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Whipsmart, creative and beyond stylish, Tina Aldatz is the kind of CEO we dream of being one day. While building a sole-saving solution for supermodels and fashion-forward women in the form of Foot Pedals—those ubiquitous shoe inserts that magically make uncomfortable shoes cozy—the Latina entrepreneur became a self-made millionaire, she was named an Entrepreneur to Watch by Forbes magazine, grew Foot Petals into one of the fastest-growing business in America, and was named the Business Woman of the Year by the National Latina Business Women Association.
But before the accolades, success and designer dresses, Ms. Aldatz was an American teen who not only sustained a severe burn injury, but who grew up in a low-income household further destabilized by domestic violence. How did Aldatz go from having the cards stacked against her to earning astounding success? Here, she shares some of her business-savvy secrets.
In your book, From Stilettos to the Stock Exchange: Inside the Life of a Serial Entrepreneur, you talk about how you built an unshakable confidence that would later help you create the multimillion dollar designer shoe accessory brand, Foot Petals. What does practicing “unshakable confidence” mean to you?
Practicing unshakable confidence is about putting yourself in other peoples shoes, not being intimidated or simply not letting them see you sweat. We are all people and all bringing something to the table. Dressing up for me created like a force field of empowerment when I was growing up.
You have faced challenges and adversity in your life as a teen, including coming from a low-income background and severely burning your feet after stepping on buried hot coals while BBQing on the beach with family. How did these setbacks actually help you later in business?
Laughing, but not really laughing….during the hardest times our ability to be resilient and resourceful is tested. Every setback or disadvantage builds character. You may not know it at the time—and when I was a teenager, I certainly didn’t know these things would later serve me. But when starting a business and as an entrepreneur, I have relied on my ability to bounce back time and time again.
Can you share the 6 Essentials of Business that you outline in your book and how a young entrepreneur can use these tenants to help guide her success?
Yes- very simple: 3 M’s is like a business plan in a box: Money, Marketing and Management. If you can specifically answer questions related to these three topics from a business point of view, you can write a business plan.
Morals and Core values set the tone in your life and Karma. The Three R’s for me are: Reputation, Resourcefulness and Resilience. Measuring decisions using these three core values have helped me make solid personal and business decisions.
What is the most important thing a girl can do when starting a first business of her own?
Understanding who your competition is and differentiates you in the market place.
What should entrepreneurs be prepared to do once that business takes off and becomes a success?
Be aware of your short term and long term goals. Entrepreneurs tend to overextend themselves when their business takes off, working as if the business still a small start up. It’s important to hire experts and delegate or you will hit a wall and burn out—both personally and economically.
You’ve worked with a close friend, Margie Floris, on both Foot Petals and your new venture, Savvy Traveler, which offers quick and practical self-care solutions for people on the go. Any secrets to success when working with a BFF?
Respect. Acknowledging what we are both good at and getting out of each others way. Have faith and trust in each other but most of all have fun!
Anything else you’d like to add or tell girls who are starting their own businesses or cultivating careers?
It’s important to do something that comes naturally to you and feels fun. My mother worried that I was going nuts when I started Foot Petals and said “don’t quit your day job!” but if I hadn’t, I would have lived with regret and regret is a killer.