Forty years ago women-owned small businesses were a rarity. Today, I’d be surprised if anyone reading this doesn’t have at least one or two female friends who claim the title.
Women-owned businesses run from tiny to colossal; from trinkets to trucks; solo operations to thousands of employees. The reasons women start businesses are probably as numerous as those who do, but self determination seems to play a big part.
“It’s good to be tight with the boss,” Susan Wagner, owner of Voila Interior Style in Peters, once quipped to me.
For some, owning a business is a career opportunity, pure and simple. That was the case for Kerri Scripko, who bought Baskets of Pittsburgh in 2011.
Never a crafter, Kerri laughs “I’m not the one who ties those beautiful bows.”
But she did see untapped market potential while doing a project there as an MBA student. A month after graduation, she bought the company.
Dottie Coll, owner of the local moving company “Two Men and a Truck” recently told me she thinks a poor economy can motivate women to start their own business, particularly micro businesses. She should know; Coll organizes the Women’s Networking Group at the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and has seen the number of attendees swell over the past few years.
As for her own story, Coll jumped into business ownership at a stage when most people contemplate retirement. Instead, she and her husband are making sure that when they do finally slow down, they will have the financial security to enjoy it.
Passion is as good a reason as any to own a business. As if she didn’t have enough to do, Darieth Chisolm of Channel 11 fame opened Fullbody™ Fitness Club in Brentwood as an antidote to run-of-the-mill workouts. Her business offers exotic fitness options like aerial yoga, silk dance and pole fitness to South Hills women. Now when Darieth is not updating news on your television set, she is probably hanging from the ceiling or answering the phone at her fitness club.
Whatever their motivation, women now own 30 percent of the nation’s small businesses. That is 7.8 million companies and over $1.2 trillion in sales. The end of October marks the end of National Women’s Small Business month, but it is not too late to celebrate the economic powerhouse created by women who have taken that entrepreneurial plunge.
You can read about more small businesses owned by local women at Wise Women (www.wisewomenlife.com). Better yet, tell us about some impress female businesses owners you know on our 'Talk to Us' page’ or leave a comment below.