We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Grote and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Megan, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of With Grace B. Bold is the personal motivation and emotional connection I feel for my products and the women I support. My brand was cultivated around my own mom’s diagnosis with breast cancer. She was diagnosed when I was only nine years old, so as a young woman and college student studying fashion design, it was like reliving her cancer diagnosis all over again to learn the struggles she faced related to clothing and getting dressed every day. The passion I felt the very first day I decided to create this company has not only stuck with me over the years, but it has also strengthened into a dedication to continue innovating and pushing myself as a designer, entrepreneur, and young woman. Every product I design is the direct result of empathy. And it’s one of the most crucial reasons my brand has been so successful. I truly believe as an entrepreneur, you have to establish an emotional need and personal passion to set yourself up for success. Identifying a product that sells is one thing, but identifying a product that improves the lives of those you’re designing for creates long-lasting success and unwavering impact.
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?
With Grace B. Bold is a clothing brand dedicated to meeting the unique needs women have when undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The collection offers products that empower women to unveil their self-esteem and rebuild their identity after facing a cancer diagnosis. With Grace B. Bold is unique in that it offers purposeful fashion to meet the distinct needs of a very underserved market of women.
As a fashion designer with multiple design degrees, I’ve been able to approach the challenges many women face when undergoing treatment for breast cancer with both fashion and function in mind. My design skill set, combined with my personal experience in watching my mom go through her own diagnosis, allow this collection not only to stand out, but to approach these unique needs in a very compassionate way.
The number of women I’ve been able to help through this company inspires me beyond words every single day. I am so proud of my mom for sharing her story so that her experiences can help other women facing similar situations. I am honored to serve this community and am proud to be able to continue designing products to support women going through not only breast cancer, but other needs that require adaptive fashion as well.
Any entrepreneur will likely tell you that running a business is far from easy. I have faced many challenges along the way, but I believe what has set me up most for success is that I look at every challenge as an opportunity. I’m a problem-solver at heart, and firmly believe that when one door closes another opens and everything will eventually fall into place exactly how it’s supposed to. This positive mindset has made all the difference in me being successful. Failures are inevitable in business, but the faster you fail and grow from those experiences, the better off you’ll be in the end.
The most key piece of advice that I would give to anyone thinking of starting a business is to identify your passion early and let it guide you through everything you do. Don’t ever forget your reasoning for creating positive change. Who are you designing for and what are their distinct needs that you’re solving? What about your product or service will make their lives better? If you lead with empathy and incorporate passion into your business, that positivity will feed through everything you give to others.
If I had one thing that I would want the world to know about me and my brand, it would be the true caring nature of With Grace B. Bold and our products. At the end of the day, I absolutely love helping others, and I can only hope that every single product I make is helping a woman through a difficult circumstance and making her day just a little brighter.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Cincinnati is truly a hidden gem of a city! There is so much to do here, so much life and rich storytelling in everything that surrounds us. Downtown Cincinnati specifically has so much to offer. When friends visit, I love showing them the variety that Cincinnati has in food, architecture, and experiences. I always love showing them around the city, walking through different neighborhoods – from OTR to the river parks to central downtown. We’d get coffee at one of the little bistros, then walk to Findlay Market for shopping and lunch. They have some of the cutest shops and storefronts in the city. We’d browse a variety of local boutiques, and of course, they can’t visit Cincinnati without getting a scoop of ice cream from Graeter’s. My heart is always wanting to support our Cincinnati Reds, so we couldn’t miss going to a baseball game. And for arts and culture, I’d take them to the Krohn Conservatory botanical gardens, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Center. Our city has so many treasures to explore, our week would be packed with lots of fun and adventure.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are countless people who have supported me and With Grace B. Bold over the past few years, and I truly believe the success of an entrepreneur is greatly based on the mentorship and encouragement they receive from their networks. Specifically, I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my mom, first and foremost, for her bravery in turning the pain she experienced when undergoing cancer treatment into a purpose to help others. Both of my parents have been unconditionally supportive through all of the ups and downs of my launching With Grace B. Bold, and I can’t thank them enough for that.
Also deserving of recognition are two organizations that have provided me with endless encouragement and mentoring. The first is SCORE, an organization that provides free volunteer support to small business owners. My mentor Dick Baker has become one of my greatest supporters and a dear friend over the past several years. The second is Aviatra Accelerators and their fearless leader Nancy Aichholz. I won the Aviatra LAUNCH Program pitch competition in 2019, and can’t say enough great things about all that Aviatra does to support women-led businesses. I wouldn’t be who I am today as a young woman and business owner without the tremendous support of their program.
Lastly, my girlfriends, family, husband, and fellow female founders who have loved, motivated, and pushed me to be the best version of myself. They’ve taught me to never give up and I can’t thank them enough for staying by my side since day one. One of my favorite mottos is to find your tribe and love them hard. My tribe is the reason I’ve been able to accomplish every milestone and take every risk that I have to date, both personally and for With Grace B. Bold.
Native Exposure, Aidan McCarthy, Hidden Woods Film Co.