The Fourth of July has a little added meaning for serial entrepreneur Michelle Felder. In a way, it’s her own Independence Day, as this past July 4 Michelle celebrated nine years of full-time business ownership.
Her most recent venture, StyleMyEvent.com, is an innovative approach to seamlessly planning and executing couture cocktail and dinner parties. In just five simple steps, users can plan their entire party online. Michelle pitched StyleMyEvent.com during the Sidewalk to Stage pitch competition at Startup Scaleup, where she took home a $5,000 prize in the Lifestyle Business category.
Recently, Michelle shared with us her Sidewalk to Stage experience, her greatest frustration as an entrepreneur and what’s next for StyleMyEvent.com.
Michelle, tell us about your Sidewalk to Stage experience. What was the most valuable lesson learned?
I think my Facebook post from that evening–which received 358 likes and 156 comments –best sums up my experience:
“Today has been truly an awe-inspiring and breathtaking kind of day. Last night, I was sitting on my couch having a conversation with myself about not allowing myself to be cavalier and dismissive towards opportunities. The opportunity was a business pitch contest hosted by JumpStart Inc.
I had to force myself to read what it was about (realized that Style My Event qualified), then I forced myself to take a look at the application (realized it was pretty simple), then I forced myself to complete the four questions (tossed my perfectionism to the wind), then I forced myself to get up and drive to my office to print it (decided not to procrastinate). I showed up to stand in line this morning at 8:30am in order to be one of the first 100 to hand in the application. I turned it in.
I received a tweet at 12:30, which read I was one of the finalists. I went to receive my pitch coaching. I took to the stage (for the first time ever) at approximately 3:30pm, presented and answered questions along with five other amazing entrepreneurs. At 5:15 my name was called as the winner in my category, $5,000.00!!! To say that I’m in shock and humbled would be an understatement. So, so many to thank and I will do so tomorrow but for right now I just want to say thank you Lord!”
What inspired you to create StyleMyEvent.com? Where did the idea come from?
StyleMyEvent.com was conceived out of a sense of necessity. Last year, I realized that I can’t be everywhere at the same time and that if I landed 10 percent of the events being held here in Cleveland, I would not have the capacity to do it myself.
When I have attempted to offer my clients the ability to work with a team member they have pushed back in a big way. If I wanted to grow a profitable, sustainable business, I needed to, in some way, duplicate or clone my work and also reach people who would never know about my services.
Eureka! I needed to automate my style and level of service and do so online.
What has been your most satisfying moment since starting StyleMyEvent.com?
Two things. The first being the creation of the website. I did not have the capital to have the custom site created and I did not want to just put this idea on a shelf. So, I sat on my sofa one Saturday afternoon and got up Sunday night with a site. It wasn’t perfect, but I did it and I was not going to allow my desire for perfection to stop my forward movement.
Second, was my decision to debut the site at the Women’s Business Center’s Launch Party on April 19th. Again, I was not ready to open for business, nor did I have the answer to every question, but I challenged myself to again throw perfectionism to the wind.
We ask all the entrepreneurs we speak with to give us examples of failure or setbacks they experienced. Anything come to mind for you?
After nine years, several things come to mind. Not necessarily failures, but I have experienced frustrations, mostly stemming from not having the capital to develop amazing ideas–or one might argue too many ideas.
How do you plan to use your prize money?
I will purchase the inventory needed to create at least three of the event styles which will allow our doors to open. I would also like to purchase an inventory/order fulfillment software/service.
What’s next for StyleMyEvent.com?
Literally unlocking the shopping cart online and serving our first clients. Outside of that, we will focus on branding and establishing ourselves as the rent the runway of events!
To learn more about Michelle’s simple, innovative process for event planning and how she can assist you with your next party, visit StyleMyEvent.com.