According to the latest census numbers (2008), women make $0.77 to every man's dollar (1) and the average revenues of majority women-owned businesses were still only 27% of the average of majority men-owned businesses (2). My hope for Sparking Cinderalla is to foster a community of support for female entrepreneurs as well as provide a little juicy insight into who these women are in their everyday lives. After all, as Mama Gena says, "Women are the greatest untapped natural resource in the world."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lori Cheek: Cheek'd

Name: Lori Cheek
Job Description: Founder/ CEO of Cheek'd
Company info:

Founded in NYC in April 2009 and Officially Launched in May 2010, Cheek'd is a savvy online social circuit which draws on the age old custom of networking with business cards. The company designs personal cards with clever catch phrases and unique ID numbers which direct card receivers to an online profile to learn more about the card giver. It's like online dating, only backwards. Photo by John Nasta.


1. What made you decide to start your company?

I'm actually an architect and one evening after a design event in Soho, a male colleague/ friend and I went across the street to grab a bite. While I'd excused myself from the table, he had written "want to have dinner?" on the back of his business card and slipped it to an attractive woman as he and I were leaving the restaurant. I loved the mystery behind this handsome stranger handing off this flirtatious gesture and immediately came up with the idea of creating these mysterious black cards with a variety of pre-printed "lines" (which could be used in many different scenarios) and a code that would lead to the card giver's online profile instead of offering their personal information on a typical business card. It's like online dating, in reverse. The cards would create real life/ real time connections and take the online dating world offline. Two years later, in May of 2010, I launched

2. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
We're shipping internationally for free and are currently in 39 states and 13 countries. We were featured on the cover of the NY Times Style Section back in July of 2010 and were coined as "the next generation of online dating." I clearly see us as that-- the next, where members don't have to sit behind computers shuffling through online profiles or counting on the chances that their soul mate is also on that same dating site-- we are providing the opportunity to find love in real life all over the world, in any situation at any time of day.

3. Who was your inspiration?
I've always had ideas and dreamt of creating my own business. The idea of Cheek'd, particularly, couldn't be left without action. I'd have to say my friend that night and the gesture of handing his card was ultimately the inspiration, but my drive to bring it to life is what has really brought it to this level of success.

4. What turns you on?
Humor. I think the Cheek'd cards are actually quite sexy because they all have a presumptuous sense of humor, with lines such as "act natural. we can get awkward later." or "i just put all my drinks on your tab." and "i'm totally cooler than your date." One can even customize the cards to say whatever they'd like and represent their own personality.

5. What advice do you have for tomorrow’s female entrepreneurs?
Coming up with an idea is relatively easy. Ideas come about every day. Making them happen is the hard part. It's cliche, but you only live once-- I've risked just about everything I have on this project and I'm gambling on ME (someone I know extremely well and trust will make this happen). It's been the most rewarding experience of my life. If you believe in what you're doing, jump in 100% and don't look back.

6. Tell us a sexy secret ;-)
I'm a magician and can make cards disappear. : )