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Meet Trailblazer Gina Moccio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Moccio.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I became really interested in hearing & sharing other people’s stories in my freshman year of college in 2007. I started a ‘zine with a friend and was messaging bands I loved on MySpace to request interviews when they were stopping in Tampa & St. Pete. My interviews with musicians eventually turned into interviews with entrepreneurs. All of these interviews focused on where these creative, ambitious people had been and where they were headed (from a goals standpoint).

I loved seeing stories about amazing woman-owned businesses in places like New York and L.A., but I knew there were amazing women crafting coolness in Florida, too! So, after four years and two full-time jobs, I created Babe Crafted in 2017, so I could highlight women’s stories here in Tampa Bay. Women like Tonya Donati of Mother Kombucha, Crystina Castiglione of The Messy Painter, Amy Braswell of PaperFinch Design, Tona Bell of the Paper Seahorse (and so many more!) are building amazing businesses and I wholeheartedly believe that local businesses make a city bright & interesting. So, getting to be a part of their journey & introducing them to more people who are going to vibe with their products and services is such a wonderful adventure.

My favorite question to ask to this day is “What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?” because not only do you learn about who a person is from their response, but everyone has a different set of words or inspiration they go back to when they’re in the middle of a big challenge & really need a pep talk. The challenges we face are important because they make us who we are.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This is a great question because if there’s anything I’m not short on, it’s challenges, ha. I have a strong marketing and communications background but had no business experience when I first launched Babe Crafted (originally named Boss Babe Club) in 2017. But I believe in learning by doing, so I launched with as many ducks in a row as I could. That meant having an accountant in place, a trademark pending, a website and social media pages ready to go with some graphics and blogs, and the support of a lot of friends. You can’t build something great without support, so having a big network of friends is pivotal.

The ladies behind Bridge + Bloom (Marti Martin and Cait Fick) helped me figure out what to do with the situation commonly known as ‘starting a website from scratch’.

Rosana Rivera of Xilo Street Mexican became one of my first members. I worked with her as a Barista and Front of House Manager part-time while I built up my business.

These are just a few examples, but I’m lucky to say that I didn’t climb this mountain alone.

But because there was no roadmap, I was making it up as I went along. I did my best every day along the way and took note quickly of what was working & what wasn’t so I could do more of what was working.

Some challenges I’ve faced is the impossible (yet somehow possible, because I did it!) stretch of the journey where I was working full-time for Babe Crafted and part-time at another job. I had already left my full-time job, but I still needed to work at other jobs to pay my personal bills. ‘Cuz you know, that whole mortgage and groceries thing doesn’t go away when you shift gears and start a business and I didn’t have any savings.

Another challenge was knowing what was the right next move. At one point I thought I would expand our Tampa Bay membership to also offer a chapter in Orlando and Miami because they’re driving distance and I thought we could really be of help to women in other cities. However, after talking with a consultant at the Small Business Development Center, I realized that I needed to make sure that my o.g. chapter in Tampa Bay was as strong & solid as it could be before I started to scale. If I had moved forward with launching in other cities before TB was ready, I see now looking back that my business would’ve imploded. I would’ve been spending money and time and resources in other cities and TB would’ve ended up getting neglected because I was (and still am) just one person. Also, I actually don’t enjoy driving, so the trek to Orlando and Miami once a month would’ve been tough.

That being said, we’re currently at 84 Tampa Bay-based members and are exploring a digital membership set to launch in 2020 so women from other cities, states, & even countries to be a part of Babe Crafted.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
My advice to women out there who are at the beginning of their business journey or established women who are evaluating a new opportunity for their business would be to get feedback! Talk to other business owners you trust. Talk to a consultant (consulting at your local Small Business Development Center is free! And once you’ve gotten some feedback, think about how you feel. It’s important for you to be on board, above all, because if you’re not passionate about your business, then no one else will be. Once you’ve decided to move forward, be relentless at moving forward every day and take care of yourself along the way, babe.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I created a membership that helps women entrepreneurs feel heard & supported as they build the business of their dreams. We offer opportunities for women to step outside their comfort zone, try new things (like live video, podcasting, or sharing their expertise as a speaker or panelist), and build relationships with women they never would’ve met otherwise.

Babe Crafted is known for being that friendly voice online & at events that tells you to go for it.

I seek feedback often from our members and appreciate seeing the membership in action when we do things together like helping a local non-profit, sharing feedback in our members-only Facebook group, offering validation at our in-person workshops, & more.

A recent proud moment I have is getting our new business cards in the mail. I had never had cards for Babe Crafted before and even though I’ve wanted to have something tangible to give out for a long time now, I just couldn’t justify the extra expense. We’re fast approaching our second anniversary, but Babe Crafted is still a new business and I try to minimize any extra expenses when I can. But the time has come for an upgrade and our new luxe cards are fire!

Babe Crafted is different in lots of ways! I would definitely say that what sets us apart is our membership’s ability to offer women a way to highlight their story & grow their business. We also make our workshops feel like VIP experiences and ensure each member has the chance the shine bright like a diamond. Philanthropy is always a big part of our mission, so we connect members with give back opportunities. Our girl gang packs a lot of punch!

Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
As far as education goes, I’m obsessed with the podcast “How I Built This”. I seek out stories about people overcoming daily challenges & huge obstacles and this podcast is filled with great stories from founders of big brands like Soul Cycle, Lärabar, and Spanx.

When it comes to business tools, I’m a huge fan of Trello. Trello helps me keep track of all my big & small to-dos in a visual way. I can also set deadlines and assign tasks to my V.A. I joke about adding a line to the famous Steve Jobs quote, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” I think it should be, “Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay organized.” You could be the most ambitious boss babe in the world, but if you’re lost in your business and losing track of deadlines, it’s gonna be a tough road. Find what works for you & werk it.

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