"The best reason to get certified is to connect with other women-owned businesses. For a small company like Kanti Goods, it is much harder to get your foot in the door at any of the large companies, and so the bigger opportunities for me are with the other WBEs." - Ernestine Lammers
Ernestine Lammers is the owner of Kanti Goods, a company that brings fine worldly goods such as jewelry, bags, and scarves directly to you. The business is driven by a mission to do good by employing underprivileged women, small-scale artisans, and entrepreneurs around the world while encouraging local materials and fair production methods. We asked Ernestine how WBE certification and has helped to grow her product based business.
As a business owner with a product sold directly to consumers, how has WBE certification benefitted your business?
I was very lucky that I was chosen to showcase Kanti Goods as pop-up shop at WBENC’s Summit & Salute conference in Houston. I got the opportunity to interact with other women business owners and to present my company to larger businesses. It is probably a long way for small women-owned businesses (product related) to get noticed by the larger companies, but that said, it makes you so much better prepared for when such an opportunity might arise, and you will be exposed to other business ideas.
What is your favorite WBCS event and why?
I really have two favorite events out of all the events that I have attended in the past year: - Austin Insights, there was a great speaker and there was great networking - WBENC’s Summit & Salute conference in Houston. Although I was initially overwhelmed by the size of it, I really enjoyed the conference. This was my first time and you definitely have to learn how to navigate an event like this. Next time, I will definitely take more advantage of the various learning opportunities offered.
What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified?
To connect with other women owned businesses. For a small company like Kanti Goods, it is much harder to get your foot in the door at any of the large companies, and so the bigger opportunities for me are with the other WBEs. I also think it is great to get the opportunity to pitch yourself to larger companies.
How did you make the most of your WBENC certification in your first year of membership?
I just showed up at every event in the Austin area to just get to know the people and so they could get to know me and my company.
What is one thing you wish you knew about WBCS before joining?
That most of the events are still very much out of the Irving and the Dallas area. I really hope that more opportunities will be arise here in Austin.