Teach a Woman to (Talk About) Fish

Helga Tan Fellows at Gyo Greens

Helga Tan Fellows at Gyo Greens is growing  her business with the help of Marketing Matters.

Helga Fellows is an engineer by training. She’s comfortable with schematics, project plans, piping and process improvement. What really worried her was telling the story of why she wanted to start this company. Helga has a passion for education and for raising sustainable food. Her mission is to “create the next generation of locavores – young people who know – and care – where their food comes from.”

It’s easy to get caught up in Helga’s enthusiasm for her company, Gyo Greens (pronounced GHEE-o, which means “fish” in Japanese.) Gyo Greens is a aquaponics facility based in Ponte Vedra, just blocks from Helga’s family home and her young son’s school. One-on-one, Helga is warm and engaging. But she was really concerned about how to promote her fledgling company, which was beginning to attract attention from supporters and reporters.

Helga signed up for the Jacksonville Women Business Center’s Marketing Matters program in 2013 at the last-minute recommendation from a Ponte Vedra acquaintance. I was assigned as her mentor, along with Karen Butler of the Morgan Company, a family-owned promotional items business based in Jacksonville Beach. Like many technical professionals, Helga viewed marketing as something foreign, requiring skills she simply didn’t have. My job, as her mentor, was to help her translate her passion for sustainable farming into a cohesive narrative that would become the basis for her marketing message and future marketing plan.

Many people have heard of hydroponics, which is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Aquaponics is a sustainable farming method which combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals  – in the case of Gyo Greens, fish - in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In The Gyo Greens system, the waste from the fish is sent to be filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals.

Helga’s business was so new that the facility was still being built. She was busy every day with contractors, inspectors and research. We met on a regular basis at the Palm Valley Fish Camp a few blocks from her building site, a popular local restaurant which would become the first customer for her organic greens.

Since Helga’s passion and back story would be an important part of her marketing, we focused on combining her personal point of view with the technical explanation of aquaponics and weaving them into compelling and sticky messages for her prospective customers and the local community, who were very interested in the facility as it was being built. Gradually, Helga developed a succinct narrative that she felt confident delivering in a variety of settings.

When you live your values, marketing your company is easy. Helga is deeply committed to sustainable practices and the principles of permaculture:

Find GYO GREENS on FacebookTake care of the Earth

Take care of people

Share the surplus

Helga practices these values in every aspect of her business. She employed community contractors in building the facility; many of them were neighbors and friends. She used recycled glass and concrete in the building and the park that surrounds it, and the power comes from solar panels. The park is being planted with native plants in a beautiful and sustainable landscape project.

Helga is one of a new breed of social entrepreneurs, those who start a company not just to make money, but also to make the world a better place. The joy of being a mentor, for me, is to give clients like Helga the words to describe the meaningful work she’s doing. After all, she’s doing the hard part: making the world a better place. Finding the right words to talk about it is easy.

See Helga’s beautiful facility and organically grown artisanal greens at her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gyogreensPVB

Taste her delicious greens at Moxie’s at the Town Center, Palm Valley Fish Camp, Medure, Azurea at One Ocean, and other fine restaurants in the local area.

Better yet…

Discover the right words to say to reach your business goals (with a plan to get you there) in the Marketing Matters program. Like Helga, you’ll learn the strategies and skills to give your business what it needs to grow.

Click here to learn more about Marketing Matters and download the application. The 2015 program kicks off in January and delivers thousands of dollars’ worth of professional consulting within a proprietary learning program for one low fee of $375 ($300 if you are an ethnic or regional Chamber member or a member of the JAX Chamber).


Candace Moody is a writer based in Jacksonville. She has been a member of the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center Advisory Board and a mentor since 2004.

