2013 Finalists

The winners of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, the most prestigious awards for women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County, will not be announced until the gala Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on Friday, May 10, 2013. They were selected from a field of over 70 outstanding nominees in Santa Barbara County by independent judges not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the non-profit that hosts these unique Awards.

As a first step, the top three nominees in each category were selected as the finalists. Because they are all so remarkable, we wanted to share their stories here. While the Foundation will only be handing out one Tiffany award per category, we believe every one of these women is a winner.

Health, Fitness & Beauty

Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists
www.undergroundhairartists.com

Underground Hair Artists is a 15-year-old fashion-forward full service salon in downtown Santa Barbara providing hair and make-up to an extremely diverse clientele from rock stars to politicians to students. Fay had salons in England so she had the experience to make her American salon successful. Underground now has its own product line, Underground Culture with 21 products. And it was voted one of the top 200 salons in the US by the trade publication Salon Today in 2011 and 2012.

Chanda Fetter, IM=X Pilates
www.imxsb.net

Chanda has over 20 years in the fitness industry. Six years ago she opened IM=X Pilates Studio & Fitness Center, a national franchise that is growing rapidly. Her franchise is ranked the top earning studio in the entire IM=X system. Chanda not only owns her franchise but also mentors instructors and other studio owners through Certification Facilitation and Business Consulting. Chanda has been a Master Trainer for IM=X for over 10 years, traveling both nationally and internationally certifying Pilates Instructors for the IM=X Program. Her studio has been voted Best in Santa Barbara for several years and was named one of the top women-owned businesses by the PCBT.

Joy Kelly, JuicePlus
www.chapalagardens.com

Joy has been a certified fitness professional for 34 years; owned her own health club, managed clubs for others, etc. 18 years ago, she became an independent contractor for NSA, the makers of Juice Plus+ and currently is a National Marketing Director for the company. She trains independent distributors, conducts health workshops for the public and helps to organize regional conferences. She co-owns Chapala Gardens, based on Tower Garden by NSA, a vertical, aeroponic growing system, with her daughter.

 

Communications/Media/Publishing

Marjorie Large, Deco Marketing Group
www.decomarketinggroup.com

Deco Marketing Group is a full service marketing consultancy specializing in strategic and creative marketing planning and execution for small and medium size businesses. The company works with regional clients but Marjorie and her team are also experts in the Santa Barbara market. When taking on clients, Deco Marketing integrates into their business and act as the Marketing Director. Deco Marketing has been in business for nearly 7 years.

Melissa Marsted, Lucky Penny Press
www.luckypennypress.com

After graduating from Harvard University, Melissa pursued a career as a professional fund-raiser for more than 15 years. With a passion for books and writing, Melissa began collecting and writing children’s books for her two boys. In the 2008 Tea Fire, she lost her home and her books. In 2009, she self-published her first children’s book “Pablito & the Speckled Bear.”  The experience gave her the idea to launch Lucky Penny Press as a children’s eBook publishing company, which she did in 2011. Lucky Penny Press now has dozens of eBooks advocating lessons and themes that focus on nurturing the creative spirit, introducing new cultures and empowering children to believe in their dreams.

Kim Wiseley, LOVEmikana.com
www.lovemikana.com

LOVEmikana.com is a free daily e-mail newsletter & online magazine that goes out to 15,000 subscribers - dedicated to keeping them "in the know" in the city of Santa Barbara, California. With a daily handpicked selection of all that is fashionable, fun, food-related and culturally stimulating, LOVEmikana.com continues to keep locals, newcomers, destination travel lovers, and dreamers up-to-date on all that this great coastal community has to offer. Kim is the founder and creative director. LOVEMikana hasn’t missed sending out the daily “Santa Barbara skinny” once in its 4 years of existence.

 

Emerging Business

Heather Gray, Gray Electrical Consulting + Engineering
www.gecellc.com

Gray Electrical Consulting + Engineering, LLC is a California licensed electrical engineering firm located in Santa Maria. The company values their clients and strives to find the best solution for each design challenge. It offers services including: consulting engineering, power system design, lighting system design, and sustainability consulting services. One of the four company values Gray Electrical Consulting focuses on is “Act with integrity and communicate with full transparency.” The company has been business for six months.

