Goodbye Sweet Spade: Remembering the Influential Style of Kate Spade

Today we are saddened to find out that the influential designer Kate Spade was found dead. For someone known for an elegance associated with brightness and a certain smart yet playful style- it’s painful to think of such a voice being extinguished.

Kansas City, Missouri native Spade, who recently legally changed her name to Kate Valentine was an answer to an unspoken sartorial prayer: smart, put-together clothing with a quirky flair. Distinguished while not shying away from femininity, Kate helped women in the 1990s and early 2000s realize that to be taken seriously in the workplace doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have massive shoulder pads, dress like a man, or wear uncomfortable heels.

It really started with a handbag. The quest for an attractive yet practical tote, often a woman’s rolling office, medicine cabinet, and make-up bag, was the driving force behind the start of her eponymous brand.

She grew Kate Spade into what we would call today a fully fledged lifestyle brand: including a home and jewellery line.  In the process she became much more than a designer: she became a woman to admire for her unique blend of tastemaking and business acumen. Not unlike a Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch or Donna Karan.

As recently as 2015 she was named amongst Creative People in Business by Fast Company and inducted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City Hall of Entrepreneur Hall of Fame this past year.

She was someone to look up to and will be dearly missed. Our condolences go out to her family and everyone whose lives she touched.

Has the Role of Women in Business Made Progress?

During 2017, there was a noticeable increase of women’s leadership conferences held across the country and the world. At these conferences, women participated in dialogues regarding business strategies and discussed mutual professional challenges. Thus, while 2017 was a year in which women made strides, what was the path leading up to this movement toward professional growth? Specifically, are women in the industries of real estate and technology ready for change?

Women first became involved in the real estate industry as brokers and agents in the late 1800s and became well accepted as real estate professionals due to, if nothing else, the sheer number of women involved in the industry. Today women hold the majority of residential real estate positions, but men still maintain most executive positions. In the commercial real estate market, men dominate the profession.

A 2016 Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that women working in the real estate industry earn only 64 percent of a man’s annual average salary. While women have advanced in the residential real estate industry, they can still make strides by bridging the pay gap, gaining equal leadership positions and increasing sales in commercial real estate.

Compare this to women in technology. In the past thirty years, relatively few women have developed careers in technology fields, let alone high tech fields. In fact, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology’s (NCWIT) 2016 Women in Tech Report, the peak of women’s involvement in technology occupations, such as computing industry careers, was in 1991 when women held 36 percent of computing jobs. Women’s involvement has never since reached this percentage, but as the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, more women will likely enter the field.

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Accelerator Program for Multicultural Tech Startups

Are you a technology startup looking for funding and opportunities for growth? The Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program hosted by Morgan Stanley, is seeking applications until January 19th from technology startups with multicultural or women entrepreneurs to jump start their company in 2018.

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3 Ways to Celebrate National Entrepreneurship Month

November is National Entrepreneurship month, a time to recognize and celebrate the successes and contributions of our nation’s entrepreneurs and express our support of them and their work in innovating and mapping the future. Established in 2012, National Entrepreneurship Month evolved from the first National Entrepreneurs’ Day in 2010. As we zero in on the holiday season, it is especially important to support the entrepreneurs in your life and community.

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NAWRB Adds New Pillar to Small Business Sustainability Care Package

The National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB) announces the expansion of its Small Business Sustainability Care Package with a fifth pillar, Small Claims Accountability. In December 2016, NAWRB released the Small Business Sustainability Care Package to provide accountability and sustainability to the 30 million small businesses across the nation. As small business owners encounter obstacles, NAWRB equips them with sound tools and information for success.

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The Future of Small Businesses

With limited employees, capital and resources, small businesses are hit the hardest by rigorous regulations, and the expense of compliance often poses sustainable growth roadblocks for the entrepreneurs who need it the most. The following months could prove especially pivotal for small business owners, as the possibility of new legislation and regulations grows.

Access to Credit

A vital decision on the horizon is the possible repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which has constrained some mall businesses and homebuyers seeking access to credit. As data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows, in the six years prior to Dodd-Frank, small bank lending surpassed large bank lending by over 150 percent. In the six years after the bill’s passage, small bank lending sits nearly 80 percent below lending from large banks.

The bill’s stringent credit qualifications have arguably limited Americans in their personal and professional lives, increasing the difficulty to access business capital and home loans. The possible repeal of Dodd-Frank could mean easier access to credit for millions of businesses, increased homebuyers and a stimulated economy.
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NAWRB Co-Hosts InnovateHER with SBA: Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Jennifer Stewart-Tai, President and Founder of City Girl Prepper, for winning the InnovateHER Challenge co-hosted by NAWRB and the Small Business Administration (SBA)!

This morning, NAWRB co-sponsored the InnovateHER Innovating for Women Challenge 2017 at the Lutron Electronics Training Center in Irvine, CA. This competition is inspired by the need for innovative products and services to assist working women and their families.

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NAWRB and SBA Co-host InnovateHER Innovating for Women in Business Challenge

NAWRB is excited to announce that we are once again co-sponsoring the InnovateHER Innovating for Women Challenge 2017 with the Small Business Administration (SBA)! The competition gives entrepreneurs across the country the opportunity to showcase their products and services while competing for up to $70,000 in prize money.

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The Untapped Potential of Black-Owned Businesses


The latest research from the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), The Tapestry of Black Business Ownership in America: Untapped Opportunities for Success, assesses the economic fortitude and potential of Black-owned firms, identifies the opportunities and obstacles for these business owners and addresses the ways in which policies and investments can contribute to the success of Black entrepreneurs.

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