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Yahoo! Inc. has announced recipients of its “Seeds for Success: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs” grant program, choosing three unique, innovative business ideas from more than 5,500 proposals. The grant recipients were selected by Yahoo! and Carolyn Kepcher, entrepreneur and former star of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Each grant package includes $20,000 in cash, $5,000 in website consulting, and website hosting from Yahoo!. Additionally, Kepcher’s new company, fwm, will provide free one-on-one mentoring from leading business experts, including Kepcher; Bobbi Brown, founder and CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics; and Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines and author of the bestselling book, Basic Black: The Essential Guide to Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life). Of the thousands of grant applications submitted since the program launched in March, many of the best business ideas focused on creative solutions to real life issues and interests such as the environment, the needs of children with disabilities, and lifestyle pursuits such as home decorating. Grant recipients are Karla Duncan, pediatric speech pathologist and founder/president of Head2Toe Publications, a developer of toys and educational materials for special needs children; Abby Port, founder/CEO of Red Koala, a maker of customizable art for home décor; and, Dana Rubenstein, co-founder of Dapple, which will produce earth-friendly and baby safe cleaning supplies for babies’ hands, toys, and feeding equipment.  The public can follow their progress online a seendsforsuccess.smallbusiness.yahoo.com 

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blinkx, the world’s largest video search engine, today announced a partnership with Hearst Digital the commercial aggregator of all of the national magazine company’s online properties, including Handbag.com. Under the terms of the agreement, Handbag.com’s women’s lifestyle video content is now fully searchable and playable at www.blinkx.com. Leveraging its unique AdHoc platform, blinkx will also place contextually relevant advertising against the footage, and will share resulting advertising revenue with Hearst Digital.  Launched in 1999, Handbag.com became part of the Hearst Digital Network in 2006. The first dedicated women’s lifestyle website in the U.K., the site offers expert insight, discussion forums, videos and more on all matters that women are interested in, including fashion, beauty and celebrity gossip. In addition, Handbag.com’s Handbag TV provides video content ranging from next season’s catwalk collections and film trailers to the funniest viral videos on the Web.  “Handbag.com is enormously popular because of its relevant, fresh content for women,” said Suranga Chandratillake, founder and CEO, blinkx. “We are thrilled to add their video content to blinkx.com, giving our women viewers access to high-quality lifestyle videos, on demand and in easy-to-consume formats.”

YAZ, the first and only oral contraceptive approved to treat the emotional and physical premenstrual symptoms sever enough to impact a woman’s life, is teaming up with Nina Garcia (top judge on the popular “Project Runway” series) on a new contest that asks designer hopefuls to submit contemporary and fashionable packaging concepts for the oral contraceptive. “The design challenge we’re posing is a fashion transformation unlike any other,” said Garcia. “We’re taking an iconic accessory — the birth control case — and asking aspiring designers to take a shot at redesigning it into a chic, more sophisticated carrying case that they could slip into their purses.” The ”YAZ:  Step Up and Go Beyond” contest is a partnership with Step Up Women’s Network and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.  

Kim Regenhard of RiverStone Journals has introduced a unique guide to help women and their loved ones manage their breast cancer experience. A Survivor’s Guide for the Breast Cancer Journey: An Organizer and Handbook for the Newly Diagnosed is a unique combination of planner, organizer and journal. A Survivor’s Guide provides women with breast cancer a powerful tool to help manage the emotional, physical and logistical aspects of fighting breast cancer. The Guide provides places to store important test results and record critical medical information, appointments and medication schedules. It also helps track progress, note possible treatment side effects, and record gifts and services received. The Guide is filled with practical information on breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery and contains tips and advice from women who have survived breast cancer. It also has a journal component where women can record personal thoughts and feelings along the way.

In a unique collaboration between two of the nation’s leading media companies, Meredith Corporation and NBC Universal has announced key findings of a nationwide survey conducted among more than 3,000 women that covered a wide range of important topics to women, including marriage and family, health and fitness, safety, and financial matters.  The findings from the Meredith/NBC Universal “What do Women Want?”(TM) study examines why the economy and personal financial challenges are at the forefront of the upcoming Presidential election and how women are shaping the debate. Women and their families are experiencing tremendous financial woes — on issues ranging from housing to credit card debt to healthcare — and are very concerned about their long term financial security.  Some key financial findings include:

·      68% of women cite “financial strain” as a major threat to the American Family.

