Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your career path so far.
A: We met when our kids began dating each other in high school and started the business after they left for college. Both of us have backgrounds in business; Joan's in management consulting and Kirsten’s in consumer research for large CPG brands. Little did we know when we started the business just how vastly different the life of a startup is from a corporate environment!
Q: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
A: When we sent our kids off to college, we learned that they didn’t take time to wash their sheets. Initially we didn’t set out to start a business, but were simply looking for an easier solution for our own kids. After more than a year of researching the market opportunity, it turns out that our solution had appeal well beyond the college campus – for consumers as well as businesses in hospitality, healthcare and disaster relief.
Q: Tell us about your business.
A: Beantown Bedding is helping the world live laundry-free. Our Laundry-Free Linens® are disrupting the status quo of laundering, offering an easy and eco-friendly alternative. Originally designed as a time-saver for college students who have better places to be than the laundry room, the solution has now helped large-scale events, conference centers and hospitality businesses enjoy the operational and environmental benefits of going laundry-free.
Learn more about their business at their WorldWideWomen page listing here.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur?
A: Like many women, we seem to be hard-wired to wear too many hats. It’s impossible to do it all alone, but finding the right people and resources to grow can be very difficult, particularly in the early stages when funds are limited and teams are small.
Q: Where have you found the support you've needed to start, grow, and scale?
A: Being selected for MassChallenge, a global accelerator, provided a wealth of resources and mentors to help us grow the business. In addition, Boston boasts a strong startup ecosystem with access to other entrepreneurs, education and events. This kind of support is growing rapidly across the US and the globe.
Q: What is the one piece of advice you would like to share with other entrepreneurial women in the world?
A: We can pass on what we heard long ago and have come to believe: You can have it all, just not at the same time. As a result, it’s important to have a plan, prioritize and stay focused on one step at a time. It’s tempting when so many opportunities come flooding in at once, but it’s better to “kill it in the niche” than to spread yourself too thin.
Q: What do you like most about WorldWideWomen?
A: We particularly like the central hub provided to Discover Resources.
Connect with Kirsten and Joan through their LinkedIn page!