Allison Bross-White, Katie Steller Schultz & Kristy Allen to Receive Awards
What do local businesses B. Resale, Steller Hair Company and the Beez Kneez have in common? In addition to being women-owned, all three businesses received support to launch or expand from nonprofit economic development agency, WomenVenture, and all will be honored at the organization’s annual event on November 7 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Each year for nearly two decades, more than a thousand people have gathered to celebrate the successes of female entrepreneurs at WomenVenture’s annual luncheon. This year’s event—From Business Plan to Buzz: An Entrepreneur’s Journey—will feature a half-day of activities including a marketplace with products and services from more than 40 women business owners, live performances from gospel singer Jearlyn Steele, and a keynote address from teen-turned-entrepreneur, Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group.
Attendees will be inspired by the journeys of three local women who will be presented with Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained awards: Allison Bross-White, owner of B. Resale, Katie Steller Schultz, owner of Steller Hair Company, and Kristy Allen, owner of the Beez Kneez.
“These are women whose businesses have had such a positive impact on the community—they are creating jobs, paying living wages, supporting other local businesses and effecting social change,” said WomenVenture Executive Director Elaine Wyatt. “We are so proud to be honoring these amazing women.”
About the Award Winners
Allison Bross-White, Owner, B. Resale
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Expanding Business Award Winner
Allison Bross-White started crafting her business plan in high school. She envisioned making a living by combining the things she was most passionate about—social responsibility, clothing and hip hop. After receiving degrees in fashion design, merchandise marketing and business administration management, Allison was ready to launch her unique business concept—a “buy outright” clothing store featuring gently used designer items, street gear and locally-sourced products with a focus on urban trends. Her college debt prohibited her from getting a bank loan, but thanks to funding from WomenVenture, Allison’s dream business—B. Resale—became a reality. A year later, Allison was ready for expansion and received additional funding from WomenVenture that allowed her to move to her ideal storefront location in South Minneapolis. A new mom who makes space for her son at the shop, Allison remains dedicated to keeping wearable garments out of landfills, and her business continues to thrive.
Katie Steller Schultz, Owner, Steller Hair Company
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Emerging Business Award Winner
Katie Steller Schultz was a tomboy growing up and didn’t give much thought to her appearance. Everything changed when a major illness caused her hair to fall out. Katie felt she had lost a significant part of herself and became depressed. To cheer her up, Katie’s mom treated her to a salon day. The care she received from the stylist was life-changing and inspired Katie to pursue a career as a hair stylist. She dreamt of owning a salon that catered to its employees and believed that happy stylists would make for happy clients. After overcoming hurdles with licensing and location, Katie’s final obstacle was funding her small business. When traditional banks were unable to do so, WomenVenture partnered with the City of Minneapolis to fund Steller Hair Company. After one year, the business continues to exceed revenue goals, but Katie does not measure her success by numbers alone. She is respected in the industry for her commitment to paying her stylists a living wage and for providing them with a nurturing work environment.
Kristy Allen, Owner, the Beez Kneez
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Social Entrepreneur Award Winner
Kristy Allen has long been an ambassador for honeybees. And as a member of a beekeeping family, she knew that hives were dying and the bee population was in trouble, so she decided to take action. Kristy’s original business concept combined her love of bees and bicycles—she initially planned to deliver honey from her aunt and uncle’s Northern Minnesota bee ranch to buyers in the Twin Cities by bike, to raise money for urban hives. The Beez Kneez grew quickly and proceeds from honey sales were also used to support urban beekeeping and community education programs. As the demand for these programs increased, it became clear to Kristy that her business plan needed to evolve, so she came to WomenVenture for guidance to grow her business. Today, Kristy and her business partner maintain more than 60 honeybee hives in public spaces in the Twin Cities where they also provide community education opportunities. Beekeeper support is provided through the Beez Kneez Honey House and advocacy work continues through the Beez Kneez Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives campaign.
WomenVenture is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to helping women attain economic self-sufficiency through the creation and growth of profitable and sustainable businesses. Over the past three decades, the organization has provided more than 100,000 women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.