The Dream Chasers 15

Meet the female entrepreneurs helping to shape the Denver community.

With everything from fashion and home design, to media, health and technology, this collection of Front Range success stories speaks to these women’s humble yet fierce attitudes towards making their dreams a reality. These entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers and solution-oriented, contributing to the uniqueness and strength of this community.

Elizabeth Sopher

The QuickZip Sheet Company

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

Originally the mission was to create a safer and easier crib sheet; it has evolved to creating a better-fitted sheet for all beds.

How would you describe your work ethic?

Continual and persistent. I am not a “no sleep/no food” CEO, maybe because I started this business while working another full-time job and raising two kids. I know this is the long haul, and I will get there.

Can you name three tools or resources you’ve 
come to rely on in your day-to-day of conducting business?

Emergenetics, a personality/style/preference system that helps immensely in office communication and discussion. Basecamp, a project, information management, and team communication tool. And Catching Clouds, cloud-based e-commerce accounting.

Would you describe yourself as a leader?

An unintentional one, as what started with just me is now a team of 20. I’m just the keeper of our culture.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve 
ever received?

Be Your Own Guru.

Batya Stepelman

WallTawk + Design

What first inspired your idea or concept for WallTawk + Design?

I’ve always had a thing for wallpaper. The business was inspired by three things that I care about: home, design and advancing and highlighting the profile of independent designers (mostly female-owned businesses).

What would you argue is the best aspect of self-employment?

The freedom to pursue your vision, without compromise.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about 
overcoming adversity?

It’s part of life. You need to overcome things to move on. You also grow through mistakes.

How has the community contributed to your 
company’s success?

Denver is incredibly supportive. I don’t think I would have this kind of success if I had stayed in my hometown, NYC, or lived in a different metro area. People want to shop locally and support Denver-owned businesses.

Work-life balance is a hot topic in business these days, do you feel it’s something you’ve been able to achieve?

This is a work in progress. It’s hard. I once read a blog post that analogized life to a stove top with four burners. There’s one for health, one for family/love, one for a career, and one for friends. It’s not possible to have all your burners blazing on high at the same time.

Amy Dickerson

Live Love Lash

What first inspired your idea for Live Love Lash?

I immediately loved eyelash extensions when I tried them; I was completely entranced with how they made my eyes stand out and could not help but recognize how great that made me feel. I moved across the country in 2005 to a place where no one had even heard of lash extensions, and I was looking for my next career move. It was such an amazing opportunity to start a small business with something I had tried and loved.

What would you argue is the best aspect of self-employment?

It’s wonderful to watch what you started grow and thrive.  I’m proud to be able to provide jobs for others, share what I’ve learned and teach people how important it is to support each other and celebrate each other’s wins.

What would you say is the most effective way to 
network today?

People want convenience, so start with the community in your backyard.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve 
ever received?

Never miss a good opportunity to shut up and listen. The answers can pop up in the places you least expect them.

Lin Logan

The Stationery Company

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

My mission is to promote the fine art of good communication by offering a wide range of exceptional products, supported by warmly attentive, personal service. Our motto is, “we look good on paper.” This mission has evolved but remains today, 34 years later.

Work-life balance is a hot topic in business these days, do you feel it’s something you’ve been able to achieve?

My work is such a big part of my life; I feel fortunate that something for which I have such passion blends well with my personal life. Being in the store every day, the balance of family is appreciated.

From your experience, do you think being a female has influenced your approach to business?

In my business I work mostly with women (brides, showers, personal stationery, etc.) being female is a big plus. But, I also feel that I am a strong individual and equal to any man with whom I do business.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve 
ever received?

Someone once told me, “In business, you can’t always please everybody.” Trying to do so results in finding yourself bending to someone else’s will and not being true to you original vision.

Brandi Shigley

Fashion Denver

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

Starting out, I knew that I wanted to help fashion businesses grow. That mission has stayed the same, but I’ve added different events to the roster like a fashion camp for kids. I’ve also found inspiration in helping inspire hope within the community. Whether photo shoots and makeovers for different women’s non-profit groups or hosting clothing drives for those less fortunate, giving back has become one of our core missions.

How would you describe your work ethic?

My work ethic really does revolve around my spiritual practice. It keeps me balanced, helps me to make sustainable decisions and helps me deal with situations when the going gets tough.

