TONNIE SCHULTZ, owner of Café Creme in Bath, right, shares what it was like to start up her business with an audience at the Bath Cosmopolitan Club on Wednesday.

TONNIE SCHULTZ, owner of Café Creme in Bath, right, shares what it was like to start up her business with an audience at the Bath Cosmopolitan Club on Wednesday.

BATH

For five Bath businesswomen, the road to entrepreneurship hasn’t been an easy one, despite having established successful businesses in town.

Tonnie Schultz, who opened coffee shop Café Creme 13 years ago, said the move “just seemed like the obvious thing to do” as she addressed an audience at the Bath Cosmopolitan Club on Wednesday night.

“As much as I love coffee, it was about the community meeting place, and so I had a vision for that,” she said.

The panelists, all of whom come from diverse backgrounds of expertise and stages of business, also spoke about some of the challenges of starting up a business, including financing, mapping out a business plan, and what it means to be your own boss.

“No one’s telling you what you get paid. You have to decide what you get paid,” Schultz said. “It changes all the time, because what you made today and what you made last year is not what you’re going to make tomorrow or next year.”

Julie Shea, owner of Mustard Seed Bookstore on Front Street, also said that she hadn’t anticipated the amount of work required to just “run a little bookstore,” drawing laughs from the crowd.

“It’s not necessarily brain surgery, but it’s time consuming and so you have to be able to devote a great amount of time and energy to just get to that step before you’re even thinking about opening,” she said. “And then it’s fun.”

Perian Moore, owner of InspireME, a personal fitness and wellness program in Bath, also spoke about some of the challenges of being a businesswoman in a field often dominated by men.

“I’m clear, I’m practical, I’m going to tell you how I see it. And for women, that does not go over well,” she said. “If I was a guy going to a contract and saying ‘no, I don’t like that,’ it would be like, ‘he’s a good businessman.’

“When women are being clear and concise, it’s a different standard and perception,” she added.

Cara Cribb of Galley Goodies Gluten-Baked Goods also shared her experience of being in the restaurant business where she was “usually the only girl in the kitchen.”

“It was hard. Especially in South Carolina, I think was the worst,” she said. “‘Oh, you’re a girl, you’re just a pastry chef.’ That’s it. You can’t go any further. It’s still very sexist.”

When asked what kind of advice they would give to young entrepreneurs, Shea suggested that students begin volunteering or finding a job in an area that they want to pursue to “give it a try first before you commit a college degree to it.”

Jenn Dobransky, owner of Satori Massage Therapy who also works at New Ventures Maine, shared some advice she often gives people looking to start their own business.

In addition to starting a business plan and “surrounding yourself with people that are going to support you and get your vision and understand what you’re doing,” Dobransky emphasized the importance of “doing something you know and doing something you love.”

“They also need to know that they need to have some tough skin,” Moore added. “They need to be persistent and they have to have the ability to show up when it’s tough.”

Wednesday’s panel was hosted by the Bath Cosmopolitan Club, an allwomen’s club founded in 1913, in light of Women’s History Month.

“Sometimes events tend to look back and we thought, ‘Why don’t we look around us? Why don’t we look at what’s going on in the present?’” said Phyllis Bailey, a member of the club’s board of directors.

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