Many women choose the path of small business when they become mothers for the flexibility and/or because they see a need that hasn't been met a la "necessity is the mother of invention". It can be an exciting adventure (or should I say roller coaster), but there are also moments that are incredibly daunting, such as when I place a large order for fabric based on my guesstimate of demand. It all comes down to these seminal moments: Do you believe in yourself and what you are creating enough to put yourself (and your dollars) out there?
As a small business owner, resources are always constrained, so winning the 2010 Eileen Fisher grant is clearly helpful in that regard, but the impact goes well beyond that. Eileen Fisher is a company (and founder) who ultilizes their profits to lift up others in the spirit of community. This is true social enterprise, and the vision I hold out for HadleyStilwell. I quickly realized after launching two years ago that it's much more than the clothes. It's about empowering women to achieve balance in their dual roles as mom and whatever path they have created for themselves, and to do it with grace and beauty.
It is therefore with gratitude and inspiration that I will spend the first 3 days in May at their headquarters in New York meeting mentors in the apparel business and participating in various events.
And it is with equal gratitude to you dear customers for believing in my designs, and for offering constructive feedback and support along the way. To this end, I'll be offering ongoing promotions on the website with coupon codes that you can access by signing up for the newsletter in the gray bar below. The first code is listed in the press release below.
HadleyStilwell, Founded by Holli Harris, Wins Coveted 2010 Eileen Fisher Business Grant for Women Entrepreneurs
The Eileen Fisher Grant recognizes HadleyStilwell, a designer of tailored clothing for breastfeeding women, for being innovative and fostering environmental and economical health in the community.
Seattle (April 2011) - HadleyStilwell, a designer of unique tailored and professional clothing line for breastfeeding and pumping mothers, is thrilled to be awarded a prestigious grant from Eileen Fisher Inc. as part of the 2010 Business Grant Program for women entrepreneurs to recognize women-owned businesses that embody socially-conscious and environmentally-sustainable business practices that benefit their local community. Eileen Fisher Inc. selected four winners from applications submitted nationwide. The grant award includes $12,500, mentorship opportunities from Eileen Fisher Inc., and membership in a supportive community of past, present, and future women entrepreneur grant winners.
Holli Harris is dedicated to social entrepreneurship. HadleyStilwell's designs reflect Holli's goal of helping new mothers breastfeed longer by minimizing the challenge of pumping or nursing, which empowers women to succeed at both career and motherhood. Holli carries the idea of empowerment and social responsibility through her supply chain choices. Manufacturing is done locally in the Seattle area by other small businesses that are also social entrepreneurs, and Holli strives to source her materials as close to home as possible.
"I am so excited to have HadleyStilwell singled out by Eileen Fisher, a business leader and role model for all women entrepreneurs," says Holli. "My business is all about merging functionality with style to support the most natural, and empowering, thing ever - breastfeeding. Winning this grant inspires me to keep the focus on business values and giving back as we grow, just as Eileen Fisher has done."
Even as Holli expands the HadleyStilwell collection, she always looks for ways to give back. She is a director on the board of Chindex International, the only private healthcare network of clinics and hospitals in China. Using her leadership skills and international business experience, she helps Chindex run a growing network of hospitals and clinics that deliver top tier healthcare to the Chinese population. She is also the chair of Washington CASH, a non-profit microfinance organization that provides business training, a supportive community, and microloans to enable low-income individuals to achieve self-sufficiency through their own small business ideas. Additionally, Holli donates 5% of every HadleyStilwell purchase to Best for Babes (www.bestforbabes.org), an award-winning organization dedicated to helping moms beat the "Booby Traps" to breastfeeding - the cultural and institutional barriers that prevent moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals.
In celebration of HadleyStilwell's grant award, Holli is running a series of promotions, leading up to her trip May 1-3 to visit Eileen Fisher Inc. in New York City, so that customers and fans can share in the excitement. The kickoff promotion introduces the new colors, Teal and Deep Purple, for the Satin Nursing Pajamas with a code for 15% off from www.hadleystilwell.com - just enter the promo code breastfeedinluxury in the Discount Code box during checkout. Only 8 sets of pajamas are available for the discount, so customers need to hurry! To access additional celebratory promotions, customers will need to sign up for HadleyStilwell's newsletter using the box on the bottom of HadleyStilwell's website.
Holli will also be publishing frequent blog posts about the grant and her adventures with Eileen Fisher Inc. in New York. Follow along at www.hadleystilwell.com/blog. Holli has already produced a video about the grant and how winning will positively impact HadleyStilwell. The video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYSV4XNeCjY.
Launched in February 2009, the HadleyStilwell collection is for breastfeeding, working mothers who are looking for well-tailored pieces that integrate with their existing wardrobes. With just a quick change of accessories, women can achieve their professional look for the boardroom, without sacrificing comfort when they're relaxing at home on the weekends. HadleyStilwell clothes are the wardrobe staples women reach for - from the new, nursing mom who needs quick access to breasts for pumping, to the mother of young children who may find herself frequently running from desk to after-school activities each week.
Named after the daughter of founder Holli Harris, HadleyStilwell's designs reflect Harris's goal of helping new mothers breastfeed longer by minimizing the challenge of pumping or nursing. Harris aims to empower women to succeed at both career and motherhood.
To this end, the HadleyStilwell website also includes a section called "Milk Notes," which provides advice ranging from managing milk supply to managing career as a new mother, including a chart of the breastfeeding phases; tips on presenting the business case for breastfeeding to your boss; and the art of pumping in a car.
Visitors to the site can also sign up for weekly Milk Tweets via Twitter, through which Holli shares vetted sources for new mother information.
The entire HadleyStilwell collection is available online at www.hadleystilwell.com. More information about HadleyStilwell can also be found online, or by calling 1-888-872-9885.