Cincinnati woman built her own business, one bead at a time

Lisa Harrington
Lisa Harrington

MADEIRA, OH (FOX19) - Here's some numbers for you from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber:

  • More than 34,000 women-owned businesses account for 29 percent of all privately held firms in Cincinnati.
  • Many of those are small business owners, who make up the core of the Chamber's nearly 5,000 members.

Eight years ago, Lisa Harrington was like many women out there - raising young kids, working a day job.

"I was a nurse at Children's and my daughter made me a necklace with some beads on it.  Kind of 'here, think about me at work,' and I clipped my badge to it because it was a pediatric hospital and it was cute and everybody loved it," said Harrington.

Her co-workers put in orders. Lisa and her daughter couldn't fill them fast enough. Lisa's sister-in-law soon joined the venture. The women called the creations BooJeeBeads...a family member's nickname. And just like that, a multi-million dollar business was born.

"I tapered down my hours and did my business part time and my job part time and it was very scary to leave that regular income," said Harrington.

But after about two years doing both, she did leave.  The business, called Bonitas International, is now her full time job. Her creations are in 4,000 retail outlets, and the company employs 12 people.  They also do fair trade work with women in Guatemala, a way to pay it forward.   The company has weathered the tough economic times.  So to other women considering building a business, Lisa's advice is to be smart and go for it.

For information on the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's WE initiative, click here

Click here to visit Bonitas International, home of BooJeeBeads.

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