Women in business

Women in Business – an inspiring conversation with Barbara Klein

November is National Women’s Small Business Awareness Month – isn’t that inspiring?  We have an entire month dedicated to recognizing the fearless women of the world who start businesses!  I was thinking of this very thing while drinking my morning coffee and reviewing my to-do list for the day:  Morning meetings, call the school, write that blog ?, update meeting notes, what’s for dinner?, hockey practice is tonight – are his pads dry?  Sound familiar?  Of course it does, and that’s when it hit me, I’m not alone in the crazy world of working motherhood, so how did these women have time to start businesses in the midst of it all?  Well, lucky for me I had the perfect person to ask – our founder, Barbara Klein did this very thing.  I added a “meeting with Barbara” to my to-do list.

Once my meeting was secured, I decided to research the stats behind female entrepreneurship and was pleasantly surprised at what I found.  Over the past thirty years, the self-employment rate for women has increased by 33% while the male rate increased by only 2.5%. It obviously can be done, the feminist inside me began to cheer.  I was even more excited now to learn how.

The following are excerpts from my inspiring conversation with Barbara Klein:

Me:  Barbara, it’s such a pleasure to sit down with you!  Four years ago, you started BREVENA Laboratories, and this was after you spent twenty years working with medical professionals in the burn industry healing damaged skin.  Why did you decide to take the leap into cosmetic skin care?

Barb:  I have been using this technology on my skin since the early days of selling it into burn centers.  The product was Glucan Pro Cream and it contained the same Macro β Complex that we use today. Since I carried samples I would use the samples on my face because I knew how good it was for traumatized skin.  When the surgeons and nurses started asking me for this product to use on their own skin, the light went on.  If I like it, and others in the skin industry like it, why don’t we make it available to everyone? 

Me:  Another challenge is trying to balance growing a business and growing kids. Do you have any tips for other working/entrepreneurial moms trying to do the same?

Barb:  Yes- put frozen food into the crock pot in the morning?.  In all seriousness, you are a source of pride for your children whether you are wearing a mom hat or a business woman’s hat. Include them in your business life during meal time when everyone is talking about their day. My kids, now 19 and 23, still refer to my burn creams and moisturizers as mom’s ‘special’ cream.  They use it too!

Me:  November is National Women’s Small Business Awareness Month, what advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

Barb:  Be yourself, be honest and work hard. Be pleasant to work for and with, but expect success.

I left my meeting with Barb feeling humbled and inspired, with two new notes on my “to-do” list.

  1. Dig out the Crock-Pot.
  2. Believe in yourself!

-Julia McMann