Sponsored: Inside Successful Small Businesses, with American Express’s OPEN Forum

Sponsored: Inside Successful Small Businesses, with American Express's OPEN ForumDisclosure: This post is sponsored by American Express’s OPEN Forum, but written by Kat Griffin.

I feel like one of the most common paths for overachieving chicks is to leave bigger companies and eventually work for, run, or even found small businesses. American Express’s OPEN Forum recently reached out to a number of small business owners to ask them which important lessons they learned the hard way, and there are some great lessons for everyone in the short videos.  They’re shot in a documentary/interview style, and edited really well — it’s a great way to learn some quick lessons on your lunch break.  Some of my favorites from the series:

  • If Your Business Plan Isn’t Working, Change It (lesson learned by Angela Jia Kim, the founder of Savor Spa, screenshot pictured above) — I feel like all business owners face this!  You think your business will run one way, and in fact things start going in other ways when you’re actually up and running.  The key is being able to adapt.  I’ve written a bit about my blog business plan changed, and how different Corporette is from what I first imagined all those moons ago…
  • Find the Right Size (lesson learned by Robert Schwartz, president, Eneslow Foot Comfort Center) — This is true with every kind of business — I feel like we’ve seen a lot of very high profile failures lately because businesses got too big.
  • You Can’t Always Do It All (lesson learned by Jessica Banks, co-founder of RocksPaperRobot) — So true, and I’m still struggling with this myself — obviously I wear a lot of hats on this blog and I probably shouldn’t.  Whether it’s just delegating tasks to an assistant, or hiring new people, you can’t do it all.
  • Expand At Your Own Pace (lesson learned by Leo Kremer, owner, Dos Toros Taqueria) — Again, so true — you don’t want to be buried in work, or have so much work that you can’t do a good job on any of it.

Readers, what business lessons have you learned the hard way?  What do you wish you’d been told earlier?


Sponsored Post: Layer with Adea

adea.indexedDisclosure: This is a sponsored post by Adea, luxurious yet modest every day clothing. 

With warmer weather finally upon us, layering is the name of the game — so I was delighted when Adea reached out (and that they’re offering everyone a special discount code!). I’m firmly on board with the founder’s belief that “every woman’s wardrobe should have a solid foundation of high quality basics that are reliable, flattering, and comfortable” — and I was intrigued to hear that Adea had sourced Italian-made fabrics “with the most advanced technology available” to create modern, body-conscious fits, particularly specializing in layering pieces.

They sent me two pieces to get a feel for their product.  The fabric is silky smooth, breathable, and — hooray! — it’s machine washable.  I think Adea tops would be particularly great for travel (business or personal), because the pieces air dry in under an hour, so you can pack less.  The fabric is touted as having such a high opaqueness that it is extremely effective at filtering the sun’s rays, offering twice the UV protection of cotton.  Another benefit is that the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing sweat marks under your arms.  With both pieces Adea sent to me, they hugged my curves without riding up or being uncomfortable.  Oh, and this is a big one — the fabric resists abrasions and pilling, so not only do the pieces themselves always look new, but you don’t suffer the humiliation of spending serious money on a beautiful new blouse or dress and then realizing your outfit looks lousy because you have a ratty, nasty camisole peeking out. [Read more…]

Sponsored Post: Take Care of Your Vision with DAILIES ® AquaComfort Plus ® Contact Lenses

3D_DACP_30ctDisclosure: This post is sponsored by Alcon DAILIES ® AquaComfort Plus ® Contact Lenses and Style Coalition.

I’ve written before about how I’m a big fan of single-use contact lenses.   I think they’re great! I don’t have to remember how many weeks I’ve been wearing the contacts, I don’t have to worry about when the lens care solution expires, and, especially for someone like me who only occasionally wears contacts, opening a new packet every time just feels fresher.   So I was thrilled when   DAILIES® AquaComfort Plus ® Contact Lenses asked me to round up a few more of my tips… [Read more…]

Sponsored Post: Winter Getaways, with Sunglass Hut

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sunglass Hut, in collaboration with Style Coalition.

I firmly believe that a glamorous, gorgeous pair of sunglasses is an absolute necessity — in addition to protecting your eyes, a great pair elevates every outfit, making even the schlubbiest looks a bit more put together. Sunglass Hut asked me to dream about which winter getaway destination I would want to visit, and which outfits I’d want to bring with me, if I were taking this gorgeous pair of sunglasses with me:  the Kristina glasses, by Coach.  They’re available in a number of colors — gold, grey, silver, blue, white, but I love me a pair of red sunglasses — they just bring so much life to your face. [Read more…]

Sponsored Post: Go Desk to Dinner with Ann Taylor

With Thanksgiving out of the way, it is officially holiday party season — which means that it’s time to perfect your desk-to-dinner shuffle, if you haven’t already. For me, separates have always been the way to go — that way you don’t have to change your entire wardrobe before you go out after work, and you only need to carry one or two additional pieces with you to the office.  Maybe it’s just me, but separates always feel more “true” to me — more like a “dressed up, sparkly version of me” and less like “Kat’s pretending to be a glamorous jet-setting party-goer!” [Read more…]

Sponsored Post: Quincy Apparel’s Tailored Looks (And a Much Smarter Sizing System)

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Quincy Apparel, stylish work pieces with a smart approach to sizing.

“What if there were clothes that were boardroom-appropriate but still allowed the young, on-the-go professional woman to feel as stylish and authentic at work as she did in her downtime? And, what if those clothes actually fit well and didn’t break the bank?” Those were the questions that led two Harvard Business School graduates, Alex Nelson and Christina Wallace, to launch their own line, Quincy Apparel. The online-only brand (which offers free shipping and free returns) gives everyone a quiz to find your perfect size* — and offers a second size for free when you order from them. [Read more…]