July 20th, 2011

Women Only





How to Get Certified as a Woman-Owned Business

 by James O’Brien

The application process focuses primarily on history of the business and its financials. While the specifics set by organizations and agencies can differ, the following list will get most applicants a long way toward generating the typically called-for documentation:

  • Tax returns: Typically required are the most recently filed return and also the previous two years’ paperwork, together with all schedules.
  • Other financial information: Balance sheets, profits and loss statements from the last three years. Rentals, leases, purchased and/or borrowed items and monies over the past three years…all that paperwork should be in one place for the application.
  • Internal business documents: Chiefly, what’s wanted is a list  of employees, positions, and all all of their W-2 and 1099 forms. Most applications will require the most recent month of payroll data as well.
  • External business data: Records of consultants hired, contractors or any similar help that is not part of the payroll itself. Also, records regarding any affiliates or subsidiary businesses.

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 Courage, Creativity and Clearance Savvy


Bonita Bramante should be sitting on the sidelines.

With a Fine Arts Degree from ULL in Lafayette, Louisiana,  a life-changing neck injury almost prevented her from pursuing the career she had worked so hard to achieve. Although injuries to her spinal cord were minor and a special plate supported her neck, she was having seizures so badly, she had begun to be a prisoner in her own home.


“For the sake of my sanity, I started a hobby just cleaning out my closet and selling online,” she remembers. “It didn’t take me long to realize the hobby had potential in becoming a career.”

She thought up a company name and had the legal documents drawn up. From that point she began to grow as a real business. Seven years later, she is still growing. Though constant medical challenges have made life more difficult, she has learned to struggle through and persevere.  Splitting her time between art and retail, Bonita is taking life one day at a time.

Bonita’s retail operation is different from the average online store. Most companies think of profit first and customers and employees second. For her, however, people come first.

“I’ve lived a life of turmoil so I know what it is to struggle with life itself. Whether it’s online or in person, I treat people with courtesy and respect, the same as I would want them to treat me, considering my needs and not taking advantage of me.  I would rather lose a little profit on a sale and have a satisfied customer than have a dissatisfied customer. I never forget they are a person.”

 As for her  workers are concerned, their life is a high priority. If they have  school, family, or doctors appointments,  those things come first. In fact, they have complete control over their work schedules and pay schedules. Fortunately, with the internet at the core of her retail business,  she has the opportunity to be flexible and build a strong team.

In 2012, Bonitia’s goal is to continue to grow her company and become debt free. Also she hopes to create www.YourClearanceShopper.com  as a stand alone website  and not just an Ebay store.  Finally, she would like to move her company out of her home and reclaim her own personal space. With all of the growth, Your Clearance Shopper LLC has completely taken over.





Lucie B’s Jump N Fun: A Profile in Courage and Determination

Lucie Buissereth, affectionately known as “Lucie B”, is a bubbly, energetic, woman who lives life on her own terms.

After graduating from Medical school in 2001, and starting her residency at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, she quickly realized the hospital’s strict patient quotas and time constraints per patient did not coincide with her natural instinct to care for others and her specific expectations of becoming an extraordinary care-giver as a physician. In 2003, frustrated by her experiences as a resident, and against the advice of her of family and colleagues, Lucie B left medicine to pursue her lifelong passion: Fitness.

By the end of 2003, Lucie B had become a popular group exercise instructor in Long Island. From Bally’s, she quickly moved up to the higher echelon clubs such as New York Sports Clubs, New York Health & Racquet Club and Equinox, developing her own unique, innovative exercise routines along the way. Her trademarked Double Step classes, which used no preset choreography, sculpting and jump rope classes quickly filled to capacity. Lines formed outside her classes half an hour before Lucie B began teaching and sometimes arguments broke out among members for a space in the room.

In Long Island’s Orthodox Jewish community of Five Towns, encompassing Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett, and Inwood, Lucie B and her business partner, Dion Tulloch, began renting out dance studio spaces to teach children the sport of jump rope. In 2005, Lucie B, self trained, entered the U.S. A. Jump Rope National Championships and won several gold medals in Single Rope Speed. With a reputation as a topnotch instructor and proven success as a champion, Lucie convinced the Orthodox to bring their children to her developing program. After two years of steady growth, it was time to expand.

