#INDIECruise Spotlight: La Shonda Tyree and Dawn Fitch

INDIE Business Cruise, slated for February 3-7, 2011, is the premier event connecting small and independent business owners so we cans solidify business niches and processes, improve branding and influence strategies and, of course, increase sales. Our collaborative MasterMind discussions (details here) and peer interaction are unmatched, and we do it while almost completely detached from technological tools that often distract us from doing and being our best.

Our last spotlight shined on Kayla Fioravanti. Today, it focuses on La Shonda Tyree and Dawn Fitch, both from New Jersey.

La Shonda (left) and Dawn met met in 2003 via a mutual friend who owns a New Jersey networking organization. In fact, La Shonda referred Dawn to IBN! I am thrilled that small business leaders from all walks of life will be joining us, and I will introduce you to them in the coming weeks.

Dawn Fitch, President, Pooka, Inc.

Dawn is the president of Pooka Pure & Simple in Middle River. Pooka makes bath and body product using oils from different nuts and vegetables, and essential oils. Dawn is the author of “Moving Through Opened Doors,” and a new book will be published shortly. After being diagnosed with MS, Dawn changed her life, adopting a healthier lifestyle. She began exploring holistic therapies and aromatherapy. After reading the labels on many of her cosmetic products and becoming increasingly aware of the dangerous chemicals in them, she began making her own products. Creating products that were “good for you” became a passion and in 2000, Pooka was born.

Dawn has been featured on The Today Show, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, The Network Journal, Michael Baisden Radio, and more. You can enjoy her prime time (yes, PRIME TIME) CBS News video feature here! Dawn runs the company with her “Pookalitas,” and let me tell you — they have fun! She has been a member of IBN since 2005.

Here's what Dawn said about why she's looking forward to #INDIECruise:

I have always been a member of The Indie Beauty Network but have never taken the time to partake in Indie forums, meetings or seminars, shame on me! Sometimes as entrepreneurs we feel alone in our business but I've realized I need to reach out and meet my fellow indies! In corporate america people receive training, classes and seminars to be as knoweldgeable as possible in any given field, as an INDIE.

IBN is our resource for this same training and growth. I'm excited so share ideas, tips and stories about our business experiences. I think we get so engrossed in our day to day that we forget to look up and around and see what's going on in our industry. So after 10 years in business I am excited to be on my first Indie adventure!.

(Thanks, Dawn!) Connect with Dawn on Twitter! Tweet #INDIECruise using the hash tag!

La Shonda Tyree, President, Handmade Soap Coach

La Shonda Tyree, the Handmade Soap Coach, has been making handmade soap since 2001. Her handmade beauty and skin care company, Nyah, began in 2002 and continues to expand her business via the internet. La Shonda Tyree and Nyah have been featured in The Network Journal, Black Hair Magazine and the Herald News; showcasing woman entrepreneurship. She is past board of director (2004 – 2009) and Honorary Lifetime Member since 2009, of the Handcrafted Soapmaker's Guild.

Here's why La Shonda says she's looking forward to #INDIECruise:

Ever since my first cruise, I have been hooked and it is my preferred method of vacationing. Match that with being a small business owner, and what could be more fun than to put the two together! For over 8 years, I have known dM and Indie Business. I have always been impressed with how dM builds relationships and serves as a leading advocate for all things Indie.

When I step on board the ship, I expect a great time of relaxation (look out spa, here I come!), food (you can't go on a cruise and not think about food), and mostly hobnobbing (okay, “schoomziong”) with industry gurus in an intimate setting. I expect the result to be a better me and a much improved business.

(Thanks, La Shonda!) Connect with La Shonda on Twitter! Tweet #INDIECruise using the hash tag!

Watch the #INDIECruise video here.

We set sail on February 3, 2011, cruising from Miami to Key West, and then to Cozumel. There's a Miami Tweetup on the evening of February 2 at the beautiful Hyatt Summerfield Suites Miami Airport. (You don't have to go on the cruise to attend the Tweetup, but there may be a food and beverage fee for the Tweetup if you are not also cruising. I'm still negotiating that with the hotel, so stay tuned.)

It's not too late to register! There's plenty of room at the hotel and the cruise, and the rates for both are great. I can help you find a cabin-mate and/or hotel suite-mate if you'd like. Check out the itinerary and registration link here!

Question: Won't you join us as we work together toward mutual success in 2011?

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.