How Launching a 'Girl Boss Marketplace' Put My Business & Passion into Real Action
My best advice is to get off your laptop and get into your local community in order to grow as an entrepreneur and promote your vision.
I am going to say something that’s a little controversial with the boom of the online business world: Get off your laptop and get INTO your local community.
Since 2018, I have sat behind a laptop screen trying to get my business, Curves Ahead, off the ground. It started as a blog then blossomed into different projects and finally landed me getting credentialed to turn Curves Ahead into a coaching business.
However, nothing I launched ever really hit the mark and even worse than that I had a hard time describing the vision of my business to people. As a corporate communications professional - I knew the power of a great elevator pitch + a killer marketing and public relations strategy - but I became paralyzed when it came to my own business. I had a passion for helping women, I just didn’t know how.
All that changed on Saturday, October 15, when I launched the GIRL BOSS MARKETPLACE in our little community of Boonsboro, Maryland.
But let’s back up a little bit ..and let me tell you how this vision all got started.
On October 1, 2021 - my best friends, Stephanie and Breia, owners of SR Studio - a beauty and photography salon - allowed me to call their location home for Curves Ahead. Nestled on Main Street in the Town of Boonsboro, where I grew up and went to high school, it seemed fitting to have the headquarters for my business in my old stomping grounds.
As I stood on the balcony overlooking the beautiful courtyard of this historic building, I knew that we had to do something special with this space.
A year went by… and we put it all on the back burner.
It wasn’t until I was walking around a Peach Festival in a nearby town when I had the thought: What if we could create an event where we could promote and market both of our businesses, while also helping other local women to do the same?
With that question the Girl Boss Marketplace was born and we decided we’d seek out unique, small, women-owned businesses that would benefit from popping up along with us in our backyard.
Since this was a new concept, I knew we would have to figure out how to hitch our wagon to something bigger than ourselves. Thankfully, through networking in the community, we knew that the Town of Boonsboro’s Economic Development Committee was infamous for throwing successful town-wide events!
When I heard that the town was planning to host BooneFest - a family-friendly festival right on Main Street (potential for great foot traffic), I knew we had to give this idea a shot.
We went to work on spreading the word that we were looking for women vendors to join us and the emails began pouring in. It seemed that the Girl Boss concept was intriguing, even eye-catching, and we began booking ladies to join us for the marketplace.
As I began interacting with these Girl Bosses, I began to get inspired. I started sharing my story with them and sharing my intention for the day. I wanted all of the vendors involved to feel supported and empowered. I wanted them to be successful. I wanted them to have a positive experience. I wanted them to learn something or walk away with valuable connections even if they didn’t sell anything - so I did what I naturally do and began coaching, mentoring, supporting, and promoting while on the journey to the big day.
I put my marketing skills to the test both online and in-person - and I what I learned was a really VITAL lesson - you have to have a good mix of both in order to grow ANY business.
Hiding behind a computer screen as an entrepreneur isn’t going to move the needle quite like shaking hands, collaborating and brainstorming with other amazing women in the middle of a bustling courtyard.
And bustling courtyard it sure turned out to be! After an early morning setup and a slow chilly start to the day …the sun began to come out around 1pm and so did the Town of Boonsboro.
It was really amazing to see all of these women interacting with the community and each other. I witnessed business collaborations, brainstorming huddles and -not to mention - SALES - happening in this space that we daydreamed about just a year ago.
Something really unexpected happened for my business as well. When people started asking me the question, “so what do you do?” I heard myself answering the question differently. I was more succinct and confident too. Here’s what I said:
My name is Melissa DiMercurio. I’m a business marketing and public relations coach and founder of Curves Ahead. I specialize in helping women entrepreneurs grow and promote their businesses with my 12 years of insights working in the corporate world. This marketplace is just one coaching opportunity for me to work one-on-one with these ladies and create a hands-on experience! I will be launching GIRL BOSS WORKSHOPS this winter to continue to help more entrepreneurs in the community, would you like to sign up for more information?
And there it was - like something clicked right into place. Wow!
It was like five years of uncertainty, fear and imposter syndrome vanished into thin air that day. I created this amazing marketplace for women and helped them every step of the way. It’s successful! The vendors are making money and making connections in the Town! Even the Mayor stopped by!
All because I had the courage to follow an idea and get out from behind my laptop to share my story and create meaningful connections with people in my community.
I have a new energy and passion for what I do after this experience and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me and all of the amazing women that I’ve met along the way. I hope you’ll continue to follow along, subscribe, sign up for my workshops and allow me to help you navigate the curves ahead of your business and life!
To sign up for my first Girl Boss Workshop on Friday, December 9 from 1pm -3pm at the Boonsboro Library, click here. I will be teaching attendees the power of storytelling for your business and helping you plan your 2023 marketing strategy.