Jake Kelly-Campbell, Chapala Gardens
www.chapalagardens.com

Chapala Gardens is a farm in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara using the Tower Garden, a vertical, aeroponic growing system. It provides fresh, living greens to our community through the Farmers’ Market and a living greens CSA. Chapala Gardens are able to produce over a ton of produce a year in only 700 sq. ft. They use only 5-10% of the water that soil farming uses. Chapala Gardens has been in business less than a year. Jake is chief farmer and completely dedicated to growing the business.

Jill Latham, Vibrant Earth Juices
www.vibrantearthjuices.com

Vibrant Earth Juices offers freshly pressed, raw, organic juices and juice cleanses designed by Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian, JIll Latham. With a juice bar located on Upper State St. and a home/office delivery service, their juices are available to anyone looking for a healthy and nutritious way to increase their overall wellness and invigorate their body. The two most important components Jill strives for are outstanding customer service and a delicious, healthy, clean product. Vibrant Earth Juices has been in business for just under two years.

 

Hospitality/Toursim

Julia Mayer, The French Press
www.thefrenchpress.com

The French Press is an artisan coffee shop, serving exceptional coffees, teas and pastries. The company is a family of hard-working people who are passionate about excellent coffee. They are invested in making each cup of coffee served a genuine, quality experience. The French Press is committed to sourcing, roasting, preparing and delivering the most delicious coffees in the world to the Santa Barbara community. The French Press opened in July 2009 and opened their second location in October 2012.

Alethea Tyner Paradis, Friendship Tours World Travel
www.friendshiptoursworld.com

The company provides educational travel, experiential learning and community service programs abroad for students and teachers. It operates in historically significant countries that provide lessons for transcending conflict through mutual prosperity: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Cuba and Rwanda. Partnering with sustainable non-profits in the destination countries, Friendship Tours provides hands-on lessons for students in the power of social entrepreneurial collaboration. Alethea started this business in 2005 to give her high school history students the experience that was missing in the mainstream educational tour realm.

Judi Weisbart, A Busy Woman
www.abusywoman.com

A Busy Woman supports non-profits to create mission-driven events, helps them to brand their work, and works with individuals and businesses to create memorable moments through professionally designed events. Through their events they can educate, celebrate and support organizations and others with joy to help make the world a better place. That is why Judi loves helping those who help others. A Busy Woman is now five years old.

 

Medical/Science/Technology

Ali Bauerlein, Inogen
www.inogen.net

Inogen manufacturers an innovative portable oxygen concentrator (POC) for patients worldwide who need oxygen therapy. In addition, in the US Inogen services oxygen patients directly through Medicare and private insurance plans. What started as a business plan for an entrepreneurship course at UCSB - that was inspired by Ali’s grandmother’s struggles with existing oxygen therapy technology 11 years ago - ultimately became a reality. She is most proud of their success in making oxygen patients’ lives easier every day.

Michele Hinnrichs, PAT Industries, Inc.
www.patinc.com

Pacific Advanced Technology was created for Research & Development in the field of state of the art electro-optics technology. For the past 25 years we have developed new and innovative technology based on ideas that have never been tried before. That technology, developed by Michelle, has born several patents. Some of the developed technology allowed the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary Gas Imaging Technology (GIT) that manufactures and sells gas imaging cameras worldwide to the oil and gas industries for the detection of greenhouse gas emissions and other dangerous gas leaks.

Annie Meyer, Eiffel Software
www.eiffel.com

Eiffel Software is recognized as a world leader in object oriented technology. It has been at the forefront of this technology for over a quarter of a century and have helped shape the evolution in the field. Annie and her husband had the opportunity to start their business on a contract for a large company. Eiffel Software created the technology that they sell today for themselves because they couldn’t find any effective technologies available. Eiffel Software is proud of the fact that its award-winning software and the concepts behind it have had a lasting impact on companies worldwide and that they have been able to run it for almost 30 years without any venture capital.

 

Professional Services

Samantha Keeping, Keeping Interiors
www.keepinginteriors.com

Keeping Interiors is a full service interior design company. With a strong background in construction and project management, as well as an artistic eye and great color sense, Samantha has built up a large and loyal clientele since founding her company in 2001. She helps her clients through the many decisions they have to make and works closely with architects and builders to make sure each project is cohesive from start to finish. Her goal is to create environments that bring the clients’ vision alive.