Posted in Business owner profiles, Entrepreneurship, Jacksonville Women's Business Center News, Marketing, Mentoring | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coaching a Coach: Marie Hope, Vision in Business

mariehopevibMarie Hope started her career in the restaurant industry after completing her business degree in Leeds, England. Her commitment to lifelong learning also led her to earn an MBA and a degree in psychology. She worked in restaurant management and taught in the industry for five years before launching her own business in 1990. A Taste of Britain combined her heritage and her experience into a British tea shop that included a bakery and gift store. Later, she also started a catering firm and mail order business.

Marie ran companies for over 20 years before starting her consulting firm. She moved to Jacksonville in 2010 and continued to build Vision in Business, a firm that specializes in coaching women and developing Women’s Mastermind Groups. Having been an entrepreneur herself, she understands what business owners go through. “They work too much in their business, and not enough on their business. They are too close to the problems and cannot see the forest for the trees.” That’s where she comes in – helping women focus on what’s important and developing a clear sense of direction.

Marie enrolled in the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center’s Marketing Matters mentoring program in 2014. Her mentors, Judi Spann and Donna Reade, helped her identify her market and refine her business model. “Marketing Matters revolutionized my business concept, “Marie says. “The program helped me develop what I enjoy the most into an advantage that meets the needs of a niche market. Today, I have a manageable, measurable and lead-generating marketing system.”

It’s not easy coaching smart, experienced women, especially those who make a living coaching others. But mentor Judi Spann says that Marie was wide open to suggestion and took the process very seriously. “I was impressed with Marie’s attitude. It’s sometimes hard to see things clearly when you’re so close to your business, so she used us to help her focus on what was important to growing her business.”

Marie is joined by mentor Donna Reade and emcee Julie Morgan as she receives her certificate of completion from the Marketing Matters program.

Marie is joined by mentor Donna Reade and emcee Julie Morgan as she receives her certificate of completion from the Marketing Matters program.

Mentor Donna Reade says that Marie’s “aha” moment arrived in under an hour of their first meeting. “We asked her about her business: what’s causing pain, what brings you joy, and it just clicked. Her mastermind groups were her most profitable line of business and the one she enjoyed the most. We gave her permission to do only what made the most money and what brought her the most joy.”

“And,” she adds, “We helped her bring her pricing in line with the value she brings to her clients.” Business has grown since she raised her prices.

Marie with Jeannie Fredrick of the Professional Women's Council on the day she was nominated for the JAX Chamber's 2015 Small Business Leader of the Year.

Marie with Jeannie Fredrick of the Professional Women’s Council on the day she was nominated for the JAX Chamber’s 2015 Small Business Leader of the Year.

Marie also understands the value of networking; she knows that her sales model is based on relationships and trust. She serves on the hospitality committee for the Professionals Women’s Council, which nominated her as its Small Business Leader of the Year for 2014. She also leads a small monthly networking group called Ponte Vedra Professionals, is a member of the Beaches Chamber Membership Task Force and has volunteered to facilitate a Hospitality Industry Mastermind Group for the Beaches Division of the JAX Chamber.

Marie knows that success is a marathon and not a sprint. And she knows a thing or two about marathons, since she’s been participating in endurance sports for 30 years. On Marie’s Vision in Business website, she talks about how her experience has helped her work with her clients: “I have the business muscle to know what to do well and the scars and bruises from the mistakes I have made. You can benefit from both.”

Find Vision in Business at www.vib-consulting.com

Do you want to accelerate your success like Marie?

Apply soon, space is limited.

What are you waiting for? Apply for the next edition of Marketing Matters which begins in January 2015. This program delivers thousands of dollars’ worth of professional consulting within a proprietary learning program for one low fee of $375 ($300 if you are an ethnic or regional Chamber member or a member of the JAX Chamber).

 Click here for program details and to download the application.

Posted in Business owner profiles, Entrepreneurship, Jacksonville Women's Business Center News, Mentoring | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mentoring + Marketing = Business Win!

Find out how this woman business owner is reaching her goals as a result of the  Marketing MattersSM  mentoring program.

Hanan presents her concepts at one of Marketing Matters Strategy Sessions.

