65+ Incredible Women Entrepreneurs in NC and Beyond

65+ Incredible Women Entrepreneurs in North Carolina and Beyond | Greatest Story Creative

"So, what's it like to work in a male-dominated field like entrepreneurship?"

I got asked this question two years ago when I was on a panel for a woman-run student organization at Duke. When the question came up, it really confused me for one simple reason...

The majority of entrepreneurs I know are women.

Just in my family alone: my mother (calligrapher, invitations business), my grandmother (Tiny Town), my sister-in-law Katie (Yarn Love), and my sister-in-law and mother-in-law Laura (Laura's Family) - these are all amazing women business owners.

I had never heard of entrepreneurship being "male-dominated" until I got this question in 2015, actually. Maybe that makes me super naive, and statistically- it is true. The Portland Press Herald reported on February 28 of this year that in the US - men make up 64.5% of business owners.

While it may be statistically true, everywhere I look - I am inspired and moved by all the different women making business happen on their terms. 

This week alone:

  • I spent Monday at lunch with my accountability group (all women in the creative or wedding industries with their own businesses - photographers, wedding planners, product designers).
  • That afternoon, I finalized a logo for a company driven by a female CEO.
  • And that evening, I spoke to 30 female students interested in entrepreneurship.
  • Yesterday, I gave a proposal to a female realtor in NC.
  • And just today - I spent a great 90-minute mentoring session with a business owner who is starting something from the beginning
  • Then wrapped my day by working on a project for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law's company.

Let me point out - it's only Wednesday. For Greatest Story - as a business - we also work with both male and female clients. It just so happens that there's a lot of awesome women to meet and collaborate with. 

So why do I share this?

With it being International Women's Day and with the week I've had so far, I thought this week would make a great opportunity to shine a light on two things.

1) While we're a minority, female entrepreneurs are out there making things happen, raising families, building businesses, working side gigs, and taking risks. Aka being awesome and making dreams reality.

2) I consider myself incredibly lucky to know so many of them - and I'd like for you to know them too. So allow me to introduce them...

65+ Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs & Business Owners

I have gotten the tremendous opportunity to get to know some incredible female entrepreneurs, especially over the last few years as I've become one myself. So I've put together an initial list of just some of them that really have inspired me and are out there doing incredible things.

I'm going to do my level best to give you this great list of women that might inspire you, that you might want to invest with or buy their products, because truly - they are simply amazing.

Take a look and discover someone or something new - know you're not alone - and just be inspired - cause the work these women do blows me away and keeps me thinking I'm in very good company!

(These are in no particular order and I am sure I will miss names of great women in my life/career. If I miss you and you want on this list, hit reply and let me know and I'll be happy to include you on this blog post that I will update regularly.)

Product-Based Businesses

  1. Laura Franceschi and Maria Franceschi, Laura's Family (Gluten-free Pie Crust and More, NC)
  2. Maghon Taylor, All She Wrote Notes (Cards, Prints, and Products with Hand-lettering, NC)
  3. Carrie McQuaid, The Kindness Box (Subscription Service, NC)
  4. Christina Hubbard, Christina Hubbard Studio (Cards and Prints, CA)
  5. Carol Vercellino, Oak City Labs (Web and Mobile App Development, NC)
  6. Briana Wagner, BrianaBakes (Custom Baked Goods, SC)
  7. Katie Franceschi, Yarn Love (Artisan Dyed Yarn, IA)
  8. Heather Kirks, Hedoe Paper (Gifts and Paper, NC; Renaming soon!)
  9. Brenda Harris, Apple Crate (Natural Market, NC)
  10. Candice Richardson and Faith Anderson, Blush Bridal (Bridal Salon and Online Shop, NC)
  11. Brittany Campbell, Sunshine Artistry and Tanning (Make-up and Tanning, NC)
  12. Mary-Jane Jones, Studio 215 Events (Event Venue, NC)
  13. Lara Casey, Cultivate What Matters and Southern Weddings (Goal-Setting Products and Wedding Magazine, NC)
  14. Becky Starr, Starrlight Mead (Meadery, NC)
  15. Maria Lewis, 39 West Catering and Pittsboro Roadhouse(Catering Company and Restaurant, NC)
  16. Jenna Parks and Donna Parks, Southern Bride and Groom(Magazine, NC)
  17. Randi Smith, Sugar Euphoria (Bakery / Wedding Cakes, NC)
  18. Alice Totherow, Elmer's Used Cars (Car Dealership, SC)
  19. Justine Ellis, Gemma Jewels (Jewelry, NC)
  20. Sharon Fleishman and Maggie Fleishman, Ari Designs (Jewelry, NC)
  21. Robin Thomas, USANA and Living Well Connections (Health Products, NC)
  22. Lorna Ricotta, Ethos Creative (Event Design and Online Boutique, NC)
  23. Wendy Solomon, Flawless Day Spa (Spa in Chapel Hill, NC)

