Mompreneurs – Ann Francke

Name: Ann Francke

Family: Husband (and Biz partner ) Barry, Daughter Izzy, 16, Dog Roscoe, Cat Miskit

Business: Beautorium LLC- the natural and organic beauty emporium. (www. beautorium.com)

How long in business: since April 2008

Clients/Target market: Anyone asking questions about what’s really in their personal care products, who is looking to make everyday choices that are good for the planet and good for them, too! In marketers jargon, these groups are sometimes called Green Baby Boomers and the Eco-Anxious demographic. They’re urban, educated, affluent and very good at finding what they want on line.

What inspired you to go into business for yourself? After twenty years in the blue-chip corporate word, much of in senior international executive positions, I felt it was time to explore more entrepreneurial options that would allow me to spend more time with my teenage daughter and aging parents while both were still around. I also wanted to build up something worthwhile for the future. After all, I’ve still got another twenty working years to go! I also realized that if I didn’t try to start my own business I’d end up asking “what if…” Beautorium allows me to combine my past experiences with current passions in a growing market we can build for the future.

Who is your mentor? I was very lucky. When I first started out in P&G in Europe in the late 80s and early 90s , I worked for a group of very smart people with a great deal of integrity, business acumen, humanity and humor, who were wiling to coach young people like I was then and help them to learn on the job. Many of them are still there- and now they are running the Company!

Advantages of being a business owner? You gain the freedom to be yourself , control over your schedule, total ownership for and pride in your results, and the flexibility to work in your PJs all day if you want to. Coming from the executive corporate world, it’s also worth mentioning what you give up: status, scale (the ability to work with and impact large groups of people and resources) , a multi-figure salary and the benefits from holidays to healthcare. You also lose all the office politics.

What’s most important when starting your own business? A sense of humor and strong survival instincts. You also need luck. And a finite amount of cash, by which I mean enough to give you a reasonable start and chance of success , but no more than you can truly afford. Finally, there is nothing wrong with trial and error: fuel what works, stop what doesn’t—and learn from both experiences. You want to win big, but fail cheap!

Advice for women starting a business? I would encourage her to be curious, but focused, in seeking input and advice. It’s amazing what you can learn from reaching out to others—and you never know where it might lead!