“Nutrition & A Cleaner Lifestyle Will Help You In All Areas Of Your Life, Including Your Business & Your Relationships”

Leadership Lessons With Authors Cindy and Laura Massari

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Leadership Lessons With Authors Cindy and Laura Massari

We’d love to help people realize that nutrition and living a cleaner lifestyle will help you in all areas of your life, including your business & your relationships. Cindy has been following a nutritionist for 25 years and Laura for 15 years and it’s such an important part of our lifestyles. It keeps us feeling good and focused.

I had the pleasure to interview entrepreneurial mother-daughter team Cindy and Laura Massari authors of “PASSIONISTAS: Tips, Tales and Tweetables From Women Pursuing Their Dreams”. Their book is a collaboration of trials, triumphs, inspiration, vision, service leadership lessons learned, the power of persistence, and more. Cindy and Laura share their story of how their company came to be, including the ups and downs, being vigilant and protecting your business like a new born, their inspirations in the world of business, and what it’s like to be a powerful business woman in today’s world.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a little more about you and your companies backstory?

We are Cindy & Laura Massari, a mother/daughter team from Westchester, NY that created a chic fold up tote line called The Flip Flop Bitch ® . Our totes are currently hand made by seamstresses with great craftsmanship and they come in a large variety of colors and fabrics. Our two main categories are sparkly totes and vegan leather totes (which are also reversible & machine washable). All our totes fold up into their own matching wristlet which makes them easily portable and the presentation very giftable.

We are thrilled that our tote bag line has received a lot of media & press over the past few years. We were featured on the TODAY Show as a “Favorite Thing” by Kathie Lee Gifford, in a bridal segment on Rachael Ray, and “What’s Trending” on z100 with Elvis Duran & Carla Marie. We have also been spotted at the Oscars as written up Cindy Adams of the NY Post and have several photos of celebrities posing with our bags, such as Carson Kressley, Beth Stern, and Coco (wife of Law & Order’s “Ice T”). All of this press can be seen on our website
 The story behind our totes is that one night before Cindy had created the business, she was walking in NYC & carrying a sparkly tote that she had made for herself. She was carrying her own comfy flip flops with her because she was wearing stilettos and knew that her heels would soon be coming off. Achy feet are not an option! Once she made the switch (in style!) her friend, who’s feet were blistered and bleeding from her heels and went barefoot on the dirty streets of Manhattan, exclaimed with envy “ugh! What are you a Flip Flop Bitch!!??”. And Cindy said “that’s exactly what I am!!” And the business was born.
 This tote is very versatile and while it was originally created to carry a change of shoes, it now carries everything. It’s great for travel, weddings, commuting, the gym (Zumba girls go wild for the sparkly ones!) the beach, you name it!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that has happened to you in the course of your career?

Where do we start!? We have had a LOT of fun adventures since starting this company, from carrying a huge fabric roll through Times Square in a black plastic garbage bag resembling a body and no one even looking at us twice (we then proceeded to dress it up with sunglasses & a hat & seat it at our lunch table) to Cindy dancing on stage with Carson Kressley at Bloomingdales. We have so much fun and have many much more outrageous stories that we won’t put in print LOL.

But one of our most exciting moments was sitting in our kitchen in Katonah, NY and the TODAY show with Kathie Lee & Hoda was about to conclude when our Flip Flop Bitch tote came on the air without us having any previous knowledge of this! We had tried for months to get a bag to the show & finally we were able to gift Kathie Lee a tote at a meet & greet for her wine company, Gifft, & unbeknownst to us, she featured it as one of her “Favorite Things” a few weeks later. We cried and jumped for joy! It was one of the most gratifying moments in our young business.

What have been some of the most interesting or exciting things that have happened since being featured in “PASSIONISTAS” or creating the Flip Flop Bitch?

After Passionistas was launched we became a bestseller in multiple categories on Amazon! We have met so many influential business people & celebrities along our journey that we would have never met if not for this business. We have attended entrepreneurial workshops with the founders of Rent the Runway & Birch Box which was amazing and have also auditioned for Shark Tank which was very exciting, and of course so competitive.

Who in the world of business and entrepreneurialism have inspired you the most? Why?

Lori Greiner has been a huge inspiration for us! We love her on Shark Tank & have purchased many of her fantastic products from QVC, we just love her!

Your write up in “PASSIONISTAS” is to inspire other women and future entrepreneurs, did you have any literature to draw inspiration when writing for the book?

We had read Lori Greiner’s book “Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! Make Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality” and “The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It Into a Global Brand” by Pam & Gela the founders of Juicy Couture. Both of these books were about women who had ideas and went for it, we especially identified with Pam & Gela because they were really scrappy girls.

What impact as women in business do you hope to leave in the world?

That you can achieve anything when you have passion and you put in the hard work. You are capable of any dream you want to achieve!

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an entrepreneur like the both of you?

You really need to love what you are doing and you have to be committed to living it morning noon and night. There are a lot of obstacles you will face every step of the way and you need to keep pushing & not give up. It always helps to have a really good partner to keep you motivated and vice versa when times get tough & you feel like giving up.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We’d love to help people realize that nutrition and living a cleaner lifestyle will help you in all areas of your life, including your business & your relationships. Cindy has been following a nutritionist for 25 years and Laura for 15 years and it’s such an important part of our lifestyles. It keeps us feeling good and focused.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) People will make you promises & not follow through: Many people or even large businesses will tell you one thing and do another. It’s really shocking how incompetent some people can be or how inconsiderate. So just get used to it & expect it. Develop a thick skin

2) Trademarking can be very expensive: We learned this the hard way. We were told that our name was free & clear in the registry when a search was done but we ran into some issues and it became much more expensive than we expected!

3) Family & friends may not be supportive of you: when you start to get real notoriety expect people to change their attitudes towards you & experience negativity or negative remarks. It’s a shame, but it happens.

4) Always expect the unexpected: Just when you think that what you have done won’t have an impact, amazing things surface and help your business. It’s always when you least expect it, so just keep the faith

5) That this will be 24/7: You eat, live & breathe your business. It is always there and you better make sure that you love & have passion for what you are doing. What others perceive as work is enjoyment & happiness for us

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Lori Greiner or Barbara Corcoran! We love them both for the strong women that they are & all that they have accomplished. They are both also very stylish and sassy, which we identify with and is right up our alley!

Partnering up with either one of them would be a dream come true because we feel that they would love our story & our product. We understand that these two wonderful women are always interested in the people behind the product & their personal stories, not just the product. We put a lot of love into our business and write handwritten notes to every customer. Ok ladies, hope to see you at lunch soon!! 😉

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