Did you know March is Women’s History Month? Well it is! So, this blog is dedicated to wonderful women whose sacrifice and strength have paved the way for the many women entrepreneurs of this era. It is because of their savvy, ingenuity, acumen, fervor, passion, commitment, and resilience in the face of all odds, that we are able to seize and conquer the opportunities before us today (and the reason these opportunities are even up for the seizing). So, read on and get inspired!
Martha Coston, was an inventor and entrepreneur during the Civil War era. When she was widowed, her husband left behind some rough drawings of his idea for a pyrotechnic flare. Building upon his initial sketches, she finalized and subsequently patented the system of flares enabling ships to communicate with one another while at sea. Coston sold her system with this breakthrough technology to navies and shippers worldwide, although many times in the process of obtaining patents and selling her invention she had to pose as a man to ensure she received fair compensation. Modern day signal flare design is still based on the original Coston flare.
Madam C.J. Walker, although oftentimes noted specially as a Black History icon, Madam Walker was the first American female self-made millionaire of any race. The founder of Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, Madam Walker made her fortune through the development and sale of hair care products marketed to African American women in the early 1900’s.
Brownie Wise, then a 37 year-old divorcee started a company called Tupperware Patio Parties in 1950 with the intent of successfully selling the Tupperware product via an unused venue – the home. Her in-home parties were a hit, and were soon selling more Tupperware than stores! This caught the eye of the maker/founder of Tupperware, Earl Tupper, who recognizing her marketing genius offered and her a position as vice president (during a time that female executives were scarce). Because of her innovative marketing idea, from that point and until now Tupperware is sold exclusively at home parties.
Ruth Handler, better known as “Barbie and Ken’s Mom” founded Mattel Toys with her husband in 1945. In 1956 she presented the idea of a grown-up doll to the company by way of Barbie™, but it took 3 years to convince them that offering a grown-up doll to children was a good idea. Clearly, it was – Barbie™ celebrated her 50th birthday in 2009.