Women Who Own It, a WBENC Podcast for and by women entrepreneurs and their supporters, is your key to the insights of incredible female founders and business leaders.

Read below for an excerpt from latest episode with special guest Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of SHEEX® Inc. Former collegiate basketball coaches and standout athletes, Michelle and her co-founder/co-CEO Susan Walvius, shook up the bedding world in 2007 by inventing a whole new “Performance Home” category in home textiles inspired by the feel and breath-ability of athletic performance fabrics.

The best advice I was ever given was “don’t ever come out of capital-raising mode.”

– Michelle Marciniak

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Podcast Excerpt

Allison Maslan: What was a surprise for you getting into business?

Michelle Marciniak: Probably underestimating the fact that it costs money to run a business — the whole concept of raising capital. For me, it’s every day because you can’t just go up to someone and say “hey, I need a million dollars” to invest in the business. You have to have a relationship with that person and bring them along with you. Then maybe it takes five years and they say “ok, now i’m personally ready and i believe in you and you’ve been working hard, so now i’m going to invest in you.” It’s not just payment on demand when you’re trying to go get capital from investors. You have to go build those relationships in order to build that capital. The capital journey for me has been eye-opening.

Allison Maslan: How have you utilized the WBENC certification and network for your business growth?

Michelle Marciniak: WBENC has been great for us! We have been able to go into every meeting that we’ve had with retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Target, Mattress Firm, etc. and talk about being a women-owned business and being certified. It’s almost like a mic drop moment in those meetings because they love the fact that we’re a female in business that is certified. We have made alterations to our packaging to put Logo on our packaging. We’re working on redesigning our site and we’re trying to figure out a more prominent place to put the WBENC Logo on our site. It is also knowing that you can pick up the phone and call the people within your network and just ask for help. I think it’s helped to introduce us to some people locally. We are a U.S. brand and have global manufacturing, but we are also a business located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, so we work with the the WBENC arm from Philadelphia.

Kind of a theme here is understanding networking and the value and power of those relationships. People respect it retailers out there, they really care about it.

Allison Maslan: What advice would you give to new business owners that want to take their businesses to the next level?

Michelle Marciniak: Make sure you have some access to capital because it takes money to start, run, sustain and scale a business. The best advice I was ever given was “don’t ever come out of capital-raising mode.” You have to be extremely flexible and extremely resilient. You have to be a sponge and get in front of people as much as you can. It’s hard. If you want to start your own business, realize it’s going to take great personal sacrifice. It’s 100% all-in.

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