DREAM CATCHER: SHARON BLUMBERG
CHOOZE is a business built on the idea that creativity and confidence are two of the most important qualities we can foster in children. Dallas-based designer Sharon Blumberg initially started a business creating custom murals and furniture for children’s rooms. She then became a mom to three, including a daughter who fancied wearing two different shoes as a toddler. Inspired by her confident little girl’s desire for self-expression, she set out to create a brand that celebrated children’s innate desire to be who they are and express their creativity. Galvanized by a talk at TEDxSMU 2010, she also realized that she had an opportunity to create a business that could have a positive impact by elevating kids and families around the world. In September 2011, Sharon launched the CHOOZE brand as a “Good Returns” company that helps sustainably lift women from poverty through microfinance programs. In just three years, the company has seen tremendous growth within the United States and abroad and has already expanded its offerings to include a collection of two-sided backpacks and lunch boxes. CHOOZE began as a collection of shoes that were mismatched on purpose. Sharon’s goal is to ultimately inspire kids to use their own creativity for good.
What are three words that best describe your company? Empowering, creative, different.
I wish someone would have told me… That the business would be on my mind in some way at all hours of every day.
Five years from now I see myself and my company… Feeling a great sense of accomplishment that all of our hard work has led to having a big impact on families.
I gave up ____ to pursue my dream: The luxury of doing one thing a time.
The key to balancing it all is… To have a great partner. My husband, Marc, helps with the business and the kids, and most importantly makes sure I get time to find my balance at yoga!
What makes you different from your competition? Our singular focus on creativity and confidence, and our aesthetic of providing products that are creatively “mismatched on purpose.”
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream?
“Surround yourself with people who share your vision. If you pay people, they will give you their time. If you inspire people, they will give you their passion.”
My best advice, in one sentence, for launching a venture is… Do your research and make sure you are doing something that has a unique story.
My tips for using social media are… Be authentic, transparent, and inspiring so your customers have a reason to follow you.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… Patience. Things take time and success does not happen overnight.
If I had to do it all over I would… Be more patient!
I always outsource… Anything to do with operations. I am fully aware that my talents are in the creative rather than in the numbers.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… That there is always room for improvement. Humility is key.
The best people to work with always… Follow through on their commitments. With a smile!
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
What are three words that best describe you? Passionate, creative, persistent.
When you go on vacation you always… Find a local yoga class or find somewhere beautiful to practice yoga on my own.
My favorite lipstick is… Right now it’s Neutrogena’s new Revitalizing Lip Balm!
My favorite TV show… I don’t have one favorite, but I love to binge on a series while I’m traveling. I just finished watching House of Cards and I loved it.
My favorite food is… Pizza! But that’s just not something I really allow myself to eat these days because I know how much better I feel when I eat clean.
My favorite quote is… “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney
Lately I’m inspired by… Originality in all forms of creativity. There is so much imitation these days and I am inspired by anyone who can do something different.
My favorite candy is… Dark chocolate with sea salt and caramel.
My favorite scent is… Lemon verbena.
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… My perseverance.
Being a mom and an entrepreneur means… Knowing how to multitask while keeping a smile on my face.
My office would not be complete without… Laughter.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… That creativity is contagious.