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Interview with Karen Carter and Susan Harward – Founders Vessel Scents of Style

Susan & Karen HeadshotTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

Vessel started doing business in 2012. Founders Karen Carter and Susan Harward are long-time professionals in the Direct Sales Industry. Karen had the idea for scented jewelry after many years of contemplating some way to wear the fine fragrances that she always sampled at the cosmetics counters, but usually could not wear due to skin allergies. Karen realized that the only way she could enjoy a perfume was if the scent was not in direct contact with her skin. After watching her sister make jewelry as gifts for friends and family, the idea for a locket filled with perfume came to her. After a corporate layoff in 2010, Karen decided the time was right to develop her idea. Susan was part of the same corporate layoff, and initially decided to find a new position. As she entered the job market, she soon realized that corporate life (and job hunting) lacked the appeal it once had. Convinced that Vessel was the place to be, Susan joined Karen in the creation of the company. Friends for a decade and now business partners, Karen and Susan have found gratification and fulfillment starting their own company that they never experienced working for others.

What did you do before launching your own business?

Karen and Susan both had extensive experience in the Direct Sales Industry on the corporate side – Karen in product development and marketing and customer service, and Susan in event management, marketing and customer service.

How did you fund your business?

Initial funding for Vessel consisted of Karen’s and Susan’s personal investment, and investment by various friends and family members who believed in them, and in the unique Vessel concept.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

Karen and Susan typically work 40+ hours per week in our corporate office, plus several hours per week at nights and on the weekends participating in Vessel parties. How would you rate your success? For the stage that Vessel is in (Pre-Launch), the Founders feel extremely blessed to have found people who have shown great excitement for the unique products and the fabulous business opportunity. Vessel has signed Stylists all across the U.S.

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge has been to ensure that funding keeps up with growth.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

It will almost certainly take more time and money than originally estimated, but if you feel passionately about the product and the business, don’t give up! If you believe in your business and work hard, you will be successful.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

Loving what you do and believing in it passionately creates an environment where work – even when you’re working hard – doesn’t feel like a drain. The Founders also love the Direct Sales industry because it gives women the opportunity to create the work and life balance they desire.

Connect with Karen, Susan, and Vessel Scents of Style…

Website: Vessel Scents of Style

Blog: Vessel Scents Blog

Twitter: @VesselScents

Facebook Fan Page: Vessel Scents of Style Facebook Page

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