Two-Bit Dream

by Mary Shipp Bartlett

I started my own business at age 7, due to a surplus of avocados in my Glendale backyard, free to me for the picking. The lure of easy money was irresistible. With help from my older sister, I set up a card table in front of our house and sold the fruit for 25 cents each. The operation lasted one week, when supplies dwindled, neighborly kindness waned, and my interest flagged. I took my $17 in sales, split it with my sister, and blew my profits on bubble gum, Wonder Woman comic books, and a collar for my fox terrier. Had I been prescient, I might have banked the money, or at least saved the comic books.

Thus, early in life, I discovered I was not cut out for the business world. I didn’t have the patience, or the interest. But I suspect there is much more to it than that. I wonder what blend of optimism, self-confidence, and comfort with risk-taking inspires or pushes a person to run her own business. And is there a touch of luck involved?

To find out, for this issue, we sought out examples of successful enterprising women. We didn’t have to look farther than our own campus coffeehouse. The Motley managers, featured on page 14, are as confident and hard-working a group of women as you’re likely to find on any campus. Often they go into business on their own after college, taking with them lessons and skills learned at Scripps.

Scripps seems to naturally produce self-motivated businesswomen who are involved in a wide range of entrepreneurial endeavors. You can read their stories, beginning on page 19. And if you have a story to tell about your own career, as an employee or as a business owner, please share it with us in “The Career Game,” which concludes in the summer issue of the Scripps Magazine.

I still love guacamole.