From your experience, do you think being a female has influenced your approach to business? Why or why not?

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family where my Dad ran the family business in a very masculine way. My mother brought in her feminine approach in handling customer service and even handling my Dad. I think I have approached my business in both a masculine and feminine way.

Best piece of personal advice you’ve 
ever received?

Don’t take things personally.

Bre Morris

Alchemy Face Bar

What first inspired your idea or concept for Alchemy Face Bar?

The inspiration came into fruition because of my love for skincare and the need for consistent facials to maintain the optimum skin health. I have been a makeup artist for 13 years and every client would ask me about their skin and how it could be improved. I thought why not open a space where there are no nonsense services for facials at a price that is affordable?

What role would you say mentors have in achieving success? Do you have a mentor?

Mentors are important to me. You can feel alone at times as an entrepreneur, so having the help from people that have been there is something I would recommend to anyone starting their own business.

From your experience, do you think being a 
female has influenced your approach to 
business? Why or why not?

Being a female has 100% influenced my approach to my business. The beauty industry can be looked at in a very negative outward view. Yes, that can be the case, but the reason I wanted to be in this industry was because I wanted to illuminate the beauty inside as well as out.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about 
overcoming adversity?

I am a true believer that the energy you put out into the world will come back to you. So, I choose to keep my head up with a positive outlook, even if I am wanting to give up, I remind myself there is no other option but to keep going.

Kate Bailey
Annabel Media

What was your mission in the outset? 
How has it evolved?

My mission has always been to help great companies tell great stories that attract the right kind of clients and customers so they can continue doing what they love. Soon after launching, we realized that our clients didn’t just need media outreach, they were also looking for help to navigate the complex world of communications. Four years later, Annabel Media now offers a comprehensive list of marketing services.

Can you name three tools or resources you’ve 
come to rely on in your day-to-day of 
conducting business?

Asana for task management is brilliant. Sprout Social for social media management makes our lives easy. Google Drive is the best way to keep all your files in a cloud and our team couldn’t operate without it.

Number one lesson you’ve learned about overcoming adversity?

Trust your gut. Sounds simple, but I’ve discovered that when I don’t listen to my gut, I always regret it.

Do you have a hero?

My grandmother, who I named Annabel Media after, is my hero. She overcame incredible diversity and had an unbelievable amount of strength and integrity.

Kelly Perkins

Spinster Sisters Co.

What was your mission at the outset? 
How has it evolved?

My mission is now, and has always been, to create natural skin care products that do not contain harsh, dangerous chemicals, while limiting our footprint on the environment.

Many people find the idea of being their own boss attractive, have you come across any downsides to self-employment?

I get a lot less peaceful sleep than I used to.  And I certainly work a lot more hours than I used to. And I don’t always get the steady paycheck that I used to. But does that make me want to go back? Never. Not once have I regretted this decision.

Would you describe yourself as a leader?

Yes, as the founder and CEO of a successful business, that makes me a leader by default. I am good at reading, and helping develop the innate talent in people. I recognize what people are good at, and do what I can to help them develop those skills. I feel like a leader is not necessarily good at everything, but they are good at hiring the right people for the right jobs.

When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?

Hanging out with my super cute husband and my pups. Hiking, playing ping pong, drinking margaritas, construction projects on our house, and dinner with friends.

Sujin Yi

Glendale Dental Designs

What first inspired you to create Glendale 
Dental Designs?

This goes all the way back to when I was about 10 and I got braces for the first time. I’m not sure why I was so fascinated by them, but I told my parents that I would become a dentist one day.

From your experience, do you think being a female has influenced your approach to business? Why or why not?

No. Whether you are male or female, an entrepreneur knows what they want and goes after it. Gender has no bearing for me. I understand that everyone faces their own unique struggles, however, my parents were non-English speaking immigrants who came to the states with a dream and not a single penny to their name. They made their dreams a reality and it was all about attitude and work ethic.

How has the Denver community and/or the Colorado community contributed to your company’s success?

The community is everything to us.  My staff and I love getting to know our patients on a personal level. The practice has treated children over the years who have now grown up to have their own children. It’s wonderful to witness that and to be a part of it.

Best piece of professional advice you’ve 
ever received?

Keep your staff happy!

Best piece of personal advice?

Do what you want while being a good person.