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Being a social entrepreneur pretty much sounds like the best job ever to us. You start a company that you love, you put your heart, sweat, and tears into it, and you build your dream. But adding a social element to it? Sign is up! So, for this Blush Career Spotlight, we are introducing you to two social entrepreneurs who founded companies based off bringing people together. They’ll tell you about the ups and downs, and give you in the inside look into the social start up scene. Get ready for some major inspiration to start flowin’ through you (that’s an actual side effect). Now onto it!
CIRCLE SEVEN FIVE
CSF is a members-only social club for women in their twenties and thirties located in Dallas, Texas. They host events that cover a broad spectrum of interests, allowing our members to take advantage of what the great city of Dallas can offer, both socially and professionally. Members can expect everything from wine tastings, fitness classes, noteworthy speakers and book authors, to events focused on fashion and beauty.
THE FOX SOCIETY
The Fox Society is a monthly subscription service that provides custom-planned itineraries for Austin’s couples. Their dates create time for adventure, spontaneity, and connection without the stress of planning or even remembering to plan. Eileen and Audrey, the Fox Society CEOs and concierges, connect with each couple on a personal level in order to create a personalized date night.
CASSIDY RAYE WOODARD
Company: Circle Seven Five
Title: Founder & CEO
University: Barnard University
Degree: B.A. in American Studies
Current city: Dallas, Texas
EILEEN: Through both experience and observation, I thought of the idea after realizing many of us tend to go on the same dates over and over again or go months without a truly special outing. I knew it would be a solid business since I wanted the service for myself, as did all of my friends that I pitched it to! When I asked Audrey to co-found the service with me, the Fox Society was born and began beta testing on friends and family immediately!
CASSIDY: I moved back to Dallas after living in NYC and was missing my friends and my routine. Dallas felt brand new and suddenly I found myself having little clue as to how to get ‘connected’ to a community of friends, the city, to meet new people, and discover what exciting things were going on. I also knew I wanted to have some way to leave the community better than how I found it. I should add I did not want to join three different organizations to accomplish this, so that’s when I decided to do something about it and started Circle Seven Five: a social, professional, and philanthropic network for women.
EILEEN: Audrey and I both went to UT (Hook ’em!)–I was a Communications major and Audrey was an Economics major. Audrey’s background helped prepare her for jobs that require wearing many hats, just like specializing in Economics, French, Art History, and Psychology required in college. I on the other hand learned the art of connecting to people on an interpersonal level, and my knowledge of public relations and marketing has been essential to our growing business. UT definitely helped prepare us for where we are now.
CASSIDY: I love liberal arts degrees, so yes, my degree totally prepared me! People can be so harsh on them, but they are justhaters. It taught me to challenge, think, investigate, and gave me a love for reading, learning, and thinking outside the box. As far as practical step-by-step preparation for a specific career – maybe not so much. I think if you want to go into a specialized field like accounting or education, or if you know exactly what you want to do and need specialized education to achieve that dream then you should definitely pursue that in school. Otherwise, study something you are interested in! What employers really want is experience. Hello, internships!!
EILEEN: Obviously we spend a lot of time planning dates and meeting with clients. We also both do a variety of freelance andpart-time work, so our days are never the same, which we love. We can work together over coffee or happy hour and carve out a ton of productive solo time at home in between our other meetings.
CASSIDY: Most days I’ll wake up around 7:30am. Take the dog on a walk. COFFEE. 8:15 –9:00am start replying to e-mails, go to any meetings that day or if we have an event I’ll be running around prepping for that. Lunch, reply to more e-mails, depending on the day I’ll head to a photo-shoot, do some blogging, phone calls, more emails. Work out — maybe, let’s be real. 7:30pm is usually dinner with my fiancé and relaxing with some TV shows, but some nights I’ll go to an event or a business dinner. I protect my sleep, so it’s lights out at 10:30pm. I’m such a grandma – haha!
EILEEN: Our favorite part is getting positive feedback from our clients. That’s just the best. I really love making people happy, and feeling like I had some direct and positive impact on their personal life. It feels like such a win when we can come up with something completely creative and unique and say “oh my gosh you know who would love this? The Smiths” and then follow through and make that experience happen for someone. Working for yourself is rewarding but not without its drawbacks. We’re both much more conscious of how we spend our time and of our own personal brands- which is what we’re really selling at the end of the day. I love the flexibility of being able set my own schedule- which sometimes includes later evenings of work in exchange of a mini Homeland marathon mid morning on a Tuesday. I also LOVE the research- Audrey and I have been all over the city looking for the best, newest, and most unique experiences for our clients. We’ve discovered so much more than we ever knew about living in our own bubbles of the city. We’re also learning all about taxes so all those trips to new wine bars will be covered come January.
CASSIDY: I love what I do because each day is different. I created my job, so it’s the best feeling in the world to do something you’re passionate about. The goal of our company is to help provide a well-rounded lifestyle, so really that means my days range all across the board. Some days I’m out for meetings, the next I’ll be out scouting businesses or trying new services that I want to be a Party Favor, and some days I’m writing my heart out for the blog. I love that my job is people: connecting, talking, encouraging.
EILEEN: Our biggest challenge is scheduling since we’re a service, not a product, which is unlike most other monthly subscriptions. Last minute changes don’t always mesh well with relying on the US Postal Service either! One of the more exciting challenges we face is getting to know our clients well enough to plan things that are out of the ordinary even for the most veteran Austinite. And I guess on a personal note, I think my biggest challenge was taking the risk to become an entrepreneur. Getting over the initial panic of ambiguity is something everyone faces at some point or another and is totally valid/relatable, but it was still terrifying. I’m so grateful to Audrey for taking this crazy trip with me- I don’t think we’d have made it this far without each other’s support.
CASSIDY: I am so over EMAILS! Kidding, but there are so many e-mails. Really. Having your own company is so rewarding, but sometimes it can be stressful knowing that any mistakes are yours.
EILEEN: Fox Society’s end goal is to reach as many of Austin’s couples as possible. Once we feel like we’ve got our busines mastered here, we would love to expand the Fox Society to new markets in cities that have similar vibes to our beloved Austin. Personally, I would say TBD. I’ve learned to embrace the excitement of not knowing what the next move is. I think as long as you have passion and work ethic, the rest will fall into place. Ideally, we’ll grow The Fox Society to the point where we’ll be able to expand to other cities as well as build the team here in Austin. Long term, I’d love to turn my experience faking it till I make it into something valuable for other young women interested in entrepreneurism. There are some amazing female mentors out there, but we’re still trailing in the numbers compared to men. If one day I could be the mentor to someone that I wish I had today- I would consider my career a HUGE success.
CASSIDY: My end goal is to continue to do something I love while making other people’s lives better. I’d love to see Circle Seven Five be a cultural mainstay in Dallas. I hope to see Circle Seven Five grow, and potentially expand into other metropolitan cities!
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