C4W Member Profile: Amanda Moreno Duke

What is your profession? Owner/Designer of Cutie Pa Tutus, manufacturer and retailer of our trademarked “Pa Tutus” (Pompom Filled Tutus) and Personalized, Reversible Super Hero Capes. Other products include Pa Tutu Onesies, Poofy Pompom Magic Wands, Pa Tutu Leggings, Outfits, and more.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? HA! Is there such a thing as a life outside your career when you own your own business?  I work 7 days a week, holidays, nights, etc.  But I love spending time with my kids, taking them to events & attractions around Charleston.  For adult time, I’m just happy to have a glass of wine (or two) with my friends and catch up, doesn’t matter where anymore.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I’ve been a fan for years but only a member for a few months.

What inspired you to become a member? The support I’ve received from other women, both locally and virtually through social media, has been tremendous.  I can’t say that my company would have come nearly this far without the advice, help, promotion, etc. of other women.  Because of that, I decided I’d like to be a part of the Center for Women to get more closely connected to local women and try to give back if I can.  The philosophy and mission of C4W is so inspirational that it was the obvious choice, and it’s a true honor to be a member.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? The C4W has helped me in so many ways already.  Besides winning the Power Up! Inspire Others award at last year’s Women in Business Conference, C4W helped point me in the right direction to improve my business plan, find financing for my company, and get connected with some influential women around town that can help advise me in developing my business strategy.  They put me in touch with the Local Development Corporation, which just approved my small business loan!!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? My entire business was basically founded & shaped because I’m a woman.  As a career woman turned mom, I aspired to find a balance between career and family.  My product was developed for my daughter, and once it started gaining attention, my drive to be a work at home mom fueled my determination to turn the hobby into a business.  My clients are mostly women, my end consumers are little women in the making…..every thing about my business is female-focused!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? I think it boils down to determination and drive.  I started this company with $150 to buy a sewing machine and some tulle; I had no family money to rely on for an investment, no savings and no business partner.  But through sheer determination—and with the help of good allies I’ve made along the way—I’ve built an international business in under two years.  I don’t sleep much, I have no free time, but I have determination to make my company succeed.  If you are determined to do something, dig in and put your determination to work.  Get it done.

Secondly, but not any less important is the power of relationships with other women.  Women will be your biggest cheerleaders, your best advisors and your most loyal customers.  Do anything you can to foster both IRL (in real life) and social media relationships, and remember to give back.  You must pay it back and pay it forward; when someone helps you, remember to help them in return.  Never underestimate the power of relationships.

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