Hanan presents her concepts at one of Marketing Matters Strategy Sessions.

Hanan Furqan, mother of five and CEO of ThreeZ Company, successfully completed the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center’s Marketing MattersSM  mentoring program in 2014. ThreeZ Company is a supplier for paper, janitorial, foodservice and safety products in Northeast Florida. Through her mentoring experience, Hanan has put together a winning formula for her business.

During the program Hanan learned how to develop a marketing plan, brand and lead generation strategies. Guided by her mentoring team of two seasoned marketing and public relations professionals, Hanan gained a deeper understanding about how applying a consistent marketing strategy would impact her business.

As a result, Hanan significantly altered her business plan for ThreeZ Company. She was able to clearly define her unique Brand Attributes and understand her “right” customer in order to deploy the Six Essential Marketing Strategies to reach them. After initial strategic and tactical planning adjustments, she was ready to implement her marketing plan.

Celebrating the completion of the program with presenter Amy Calfee, mentor Joanne Kazmeirski and JWBC Director Pat Blanchard.

Celebrating the completion of the program with presenter Amy Calfee, mentor Joanne Kazmeirski and JWBC Director Pat Blanchard.

Her plan identified key projects she needed to work on to measurably improve name recognition and increase sales. She contacted former mentor, Mike Barile, partner at Elva Marketing, to discuss steps to develop and implement the tools, tactics and techniques prescribed by her marketing plan, including a new website.

Her website is an example of how she put her plan into action and includes a  new company logo to make her company’s identity more relate-able and recognizable. The site’s URL was changed based on keyword relevance, to make it easier for her audience to find her products and services.  Working with Mike, they developed content and a clear marketing promise, reflective of the company’s competitive advantage. In conjunction with the new website, she deployed new lead generation and conversion tools and the processes to support them.

Receiving her certificate of completion with mentors Joanne Kazmeirski and Mike Barile, along with Julie Morgan of WOKV.

Receiving her certificate of completion with mentors Joanne Kazmeirski and Mike Barile, along with Julie Morgan of WOKV and HOT 106.5.

Today, Hanan is leveraging the confidence and knowledge she gained from Marketing MattersSM  to increase sales through a new online, community outreach and promotion programs. Her business is supporting jobs and building wealth that will positively affect her family for years to come.

Hanan has been nominated as one of the “Top 20 Under 40″ business leaders in Jacksonville and will be honored at the upcoming Black Expo 2014, where she will receive recognition for her charitable, academic and business achievements.

Visit ThreeZ Company at its new website.

Click here to find out more about Marketing MattersSM and download the application.


Marketing MattersSM Mentoring Program is produced in cooperation with
Amy Calfee, Chief Listening Officer
Temerity Creative, LLC  |  Jacksonville, FL


The 2015 Marketing MattersSM Mentoring Program is sponsored by

communityfirstcreditunion

Posted in Best Practices, Entrepreneurship, Jacksonville Women's Business Center News, Marketing | Leave a comment

JWBC Client finds Entrepreneurial Balance

wrightsocialFelicia Wright, MyGani Design Studio

How do you balance business and motherhood? Ask Felicia. She’s building her business with the help of a peer-to-peer mentoring group she founded for women entrepreneurs like her.

READ MORE…

 

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Breaking News: Rethreaded Trending Again

JWBC client Kristin Keen is once again making news – and you can help. Rethreaded, a local nonprofit that seeks to unravel the effects of the sex trade by providing safe, viable, and dignity-giving work to survivors who are building new lives, is currently #4 in Martha Stewart’s Made in America contest. Vote today to help her make the top 3!

ONLY 4 DAYS LEFT! Vote 6x/day until Oct. 13th (TODAY) here>>

Grace scarves are produced by Rethreaded, a local nonprofit that seeks to unravel the effects of the sex trade by providing safe, viable, and dignity-giving work to survivors who are building new lives. Kristin Keen, Rethreaded’s founder, is a social entrepreneur and winner of the 2013 One Spark competition.