·      79% of women in dual income households say it is “essential for both spouses/partners to be employed in order to make ends meet.”

·      60% are concerned about being able to pay their bills each month.

·      72% are concerned about rising taxes—especially Boomer women.

·      77% are concerned about the future of social security and 75% are concerned about saving enough for retirement. 

The Wet Seal, Inc., a leading specialty retailer to young women, has announced the launch of a new “fashion community” on the company’s website. The fashion community offers customers an enhanced shopping experience through a social networking platform using the latest Web 2.0 Technology.  Customers can now not only shop, but can also create original Wet Seal styles by building outfits using the entire online assortment. Key features of the fashion community include the ability to build, tag, share and purchase outfits through a personalized boutique, build a fashion network by chatting with other stylists in the message center, and rate and purchase other stylists’ outfits in “The Runway.” The launch of the fashion community adds an exciting feature to our already engaging website. It brings a fashion-focused, social networking element to the site to enhance the user experience online,” said Ed Thomas, the company’s chief executive officer. “We think this is going to be a great new tool, which could not only increase average visit time on the site, but also could improve online and in-store sales by allowing our girl to choose among thousands of outfits generated and rated by her peers.”

We have heard quite a few stories about how the marketing to women message often gets lost on its way to the retail sales floor, but Best Buy seems to have found a solution.  Based on years of researching how women shop, listening intently to their female customers and creating a concept store just for women (Studio D), “Best Buy has transformed itself by making customers central to everything in its business,” says Dori Molitor, Founder and CEO of WomanWise, LLC, a hybrid consultancy-agency specializing in marketing brands to women.  Molitor, whose latest article about this big box transformation can be found on her website, feels Best Buy’s greatest achievement is giving women what they want–not just with products, but in every detail from in-store design to customer service strategies.  “This is a company that’s not about talk, but about truly serving the women’s market.  And it all begins and ends with discovering what women want.”  

 

Precision Marketing is reporting that organizer brand Filofax has recently selected Cocktail Marketing to help “develop the brand’s fashion credentials” in an effort to position itself as a “stylish women’s lifestyle brand.”  In addition to partnering with an international and national designers to collaborate on design, the brand will be launching a nationwide campaign in the U.K. titled “It’s a way of life.”  According to Filofax marketing manager Sharon Golbey, “We are keen to create brand partnerships with synergistic fashion brands to further enhance our lifestyle credentials, and to broaden the appeal of the Filofax brand.”  

HerBigIdea.com, a weekly internet show created to inspire readers and listeners to establish their own businesses by learning from other female entrepreneurs and mompreneurs, has re-launched its blog and podcast on BlogTalkRadio.  “Not only will we have great podcast interviews,” said the program’s creator, Elaine Heirigs, “But we will also feature practical and innovative products to make our readers’ and listeners’ lives easier and just a bit more chic.” The show will be recorded live every Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST/ 11 a.m. PCT. Listeners are welcome to join the conversation during the show by calling (646) 200-4281 or chatting online in the chat room.

The condition of a woman’s skin has a serious impact on her self-esteem, according to results from a new landmark skin care survey sponsored by Obagi Medical Products, Inc., a leader in physician-dispensed topical aesthetic and therapeutic skin health systems.  The survey, entitled “Women and Skincare: A Quest For Real Results,” was developed to identify women’s attitudes, behaviors and desires when it comes to skin health. The majority of women (84%) have at least one issue with their skin.  This peaks among women in their 40s, who report having four skin care issues.  “The key finding of the survey was that women are still seeking skin care solutions and they are willing to try multiple products; however, when products don’t produce results, they give up rather than seek a professional for help,” said Steven Carlson, Chief Executive Officer of Obagi Medical Products. “There’s a clear need to educate women about the benefits of partnering with a medical skin care professional and seeking professional grade products to achieve real results. As Obagi Medical is a leading company dedicated to the medical skin care professional, we are committed to being leaders of these educational efforts.”

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