I’m very inspired by Jessica Alba and the empire she’s built with Honest Company. I admire that she manages to balance multiple careers with being a mom – something I strive to do as well. I also appreciate her dedication to philanthropy especially as I’m beginning to pursue non-profits with the ultimate goal to one day become an advocate for greater transparency of farmers and food manufacturers.
Lisa Rickert is a serial entrepreneur currently juggling two successful companies. Lisa gives us access to her experience as a woman in business by sharing her challenges, inspiration, and the reasons she chooses to manage both UNFOLDED and Ave Home.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Homemade gluten-free pancakes and an iced green tea
What’s your workout?
Pilates reformer. I have a trainer that helps me stay in shape on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6am. I have to get my workout in before getting my kids off to school.
Tell us about your work. What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I was inspired to launch UNFOLDED 6 years ago when I discovered the decorative paint industry while designing and building a new home. I loved Annie Sloan’s products, particularly her Chalk Paint® and I realized there was an opportunity to bring it to the US market as the first American distributor.
Ave Home was inspired by my passion for classical design and antique furniture – when I wasn’t able to find any quality pieces that were inspired by some of my favorite design periods, I decided to launch a company that could achieve my goals and be the go-to resource for designers and boutiques. We first went to market in January 2016 so its still a young brand but we’re growing quickly.
What do you see for your future?
I anticipate that UNFOLDED will continue to strengthen the Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan brand within the US, especially in light of all the recent imitation brands that have started to flood the market.
For AVE, I foresee us establishing new accounts and building awareness within our target markets while continuing to explore additional design periods that inspire us to develop new collections.
Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame?
We started very small and had controlled growth in terms of new accounts and employees until we knew that our sales were sustainable. This is where many businesses go wrong. They become too eager or greedy. There was a period of time that we were turning away over 50% of potential accounts. For one reason, we are very selective and most importantly we had to allow our manufacturers time to ramp up production levels. We were not going to let our existing accounts suffer for the sake of new business.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I think the sense of pride you feel when you’ve built a business from the bottom up is what I love most about being an entrepreneur. It sets a great example for my children and shows them that hard work and dedication pay off!
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
Giving back! I started Unfolded out of my passion for an amazing product that I wanted to share with others. Through the last 6 years, we have really helped so many small businesses generate the revenues they need to build a successful shop. I am always preaching the importance of “diversification” to my customers or providing tips that could help them be better entrepreneurs, even if it is not brand related. I truly believe that if my customers are successful, I am successful. This often prompts thanks and gratitude from many of them, but it is not necessary. I do not need praise, I just love what I do.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur, as a woman?
I think the best thing about being a female entrepreneur is the support network women have built to help one another. We genuinely want to see each other succeed; I love the camaraderie I feel with fellow female business owners and entrepreneurs.
The worst thing was probably the self-doubt I felt when making the decision to go out on my own. It was a huge risk and one I struggled with at the beginning but once I committed I knew it was the right move and I never looked back!
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
I would say my superpower would be multitasking – running two businesses while raising two kids means I’m pulled in a million different directions so I’ve become an expert at maximizing my time and accomplishing as much as possible in a single day.
Connect with Lisa Rickert
LinkedIN: Lisa Rickert