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Name: Shatisha Wilks-Woods

Company: Swathe, which produces storage and travel bags for shoes and handbags

Industry: Other — Specialty Travel and Storage Accessories

Location: Chicago, Ill., U.S.

Reason for Starting: Picture this: time is of the essence and there you are frantically searching for the other shoe to pack. This happened to me so many times; I’m certain that this scenario can be replayed in your bedroom too. One day, while having something of a meltdown on my closet floor, surrounded by a mound of handbags and boxes of shoes, I discovered my need to be more organized–especially if I was ever to arrive anywhere on time. The next day I began my quest for the perfect storage solution, which included flexibility for tight spaces and versatility for travel. I visited various department and boutique stores, conducted web searches, and even asked my friends for recommendations. After months of looking, I could not find the “right” solution. And with that, Swathe was born.

How do you define success?: The day that I can quit my full time job to focus on growing Swathe.

Biggest Success: In February 2013, Swathe was chosen by Fashion Business Inc., to be in the WWDMagic Emerging Accessory Designer Showcase.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?: One challenge is consistently getting sales from existing and new customers. This may be attributed to shortages of cash, which is hindering our ability to participate in tactical opportunities and hire the appropriate management to implement successful strategies to grow the brand. We are currently considering various options for raising capital, including applying for grants. Until an increase in cash is received, we are making the best use of our finances with proper planning to maximize our cash flow. Another challenge is forming an advisory team that can provide valuable guidance and thoughtful execution to lead the company through issues successfully. We are continuing to take an active look at refining the management roles to ensure the company goals align successfully with everyone’s rule.

Who is your most important role model?: I get inspired by anyone who sets and achieves their goals.

Editor’s note: Shatisha’s company donates a portion of its profits to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the impact and cycle of poverty around the world.

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Edited by The Story Exchange

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