La Shonda Tyree, the Soap Coach, Advances In New Jersey’s “Start Something Challenge”

Our member, La Shonda Tyree, aka “Handmade Soap Coach” in Paterson, New Jersey, has been selected to move to the next round of New Jersey's “Start Something Challenge!”

To be considered, La Shonda was required to create a video to showcase how she would invest her financial prize. The winners will enjoy 25,000 in prizes: 1st Place – $10,000, 2nd Place – $7,500, 3rd Place – $5,000. We caught up with La Shonda to learn more about the contest, and why she says you owe it to your business to participate in similar competitions in your area.

1. What is the “Start Something Challenge?”

The Start Something Challenge is hosted by Rising Tide Capital, a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to transform lives and communities through entrepreneurship. The purpose of the competition is to spur economic growth during a critical time in our economy, and to help New Jersey entrepreneurs build new relationships, receive money to grow their business and get valuable business innovation advice from key individuals in the community.

2. Why did you enter the contest?

I decided to participate to “Start Something” within myself. I knew I wanted to open a DIY Studio, but felt stagnated, like I wasn't moving forward. I participated in the contest to give myself a boos. At the time I entered the grand prize was $5K for first place; now it is $10K. The winnings would help me secure the space and equipment needed for a state of the art learning facility.

3. What happens next?

On October 29, I will pitch to judges who will rate my idea based on a predetermined scoring system. From there, the field will be narrowed to 10 people, who will move on to the final pitch on November 12. The winners will be announced at the Start Something Champions Gala on December 14.

4. Do you encourage others to enter similar contents in their areas?

Yes, I do! It will ignite something in you to go forward. Even if you don't win the competition you have increased your exposure. More people know who you are and what you have to offer them. Sometimes you need something to “challenge” you to get out of a plateau and there is nothing like a good competition to do just that.

5. What is your most popular class, and why do people love it?

My most popular class is my Soapmaking Intensive, a full day of learning how to make soap. We start with the basics and lead up to making soap with alternative liquids and coloring techniques. The next class is November 11.

6. At IBN, we empower and encourage people to maximize their potential through handmade entrepreneurship. Why do you think it's important for handmade entrepreneurs to join an organization like IBN?

Support is essential for any business. There is a reason that birds of a feather flock together. There is power in numbers. With the support of an organization like IBN, you know that there is someone there to help you. Whether it's the dynamic Founder/Executive Director, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, or a local IBN member.

There is nothing like knowing I have people I can reach out and touch and get some help or just talk to about my business, and I know they will understand.

Also, the member benefits are at your disposal, including product liability insurance and awesome teleseminars designed specifically to help Indies grow.

We appreciate La Shonda's comments, and the opportunity to serve her. Here's La Shonda (yellow arrow) pictured earlier this week with some of the Start Something Challenge contestants.

start something challenge contestants

Congratulations La Shonda! We are cheering you on, and look forward to your continued success! Meet La Shonda at her FaceBook Page. You can also meet her in person on #IndieCruise 2013!


The best virtual coaching and mentoring for handmade entrepreneurs is at Indie Beauty Network. Click here to connect at our social network.

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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.