I had an amazing opportunity to speak on a panel of fellow boss babes at a local Silicon Slopes Logan event. The event was highlighting entrepreneurs that are women! It was a great way to share things I’ve learned along the way, and inspire other women to go after their dreams even if it feels impossible.
Leading up to the event I was interviewed by KVNU on the radio:
The Logan chapter of Silicon Slopes has periodic meetings that highlight local tech companies and aim to assist other upstarts. On Wednesday, May 29th at the Vivint Smart Home building (1400 North 635 East), they will sponsor an event entitled Women in Entrepreneurship.
It will feature a panel of entrepreneurs as they share their thoughts and journeys in building businesses as female founders in Cache Valley. On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, one of the featured business owners, Kylee Ann Maughan, talked about how she got started.
“I had told my fiancée at the time that one day when we could afford it, because we were broke college kids, that I wanted a camera. So that Valentines Day I went into his room and where his Xbox once sat was a little box where he had sold his Xbox and bought me my first DSLR camera.
I got a business license and a website and started taking pictures of my family and friends. I was really, really bad but I loved it
“The next week, I got a business license and a website and started taking pictures of my family and friends. I was really, really bad but I loved it, and that’s how it started,” Maughan said.
Now she has a thriving business: Kylee Ann Photography. In a similar mold to Silicon Slopes, she has used her business to build a community, including helping other photographers.
“We all know where the good locations are, we all know how to ‘Google’ things, there (are) literally no secrets. So, I just started bringing a couple friends with me and we would do shoots together; and then, other friends would see how that was going and they’d come along. It grew and grew. Now we have over 3,000 members in our community,” she said.
The more you share with people, the more they share back, and it really grew my business in so many ways.
“It just kind of started with us just being friends and sharing what we learned and they shared what they learned. The more you share with people, the more they share back, and it really grew my business in so many ways.”
You can listen to it here!
The event was also highlighted in Herald Journal Newspaper:
A panel of women entrepreneurs shared their experiences and journeys building businesses in Cache Valley at Vivint on Wednesday. The event was hosted by the Logan Chapter of Silicon Slopes to encourage individuals who want to start their own business.
The panel consisted of Reggie Ann Geertsen from Karch Co., Kylee Ann Maughan from Kylee Ann Photography and Janna Barlow of Nani Swimwear. It was moderated by Logan Municipal Council Member Amy Anderson.
Online, Karch Co’s website is minimalist, smart and stylized to showcase the companies’ brand of computer glasses that block out blue light. In person, the 23-year-old Geertsen explained that after three years, she’s still just learning.
“We are still pretty new, but we started this business because I was wanting computer glasses for Christmas and I was just always getting bad headaches,” Geertsen said. “We found some on Amazon and they didn’t work well, and we looked into it more and saw that there were only expensive or cheap quality. We made an Instagram account right off the bat and went from there.”
The website for Nani Swimwear takes the opposite approach, with colorful photos of women on the beach and underwater all wearing swimsuits thought up by Barlow and her team.
“My daughter approached me when she was 15 and said that she wasn’t able to find a swimsuit online that was both cute and modest,” Barlow said. “We started off knowing nothing, but we’ve been in business three years now and have learned so much.”
At Kylee Ann Photography, weddings are the name of the game, at least 85 a year, according to Maughan who said her husband sold his Xbox to purchase her first camera.
“My business started like many, with a passion,” Maughan said. “I loved taking pictures of people. I started in high school and I told my husband that when we could afford it, I wanted to start a photography business. I started a Facebook page and it has blown up from there.”
Maughan said that she has three kids and sets aside time to work.
Barlow said that she has seven kids, two in college and a set of twins, so for her, it is important to go back and forth between being a mom and a business owner.
“You will have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but it’s worth it,” Barlow told the audience during the panel.
She said that “Nani” means beautiful in Hawaii, something that she relates to her product and her experience as an entrepreneur.
Silicon Slopes is a nonprofit based in Lehi, and Chase Anderson heads the Logan Chapter with events happening every few months.
“We wanted to create a community around people who are doing really cool things and highlight individuals who are creating these things,” Anderson said.
Each business owner spoke about the challenges of starting a venture and had very different experiences.
“In the beginning we were writing every label out by hand,” Geertsen said. “I couldn’t imagine everything that would go into this company. It’s been a learning process for sure.”
Barlow told a story about one line of swimsuits that faded when it came in contact with chlorine, and she was embarrassed to have to issue a recall on the product.
“It’s been hard and there are some big losses, but we know so much more now than we did then,” Barlow said.
The advice from each entrepreneur: For Maughan, “invest in education.” For Geertsen, “just go for it.” And from Barlow, “work through the hard times.”
“Start investing in education from day one,” Maughan said. “All that time spent trying to figure out what I don’t know, I wish I had started going to conferences from day one. Education is the key to growth.”
Join the Silicon Slopes Logan chapter for more amazing events!
photographer | educator + speaker | community builder
Kylee started Kylee Ann Photography 8 years ago, and has since grown from a one woman amateur show to a full associate team. We shoot 50-75 weddings a year, and thrive on kindness and service. After a year of teaching Intro to Photography at the local technical college, she discovered that helping other entrepreneurs create thriving businesses is what fires her up! She hosts semi-annual Kylee Ann Sleepovers all over the US, speak at conferences and teach online courses about running a small business and marketing.