with author Friends of Ricki
friends of ricki nyc helps launch small business
Starting a small business is tough, but having a support group of women like the Friends of Ricki helped one new businesswoman make her first sale.
Friend of Ricki Zaida Grunes: Introduced to Friends of Ricki by my friend Lisbeth, she thought the brand new Friends Of Ricki NYC Meetup group would be a great opportunity for me to connect with other like-minded women.
But in the middle of starting a new company (ManorHouseSoaps.com), while potty-training my twins and dealing with a teenager, I was a bit overwhelmed to make it happen.
Lisbeth insisted and introduced me to her friend, Marie Roker-Jones [RaisingGreatMen.com]. It was Marie and her Friends of Ricki Meetup co-leader Chantal Onelien who welcomed me into this new group like a sister from another mother.
Each week, Marie and Chantal would check in on me via Twitter with a friendly greeting or offer to meet up. Months passed and nothing had come of it. But they did not give up on me.
When I read about Marie and Chantal presenting Friends Of Ricki at the WPIX Health & Wellness Expo here in New York City, I knew I wanted to attend.
After my husband's motorcycle accident a few years ago, stress got the best of me and autoimmune disorders slowed me down to a turtle's pace, pounding my vanity and ego with a sledgehammer. I lost all my hair from alopecia, broke out with a permanent case of vitiligo and spent too many days of exhaustion lying in bed. It was then I knew something had to change. I began meditating my butt off. My skin sensitivities could no longer tolerate commercial soap, so my husband handmade a small batch of Essential Oil soap, using olive oil, just for me. It was that week Manor House Soaps and aromatherapy became a part of our daily lives. It started with a small,seemingly helpless gift from a husband to his wife
Only my closest friends and family knew of my health issues, but when Chantal found out, she immediately offered free guest passes to the Health and Wellness Expo.
The next morning I jumped out of bed and went to the Expo website. Would it be nuts if I applied to sell Manor House Soaps at a Wellness Expo? Would people understand the value of essential oils and handcrafted vegetable based soap and how incredibly beneficial they are to the wellness of both our spirit and our skin? Are we in over our head?
I applied in the vendor section on their website. Deanna Figurito of WPIX called us the next day, and several times afterwards. We were accepted. But it was out of our budget so we had to let go—I moved on. But out of the blue, Deanna emailed us and said, “We still have space. Let's work something out.”
For two weeks before the event, I spent pretty much each day in a state of panic. (Our teenager, Ryan, knew that the last time he saw me like this, I was bald for over a year.)
When I tell you that yesterday was a life-changer, it wasn't just because we worked our first Health and Wellness Expo only nine months after Daniel made his first batch of olive oil soap in our itty bitty NYC kitchen. It was because we would not have been there without the thought, care, consideration, follow-up, and persistence of Lisbeth, Marie, Chantal, and Deanna. There's no way we had the guts to do this on our own. These ladies believed in us.
Before we even parked after the Expo, we had our first sale ever on ManorHouseSoaps.com.
Thank you, amazing Friends of Ricki, for giving us a day to remember.