Celebrating Women-Owned Small Business Leaders This October 2023

Tax Trailer and FairTrade Caravans: Women-Owned Small Businesses Making an Impact

There are a lot of impactful causes and movements to celebrate this October. October is National Women’s Small Business Month and National Fair Trade Month. Two celebrations and causes impact the lives of two incredible women. Meet Chelle Martinez and Carol Fassino, who, through challenges and triumphs, successfully run their small businesses. Both of these women have inspired us immensely at LRobInspires.

“SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC, THERE HAS BEEN A DRAMATIC INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF WOMEN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT THE U.S. IN 2019, BEFORE THE PANDEMIC STARTED, 28% OF NEW BUSINESS OWNERS WERE FEMALE. TWO YEARS LATER, THAT PERCENTAGE INCREASED TO 49%…”

business.com

Elevating Small Businesses

Chelle Martinez is the COO of Tax Trailer, a virtual accounting firm based out of Austin, TX. She has a passion for helping small businesses thrive. From taxes and CPA services to payroll, they assist and consult on a variety of aspects. Tax Trailer wants their clients to focus on what they’re good at and let the accountants take care of the numbers.

It’s important to sort out financials and tax preparedness at the beginning so you understand what you need to pay.  It means you can avoid mistakes from the start. Chelle suggests to every business, no matter the size: “have a good accountant CPA that you can ask questions of and make sure nothing is overlooked. This will surely help with the success of your venture. If you’re a small business, have a conversation with someone like Chelle to make sure you’re on the right track.

The Tax Trailer is a full-service tax preparation and small business services and consulting firm.

Moving Into Leadership

Chelle has worked at Tax Trailer since 2006, and although she has run this company for years, she has now moved into a leadership role. Since the company started with other owners, when she began playing a bigger part, she was faced with the challenges of forming her own sense of values and vision for Tax Trailer. This new role required her to navigate a new level of responsibility.

Tax Trailer has always been a strong woman-owned business. They choose to hire a diverse group of people to bring different approaches and aspects to their work. Chelle expressed her enthusiasm for seeing more women in the accounting industry.

When asked about how being a woman-owned small business has impacted her organization’s culture and value, she said,

“I LEAD WITH WHO I AM. I WANT TO NURTURE AND CARE FOR MY EMPLOYEES, WHICH HAS KEPT PEOPLE ALONG WITH ME FOR A LONG TIME.”

Finding a Balance

In running a business, being a mother, and still trying to make time for herself, Chelle is thankful that virtual working has changed the landscape. Where she would’ve spent time commuting to and from an office, she can spend with her daughter when she gets home from school. She feels blessed to have an involved husband and father and a community of parents around her who help to support one another.

“I THRIVE IN DOING A LOT, MY CALENDAR IS ALWAYS FULL. I SAY YES, PROBABLY EVEN WHEN I SHOULDN’T.”

For women, the hustle and bustle can seem never-ending. With so many different roles that women hold, it is important to find balance and find time to spend with yourself doing things to better and be kind to yourself. Chelle finds her balance in music. A musician at heart surrounded by a vibrant music community, she is in three different bands. If you ever find yourself on a video chat with Chelle, you may see her office filled with guitars. A space surrounded by things she loves.

Changing the Landscape of Fundraising

Carol Fassino is the founder of FairTrade Caravans, a woman-owned business promoting fair trade fundraising. They are an online platform that allows schools and non-profits to set up events digitally, have their communities purchase fair trade, ethically sourced, sustainable products, and receive 20% of the profits toward their chosen cause.

In the past, Carol had volunteered with a fair trade non-profit where she learned the value of fair trade and purchasing items that made a positive impact on the seller’s life. She wanted to connect that interest in fair trade products with philanthropy. She noticed other parents wanted to buy to support the school or cause but did not actually want the products. And from these realizations, the idea for FairTrade Caravans was born.

Acknowledging the Risk

Through trials and surveys, Carol built a plan for her business that would make a positive impact on the world and change the way fundraising was done. Her very first business idea was not practical and caused her to pivot and decide to pursue an online business.

“Running your own business is always a risk,” Carol says.

When starting a business, there is always a level of risk. In this case, the risk factor caused Carol to hold off making an investment and wait a year. She worried about the initial step of setting up her business. But in the end, she overcame the fear and pushed through to create a meaningful business that is focused on making a difference in the fair trade space.

Building a Network

When Carol started, she began attending events local to her to network with other women entrepreneurs and established women-owned businesses. However, as FairTrade Caravans moved from local to nationwide, she felt a need for resources and perspectives from other people who were on a national scale as well.

She turned to virtual networking, one of the groups being Women Inspiring Women through LRobInspires, a forum to get together to see the challenges other small businesses are experiencing and solving.

“I have met so many people from so many different walks of life,” said Carol.

A Dedication to Fair Trade

October is National Fair Trade Month, which is all about promoting buying from businesses committed to fair trade. Most simply put by Carol herself, she says:

“FAIR TRADE IS ABOUT BEING FAIR.”

A goal of FairTrade Caravans is to bring awareness to what fair trade is and how it impacts the lives of people around the world in all aspects of the supply chain. It’s important to think about what the lives of those creating the products we use every day are like. Are their conditions safe? Is there child labor? Do they receive fair pay?

THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE ANY PRODUCT OF ANY TYPE ARE JUST LIKE YOU AND I. THEY HAVE LIVES, THEY HAVE FAMILIES, THEY NEED TO PARTICIPATE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES

Carol Fassino

Through purchasing fair trade, you can show that you respect the person who made what you are buying and that you are willing to pay a fair price. When asked what she would do to celebrate Fair Trade Month, Carol said:

“BUY ONE FAIR TRADE PRODUCT, TO START.”

Every purchase you make can make an impact on the lives of others. Looking for fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate is a great place to start. So next time you’re at the store, ordering online, or at the grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for fair trade labels and seals. And if you’re unsure if a product is fair trade, look to the internet for your answer.

To learn more about these two incredible women and their businesses, visit their websites at Tax Trailer and FairTrade Caravans.
Happy Women-Owned Small Business Month!

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