If you see a woman riding an orange Dutch bike anywhere near a coffee shop, chances are you have just had a Melody sighting! And for any woman to see her, that alone is an inspiration, because Melody Biringer has inspired, empowered, and been an advocate for women-owned businesses world wide. And that is why she is Her Social Network's Inspirational Woman of the Week.
To tell you a little bit about who Melody Biringer is, she is the owner and creator of CRAVE, the go-to resource for all the best women owned businesses in cities worldwide, and start up junkie extraordinaire! Melody's entrepreneurial spirit started at a young age on her parent's strawberry farm, Biringer Farms, when she decided to sell lemonade to the workers working the field. And once that entrepreneurial fire was lit, it only burned stronger and hotter.
At 18 after graduation, Melody signed her first business lease and launched a home furnishings business, and would move on to open several gourmet-food businesses, plan national health and wellness conferences, enter into the fitness industry and own her own fitness studio. But her entrepreneurial heart found it's passion when she created CRAVE!
I had the pleasure of speaking with her and I can tell you all personally she is INCREDIBLE, and I officially want to ask if Melody can be the Her Social Network's mascot?! I just LOVE her to pieces and I know you will too! Here is Melody Biringer, unscripted. Ladies be prepared to be inspired!!
Q: What inspired you to create CRAVE?
Melody: I created Crave as an excuse to hang out with my girlfriends because I had become a workaholic who never had time to see them. Crave really was filling a void in my personal life. You see prior to Crave, I had hit a nerve, and it was a nerve I couldn't ignore because at the root of it, I found that work was life, not the people or things I enjoyed most about living. And that was when I decided to turn everything in my life opposite. Meaning, from this moment on I was going to create a new business around my lifestyle: I was going to have time with my friends and do what I loved to do every day and create a business around that, not the other way around.
Q: How did you first introduce Crave to women?
Melody: It actually started out as a party. To start living my life opposite, I decided to throw a party for me and my friends as a way to push myself to hang out. I wanted the party to include all the things we loved to do: hang out, get pampered, shop, eat, drink, and experience the latest and greatest things going on in the city. So I made it happen. I booked a swanky location, invited local business owners to be a part of it, and put together a fashion show/shop till you drop night involving delicious food and spirits, that included spa services while women hung out with one anothering while wearing pajamas. I decided to open my party to the public, tickets sold out quickly, and became the thing to do for women in my city. I decided why not move the party down the road? So I threw a Crave party in cities near me and it too was such a success, that before I knew it I was calling up all my girlfriends around the nation saying, "What would you think of throwing a Crave party in your city?" And it spread like wild fire after that.
Q: How did the Crave party turn into a women owned business resource?
Melody: I started to think about what the Crave party was. It was a party that was bringing together the local community, businesses, women, and products, and I realized that essentially I had created an urban manifesto for women. And I wanted to help women, who like me were hitting that nerve in their own lives have a tactile resource that would help them connect or locate these women and their businesses after the party. And that's when I dreamt of publishing the party so to speak. And now Crave is a way for people to connect before and after the party with local women owned businesses.
Melody: Crave since it's 1st publication is now located in over 26 cities worldwide, as well as online. Crave's online resource allows women to have access our online women owned business directory and an invitation to join the Crave tribe and tell us about their own business.
Q: What would you want women who dream of owning a business to know?
Melody: When you have a dream or idea, you just have to do it and stop being a perfectionist. You have to try it on, test it out, and go from there. That will help you perfect the dream in the end!
Q: How do you know if your idea will be successful?
Melody: As far as creating something successful, I have learned to prototype things. Pretend you are in business. I encourage people to set up facebook pages, create small samples, and test the public reaction to the product. You can do this and not loose a lot of money generally. The reaction to your prototype will be a great gauge to see if your idea can be successful. When you experience success at one level, you bump it up to the next one, each time making it bigger and strong. And it's through this prototype development that you will be building a strong business model.
Q: What wisdom have you learned along the way in this journey?
Melody: Don't be afraid to fail. And fail fast instead of slow. Meaning, create what you dream of creating, even the little products. Just do whatever you need to do to get it out of your system. That way when you fail, it's quick and painless. This will take away the fear of failure quickly and lead you towards success. Also, I wish that I had known earlier that you could spend time doing what you were good at, instead of trying to do it all. If you have a business or are building one, outsource immediately what isn't your passion. This will really help your business function well, allow you to be in your element, which ultimately will make your business more successful.
Melody: What's balance? I hear people talk a lot about having balance in their life and I believe that there is no such thing as balance. If you have created something around doing what you love, then you will ultimately be living the life you love. You will find that it will be easy to go between personal and professional that way and still feel content and satisfied with how you are spending your time and living your life.
Q: What motivates you and keeps you inspired?
Melody: Motivations change a lot, but for me personally surrounding myself with people who inspire me is key to keeping me inspired. I love to collaborate and hear about what other entrepreneurs are doing. Talking to people for me is my motivation and I do this by scheduling walks with other entrepreneurs 2-3 times a week, and when I get stuck on something and have a question, I pick up the phone and schedule a coffee with them and get that push I need to keep going and move forward.
Melody: This year my HUGE crush is on Hester van Eeghen. I am absolutely blown away by her. She's been an entrepreneur for forever. She lives in Amsterdam and has one of the most incredible life stories. Her journey as an entrepreneur is inspiring in itself, not to mention the AMAZING designer she is. (See Hester's business) But as much as there is to admire about her as an entrepreneur and from what she has accomplished professionally, I find what I'm most inspired by is her generousity and compassion she has for others. She is simply amazing and I must admit, I wish that I had recorded our conversations when I visited her. I hope I can get out there again to see her soon!
Q: What will we crave from you this year?
Melody: Well, I just got finished writing and publishing a book called CRAVING Success. This book is a look into how to turn your passions into profit and I essentially take you through my wild journey and include tips, lessons, how to's in it. (You can download a copy of Melody's book here.)
Isn't Melody AMAZING! And CRAVE is as well! Sincerely, CRAVE truly is an amazing resource and source of inspiration for all women. In fact, Melody did not know, but CRAVE Austin's publications really were fundamental in inspiring me to believe I could create Her Social Network. Being a stay at home mom for 7 years with a dream, I would sit and flip through the pages of the book and think, if they can do it, I can too. Melody's resource not only inspired me professionally, but it also helped me connect with like minded women locally and encouraged me to support their dreams and businesses. I am warning you, the contents of this book will make you want to shop and dream! Check out Crave online, get your hands on your cities urban manifesto, and watch out for Dutch orange bikes near coffee shops!
What did you find most inspiring about Melody's story? What is something you learned from her?