What does this award mean to you?
Weeks: This award has been such a huge honor. As an entrepreneur, as the head of a small company with five people who work themselves to death all day in the interest of building this baby of ours, it was so incredibly nice to have our work recognized. When you're a small company and you've got your head in the weeds all day, it's hard to look up and acknowledge your accomplishments. This award really had an impact on my whole team. Everyone is proud and excited about this.
[As a woman small-business owner], it obviously hits extremely close to home for me. I have been a passionate feminist. I was a women studies major in college and understand intimately the challenges that face women-business owners from just getting started to fundraising and being in a world that is still very much dominated by men. [The award] means that much more to me.
What has been your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur?
Weeks: It may sound cliche, but I would say persistence has been the most important aspect in many ways of our success because as a startup in this economy, you're not going to learn things the easy way and you're going to face so many obstacles and challenges that will try your passion and your belief in the fact that your company is even possible. Learning that, staying with it and staying focused and keeping my eye on my teams' vision for School House has been the most important lesson.
You will get nine "no's" for every one "yes." Stay centered and if you believe in it and you see your idea then you can't let any outside factor deter you from that.
Are you hiring?
Weeks: We actually just made a hire, but we're not hiring right now. We certainly plan to hire in the area of sales as we grow. We intend to make some hires over the next few months. The hires I've made this year have really formed my core team. That's been just an incredible process, finding these incredible people who work together as a unit.
What are your plans for the company? Where would you like to see the company go?
Weeks: We intend to grow School House into a true collegiate lifestyle brand, and my vision is not necessarily that we'll be at 2,000 colleges, but we'll have a deep, meaningful presence whether it's 100 or 300 colleges. I want to build long-lasting relationships with these colleges and articulate School House as a brand that can grow with our customer.
We're in a $4 billion market. We're at about $1 million in sales. I see potential for us to take significant market share.