TBF Graduates

A snapshot of the 18 entrepreneurs who graduated from our first business education program — and the amazing businesses they run. Here, the scholars share their takeaways from the course.

 

 

TBF Events

Tory Burch Foundation-Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses graduation ceremony

 

 

MALENE BARNETT

Principal & Creative Director, Malene B Custom Handmade

 

Malene B is a Brooklyn-based custom handmade carpet company specializing in globally inspired designs. Malene joined the TBFGS10K program to create a strategic growth plan and make progress in quality assurance, marketing, public relations and sales.

 

“I thought business success was primarily based on sales. But through the program I learned that it is about creating a business with a vision.” — Malene Barnett

 

 

BREN BAUER

Owner, BBAUER Ventures, LLC

 

BBAUER Ventures is a Manhattan-based boutique design firm specializing in high-end residential renovations and commercial and hospitality projects. Bren joined the TBFGS10K program because she wants to take her company revenue to $1,000,000 in the next one to two years.

 

“I acquired knowledge to set the right goals, and I identified areas of concern and weakness. The bar is significantly raised in terms of how I view my own success.” — Bren Bauer

 

 

PATRICIA BRETT

Founder & Designer, Veronica Brett

 

Veronica Brett is the first luxury swimwear collection created especially for breast cancer survivors. Designer and founder Patricia Brett joined the TBFGS10K program in order to learn how to obtain capital and hire a team.

 

“The advisors and my fellow classmates helped me to realize that my business is already a success—I created a product that is changing women’s lives.”
— Patricia Brett

 

 

SIAMANDA CHEGE

CEO & Founder, Bébé Ravi Collections Inc.

 

Bébé Ravi is a collection of children and women’s wear, handmade using Italian wool, Italian cashmere and Egyptian cotton. Siamanda joined the program to develop skills to take her social enterprise to a sustainable and profitable level.

 

“Armed with knowledge, I now feel confident to move forward and step up to challenges I had avoided. I can face each situation with greater confidence.”
— Siamanda Chege

 

 

SYLVIA FRIEDERICH

Partner, Bazillion Bags LLC

 

Bazillion Bags LLC offers a range of specialty bags, including tote, backpacks and laundry sacs. Sylvia joined the TBFGS10K program to bring her small company to its full potential.

 

“My greatest takeaway is the highly resourceful network of exceptional people: fellow scholars, staff and those who conceptualized this incredible program. To be connected with a group of such creative and motivated people is truly inspiring.” — Sylvia Friederich

 

 

CARRIE HAMMERSLAG

Founder, Carrie Hammer Custom Apparel

 

Carrie Hammer Custom Apparel designs made-to-measure clothing for professional women. Carrie joined the program to learn more about the basic principles of running and financing a business.

 

“I now know that I’m not alone—and that building a business takes longer than you think.”
— Carrie Hammerslag

 

 

KRISTIN LEU

Principal, Leu Design

 

Leu Design is a graphic design firm focused on the intersection of design and business. Kristin joined the program because she believed it was an opportunity for her to get the tactical skills she needs to translate her vision into a reality and her knowledge into action.

 

“The program helped me realize that my business and values are unique and that my success is only limited by my vision.” — Kristin Leu

 

 

ERICA MOLINA

Co-owner, Brooklyn Taco

 

Brooklyn Taco Company is a full-service Mexican food vendor, selling tacos, tamales and salads as well as drinks and coffee. It also provides catering for corporate and personal clients. Erica joined the program because she wanted to learn about accounting and marketing in a highly competitive field.

 

“Being a woman in the male-dominated restaurant industry can be very intimidating. However, understanding my business behavior — and my partner’s — has made me embrace who I am and allowed me to interact with much more confidence.” — Erica Molina

 

 

KARI MORRIS

Owner, Morris Kitchen

 

Morris Kitchen is a specialty food manufacturer, including a line of cocktail syrups made with a variety of local ingredients. Kari joined the program because she wants a clear path for growth and a five-year plan.

 

 

NNEKA MOSLEY

Founder & Designer, Nneka Saran LLC

 

Nneka Saran is a collection of graphic handmade handbags and clutches. Nneka joined the program in order to help develop an effective business strategy.

