WOMEN
10/28/2011 02:24 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2011

Women Re-Inventors

When Tory Johnson felt that generic business services weren't doing enough to cater to women's specific needs, she started an organization called Spark and Hustle. Meet four smart, amazing, fearless women who have benefited from her services - and how they leveraged a simple idea into a successful business.

Traciana Graves, founder of Project Bully Free Zone, enjoyed a successful career as a vocal artist, singing back-up vocals for sensations like Celine Dion. Eventually she started to feel like she wasn’t doing enough with the 22 hours of her day when she wasn’t performing on stage. Her childhood and young adult years had been plagued by bullying, and when the issue of bullying was brought to her attention again she felt that she needed to do something about it. In Spring 2011 alone she reached to over 7,000 people with Project Bully Free Zone’s workshops, which cater to schools and corporations who feel the need for bullying education and prevention.

Melissa Lanz, CEO of The Fresh 20, found herself overworking in her 20's, eating fast food while working late into the night, sometimes getting only four hours of sleep. Her "Aha!" moment came when she was given 48 hours notice to leave on a business trip to Switzerland. When she mentioned to her boss that this would prove difficult because she had kids, her boss had no idea she that was a mother. Melissa stopped and thought about what makes her happiest, and realized that she was happiest when she's cooking. Her website, The Fresh 20, was born.

Shannon Wilburn, CEO of Just Between Friends, found herself shopping in consignment stores as a teenager when her father became disabled and unemployed. As a wife and mother of two she struggled to make ends meet with her family, looking for ways to make money. She and her friend started an event out of her living room selling children's and maternity consignment.

Wendy Krepak, CEO of Card Cubby, found herself needing an organizer for her business cards and frequent buyer cards, since she was always losing them in her wallet and was in turn losing money. One day she took a few pieces of Rolodex and stuffed it into her wallet to organize everything, and people started asking her where she bought it. The Card Cubby was born.

Sandy Stein, CEO of Finders Key Purse, worked for 34 years as a flight attendant. When her part time salary wasn't cutting it, she prayed to her dad for help. Sandy says that her father came to her in a dream with the idea of a clasp key finder that holds onto the outside of your purse so that you'd never have to dig through your bag to find your keys again. She's sold 1 million Finders Key Purse by word of mouth - that's 4 million dollars worth in her first year in business.

Have you ever thought about starting your own business? Have you taken steps towards your business dream? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

Want more women re-inventors? Don't miss Simplified Living's Amy Volk - she's sharing four tips on how to get it all done! See the tips here.

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BEFORE YOU GO
Women Re-Inventors
PHOTO GALLERY
Women Re-Inventors