Keryl Pesce took what could easily be one of the worst times in her life and turned it into a positive situation. It spawned the “Happy Bitch” brand that consists of a book,“Happy Bitch – the girlfriend’s straight-up guide to losing the baggage and finding the fun, fabulous you inside,” and the “Happy Bitch” wine, a chardonnay/pinot noir blend. The brand’s overall message is simple: Empower women.
The author and entrepreneur found time to chat with MyCity4Her about starting her brand, how she defines success and more in her Q&A 4Her interview.
Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
Yes and no. If you told me even just two years ago that within the same year, I would publish a book, start a radio show and launch a wine, I likely wouldn’t have believed it. With that said, once I decide to do something, once my mind is made up and I have the vision and know what it is I want to accomplish, it’s a done deal. I see the final outcome I want and it simply becomes a matter of execution. I’m “all in” to figure out how to make it happen. I designed the cover of my book, printed it out and wrapped it around another book I owned. I looked at it every day as I wrote my book, knowing it would become real. So yes with each project on its own, but I never thought I could make so much happen in such a short amount of time. I have to give kudos here to my partner in the wine, Debbie Gioquindo. She’s a dynamo. It would not have been possible without her.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
When it comes to the book, I underestimated how much time I would spend editing, but it makes all the difference in the world. I can’t describe it, but I knew when I nailed a chapter and would stay with it until I felt it. It took patience, which is sometimes challenging for me. When it comes to the wine, probably the amount of time involved getting it off the ground and the many details I never imagined I would have to tend to. From design, to packaging, to compliance, to marketing and selling, there is so much to know and do.
What is the best business-related advice you have ever been given?
Follow your passion and dream big. If you settle for doing anything less than what you love, you greatly reduce your chances of success. You will face many challenges and roadblocks. You have to go over them, under them, around them or right through them sometimes. It takes a tremendous amount of persistence and diligence to keep pushing forward. The love of what you do is what keeps you going.
What do you love most about what you do and why?
Impacting other people in a positive way. Hands down. When I know, either through the radio show, something someone read in my book, or by living my life as an example, another person will choose to carry less baggage and live happier or better, it’s an incredible feeling. I had a women email me and tell me that the introduction of my book alone got her through her first night alone after her husband left her. She shared that my words helped her see she was going to “. . . do this thing right and her children would be proud of how she handled it.” I’ll never forget those moments.
What if you knew then what you knew now – what would you do differently and why?
I’d probably bite off less. I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew. I get a big idea in my head and I’m off to the races. I absolutely love the creation process – taking something from a thought or an idea and turning into something real. But there is a tremendous amount of time and work involved. So I just keep on chewing.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
Spending relaxing time at home with my husband who I love so much, and our dog Ginger (a ridiculously cute bulldog/beagle mix). My idea of a perfect evening would be cooking a great meal with my husband, listening to music and sharing a bottle of wine. My down times are so rare. I treasure them.
How do you define success?
Loaded question. I read somewhere once that if you can lie down at night and know you did the best you could that day, you are a success. I believe that, but I admittedly put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to accomplish more. On one hand, I realize not many people have done in a lifetime what I’ve done in a year. On the other hand, I can tell you a day doesn’t go by that I don’t wish I could accomplish more. The real answer, and one I must remind myself of every day, is if you follow your dreams, have guts and persistence and use your knowledge, passion and talents to impact people around you in a positive way, you are successful. So thanks, you just helped me remind myself that as much as there is yet to do and accomplish, I am successful.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of women in business, what would it be?
Don’t focus on what you don’t want, focus on what you do want. Every challenge or perceived limitation is an opportunity. It really is. Don’t spend your precious time, thought and energy on what stands in your way. That’s a cop out. It’s not what happens to us that matters. It’s what we do with what happens to us that matters. I’m building a brand on the worst time in my life. If you want something badly enough and for the right reasons, there is always a way. You control your destiny.