Paula Jasinski; Be The Bay; The Story Exchange; ClothingYour Name: Paula Jasinski

Business Name: Be The Bay, an apparel store that raises money for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay

Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories

Business Location: Gloucester Point, Virginia, United States

Twitter @BeTheBay

Reason for starting
To develop a brand as a way to focus attention on environmental stewardship. We started our brand, Be the Bay, around the Chesapeake Bay to celebrate the unique character of the region and raise money for restoration projects through profit donations. We just celebrated our 5 year mark and each year we have doubled our previous year’s sales.

How do you define success?
By developing a sustainable model for social enterprise. I want to show that businesses can be environmentally responsible, profitable, and FUN at the same time. If you can have fun while running a successful company- that’s the true measure of success.

Biggest Success
Being invited to exclusive wholesale shows, like one in March 2013 for state park buyers. These shows have taken us to our “next level” in terms of annual sales and expanding our customer base.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Capacity is always our biggest challenge. There is always work to be done but finding talented people willing to help out a growing company is challenging. We were able to address it by bringing on a partner in 2012 who complemented our skill set. It’s been a great fit and has at least doubled our capacity.

Who is your most important role model?
My mother, who started a PR/marketing and communications company specializing in the travel industry over 25 years ago. She’s a brilliant business woman who has created her own path and helped countless women along the way. In addition to running one of the oldest and most successful PR firms in south Florida, she also seeks out talented young women to mentor.