In March 2008, Lucie B and her partner opened, “Lucie B’s Jump N Fun”, the first jump rope facility for children in Woodmere, New York. Over 500 kids filled the scheduled classes and business was booming! Lucie B selected the best kids in the program to form the “Rock-It-Ropers”, New York’s first single rope, speed jump rope team. The team was also unique in that it was comprised mainly of Orthodox Jews, who had never competed in any sports outside their community.

Lucie B’s goal was to have the team compete in the U.S.A. Jump Rope Regionals and Nationals. However, Regionals are always held on a Saturday- the Orthodox Sabbath. Lucie B successfully lobbied U.S.A. Jump Rope to hold a special Sunday tournament for her team. In March 2008, the first Orthodox jump rope team competed in the Region 10 U.S.A Jump Rope Tournament in Connecticut. Two years later the “Rock-It-Ropers” would go on to dominate the U.S.A. Jump Rope Regional Tournament, winning more ribbons and medals in the speed categories than any of the other teams.

There were many challenges along the way.

In 2007, Doctors diagnosed Lucie B with Multiple Sclerosis. Undeterred by her illness, Lucie B continued training her team. She also continued competing and winning numerous gold, silver and bronze medals in the Regional and National U.S.A. Jump Rope Tournaments in her age division. Her indomitable will carried her through the many challenges to come.

In January 2010, Lucie B was hit with the news that the Orthodox had opened their own Yeshiva Jump Rope Gym for Kids, solicited all of the Orthodox patrons, who in turn, left to enroll in the Yeshiva program. From well over 600 kids to almost zero, in one clean sweep!

Lucie B and Dion ‘s Jump Rope program was highly structured and difficult to copy. As Lucie B would say, “..it’s not a JUMP A MUCK” program; it’s a serious program geared toward fitness and proper jumping skills! The Orthodox opened their facility without knowledge nor skills to properly teach the sport and relied on community cohesiveness to succeed. Children, who were used to having a structured program at Lucie B’s , in which they learned jump rope tricks, quickly lost interest and their program eventually failed. Meanwhile, Lucie B and her partner decided to pack up, relocate and start over in a more diverse area on Long Island.

In May of 2010, relying on her indomitable will and her ability to bounce back, Lucie B’s Jump N Fun opened a new location in Baldwin, Long Island. The business has steadily grown and Lucie B and her partner look forward to having satellite locations further east. Lucie B believes to be successful you must be persistent and never give up!


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Walmart Providing $100 Million in Grants for  Women-owned Businesses

In the U.S., Walmart will source $20 billion from women-owned businesses. Globally, it will double its sourcing from women-owned businesses in every market.

Full Article, go here…

Let the games begin! The  5th annual search is on for the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies™ in North America Sponsored by American Express OPEN. APPLY TODAY


Contracts to be Set Aside for Women in  2011
The Business Journals – by Kent Hoover

After 10 years of delay, the Small Business Administration will implement a federal contracting program for women-owned businesses early. Congress, in the waning days of President Bill Clinton’s administration, directed the SBA to establish a program that would set aside federal contracts for women-owned businesses in industries where they have been underrepresented. The program was never implemented during President George W. Bush’s administration.

President Barack Obama’s administration scrapped the Bush administration’s proposed regulations, which would have limited the contract set-asides to only 31 industries. The new regulation, which was first proposed in March and now has become final, expands the program to 83 industries.

Full Article … Go here:


Are Women Better Managers? Yes, Says One
Posted by: Cathy Arnst

The New York Times set off a minor tempest in the blogosphere with an interview a week ago with Carol Smith, senior vice president and chief brand officer for the Elle Group, publisher of the fashion magazine Elle. The headline: No Doubts: Women Are Better Managers. You can imagine the reaction.

The article was part of a regular Sunday feature, The Corner Office, in which some exec spills the secrets to their success in a question and answer format. Author Adam Bryant at one point asks Smith to share her observations on men vs women as managers. Her response:

In my experience, female bosses tend to be better managers, better advisers, mentors, rational thinkers. Men love to hear themselves talk. I’m so generalizing. I know I am. But in a couple of places I’ve worked, I would often say, “Call me 15 minutes after the meeting starts and then I’ll come,” because I will have missed all the football. I will have missed all the “what I did on the golf course.” I will miss the four jokes, and I can get into the meeting when it’s starting.

Go to articles

Cheryl’s Global Soul Voted Brooklyn Small Business of the Year

   The global soul of a Prospect Heights restaurant is being recognized locally as one of the best businesses in Brooklyn.

