(By Amy Lombardo)
Brandie Gehan, CEO of B by Brandie
1. What piece of advice can you give to women just starting their own business?
The best piece of advice I can give a woman just starting your own business
is to be ready to hear “no” and be ready that you won’t have all the
answers. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “no” along
the way to starting my company. Luckily, I have thick skin and had
enough passion and confidence to keep down my path towards creating my
home accessories line. I also quickly learned, that you need to have
enough humility to realize that you won’t have all the answers, but
that’s ok. That’s the fun part of starting a business, it stretches you
to think outside the box and learn new areas that you had no prior
knowledge on or even thought you would become an expert in.
2. What has been the key to your success?
I think my key to success has been my work ethic and my agility in the
business world. We are still small and nimble so that requires that my
team and myself wear many hats throughout the day. We are constantly
speaking with customers and retailers to see what they are looking for
and what is missing to try and fill the gap. Every successful business
is flexible and it is often what makes or breaks a company.
3. Please tell us about a woman that inspires you.
My mom as always inspired me and still does each day! She was a
passionate teacher for over 38 years and never loss the love of children
and education. She worked tirelessly for little pay and stayed
everyday after school until 6pm grading papers, changing bulletin boards
and developing lesson plans. She did all of that while raising me and
shuttling from tennis tournament to piano lessons.
4. How many hours do you work a week?
Each week is different and my hours vary widely. I will definitely say that
I work over fifty hours each week and even more if I am traveling and
presenting the line to different retailers. I am a morning person so
sometimes my day starts at 4am, depending on how much work I have that
day. I always make it a point to be home to see my husband and kids and
have dinner with them, so everyday that I am in town I leave the office
at 5:00, to make it home to fix dinner and see them for a few hours.
5. What are some ways that you manage your work life balance?
I make sure that I have time for myself, if you are not healthy there is
no way you can be healthy for your loved ones or your business. For me
that means, working out every other day if possible and carving out
thirty minutes a night to do the things I love – like read, catch-up on
my latest shows or flip through my piles of magazines. In addition, I
always make sure that I have time each day to spend with my family. I
am lucky, in that, I get to make my own schedule (most days), which
allows me the flexibility to grab lunch with my mom or run over to my
kid’s school to read a story to his class.
6. What does career happiness mean to you?
Happiness to me is seeing something I dreamed up or designed come to fruition and
seeing people buying it. A lot of the items I sell, took hours and
months to produce, so seeing it complete brings me much pride.
7. What percentage of your shopping do you do online?
I am a HUGE fan of online shopping! I would say about half of my
purchases are done online. I love that I can go to one place, the
Internet and have endless options, especially without having to deal
with traffic and weather! I purchase everything from toilet paper to
the latest fashions online.
8. When you first start a business,
you may get a lot of “no” answers before you get your “yes”. Any tips on
how to handle the inevitable rejections we may experience along the
path as entrepreneurs?
First and often times the hardest, I think, is to really evaluate what was said”¦.
Were they right? Is there something wrong? There have been many times
along my path that at first I was angry or frustrated with what people were
telling me, but with time and distance, I realized that they were right. If that is the
case, try to see it as valuable criticism and address the issues with
your business or product and move on. Turn the negative into a
If you know what you are doing is correct, it’s best to surround yourself
with those that you trust and your biggest supporters and continue down
you path. Focus on the positives and keep going. Sometimes that’s all you
can do is keep momentum going until you get your “yes.”
9. How do you give back?
I wish I had more time to give back, but when I do have time to give back, I focus on
those charities and organizations that have affected me personally. My
family and I donate our time and money to local art organizations,
Gladney Adoption Center, Callier Clinic, and UTSW Dermatology
Department. All of these organizations have had a direct impact on my
husband and I profound ways and we want to support them any way we can,
now and in the future.
10. Any special sales or offerings coming up that you would like the Pink51 community to know about?
We have some very exciting spring collections launching shortly and we
will be introducing new colors, patterns and products. We just launched
our linen and candle line and should have an even broader spectrum of
mix and match home accessories launching soon!