“I love that by providing a scholarship, I’ll impact one person’s life, watch that process as she grows and pay it forward,” the entrepreneur and inventor writes.
When I started my company in 1996, I had no experience in bringing a product to life or in how to run a company, but I made up for it with a crazy amount of drive. My dream was to make and market a unique earring organizer. Without a clue where to start, I went step by step, figuring it out. I truly believe if you have a dream and put your mind to it, you can make anything happen. It wasn’t money that drove me; it was a desire to create and help others.
My idea came out of a need I felt all women had to store their earrings better. So I patented it, made a prototype, found a toolmaker and manufacturer and a book that listed retailers across the country. I also found an old injection-molding factory in Chicago. It ran 24 hours, and the women they assigned to pack my product spoke Spanish, so I learned to speak it, too. I came in every day to work alongside these women, and I value my relationships with them to this day. When the factory foreman once pressured them to package bad product, these ladies risked their jobs to let me know, which I’ll never forget.
While I’ve always given to humanitarian causes, I love that by providing a scholarship, I’ll impact one person’s life, watch that process as she grows and pay it forward. I recently started [to launch] a movement to inspire young and old, male and female, to know and believe that they can be anything they want to be. I am living proof that if you have a dream and drive, you can make anything happen.
Greiner is an entrepreneur, inventor and regular on ABC’s Shark Tank.
This story first appeared in the 2017 Women in Entertainment Power 100 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.