Prospect Heights resident Cheryl Smith was honored at a ceremony last week at Gracie Mansion as her restaurant, Cheryl’s Global Soul (236 Underhill Ave., near Lincoln Pl.), was named Brooklyn Small Business of the Year, one of the city’s annual Neighborhood Achievement Awards.

“I was totally blindsided by this,” said Smith. “I wasn’t looking to win any awards. I just wanted my restaurant to be a success.”

Global Soul first opened in 2006 and has remained a neighborhood staple ever since. Fusing a laid-back coffee shop vibe with sophisticated entrees and high-end cocktails, Smith said she wanted to create a local spot for the community that she felt was lacking.

“I just wanted a place to get a good burger and walk home, and a lot of other people felt the same way,” said Smith. “At that time, this area was underserved, so my business plan was creating a cozy space that catered to all demographics and races.”

Creating a bustling restaurant in an area that is relatively free of foot traffic would be a daunting task for most, but Smith isn’t afraid of hard work. Without a culinary diploma, she began her career as a dishwasher and ultimately moved up to the position of Executive Chef at Marion’s Restaurant and A Go-Go Catering in Manhattan.

In addition to cooking at some of the best restaurants in New York City, Smith was also a Food Network staple with her own cooking show, Melting Pot, and also did guest spots on a number of other programs on the cable network including Emeril’s Holiday Special and Ready, Set, Cook!

“I know the restaurant business inside and out,” said Smith. “I knew that I could fill a niche and make solid food that would bring people in, but then there’s the other side of the business like catering and community outreach.” 

Smith said that while much of the menu and overall ambience of Cheryl’s Global Soul has remained the same over the last five years, the restaurant has evolved into what her initial vision of the space was. She currently has a team of 17 people working at the restaurant and is also looking at opening a second location in Crown Heights.

“I wanted a place where locals could come in several times a day, get their coffee in the morning and come back for dessert at night,” said Smith. “This is supposed to be a spot where people should feel like they can pop in at any given time.”

Perhaps most impressive about Smith’s role in her restaurant is that she is seemingly everywhere. From waiting tables to checking on customers or working in the kitchen, Smith said her can-do attitude is a large part of the success of her restaurant.

“I go where ever I’m needed because I’m ultimately responsible for this restaurant,” said Smith. “I’m really fortunate to have a crew that feels the same way as well.”

Women Managers Paid Less For The Same Job

(Reuters) – Women managers in the United States are paid 81 cents for every dollar earned by male managers, according to a government report released on Tuesday.

The 19-cent wage gap marks a slight narrowing from a study seven years earlier that showed women managers making 79 cents for each man’s dollar, said the report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The study compared U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 to 2007.

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Mother-daughter team finds success in toffee

by Georgann Yara

Expanding a small business at the start of the Great Recession added to GoodyTwos Toffee Co. co-owner Donna Gabrilson’s uncertainty about whether people would purchase holiday treats year-round.

But three years after moving their homemade-toffee business out of Gabrilson’s home and into a Scottsdale storefront, steady growth has nearly eliminated those concerns for Gabrilson and daughter Stacey Barnes, her business partner.

“During a downturn, people are looking for ways to comfort themselves. Sweets like chocolate is one of the things people find very comforting,” Gabrilson said. “We make customers feel welcome here. We satisfy their sweet tooth, but we offer the comforts of home, too.”

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Rachel Glaza and Her Glaza Studios, Des Moines

 I run a non-traditional adult dance and fitness studio located in the East Village. We offer ballet, belly dance, salsa and yoga. My studio also hosts and rents out the space for events such as theme parties, weddings and meetings.

Background: I was born and raised in Iowa. I earned my bachelor’s degree in environmental science at Iowa State University. I’ve always danced, and began my career on the high school dance team. After graduation I coached cheerleading and choreographed dances for high schools in the Waterloo area. Later I moved to South Carolina and Minnesota, gaining professional experience in the environmental field, before moving to Des Moines in 2004 to work for the Department of Natural Resources. I then began performing with Gateway Dance Theatre and was a regular in the Latin dance scene. Eventually I was drawn to the feminine energy, interesting history and rich culture of belly dance. I began to teach belly dance in the creative atmosphere of the Des Moines Social Club. Most recently, I introduced Des Moines to my dream and passion, Glaza Studio, and have been collaborating with area artists such as Body by Svec and band members of Cleo’s Apartment.