Barbara Klein, Accrued Benefit Administration
www.abainc.com

Accrued Benefit Administrators, Inc. (ABA) is a third party pension administration firm (“TPA”). It provides full service retirement plan administration. ABA specializes in qualified retirement and welfare benefit plans which are subject to ERISA. This year Barbara started a new digital, multi-media company – 401k Essentials – that brings a unique service and product to the HR professional who embraces the era of technology. After 20+ years, the original business, ABA continues and will feed the new business the needed expertise in her field of 401(k) plan administration.

Suzanne McNeely, Senior Planning Services
www.seniorplanningservices.com

Senior Planning Services helps families and seniors find solutions for aging issues that promote dignity, independence and quality of life. The company works with seniors and their families to consider their personal life styles, resources and preferences to address current health care crises as well as to plan for the future. It provides professional caregivers matched to the client and their family system who are carefully screened, trained and overseen by licensed health care professionals. Additionally, Senior Planning Services advocate for seniors who lack family to represent them. Suzanne has been successfully growing her company nearly 25 years ago.

 

Retail/Wholesale/Manufacturing

Jennifer Beinke, JLB Pet Products
www.kissmymutt.com

KISS MY MUTT® began in Santa Barbara, California by a young entrepreneur with a passion for dogs, a love for design, and a desire to dream big. The result? A perfect company with a name that will make you a smile and give your dog (and now you and your home!) some style. The brand has grown from a mere dream to an overnight success with a product line carried in over 300 store locations worldwide and various online retail store chains. Jennifer is currently designing a specialized product line for a national retail chain. She’s done all this in just 4 years.

Susanne Chess, Fine Fabrics of Santa Barbara/Force Fins
www.finefabrics.com

Susanne is Founding and Managing Director, and COO of two established companies. Bob Evans Designs, Inc. is the corporate entity behind and operates under the trademark “Force Fin,” which designs, develops, manufactures and distributes the World’s Finest Fins for swimming, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving. Force Fins are also used by Special Forces around the world. Her other business is Fine Fabrics of Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara’s only fashion fabric store. Along with FineFabrics.com, she specializes in procuring Fashion’s Finest Ingredients - fashion forward products that are not generally available to the public.

Calla Gold, Calla Gold Jewelry
www.callagold.com

Calla is a Jeweler Without Walls, a jeweler without the typical bricks and mortar store. She meets her clients by appointment only at their home, office, or her club, The University Club of Santa Barbara. She has been doing this for 15 years. Calla Gold Jewelry sells fine gold jewelry, custom designed jewelry with a specialty in Bridal jewelry, repairs jewelry and does estate jewelry restoration and re-design. Calla likes to educate her clients on how jewelry is made and what she does. She has also written a book, “The Language of Jewelry Design” to help brides explain what they want to other jewelers.

 

Rock Star: Life Acheivement

Kathy Odell, Annovium Products
www.annovium.com

Kathy is a serial entrepreneur who helps companies grow. Her current company is Annovium Products, a two–year-old company that manufactures and distributes fitness equipment, and provides training and education for fitness professionals. Prior to that she was the founding CEO of Inogen, Inc. a manufacturer of portable oxygen concentrators for patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Inogen now employs nearly 300 people. Her first company was Medical Concepts, Inc. a manufacturer of endoscopic video systems for minimally invasive surgery that was a leader in its field and later sold to Karl Storz Imaging.

Betty Pilkington, Betty’s Fabrics
www.bettysfabric.com

Betty came to Santa Maria as a young bride who loved to sew. But, there were no fabric stores. She opened Betty’s Fabrics in 1960, later opening a store in Santa Barbara, then in San Luis Obispo and Lompoc because of the demand. Both the Santa Barbara and Lompoc store eventually closed but she continues to successfully run the other two stores by carrying everything from exotic sequins to yarns to decorator fabrics to notions and more. She has more than 10,000 bolts of fabrics for quilters. Betty’s guarantees all its merchandise is top quality and prides itself on customer service.

Jeannine Richards, Santa Barbara Art & Silkscreen
www.sbartandsilkscreen.com

Jeannine has had many businesses in her 82 years. She ran summer camps with her husband for 25 years while raising her family. She then opened a pre-school that grew into three. After a few years in semi-retirement, she started Santa Barbara Art and Silkscreen with her three sons. After 18 successful years in business, the company closed in 2001 after one of her sons was hit by a car and developed Alzheimer’s. Jeannine recently reopened the business with another son and has also created a new line of tees for toddlers called Wee Tease.