The Grace scarf is a one of a kind scarf, made from up-cycled t-shirts, and is the perfect accessory for any season. Each scarf is unique in size, color, and style, creating a matchless piece of art for you to wear.

Get one of your own at the JWBC 10 Year Celebration Thursday October 16

Grace scarves are available for a $50 donation to Rethreaded, and part of the proceeds will support the JWBC. The Grace scarves selected for the JWBC 10th anniversary celebration are designed to coordinate with our special Lucinda pins.

Lucinda Pins Also Available at the Event

WBDC 4 Pins
Limited edition commemorative pins that were commissioned for the JWBC 10th anniversary will be on sale while supplies last. You can own one or give them as gifts for a donation of $25 or more.
“It was an honor and privilege to participate in the JWBC 10th year anniversary celebration. The pin design was a collaborative effort with the staff and board of Jacksonville Women’s Business Center.

Incorporating the skyline into the pin personalizes it and commemorates the JWBC and the great work that it does. The diversity of the women sitting at the table recognizes the great diversity we see in the women entrepreneurs who are part of the organization.” Lucinda Yates

About Lucinda
Lucinda Yates, the founder and CEO of Designs by Lucinda was born with the heart and passion of a true entrepreneur. In the early 1980’s due to unforeseen circumstances, Lucinda and her young daughter found themselves homeless.
Lucinda used her creativity and drive to launch a successful line of fashion jewelry. One day she designed a simple pin in the shape of a house; that was the moment Lucinda knew she could help others. The first House Pins would become the perfect fundraiser for a local shelter. The idea behind the pin was to raise money for the homeless, and at the same time, create a greater awareness of homelessness in her community.
Given her natural instinct to be a successful entrepreneur, coupled with her desire to help others, it is no surprise that she founded a company built on helping non-profits. Lucinda’s experience of homelessness would come full circle and a company with a conscience was born… Designs by Lucinda.
Find her pins at www.lucinda.com

Posted in Business owner profiles, Entrepreneurship, Involvement, Jacksonville Women's Business Center News, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

HOPE Gets a Makeover

Jeanine FergusonMeet Jeanine Ferguson of HOPE Greetings

by Candace Moody
 
 

Jeanine Ferguson got the idea for HOPE Greetings in the middle of a large crowd at her uncle’s funeral. Her bereaved aunt was seated a few rows ahead of Jeanine, distraught and without a tissue to wipe her tears. Jeanine couldn’t help at the time, but she conceived a clear vision of what she wished she could offer: a fresh handkerchief with a message of hope and comfort.

In 2008, she launched HOPE Greetings, a venture that sells products wholesale to the funeral home industry and online to individuals. The company produces handkerchiefs and individually packaged paper tissues designed with inspirational scriptures and other encouraging quotations. The products can also be customized with the funeral home brand or an image of the deceased. Jeanine balanced her fledgling business with a young family and her fast-paced marketing career in medical device sales until a career change gave her some time in 2014 to invest in branding and creating a marketing strategy.

Hope Greetings Marketing Matters Team

L-R: Jeanine Ferguson of Hope Greetings, Program Presenter Amy Calfee, Pat Blanchard, JWBC Director, mentor Jamie Thomas (photo by Carlee Calfee)

She enrolled in Marketing Matters, a mentoring program offered by the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC), in January of 2014. Marketing Matters is an intensive, six-month program that pairs a woman business owner with two marketing professionals. The business owner attends several strategy workshops with other owners, and creates a comprehensive brand strategy with the help of her mentors. Volunteer presenter Amy Calfee, owner of Temerity Creative, LLC, designed the program to lead business owners through the process of defining their brand and understanding their customers to design a marketing plan that is manageable, sustainable and measurable. “This program is designed to meet the woman business owner where she is. Current revenue, number of employees, customer base – we can help a business of any size.  It’s all about setting a goal and creating a plan to reach it.”

