Female entrepreneurs discuss how to bounce back from failures

Owner of The Healthy Nut Veronica Clark shares the story of her business failure during Fuckup Nights Phoenix. (Stephanie Morse/DD)

Three female entrepreneurs shared their stories of failure and the lessons they learned at “Fuckup Nights” at Trunk Space Thursday.

The purpose of the event was to break the stigma of business failure and help people view it as a step toward success. Local organizations Fuckup Nights Phoenix, Get your PHX and Local First Arizona collaborated to host this particular show, which highlighted female entrepreneurs and business owners as a part of Women’s History Month.

Dee Dee Woods, who runs Dee Dee Did It, a local business providing event planning, photography, floral designs and catering, was the evening’s first presenter.

Woods said there is always failure because the client’s expectations may not be achievable and events do not always go as planned.

“In what I do in particular–in serving people–the potential is there in every job that I do and in every job that I do there is some f— up to some degree,” Woods said. “I use all of those as a learning experience.”

Radio host and architectural designer Jeremie “Bacpac” Franko presented her own story of business failure.

She shared the failure of her scenic background production business, a venture she said she undercapitalized. She noted that she failed to ask about the concepts she did not understand.

For Franko, however, the failure of this venture lead to greener pastures. She said without her failure she would not have gotten the opportunity to do the backdrop for a Tom Petty music video, which eventually led to a job working on backdrops for Universal Studios.

Veronica Clark, who runs The Healthy Nut, a health and wellness site offering yoga and weight management help, spoke about her past failure in real estate.

Like Franko, Clark said not asking questions was a factor in her failure. Clark used to work in banking, and she owned a group home and a sober living home. She said she went bankrupt after the 2008 housing crash.

“I come from a background where there wasn’t a lot of blueprints for success,” Clark said. “And me being like, ‘I think they’re going to think I’m a fraud if I ask for help.’ So, I didn’t know how to ask for help.”

Clark said her advice for rebounding from failure is to focus on self-care and surrounding yourself with honest people. She agreed with Franko that without her failure she would not have become a yoga instructor or started The Healthy Nut.

Each woman offered a different piece of advice, but they all emphasized the importance of learning from your mistakes and pursuing your passion.

“Go for you what you know, what your passion is,” Woods said. “There’s really no failure in that, even if you do have a difficult time or something doesn’t go quite the way you needed it to.”

This was the fifth Fuckup Nights Phoenix event to date. Fuckup Nights Phoenix organizer Leah Marché said she brought the event to Phoenix as a way to be innovative with the spoken word and spotlight amazing people in the community.

“It allows people to understand success is not an overnight thing,” Marché said. “I think we know that deep down, but it’s just when you look at the surface, you don’t see all that other stuff. It allows us to be vulnerable. It allows us to get better and to improve. So, I think that when people are able to share that we can be better in business, we can be better in our personal lives and better for the community.”

Contact the reporter at Stephanie.M.Morse@asu.edu.