indian craftsmanship.

March 10 was International Women’s Day, and March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and the U.K. What does that mean to you?

Women’s history is about celebrating women now, recognizing those who came before us, and paving the way for more progress. It was only a little over 100 years ago that we as women were given the right to vote in the U.S., and while we have come a long way since then, we still have a long road ahead. I am excited to help be a part of that change.

Covet

In 2004, Adrienne Lee Wiley started marking jewelry at her kitchen table. Today, she runs Covet—a jewelry brand offering hand-crafted delicate, feminine pieces with approachable price points. She also owns a retail shop where she sells Covet jewelry along with home decor and accents in Palm Springs, CA. 

Faire: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? 

Adrienne Lee Wiley: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until I fell in love with making jewelry. I love being able to make my own choices and the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with growing my own business.

What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Honestly, my younger self did pretty well (lol). I would’ve probably spent less time in corporate America before launching my jewelry business. I also would have tried to secure an investor instead of bootstrapping everything. It’s great to own 100% of my company, but I think I could have grown faster and more strategically with some investment help.

What’s the best part about running your own business? 

I love that my business can grow and evolve as I do. I look back on my business 13 years ago, and it looks so different today. It’s evolved in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I love growing and curating the shop offerings and refining my branding.

What kind of impact do you hope your work has on others?

I hope that my work brings joy and encourages other women to feel like they can make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

March 10 was International Women’s Day, and March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and the U.K. What does that mean to you?

To me, it’s a time when a much-deserved spotlight shines on women in our society who have made contributions to improve our lives in ways both big and small. It’s also a time to celebrate the trailblazers of the past and the women of the future.

Learn more about Adrienne’s boutique store Covet on Instagram or on her website.

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