In 2015, our hastag for the year was #BabesEngaged, as we’d wanted to encourage and inspire all of our members to get involved, to be engaged in their business, in their community, in our group of 50+ women owned business. Each of our members has individual gifts, skills and personalities, and we all have time constraints of the work/life balance of being a business owner. So that is why Business Babes Society offers so much value to the working women in our community. As one quote states, “One woman can make a difference, but together we can ROCK the world.”
So together, the Babes were engaged and we accomplished great things in 2015:
. We rolled our Sponsorship Program
, where local professionals, community leaders, and business owners could get involved, even if they weren’t women-owned businesses. The first year we had two platinum sponsors: Dana Overall CPA and Startup Production, and we had two bronze sponsors: Karen Hood, Ph.D., Marketing Professor at EKU and David Gannon, Edward Jones. Their contribution to our group enabled us to reach new heights last year. And their active participation in the group enabled them to reach new markets, enhance their brand, and create new leads.
2. SCHOLARSHIP. We award three Scholarships in 2015 to Madison County female seniors who have plans to become entrepreneurs themselves one day. Megan Smith of Madison Southern, and Ella Martin and Shaina Johnson of Madison Central. As of 2015, we have awarded $5000 in scholarships.
3. MONTHLY MEETINGS
. From January to November, we have our monthly meetings, called “Chick Chats” on the first Monday of each month. The board works hard to set the agenda, invite local speakers that can educate or inspire our Babes, set up two member exhibitors a month who present their businesses to the group, and invite a local non-profit each month as an exhibitor. So much time and effort goes into the meeting preparation, and we appreciate all our members who participate by attending and volunteer as meeting sponsors. Thank you!
4. MAKE S’MORE FRIENDS. We initiated a new event in 2015, called “Make S’more Friends” where we invite the public to come and network with the Babes with a make-your-own S’mores bar, as well as other refreshments and drinks including Chocolate Wine. While the focus is on networking at all of our events, you will always eat well with the Babes!
a. Kickoff to the Make S’More Friends was March 26, 2015, held at Jordan Hill Farm. We had over 50 in attendance, even though the Kick-off was by invitation only. See our video of the highlights from the night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTC_d-XlWzE
b. Fall Edition of Make S’more Friends was on November 5, 2015 at The Churchills in Berea KY, and we had a great crowd, lots of delicious foods and the S’mores bar. We got two new Sponsors and a new member that night!
5. CHOCOLATE SOIREE. Our 2016 Chocolate Soiree on October 8, 2015 featured special guest Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes. The event was featured on radio stations in Richmond and Lexington, as well as being featured in Lipstik Magazine, Lexington Herald and Tops in Lex. It was great night for the Babes, with great food, great networking and we were inspired to hear Alison’s personal story and her words of encouragement to our Women Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners. See video highlights of the night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4AAKZI2TiM
6. FIGHT LIKE A BABE.
Our First Annual “Fight Like a Babe” event to bring awareness to Breast Cancer, where we showcase local charities that support Breast Cancer Awareness, Breast Cancer research and support for patients and survivors.
a. We had Lara MacGregor, founder of Hope's Scarves as one of our speakers and she taught us why it's a good idea to ReThink Pink.
b. We also invited Megan Tracey of Baptist Health Richmond to talk about “Paint the Town Pink” event, as well as our combined event, “Pink Door Contest.” The Pink Door Contest invites local businesses dress up their door for the Paint the Town Pink celebration and the Top three doors judged by the Babes will win prizes!
c. And we had Oneita Stewart of Richmond Athletic Club speak about the “Power of Pink” event where they raise money for a local breast cancer patient.
d. And to make the night even more special, we had breast cancer survivors attend and share their story. It was a very emotional and inspiring night.
e. Watch the Highlights! http://ow.ly/XleEX
7. PINK DOOR CONTEST. Our Pink Door Contest is a contest where local businesses dress up their window/door to bring awareness to breast cancer in October, and works in partnership with the Paint the Town Pink effort. We had a record number of businesses participating in 2015 with 16 local businesses that dressed up their storefronts. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services of Richmond KY was our first place winner and were presented with a basket of goodies donated by the Babes.
8. SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. We had 6 store locations that hosted Babes that have home-based businesses. A great way to support each other and attract new customers.
9. SHOP LOCAL FEVER.
Our Shop Local Fever began in 2015 and it was an overwhelming success!! Shop Local Fever was inspired by one of our Babes, Celeste Byrd who did her Christmas shopping in 2014 exclusively at locally owned businesses in Madison County. Inspired by her ‘fever’ we traced all our members’ purchases in 2015. We tracked our purchases each month with an online form and presented the results with our Babeometer. We had a goal of $30,000 but we greatly exceeded it at $124,108.81.
10. COMMUNITY EVENTS. Business Babes were out and about in 2015!
a. We had a table at the Richmond Chamber’s Kickoff in January.
b. And we won 3rd place for Table Design for our “Shop Local Fever” theme at the Richmond Chamber’s Pops in the Park event in August.
c. We got to speak to many EKU students and faculty about our organization and upcoming events at City Fest in September.
d. We had a booth at Spoonbread Festival in Berea, KY in September, as well as being a sponsor of the event with our beautiful banner provided by the Berea Chamber of Commerce.
e. We had an exhibitor table at the Women Leading Kentucky Roundtable at EKU in September with guest speaker, Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen.
f. Our Babes individually have a presence on local organizations, committees and city council meetings, as our goal is to support Madison County and its continued growth and success.
11. THANK YOU TO OUR MEMBERS
. Our Babes were engaged, helping out on committees, volunteering at our events (with planning food, marketing, setup, and clean up) as well as all the work it takes to prepare to setup, manage and take down our booth/table at the many community events. We also had an overwhelming support of Babes sponsoring our events with monetary donations or in-kind services. We could not be where we are today without the help and support of our members.
a. At our End of the Year Banquet on the first Sunday of December, the Babes share a meal, and celebrate the year of activities. Our President, Joyce Green, presents “Stepping up to the Plate” awards for the members who worked hard to make our year a success.
12. NEW MEMBERS. Our involvement in the community, our support of our members and their businesses, and our dedication to support the local economy does not go unnoticed despite of our meager marketing budget. Although we cannot afford to continue with our Business Babes page in the local newspaper in 2015, we got creative with marketing and branding our message through email marketing, social media, and area radio stations, magazines and newspapers. And our hard work paid off!!
a. We had 14 new members join in 2015! Our new members include Shannon Brewer of Younique, Melissa Carver of Holistic Life Sciences, Kiki Chatfield of The Next Step PR, Christina Goff of LiveVantage, Marilyn Chapman of Touchstone Crystal, Dr. Jeannette Jones of Stamp to Cope, Keri Ledford of C4 Events, Cindy Miller for Life4Diabetes, Kim Owens of J&K Kreations Photography, Lisa Parke of Advertising Specialties, Paula Timbrook of Big T Garden, Sabra Webster of Rodan & Fields, Jennifer Jonell Whitson of Independent Travel, Nancy Wray of Hairmasters Salon.
b. At the end of 2015, we had 52 members and 4 sponsors. And we cannot thank you enough for your support!
As always, we are always looking forward to improve our events and programs to better serve the needs of our members and our community, so our new hashtag for 2016 is #BabesonBoard. Because 2016 is going to be a great journey for the Babes with new goals, new programs, and our 2016 Women Build participation for Habitat for Humanity Madison Clark Counties. Get on board with the Babes for an exciting ride ahead!