Emily Gimmel Mitchell is the founder of Graceship, a Louisville venture that makes laptop bags and other business-related accessories specifically for women. When she first launched in 2011, she struggled to get her products to market. As she told us in 2013, “It takes an immense amount of time to figure out all the endless details that are attached to creating a product out of thin air!”

Since then, Mitchell has not only put her first designs in the hands of customers, she has also expanded her product line considerably and started selling her wares through retail giant Amazon, along with Graceship’s website. Her ever-growing business has also garnered regional recognition — she was named a Top 40 Under 40 professional by Louisville’s Business First in 2014.

Going forward, Mitchell says she aims to add chic diaper bags to her list of offerings — an update inspired by the recent birth of her first child, who is now 9 months old. Juggling work and new motherhood has been challenging, as one might expect — she described it as “probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” But owning a business “taught me so much about perseverance, and how not to give up,” she says. “To be self-sustaining is very rewarding.”