Mariam Naficy: Overcoming Failure

September 14 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: The Power of Creative Expression

When you’re planning a wedding, it’s easy to feel lost and pressured into doing what’s traditional, even when it doesn’t feel quite like you. Maybe you plan for a June wedding since that’s the most popular wedding month, but you’re more of an autumn girl. Maybe you spend hundreds on peonies because that’s what Pinterest is obsessed with, but would prefer lilies.

It can be difficult to truly express yourself. But when you shake off the peer pressure and champion your own creativity—no matter how atypical, silly or bizarre—it can be extremely liberating. Today, replace your neutral nail color with something glittery (or vice versa—whatever polish you truly love!), write a song for your kids or spend 10 minutes drawing your best doodle. Whatever your medium of expression, embrace your own creative instincts. We promise you won’t regret it!


Take a browse through one of those paint-and-sip businesses where budding artists create masterpieces with a wine glass in hand, and chances are you’ll see a lot of women. Even though we may not be the next Frida Kahlo, tons of us ladies like to get creative. And that’s not just on the amateur level.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43 percent of employed independent and performing artists are women. But if you think the gender gap only exists in the corporate world, think again. Women artists earn only 81 cents for every dollar male artists make. It’s time to start painting a different picture, one that includes real equality for women artists.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Mariam Naficy, Founder and CEO of Minted

Circling back to weddings, if you’ve had one or been invited to one any time recently, you’ve probably gotten your hands on some delightful stationary from the website Minted, a really cool online marketplace of independent artists who sell their art, home décor and stationary wares. Mariam Naficy founded this community space for designers and artists in 2007 after creating a successful online cosmetics retailer that sold for $110 million.

But her career path has not unfolded without a few hurdles. In 2008, Minted struggled with sales, and Mariam seriously considered shuttering the business and repaying her investors. But then Minted hosted a save-the-date-card design challenge that accrued 66 entries, and Mariam realized she might be onto something big. The designs were different from what was available in brick-and-mortar stationary shops, and piqued customers’ interest and brought in sales. While Mariam initially designed the company with crowdsourcing as a small component, it eventually became an integral part of Minted’s triumph.

These days, Minted features work from artists and designers in 48 states and 43 countries, and while some have design degrees, others are simply creative stay-at-home moms. And in addition to beautifully crafted stationary, Minted now offers an array of artistically curated items, from fine-art prints and table linens to lampshades and holiday décor. When you click on an item displayed on the Minted website, you can see who designed it. For instance, when I found the perfect chevron pillow that just so happens to be On The Dot pink, I learned that Kristy from Pennsylvania designed it and has loads more cute products for sale. Yep, it’s pretty easy to get lost exploring all the Minted website has to offer for hours at a time.

Having nearly failed and rebounded beautifully, Mariam knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. As for her advice to other women entrepreneurs, whether they’re side hustling or launching something new, Mariam says it’s imperative to build confidence, take risks and never falter when things don’t go exactly as planned.


Mariam Naficy is a shining example that what matters is not that you fail, but how you respond to it. As writer Elizabeth Gilbert said:

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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