Lisa Mann, Light Affection, The Story Exchange, Manufacturing Your Name: Lisa Mann

Business Name: Light Affection, a maker of personalized photo gifts

Type of Business: E-Commerce/Manufacturing

Business Location: Los Alamitos, California, United States

Twitter @lightaffection

Reason for starting
It was, as always, a combination of things that happened around the same time. I just gave birth to my second son and was very unhappy at work. I also started playing around with a product I developped and since I have always had dreams of having my own business I decided it was time to take the leap.

How do you define success?
Success to me is a moment in time when you feel that you have achieved a goal or goals you set for yourself. It could be as small as getting your first order or as big as company growing and needs to hire more people or move to a larger facility.

Biggest Success
My companies biggest success is having my product presented on the Today show as a unique gift for the Holidays. I remember sitting at home with my cup of coffee and just feeling the adrenalin take over. My employees and me spent the rest of the month working around the clock to fulfill all the orders that kept poring in. It was an amazing feeling.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Like many others, the economy going down was my top challenge. This is something that you have no control over but can very quickly break a business. My reaction was to try and have the business be as “lean” as possible. I sat with excel sheets and statistics to figure out what paid off in the short term and enable us to float. We are still not completely out of the woods but it seems like the worst is behind us.

Who is your most important role model?
My grandfather, who died when I was very young was a very creative and successful interpenetrate. I feel that having an entrepreneurial spirit is truly genetic. Both my parents had no interest in having their own business but I was always fascinated with the idea and even though it was very intimidating, I knew that one day I will take the leap. The stories I heard about my grandfather and his work always made the possibility more real.