“Jeanine came in with the right attitude,” says Calfee. “Wide open and ready to learn.” Together with Pat Blanchard, JWBC Director and program administrator, Calfee paired Jeanine with two strong mentors: Janell Conner, who owns Public Design Unit, a full service marketing design firm, and Jamie Thomas, an experienced marketing professional and partner at The LBA Group, a Jacksonville CPA firm. Thomas has been recognized as the 2013 Accounting Marketer of the Year by the CPA Practice Management Forum and as one of the Top 100 Most Influential in the Accounting Profession by Accounting Today Magazine. The mentoring team met at least once a month (the commitment is for two hours a month for each mentor) and provided support, advice and encouragement through dozens of emails and phone calls. Amy Calfee spent time on the phone with Jeanine the night before she left to attend a funeral home trade show, giving her “the best advice ever,” according to Jeanine: “Don’t spend one minute behind your exhibit table; stand in front, where you can really connect.”

hopegreetingsThe mentoring team first helped Jeanine reimagine her identity, which featured dark and funereal images. “Not only was it in contrast to her message of hope,” says Thomas, “but it was also in jarring contrast to Jeanine’s personality, which is sunny and warm. We knew we needed to develop a whole new look.” Thomas researched the psychology of colors and the team decided on a vibrant green logo that combines the look of a blossom and sunshine.

HOPE Greetings’ online e-commerce site got a makeover with new colors and photos that balanced the sad images with images of hope and joy. Based on her mentors’ advice, Jeanine is poised to expand her product line to include secular messaging on her products in addition to scriptures and market them for joyful occasions such as births, anniversaries and graduations.

Jeanine gained more than a marketing plan from the program; she and Jamie Thomas have become fast friends and plan to stay in touch. “We’re both busy professionals trying to balance family and career, and that made Jamie the perfect mentor for me,” Jeanine says. HOPE Greetings is still a part-time business, since Jeanine has taken on a marketing and business development role in a medical practice, but Jeanine believes she’ll still be able to achieve her HOPE Greetings revenue goal by the end of the year.

Thanks to Marketing Matters, she has a plan and the support to make it happen.

Posted in Business owner profiles, Entrepreneurship, Jacksonville Women's Business Center News, Marketing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Celebration Kicks Off 10th Anniversary Year

National, state and community leaders gather to launch the JWBC in 2004

National, state and community leaders gather to launch the JWBC in 2004

Starting the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) 10 years ago was a bright idea. Since 2004, we’ve helped thousands of women at every stage of business: from a great idea to a company, from a company to a successful and growing enterprise, and from a successful enterprise to global domination – if that’s her plan.

li-celebrate-091014-01And you know what? That deserves a celebration, so we’re doing that, too!

If you are a woman business owner (or want to be), know or love a woman business owner in Northeast Florida, share in her success at our 10th Anniversary Celebration, Thursday, October 16, 5:30 – 8 pm at the Episcopal High School of Jacksonville.

Purchase Tickets in Advance

Tickets are on sale NOW - $35 general admission and $25 for women business owners.

JWBC's 5th Anniversary Celebration, 2009

JWBC’s 5th Anniversary Celebration, 2009

A Brilliant Event!

  • Connect with our region’s entrepreneurs, community leaders and business professionals.
  • Sample the Taste of 10 – hors d’oeuvres and desserts provided by our area’s top women-led caterers and restaurants
  • Enjoy adult beverages at the cash bar
  • Hear client stories and how they applied what they learned to grow the business of their dreams
  • Learn why getting involved as a client, volunteer or sponsor makes you brilliant, too!

 Are you “In for 10?”

Event sponsorships are available and include unique ways to promote your business and demonstrate your commitment to community development. Click here for details.

The chance to celebrate 10 years only comes around once, so this is a one-time opportunity to thank our clients, volunteers and supporters who make our story possible.

We hope you’ll join us. Buy your tickets today.

Posted in Jacksonville Women's Business Center News | Leave a comment