Weekly Spotlight: Women Entrepreneurs – Tough Like Shelly

We all want to be tough, but what is tough? As an adult, I have desperately sought out examples of tough, whether it was the UFC match between Forest Griffin and Stephen Bonner, hardcore triathletes, or when my frail and half-blind grandfather told a foul-mouthed Canadian to zip it in front of his grandchildren. An example of tough that I have found is Shelly Nicholas.

It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur, let alone a lady entrepreneur, let alone a new mother entrepreneur, who has in the region of 3-5 jobs at one time, depending on when you ask.

Shelly and her husband were NYC transplants in DC when I answered her craigslist ad to help her develop a product. From the very beginning, Shelly was a dynamo, launching a blog, figuring out our game plan and catapulting us into the world of entrepreneurship.

From our humble beginnings in 2011 to present, Shelly would never tell you, but she has endured many trials and tribulations. These included moving several times to several states, becoming a homeowner and mother, switching careers, and of course, launching a brand.

One of the seminal moments of Shelly’s entrepreneurial excellence had been a forced course correction to our product. We had taken the opportunity to have an entrepreneurial mentor review our product for market validity. The review tore us a new one, which was immensely painful but in hindsight badly needed.

Unfortunately with our schedule, Shelly was present at the meeting and had to bear the brunt of the bad news for a product that we had devoted several years of blood, sweat and tears to.

We could have easily disbanded or wallowed in misery and listened to Alice in Chain’s Greatest Hits on endless repeat, however Shelly had a different plan.

We immediately went back to the drawing board and back to work. Shelly’s initiative in our time of sorrow washed off my despair and energized me to help develop the remarkable products we have today. For that, I am eternally grateful.

In another example of her tenacity, Shelly is a road warrior and has landed Pretty Knotty hair ties on the shelves of many local running stores and many re-orders. As I have short hair, I am not a great brand representative, however Shelly is, and she has kicked butt in the process. Along with our initial foray into entrepreneurship, we had no idea how to approach retailers. This was no hurdle to Shelly and she helped us to enter the retail market with the same level of vigor that Shelly brings to all of her endeavors.

If a young girl wanted a mentor, I’d recommend Shelly. If someone wanted to know how to start a business, I’d recommend Shelly. And as it is Women’s History Month, I recommend that we can all learn to be tough like Shelly.

Shelly Nicholas and Jacob Eberhart, founders of Pretty Knotty, LLC.

Shelly Nicholas and Jacob Eberhart, founders of Pretty Knotty, LLC.

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