In 2022, Katherine Aparicio and the Blisslets team received a Lillie Knox Investment Award from the Women's Business Council - Southwest! Lillie Knox was a vital part of the history and current success of the Women's Business Council - Southwest (WBCS) and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The Lillie Knox Investment Award was established in 2005 to memorialize Lillie for her support of women-owned businesses through her commitment, passion, and determination to increase opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
One year later the Blisslets Team has capitalized on the cash award by launching their company on Amazon this holiday season! We were thrilled to sit down and share more about Katherine's journey to launching her company, and how this award has helped transform her business, and take it to the next level!
What inspired you to start your business?
I had terrible nausea during my first pregnancy, and I found that nausea bands were a huge help. I hated how they looked, however. The options available on the market at that time looked like sweatbands, and they advertised my condition to the world. In fact, before I was ready to share the news of my pregnancy with the world, I wore the nausea bands to the office, hidden, so I thought, under the sleeves of my suitcoat. At some point though, I reached out an arm and a male colleague spotted my nausea band. He immediately knew what they were for, and called out, loudly enough for the whole office to hear, “Hey! I didn’t know you were pregnant!” That’s when I first thought that there ought to be a better option out there: effective acupressure bracelets that would go undercover as jewelry. The idea simmered on the back burner until a job change prompted me to take the leap into entrepreneurship and make the idea a reality.
What has your journey to entrepreneurship looked like for you?
I honestly never expected to go into business, let alone to start my own. I knew I wanted to use my career in service to others, and that initially led me into public service. I spent the first eleven years of my career as an international affairs specialist for the Department of Justice. I reached a crossroads with that position, however, that led me to consider other options. In particular, I wanted to go in a direction that would allow me to be more present to my growing family, and it occurred to me that starting my own business would allow me flexibility that would be hard to find in the traditional job market. I had had the idea for Blisslets in mind for several years, and I realized that I had the opportunity both to take my career in a new direction, and to bring a product to market that could significantly impact the quality of life of those living with nausea.
What advice would you give to female founders just starting their business?
A willingness to learn is one of the greatest keys to success. There will be so much you don’t know as you try to make your business work, but as long as you are willing to seek out the advice of others, pursue continuing education, and step outside of your comfort zone, you’ll be able to overcome the challenges that inevitably arise.
Anything new or exciting on the horizon for you and your business?
Just this week, we launched our products to Amazon. Until now, our products have been available to customers through our own website, blisslets.com, and through retail partners, but being present on Amazon will allow us to reach a much greater audience than we have been able to do up until this point. We are incredibly grateful for the 2022 Lillie Knox Award that supported us in making this launch a reality.