Strong uplifting women who made their business dreams come true
Behind every entrepreneur is a dream that motivated them. We asked Hiscox customers to tell us about their business dream as part of our Dreams advertising campaign. In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are the stories of four women who turned their business dreams into reality.
Amanda Vereb – Owner and Head Work Horse of The Iron Horse Atelier
Amanda learned to sew at the age of three, and used this talent and skill to open her business in 2016. Her story is an emotional journey and today her business is growing and thriving – thanks to her determination and resiliency.
“When I was three years old, my great-grandmother taught me how to thread a needle and to sew and I haven’t stopped since. It has always been a dream of mine to become a fashion designer and own a store. I attended Philadelphia University and earned my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design.
“I was living in the Virgin Islands when I got pregnant with my son and I moved back home to Pittsburgh. There weren't a lot of design options for me to turn to there, and that is when I started working with bridal salons for alterations. I worked for salons for five years until I found myself no longer happy working for someone else. In 2016, I found a small studio space and took the financial leap to open up my own tailor shop, The Iron Horse Atelier. I named it after a riddle my mom found in the newspaper. It goes, 'An iron horse with a flaxen tail. The faster the horse runs, the shorter his tail becomes. What is it? A needle and thread!'
“My business slowly started to take off. Right before my fifth year in business and after signing a lease to a bigger space, it was a few weeks shy of the world-wide pandemic.
“During 2020 I watched as my business started to fall apart when the world shut down. All of my brides that were on deck to begin their alterations for their weddings or even worse, brides that were supposed to pick up their dresses THAT DAY cancelled. As a single mom of one, there was no way I could fail. I had a mortgage, bills, plus business rent and utilities to pay. I quickly caught on that during the shutdown, people needed masks. I had the skills and materials to make them and away I went. I sold masks and for each one I made, I donated another one. Things started to get dicey when I ran out of elastic and it was impossible for elastic to be shipped to the US. I had to get creative. I started using hairbands and pilfering through stores to make sure I had enough to make masks for whoever needed them. I made over 1,000 masks and that kept me financially able to provide for my son and I until the world started to open back up.
“Now, in my sixth year in business, I have happily moved into a much larger and magnificent space that allows me to spread my wings to the next part of whatever this new chapter will be.”
Amanda left little detail uncovered about her dream story; however, we asked if her business had any fun facts and loved her response: “I was involved with The Salvation Army in 2021 for a “Runway Repurposed” event that helps raise money for displaced families and single parents. I won “Best Design” in the runway competition that uses only recycled materials. My garment was made out of bubble wrap, broken garment bags, and earrings made from gallon jugs!”
Victoria Moran – Chief Compassion Officer of Main Street Vegan Academy
Victoria Moran started her business in 2012, when, after writing a book on how to be vegan in the real world, she realized that might not be enough. “When I finished my book, Main Street Vegan, my first thought was: "There needs to be a Main Street Vegan Academy to train vegan lifestyle coaches," She said. “I did a pilot class and since people loved it, I got serious and bought a Hiscox business policy. We're now entering our 10th year and have 550 grads from 6 continents.”
Victoria is an incredibly compassionate business woman, and we love her energy and commitment to her passion. We asked her if there was one lesson she’s learned since starting her business that she thought would be beneficial to other female entrepreneurs. Here was her response:
“There is lots more to do behind the scenes than you might think. To get through tasks that you dislike but aren't able to delegate, remember what you're trying to accomplish. If there's a 'big picture,' the little annoyances shouldn't be so bad.” This is great advice for us all!
Feyisola Ogunfemi – Owner and Lead Planner of Statuesque Events
Feyisola Ogunfemi is living her childhood dream of being creative and playing dress-up. “My childhood dream was to do something really creative like making jewelry, or being a ballerina. Something that let me dress up and use my imagination to create something beautiful. In my teen years, I realized that I was good at math and project management so I went to college for engineering. After college, a beauty pageant (which I loved) led me down the path to wedding and event planning which I still do today. It allows me to live my dreams of creating something beautiful and dressing up, while also using my technical math and project management skills. Today, I am 10 years in, and now I also coach other wedding planners to grow their businesses as well, and I am so fulfilled in it.”
Feyisola bills herself as a ‘computer engineer and former pageant queen turned wedding planner, public speaker and educator.’ In addition to running her own successful event planning business, she helps other planners start and build profitable and fulfilling businesses.
We asked Feyisola to share one piece of advice for other women looking to start their own business, and she said, “Invest both in learning your craft and in learning about how to run a business. Sales is not sleazy, and you have to learn how to get sales in order to have clients to serve with your gift. So invest in learning how to do both!”
Karen De Amat – Founder and CEO of Social Behavior
Karen saw the potential of social media as a business tool long before most people did – and she turned that into a successful business. “As an aspiring entrepreneur and social media visionary, I saw a future in social when everyone didn't. On June 26, 2014 I founded Social Behavior - a fusion of social media and consumer behavior. My goal was to help businesses by tapping into our creative social media strategies. At the time, social media wasn't what it is today. I begged businesses to trust me and take a chance on me. To date, we have now helped 500+ businesses over the last seven years and have grown from a solo-preneur operation to a fully staffed team of 7 employees, and are currently on a new client wait-list. Working with businesses to help them navigate the ever-evolving social media landscape is our passion.”
When we asked Karen what inspires her to succeed, she responded, “When I started this business nearly eight years ago, I declared my purpose was to positively touch lives of others and be a beacon of light in their journey, whether it'd be a client, an employee, or a colleague. The journey of entrepreneurship and the climb to success are also a rewarding part of the journey that fuel my "drive". Owning a business presents a lot of opportunity, risk, and rewards, despite having faced a lot of challenges in my first seven years as an entrepreneur, being a beacon of light in someone's story is the drive that keeps me going.”
It's clear to see why Karen caught our eye, she is a source of positivity and inspiration. You can learn more about Karen and Social Behavior on the company website and by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Share your dreams with us – and keep them safe
Aside from determination, ambition, and drive, the four women we featured in this article share another common bond – they've all protected what they’ve built with Hiscox. Get a quote today and protect what you’ve worked so hard to create.
If you’re a small business owner with an inspiring tale of your beginnings, please share it with us! We’d love to hear from you and may include you in a future blog post and social media spotlight.