Service-Based Businesses

  1. Adele Michal, Peak State Selling (Creative Sales Coaching, NC)
  2. Mary Ann Sibley, Matterspark (Small Business and Church Consulting, SC)
  3. Michele Woodall, Michele Woodall Coaching (Life Coaching, NC)
  4. Cristen Vaughn, The Belle Wall (Blog, NC)
  5. Marielle Henault, Doobry (Franchise Management and Marketing, OH and CA)
  6. Faith Teasley, Faith Teasley Photography (Photographer, NC)
  7. Sarah Potts, Joyfully Organized LLC (Virtual Assistant, NC)
  8. Hannah Fleishman, H & Arrow Fitness (Fitness Classes and Personal Training, NC)
  9. Ashlee Little and Allyson Ward, Tailored Occasions (Wedding & Event Planning, NC)
  10. Janice Smith, Big Dog Little Bed Productions (Videography, NC)
  11. Beth Mann, Early Bird Photo (Photography, NC)
  12. Sarah Glatt, Paper Crane Associates (Consultant, MA)
  13. Tiffany Englert, The Details (Wedding & Event Planning, NC)
  14. Elizabeth Glessner, Glessner Photography (Photographer, Germany / NC)
  15. Robyn Van Dyke, Robyn Van Dyke Photography (Photographer, NC)
  16. Stephanie Scholl, Stephanie Scholl Events (Wedding & Event Planning, NC)
  17. Emily Payne, Emily March Photography (Photographer, CA)
  18. Mary Tomlinson, On Purpose Partners (Speaker and Trainer, NC)
  19. Sarah Glova, Reify Media (Website and E-Learning Design, NC)
  20. Nevica Vazquez (Business Strategist, NY)
  21. Lisa R. Wells (Operations and Marketing Strategist, NC)
  22. Stephanie Barnes, The Well-Loved Piano Company (Piano Care / Service, NC, GA)
  23. Tori Hartwell, Tori Hartwell Photography (Photography, NC)
  24. Hillary Bruce, Honey Hive Home (Professional Organizer, NC)
  25. Kristen Cahill, Kristen Cahill Designs (Website Design, NC)
  26. Ruth Eckles, Tactile Creative (Videography, NC)
  27. Dori Staehle, Rock the Next Stage (Business Coaching, NC)
  28. Heidi Giusto, Career Path Writing Solutions (Resume and Career Coaching, NC)
  29. Kathryn Christenbury, Fleur de Letters (Calligraphy, CA)
  30. Andrea Herman and Nicole Krisko, Stand Out Events (Wedding & Event Planning, NC)
  31. Alice Osborn, Write from the Inside Out (Editor and Speaker, NC)
  32. Keely Phillips-Carter, Keely Phillips-Carter Voice & Theatre (Vocal and Theater Coach, NC)
  33. Mara Rosen (Occupational Therapy, FL)
  34. Logan Geddie (Realtor, NC)
  35. Marie Snider (Speaker and Coach, NC)
  36. Sheon Wilson, Sheon the Stylist (Stylist, NC)
  37. Sheri Randell, Carrboro Plaza Vet Clinic (Veterinary Clinic, NC)
  38. Laura Hunter, Laura Bradford Photography (Photography and Video Animation, NC)
  39. Dana Publicover, Dash Creative (Startup and Corporate Consultant, NC)
  40. Kim Saffran, Return 2 Recess (Recreational Classes, NC)
  41. Angela Keeley-White, Head to Toe Chic (Fashion Blog, NC)
  42. Laura Tierney, The Social Institute (Social Media Speaking and Consulting, NC)
  43. Kyle James, Online Ad Labs (Facebook Ad Consultant, NC)


So Who Cares About Statistics?

I've never created a list like this for a newsletter or really for anything else. But it did remind me of the great community of women and entrepreneurs (in general) that I'm lucky to be a part of.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy - no matter your gender - and it's nice to put a spotlight on people who are out there making things happen. Maybe I'll have to make a guys list or a general awesome business list for the future.

For now, let me say - statistics are misleading. Look around - there are women making moves everywhere. Whether you are one, you're married to one, you're inspired by one, or you invest with one - female entrepreneurs are a big part of our lives - and I'm grateful they are a part of mine.

Happy International Women's Day!