At the age of 18, Claire Coder dropped out of college to start Aunt Flow, a company on a mission to increase access to period products. Six years later, Aunt Flow has convinced Google, Princeton, Netflix, and more to provide tampons and pads for free! Read about her lessons as a young entrepreneur and how she pivoted during the pandemic to save the company.
Alex Copeland tried numerous “day jobs” before becoming a full-time entrepreneur. On this quest to find something that fulfilled him, one thing remained constant — cookies. Eight years ago, Alex decided to combine his two passions to create Plenty O’Cookies, a drag queen cookie-decorating business. Read about how he turned his side hustle into a full-time gig!
What began as a hobby in her parents’ basement has grown into a three-store business with plans for a new studio space! Teaching herself jewelry-making through YouTube, Kate Stevens has been running Red Giraffe Designs (RGD, for short) for over 10 years. During this time, she’s moved from sole jewelry designer to manager of 15 employees. Kate shares how customization became central to her business, the tools integral to her success, and why adaptability and evolution are vital to being an entrepreneur.
As a niche business owner, Ryan Srblija plays by different rules. Running Corvette Care as its third owner has required Ryan to continue to adapt to the specific needs of this specialty. Read about how he’s shifted his payment structure, moved to a new, larger facility, and blended old school with new in marketing.
What began as a love for hosting has transformed into a bustling charcuterie business for Brooke Hohlbaugh, the business owner of and personality behind Boards by Brooke. For the past two years, Brooke has been honing her Instagram presence, creating consistent, high-quality content that resonates with her followers, all while holding down a full-time job as a teacher! Learn about how she’s leveraged Instagram to grow her business and what she’s learned does (and doesn’t) work.
As a serial entrepreneur, Mike Leibrand understands the ins and outs of starting and running a business. His first venture began in 1990, selling T-shirts door-to-door in college. Since then, he’s owned multiple businesses, his most recent being Summit Technologies. Read about how he’s kept his entrepreneurial fire burning for over 30 years and what he’s learned along the way.
It all began in 2019, when Dr. Meghna Mahambrey gave a TEDx Columbus talk on “the birds and the bees.” From there, she created SPARK out of a desire to continue to share valuable insight on relationships and sexual wellness with the public. Initially just hosting workshops, SPARK has evolved through listening to the community’s needs and requests. These days, Meghna’s multi-faceted business offers one-on-one coaching, singles’ events, a podcast, and more!
Since 2016, Nathan Leber has been honing his niche as a small design and print shop owner, focusing on building lasting relationships and crafting the highest quality products for his customers. Instead of emphasizing profit and growth, Nathan’s found success through community, employee achievement, and creating products that speak for themselves. With a strong belief in education as investment, Nathan shares resources that have been vital to his entrepreneurial process!
Previously to opening her own business, nothing in Tabitha Mund’s work-life seemed to be working out. From graduating during the recession to working at a startup that was burning her out, she was struggling to see the path forward. At the end of her rope, she had a realization that would change the course of her life — at her e-design job, she saw a gap in the market for high-quality curated rugs. From here, she developed Swoon Rugs with “no inventory, no money, and no clue.” Read more about her journey to accidentally finding her dream career after years of searching, and how it’s evolved to running her own brick-and-mortar shop.
Back in 2008, Karla Larson-Miller saw an opportunity: the salon she was working for was closing, and she’d just accomplished great success in her secondary career as a real estate agent. An entrepreneur at heart, she recognized this moment as her chance to finally have a salon of her own. Since taking this leap, she’s navigated long hours, opening two additional businesses, and even employee theft. With her newest business less than a year old, there are no signs of her slowing down!
Angie O’ Brien and Heidi Bell were both at a turning point in their lives when they decided to take a chance on opening their own business. With careers they were ready to leave behind and kids they wanted to spend more time with, in 2010, they decided it was time to finally take their idea of opening a yoga studio seriously. With a dream, a friendship, and a new business partnership, their idea was hatched in August, and doors to Harbor Yoga Studio were opened in November.
After becoming a new mom, Phoebe Tricket was struggling to find the work-life balance she desired as a third grade teacher. She had been instructing at the Butcher Shop Fitness for two years and one day noticed a lock pad on the door of the fitness studio. She assumed the owners, who were working remotely, were looking to sell. This wasn’t the case at that moment but it led into her first conversation about acquiring the company, which she later did. Learn how Phoebe has grown the Butcher Shop Fitness into a two location studio with 30 instructors that serves 135 clients per day.
At just 24 years old, Nano Swetman decided that she was going to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and began making jewelry for her friends and family. Fast forward five years later and Nano is the proud Founder of Cuffed by Nano, a high-end online jewelry store that offers beautiful jewelry at an affordable price. Read more about Nano’s story and how she is champions her most successful social media platforms to elevate her jewelry business!
After almost 8 years in the financial services industry, Erin decided to pursue her passion for interior design and make it come to life. With a continuously growing company, Erin functions as the marketing department, the bookkeeper, the project manager, the salesperson, the account executive, the office manager and the HR rep on top of being a designer! The future looks exciting for Erin as she continues to expand her knowledge in the industry by working towards two new certifications.
Margaret, who moved from Toledo to attend Ohio State, acquired On Paper in January of 2020. Having come from a family of small business owners, Margaret had always dreamt of owning her own business. Because she took over the business just before the pandemic, Margaret has faced some of the most difficult obstacles an entrepreneur could endure. As she continues on with her business, she looks to expand On Paper with different locations in areas around the Columbus area.
Growing up in the Diamond Cellar family, Jesse was determined to combine his knowledge in the jewelry industry with his passion for vintage guitars to bring the idea of STORE 5a. The business grew out of STORE 5a’s selling and buying circle and now is an excellent place to find one-of-a-kind jewelry. As they approach their seventh year in business, Jesse and his team are excited to expand and open up their second store in Nashville, Tennessee.
What started out as a discussion over dinner has now formed into a fast growing business in central Ohio. Mel & Danielle created Haven Collective with the purpose of supporting those flying solo in the business world. With just over three years in business, Haven Collective has grown to multiple offices and eventually hope to expand beyond central Ohio becoming a leading entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Growing up in Mansfield, Ohio for 20 years, Bob moved to Columbus and has made it his home ever since. He could think of no better city to live in than Columbus, Ohio! In 1980, Bob joined the Scarborough East Tennis Club as a staff member. Little did he know that he would eventually go on to be the owner of the business in 2010. Being apart of the business for so long, Bob has seen trends come and go within the industry and even has the largest indoor PlaySight technology facility in the world!
Moving to Columbus in the 90s, Vickie Nortz and her husband fell in love with the city and have been here ever since. After tweaking the old family recipe, Vickie found just the right balance of ingredients to make a perfectly fresh and delicious salsa. Ridiculously Good Salsa now sells in many different stores and bars across Ohio including what Vickie claims to be her biggest game changer, nine Whole Foods. Her wonderful story and huge heart have made the company what it is today!
Born and raised in Kent, Ohio, Dr. Rudi As-Sanie chose Ohio State for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. From there, she fell in love with Columbus and the area around it. Dr. Rudi As-Sanie started working for this practice as an associate back in 2012 and would later on buy the business, turning it into a family practice from a multi-specialty office. Having never thought she wanted to own her own practice, Dr. Rudi As-Sanie views it as one of the best decisions she’s made.
Bob Webb Group has been building quality homes in Ohio for over 60 years and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Becky Webb took over her fathers company but has been involved in the business since she was a teenager. With one of the most impressive model homes in Ohio, Bob Webb Group continues to utilize quality products as well as work with excellent people. They are now looking forward to even more exciting things in the near future!