Women Use Brains, Biz to Battle Recession

Hard times are leading some local entrepreneurs to think outside the box

Some local woman are using their heads to fight the financial hard times.

Lolly O’Dorisio plans to turn her living room into a boutique four times a year.

"I wanted something new and fun and different to do to bring some money into our family," O’Dorisio said.

The retired flight attendant started her own company, Shopping Therapy by Lolly, this spring and is now a distributor of the women’s clothing line Etcetera.  

Other women are also finding they can tap into their entrepreneurial spirit to help their family’s bottom line. Realtor Christina Catalano started a home-based business called Got Squeakers? when her real estate work took a hit because of the housing crisis. 

"When the market was so busy, I always just had so many referrals and I was so busy," Catalano said. "Once it slowed down, you had to work so much harder just to get the clients and to close deals."

Catalano still works as a Realtor, but instead of putting in 80-hour weeks, she invests her extra time in Got Squeakers? The children’s shoes with removable squeakers in the heels come in different styles and are named after her sons and the kids in their neighborhood. Their sales are helping Catalano pay the family’s bills.

"I mean, helping to pay the bills and buy school clothes, and it is summer -- there's always more expenses in summertime," Catalano said.

Stay-at-home mom Mira Masukawa is bringing in a second family income, too. Her company, MiraLucky, formed after she got patents for two specialized baby blankets, the Peek-a-Boo blanket and the Kangaroo cover.

"My husband works full-time, but just knowing that there's a second source is comforting," Masukawa said. "We're able to set goals for the future, save for retirement, plan family vacations -- things we wouldn't normally be able to plan for right now in this time of recession."

As O’Dorisio prepares for her next trunk show at the end of August, she said her side business seems recession-proof so far.  The breast cancer survivor even plans to donate some of her proceeds to nonprofits fighting breast cancer.

"Women always shop, and I can show them a way to make it affordable and fun and exciting," she said.

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