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Hotshot #9

“When I was little, I used to find things around the house to sell and I would set up a lemonade stand on my street. There was a lot of construction going on, so I would tell the construction workers that they could get lemonade if they bought two things.

I grew up in Princeton, NJ and moved to New York and did the whole Wall Street thing at Goldman Sachs. It wasn’t until 9/11 that I had the realization of, “What do I really want to do with my life?”. I wanted to do something that made me happy and that I was passionate about every day. I got married and had kids, but that entrepreneurial side was still there, so I started a clothing store in Princeton. After going through a divorce, I decided I needed to take that concept and make it bigger.

I had a lot of family in the midwest and grew up coming to Chicago. I came here on a girls weekend and saw a little vacant store while walking up Oak Street one day. I said, “This is it! This is my store, I know it!”. After a lot of negotiating to get in, I opened Luxaby Baby & Child, thus starting my whole love affair with Chicago. It’s the city that gave me a shot and believed in me. My kids were still in school in Princeton and I now had split parenting time with their dad, so it was difficult leaving them those weeks, going through a divorce, trying to build a company and getting people to believe in my concept all at once.

I had that store for a few years until my ex-husband expanded his business down to Florida, so I closed up shop and moved there with my girls so they could stay near their dad. Since then I’ve started @HillenBRANDMedia, helped start @EyeOnNY and @EyeOnChicago, and starred in Season 1 of @SocialMovementTV. The one piece of advice I would give to anyone is to step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and you’ll be shocked at just how much you can accomplish.

Coffee is my driving fuel. People ask me if I’m married, single, divorced… I say, “No, I’m in a relationship with coffee.” Coffee shops are where I have a lot of my meetings and gather with friends. Grabbing coffee is the new happy hour and @DollopCoffeeCo has always been a go-to!”

- Molly, Entrepreneur