Early business in America pretty much consisted of farmland and plantations, as well as a few other industries, none of which were led by women. But that didn’t stop some ambitious ladies from making an impact. One of the very first female entrepreneurs in the U.S. was Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who, in the late 1730s, made and distributed high-quality blue indigo dye for the textile industry, an endeavor so successful that indigo dye soon became South Carolina’s second-largest export crop. A few centuries later, women are still kicking some serious butt when it comes to business. But as any female entrepreneur knows, it’s because of pioneering women like Eliza that it’s all possible. Today, give a silent nod of gratitude to those tireless women who came before us.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: The Largest
It’s one thing to dream up a really cool new product; it’s another thing to actually realize that dream, manufacture the product and then distribute it. Most of us have had that experience of standing in the supermarket, looking at a newfangled contraption on the as-seen-on-TV aisle and exclaiming, “I came up with that idea years ago!”
Well, ladies, if you’ve got another innovative product idea, now’s the time to act on it. Recent statistics show the manufacturing industry in the United States is on the rise, and is currently the largest in the world, producing a little more than 18 percent of the world’s goods and accounting for more than 12 million jobs. So, get your thinking cap on and turn that invention idea into America’s next great product!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Tanya Menendez, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Maker’s Row
OK, so say you already have that next million-dollar idea and are fashioning up a prototype in your garage. What’s next? You have to actually find a manufacturer. A quick Google search will leave you with more options than you can jiggle a Shake Weight at. And if you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, you know settling for a mediocre manufacturer can result in some serious trouble down the line.
That’s where today’s Woman to Watch comes in. Tanya Menendez is a manufacturing matchmaker and a bona fide production wiz—and she gained her expertise from real-world experience. Tanya quit her Goldman Sachs job to partner in a friend’s successful leather-goods line, but soon learned the struggle associated with the outdated sourcing process. But ever the clever businesswoman, Tanya turned her frustration into an idea. What if a website existed that connected entrepreneurs with American manufacturers? Thus, Maker’s Row was born, a domestic online marketplace that makes the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access.
Since 2013, Maker’s Row has been instrumental in connecting more than 100,000 brands and entrepreneurs with some 10,000 American manufacturers. One reason Maker’s Row has become so successful is because of its mind-boggling venture-capital attainment, with Tanya and her team raising more than $2.5 million in funding. Another key reason for the company’s success is that it embraces what appeals to people today, employing modern technologies, images and videos to connect communities of innovators and makers.
One entrepreneur who utilized Maker’s Row describes her hunt for an obscure elastic material leaving her super frustrated. But just five minutes after discovering Maker’s Row, she was able to connect and communicate with a U.S. manufacturer of the material and order samples. Yep, it’s that easy. In fact, NPR says Maker’s Row could revolutionize the whole domestic-manufacturing industry, and Time Inc. claims Tanya’s business offers “unparalleled access to industry-specific factories and suppliers.”
Here’s to Tanya and the team at Maker’s Row who are emboldening modern entrepreneurs to bring their product ideas to life and ensure the next great invention is made in America!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Are you on the fence or unsure about your entrepreneurial idea? Take novelist Margaret Drabble’s advice:
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.