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Helping Girls Buy Into Business World

April 21, 1999|BOOTH MOORE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

You can't find the kind of fun jewelry you see in a magazine, so you make it yourself. You like to keep busy and have energy to burn at the end of the day. You're on a tight budget and decide to start a small business on the weekend to make some extra cash. If any of these apply to you, you may be a "girl boss."

Thousands of young girls will go to work Thursday as part of Ms. Foundation for Women's Take Our Daughters to Work Day, and this year's event will have an instruction manual of sorts: "Girl Boss: Running the Show Like the Big Chicks" (Girl Press, 1999). Author Stacy Kravetz created it as a guide to provide entrepreneurial skills, stories and encouragement, and it includes advice from Dineh Mohajer (founder of Hard Candy cosmetics), actress Gillian Anderson (the formidable Scully on "The X-Files"), Christy Haubegger (founder of the first bilingual teen magazine, Latina), and other chicks who rule.

"The book is designed to teach girls what their potential is and what is out there," Kravetz says. "It's not so much that there's still that culture that it's a man's world; it's just about girls realizing they shouldn't let anything stop them."

"Girl Boss," available in bookstores, has a hip graphic style, is packed with quizzes, sidebars and profiles of successful female entrepreneurs, and reads like a zine. Kravetz believes it will appeal to creative teenage girls (and older ones, too).

"Maybe they have done crafty things at school like making jewelry, sewing or painting on things, but haven't yet thought about starting a business in a formal way," she says. "The book will open up some possibilities."

Chapter headings include "Do What You Like--Turn Your Favorite Hobby Into a Biz," "Negotiating Basics" and "Where to Go for Advice--Finding Good Mentors and Other Help." Kravetz also addresses how to have a business and a life.

"No matter how successful you are, if it's one-dimensional you are going to regret it," she says.

Girls will find tips about putting things in writing and how much money to invest. There's even a sample money work sheet for a beaded jewelry business. "Girl Boss" is full of resources, including periodicals, book lists and a large number of Web sites for researching business brainstorms.

"With the Internet, there's no barrier to entry. It's so easy even for teenagers to reach out and connect," she says. "There are also a lot of small-scale businesses you can find on the Web that can serve as examples. It's good for girls to know they don't have to be Coco Chanel. It's OK to have something small."

Kravetz, 31, also wrote "Welcome to the Real World: You've Got an Education, Now Get a Life!" (W.W. Norton, 1997). And she is a regular contributor to the women's Web site, http://www.ivillage.com, where she writes monthly columns on financial issues.

Kravetz was a girl boss when she worked as a freelance writer. But as an L.A. correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Kravetz now has a boss of her own.

"You can still have a boss and be a girl boss, too," she jokes. You just need to feel like you're running things, even if you are not."

Meet Kravetz in person Thursday at 6 p.m. at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 660-1175. Girls are invited to bring their business ideas.

Booth Moore may be reached by e-mail at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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