They say, nothing is easy and nothing is free in life. True success has to be earned, and the value of success is best known to those who have humble, ordinary beginnings and many of them have failed. It is quite common to read success stories of famous entrepreneurs and think they’ve earned it overnight or were born with a silver spoon. Below are seven inspiring entrepreneurs who transformed something from ordinary into something very extraordinary.

1) Ariane Gold, a single mom of two little boys and thriving entrepreneur, founded goldno.8, and recently opened up her first NYC pop-up on 332 Bleecker Street, in the West Village, NYC. Her inspiration came from juggling life as a busy Creative Director for some of the biggest names in the fashion industry for 20 plus years, and as a mother of two. Ariane constantly found herself being pulled in many directions, and her lifestyle demanded a bag that transformed with her every mood, outfit and tastes. What I admire about Ariane is that she didn’t let being a single mom of two young children stop her from starting her own company in NYC with the help of her two little boys.

Image courtesy of goldno.8

2) Filip Sedic invented FOREO  (“For Every One”), the world’s fastest-growing beauty-tech company, renowned for its facial cleansing brushes, sonic electric toothbrushes, cleansers, and eye massagers, only five years ago. I received the Foreo Issa in 2014 as a holiday gift, and thought it was just another fancy electric toothbrush, and never thought I’d love its other new “smart” innovations today. One of my favorites is the UFO, which offers a professional face mask treatment right in the comfort and privacy one’s own home in just 90 seconds! What I admire about Mr. Sedic is that not only is he a successful entrepreneur who transformed FOREO into a global enterprise within five years, but he is also down to earth and friendly. Mr. Sedic strives to improve existing designs, completely tears them down and restarts from the ground up — ensuring the best solutions are accessible “For Every One,” not just the elite. FOREO is very simple, as its mission is to bring happiness and benefit to everyday lives, at a fraction of the cost of professional spa treatments. Currently, FOREO has more than 10,000 stores globally and has won more than 90 international awards. 2017 was a year of record growth with more the 10 million products delivered across 70 international markets. Now, that’s spectacular for a company that was formed just five years ago.

Image courtesy of FOREO

3) Greg Marsh, founded Keyme six years ago. He stayed true to his intuition and successfully disrupted the locksmith industry by storm. Mr. Marsh had an unpleasant experience with a locksmith when his wife was locked out of their apartment in NYC. A dishonest man showed up in an unmarked van and charged $300 to drill the lock! Mr. Marsh quickly realized that the locksmith industry was even larger than he thought, but it lacked innovation. He wanted to grow the locksmith industry, and applied his core values of teamwork, collaboration and wellness to form a strong team culture that enabled KeyMe to excel quickly. Mr. Marsh made the difficult decision of leaving business school, and met with top engineers, conducted more research and started to form KeyMe in 2012. The firm had experienced tremendous growth and expansion. He has wonderful group of qualified, loyal employees who consider the company their second home. Collaboration, health and wellness are a strong part of KeyMe’s corporate culture. This is the key to Keyme’s strong growth and success (no pun intended).

Image courtesy of Keyme

4) Matthew Waitesmith created Artis, which are high quality, luxurious makeup brushes that are loved by makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts all over the world. Mr. Waitesmith was an accomplished photographer and started his career as a makeup artist for MAC cosmetics. This is fabulous news for all inspiring, young makeup artists entrepreneurs, as they work on their careers and education. Waitesmith then rose through the ranks to become MAC’s Senior VP of Global Artist Training and Development. During his time at MAC, the company grew from an 80 million dollar business to over a billion dollar business after 17 years! He retired, graduated with a B.S. in Business and M.F.A. in Fine Art, and created ARTIS Brushes, that are highly regarded worldwide for its art and function. Artis brushes are used by many professional makeup artists, editors and beauty enthusiasts. They are sold at upscale department stores and beauty chains such as, but not limited to: Bergdorf Goodman, Dillard’s, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora. Now that’s quite a notable accomplishment for a someone who started his career as a makeup artist!

Image courtesy of Artis

5) Megan and Jaime of Flagpole, are renowned for their cool and comfortable fashion pieces made from top quality fabrics. They say that “friendship is earned,” and these two from South Florida are proof that 20-somethings who are best friends can start a successful business together! Megan and Jaime met while attending high school and didn’t have much experience or a lot of money. They worked out of their bunk beds for approximately five years, and constantly pushed each other to maximize themselves. What made their partnership work was they were not only honest with and supportive of each other, but they were not afraid to be afraid, not afraid to disagree and not afraid to be disappointed. I tell the kids this all the time, and it really helps them become more confident at school and sports. Megan and Jaime both wanted to create something that expresses what they both love — beach life and city style, the best of both worlds. They were determined to form a brand that takes you to the beach and carry you into the evening with flexible styles ready for all occasions. Megan and Jaime use the highest quality Italian fabrics, created alongside artisan tailors in the heart of NYC’s Fashion District to produce each designer piece, that are available worldwide at high end department stores such as Barneys, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and at various online stores. Many view millennials are lazy, spoiled and entitled — think not!

Image courtesy of Flagpole

6) Stacey Boyd, founder of Olivela, which is an entirely new concept in philanthropic retail, donates 20% of proceeds to charity partners, such as Malala Fund, Good+ Foundation, Too Young To Wed, VH1 Save the Music and CARE each time a purchase is made. It all started when Ms. Boyd joined Malala Yousafzai on a visit to refugee camps in Kenya and Rwanda, where she met amazing girls with extraordinary stories of overcoming poverty, war and escaping forced marriages to pursue their educations. It was from that moment, that Ms. Boyd wanted to give back built into every, single item she sells. With the holidays around the corner, Olivela makes it ok to splurge on yourself and your loved ones, because in return, you will help provide 90 days of school for a girl. Go ahead, and get that Christian Louboutin lipstick, and in return you’ll help give a pack of health essentials for a child bride. It’s an amazing way to splurge on yourself. and to get the things you already love, all while doing some good to help others in need.

Image courtesy of Olivela

7) Vera Wang designed some of the world’s most famous bridal gowns and most iconic red carpet dresses. What’s so special about Vera Wang is that she proved that it’s never too late to start your own business empire! She created her first dress for her own wedding, and the following year at the age of 40, Vera Wang opened her own bridal boutique Madison Avenue in NYC. I admire Vera Wang, because she designs for everyone, not just A-listers and the wealthy. Thanks to Simply Vera Vera Wang for Kohl’s, all can enjoy her signature bold, luxurious and stylish pieces every day on a budget. She doesn’t stop there, and continues to expand her fashion empire with international bridal boutiques, fashion lines in David Bridal, a tuxedo line, a homeware collection, eyewear, jewelry, and multiple fragrances. Now that’s what I call a role model businesswoman and designer!

Image courtesy of Vera Wang


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