 

“The course taught me that you should never discount the time and work you have put into your business — including the little successes. Just because you haven't reached the ultimate level you want, doesn't mean you aren’t successful.” — Nneka Mosley

 

 

MICHELLE NEWSON

CEO, Onederland Events

 

Onederland Events is a wedding and special event planning service for individuals and companies. Michelle joined the program to receive guidance about taking her business to the next level.

 

“When I first entered the program, I was so focused on the day-to-day operations of my business that I forgot about my aspirational goals. Being able to focus long-term again truly reenergized me, helped define my vision and gave me the tools to succeed.” — Michelle Newson

 

 

SANDRA NIETO

Founder & Creative Director, Sandra Baquero

 

Sandra Baquero is a design company producing women’s ready-to-wear, including a signature wrap dress that can be worn 12 different ways. Sandra joined the program to gain more confidence and knowledge about the business side of fashion, including pricing.

 

“My definition of success has changed in that I am increasingly conscious of delegating responsibilities. Success is a team effort!” — Sandra Nieto

 

 

JENNIFER PORTLAND

Founder & Spreadsheeter, Excel Rain Man

 

Excel Rain Man helps companies analyze and better understand their data whether it is due to a lack of spreadsheet savvy or merely not having the time to get their work done. Excel Rain Man’s bread and butter is taking both Mac and PC spreadsheet work off of people’s desks. Jen joined the program to develop a formal business plan and a five-year strategy.

 

“I have been able to identify vulnerabilities or bottlenecks in my business model and run Excel Rain Main more efficiently and with less day-to-day stress.” — Jennifer Portland

 

 

JENNIE RIPPS

Founder, The Teaologist

 

The Teaologist crafts custom tea blends and tea cocktail programs for restaurants, coffee shops, markets, events and individuals. Jennie joined the TBFGS10K program because she believed it was a great opportunity to learn real-life, real-time skills to help grow her business and improve communications, operations and distribution.

 

“The class really taught me how to evaluate growth and opportunity. Success at this stage means being poised for growth and new opportunities.” — Jennie Ripps

 

 

JORDAN SALCITO

Founder, Bellus Wines

 

Bellus Wines is a provider of high-quality wines meant to empower people to learn about their own palate preferences. Jordan joined the program to gain access to a network of sharp business people who have strategic insight.

 

“I have greater confidence in what I’m doing, from familiarity with business terms to understanding a P&L sheet. Most importantly, I recognized that my frustrations are common problems — and thanks to the program, there are resources to work through them.” — Jordan Salcito

 

 

MARILYN SLOANE

Principal, Energy Efficient Lighting Design

 

Energy Efficient Lighting Design is an energy-efficient lighting design firm, which shows homeowners, property managers and staff how to improve lighting environments, save energy and reduce maintenance. Marilyn joined the program to meet other business owners and brainstorm fresh thoughts and ideas.

 

“The classes helped unravel business mystique and clarified the various roles necessary to run a small business successfully. I'm never going to be an accountant, but I will have the savvy to run, grow and finance a company, thanks to the program.” — Marilyn Sloane

 

 

NATASHA WOZNIAK

Owner, Natasha Wozniak Designs

 

Natasha Wozniak Design offers custom jewelry, with collections in gold and silver. Natasha joined the program to further her skills as a business owner and become more efficient and effective.

 

“It has been a lonely journey building my business, but it doesn't have to be. It is long past time to start bringing in other talented people that can contribute to my vision.” — Natasha Wozniak

 

 

MAGGIE ZEMBRUSKI

President & Designer, MKZ Designs, Inc.

 

MKZ Designs, Inc. is a design firm offering me2Roo, a collection of effortlessly chic activewear to transition the body through all stages of pregnancy. Maggie joined the TBFGS10K program to receive mentoring and guidance that will move her business forward.

 

“It has been an amazing journey, surrounded by such talented and inspirational women. I marveled at how diverse the group initially seemed, but we have found a common thread to help each other make our businesses shine.” — Maggie Zembruski