Jennifer Croll is the Founder of Global Girls Guide and as a designer has been a leading “Go-to-Girl” for fashion, travel and style for over 15 years.
Croll and her boutiques have been prominently featured in InStyle, Lucky, Entrepreneur, People, and In Touch magazines, and have been featured on MTV and Good Day LA.
What inspired you to start a business?
I am inspired by filling a need. When I was first out of college, I realised that the hometown that I moved back to lacked a boutique that was at the same level of the ones I shopped while attending University in Los Angeles. That was my 4th business but the first real, legitimate one, and one that I still run today. I started designing clothes because there was something that I wanted and wasn’t available through the designers that I was carrying in my shops. Later, that need translated into creating the Jennifer Croll Perfect Little Black Dress(LBD)Collection that travels with you day to eve around the globe. When living in Scottsdale, I organised a once-a-month-charity lunch group because I had made a diverse group of friends who weren’t connected and there was a need to raise money for small local women and children’s charities.
I started GlobalGirlsGuide because there is a ongoing need for women to connect and share their hyperlocal “insider” girlfriend information. As we are becoming more and more of a global community, there is an increasing need and responsibility for us all to connect globally. I realised this as a single mom in 2008 and while it was needed, the technology wasn’t there to make it happen. For the last 8 years, I have kept this dream/business plan alive by working for a start-up in San Francisco, along with establishing relationships with key Tech People in Silicon Valley. Last May, I realised that the technology was finally here, combined with the new “influencer” phenomenon that has been created by social media, meant the timing for launching GlobalGirlsGuide was ideal.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
Having the courage to trust in your passion. Independence, confidence, empowerment and freedom.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures.
Write down your goals periodically. They can be short term (daily) or long term (five plus years or longer), as in doing so some kind of magic happens, as if your brain has given marching orders to the rest of the cells in your body to start them all towards the direction of those goals. My father found a “10 year Goal Plan” of mine while cleaning out our family garage one day. It was amazing that 95% of what was on that piece of paper, I had accomplished having lost it probably right after I wrote it down. Meg Whitman (who is celebrated as turning EBay around within seven months when she took over as CEO), spoke to our class while I was attending Harvard Business School, she said “successes are glorious and it is what drives the entrepreneurial spirit, it is the failures however from which we really learn and grow.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
Timing. One can create/invent/dream of the greatest product/idea however without the right timing of execution, best efforts can and do fail.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
I believe that my first and best mentor/coach to this day is my mother. She started her own business when I was a young girl at a time when moms were just supposed to be moms or housewives. Watching her chase her dream and following her passion has always inspired me to have the confidence to believe in myself and my ability to make my own a reality.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
Collaboration is the key to everything if we are going to create better practices in parenting, creating businesses and promoting beneficial global change. It truly does “take a village.”
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
Recruit only A+ individuals to be part of your team. Obviously, not everyone can be A+ in every aspect of their lives. It is about recognising and celebrating the A+ qualities/characteristics within the individuals that you meet or come into your life. Scaling can only happen when you have organised and developed a strong pyramid of A+ team members. Managing growth becomes easy if you have the right people on your team. It is impossible, if you don’t and not very much fun at all.
What does the future hold for you?
At the end of the day, I hope to have made this world a better place because I was in it. -Jim Henson (my favourite quote/mantra for my life)
Read more profiles of Inspirational Women here.