We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina Woods and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina, how do you think about risk?
I would be considered a high-risk taker to many people. However, most things that I do really isn’t as risky as the alternative. We just have been programmed to believe that it is a risk. An example would be when I decided to leave Corporate America for good. Many would have believed that doing that leaving a good paying job was a big risk; However, looking back having the fate of my career, the control of my income, the growth of my income, in someone else’s hands is actually a lot riskier than going out and starting a business on your own.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
After graduating college from Purdue University in Business Management, I did what most college graduates would do, desperately find the highest paying job I could find. I worked in outside business to business sales contributing to millions of dollars to already multi-million and billion dollar companies. I would often wonder what would happen if I planted the seed of my own business what it could flourish into. What fruit would starting my own bear for future generations. I always wanted to start my own but the culture I grew up in did not speak the language of creating your own business. I had the courage to leave away from Corporate America when I relocated from Indianapolis to Chicago. They offered me the job transfer and later rescinded on the the day I was moving to Chicago. At that moment, I knew I couldn’t let the fate of my life be in the hands of an employer. I started my 1st hair care business in 2010 selling mainly via e-commerce. When I first started my business, I was so doubtful with every step. It was the unknown because I was paving a new path for myself. While all my peers, were working in their companies and striving to climb the corporate ladder, I was building something completely from scratch. It was a very lonely time in my life even though I had a small group of friends to encourage me. I was still on this journey alone because it was my business. Steve Jobs, has a a quote from a commencement speech he spoke at Stanford, ” You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backwards”. Now, looking back I was able to connect the dots that I was on a self-discovery. Entrepreneurship is synonymous with discovering yourself. You are stripped away from any crutches and forced to bring out things in you that you were suppressed or afraid to bring out. You have to get out of your own way and reach out to people to help you along the way. You have to expose yourself and that is really vulnerable. You are basically going against what you were taught in traditional school. In most schools, you learn everything and then take the test. However, in business you have to take the test first and learn from the test. In 2015 I moved to Los Angeles with my family. I was still running my hair care business, but also very intrigued of selling a new brand on Amazon. As a consumer, I was fascinated with how streamline the buying experience was with 1 click buy now and strategically placing additional products in front of you known as “frequently bought together”. They even had our credit cards stored so we didn’t have to pull out our credit cards. Genius! I found out that anyone with internet and a laptop could sell on Amazon. I became pregnant as soon as I moved to L.A. and was determined to launch a new brand on Amazon before the birth of the baby. I had 4 months to launch and I finally made my first sale the day my son was born. The first 4 months I was at $100k in sales and within 8 months of launching I hit $200k in sales all from Amazon. I was shocked, “what is going on here?!” I loved Amazon as a consumer but found out I loved them even more as a business owner. Amazon handles storage facility of products, pick and pack to ship, fulfillment to customers, customer service, returns. They have such an amazing process that literally saves years off a new start up business. Fast forward to 2018, after having such great success on Amazon and making my first million from the platform, I decided to mentor people and businesses to launch and grow their brand on Amazon. I have mentored people from 0 to six and seven figure businesses. I created the Launch & Grow Mastermind in 2019, a collection of great minds sharing business ideas and success with each other. We brainstorm, overcome obstacles, share our own expertise in our area, invite expert guest speakers etc. I also created a Los Angeles Kids Entrepreneur Camp where there is ongoing sessions and camps to equip kids with the tools, skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue entrepreneurship early in life. I’m so blessed to be bold to start my business even during a recession because it has led to helping other people achieve great success in their business by sharing what I have learned.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I am a midwest girl but I call Los Angeles home now. I’m a valley girl and I love where I live. If it were the summer, I would take them to the Farmer’s Market in Northridge at Northridge Fashion Center. I love buying fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the people that plant and grow it. I love giving my money to businesses where I am making the transaction with the owner. It is something about connecting directly with the owner to see the love and passion of what they created. Meeting the creator is magical to me. Next, I will take them where I work and play, Toolbox LA. It is a community-driven workplace for entrepreneurs, innovators and creative professionals. The building itself is a piece of artwork. You can go all around Toolbox LA and feel inspired from all the artwork on the walls. There is a cool school bus completely designed with artwork from a local LA artist. That is just one of the eye-catching pieces that would be a joy to see. Then the people are beyond phenomenal. If I introduced to every staff, entrepreneur, owner there you will leave feeling uplifted and in awe. I have a friend that invented a healing pod, a system that naturally heals you with a womb-like experience and cosmic sound.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a special shoutout to one of the first people I had the joy to mentor, Janice Hollins, owner of Mama Cinch. I’ve seen her business grow exponentially. I love seeing her the face of her brand and blessing mothers by feeling confident again in her clothing line. Another shoutout would be to all the members in my mastermind. 2019, I created a mastermind of predominantly women that are launching and growing their brand on Amazon. All of the ladies are going hard and growing their business to new heights and that just keeps a circle of inspiration among us.