Take a Chair Ladies

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Take a Chair Ladies referral group (Photo by Macie May/ Longmont Observer)

“Welcome, ladies. Come on in, take a chair and let’s talk business.”

This idea inspired a local referral group to begin in a one woman’s kitchen in September 2006, where, originally, local businesswomen were invited into a member’s home and encourage to take a chair, any chair.

Now Take a Chair Ladies (TACL) meets twice a month over breakfast for one hour. “Time is precious so meetings are strictly one hour,” states Lucy Tuck.

TACL began because a group of women who were already involved in local referral groups felt that those groups were expensive and not meeting their needs, according to the understanding of Tuck, former chair of TACL.

TACL was established as a local, not-for-profit referral group with the intention of promoting businesses owned by women. “It has ended up providing a whole lot more with education, networking, mutual support and charitable donations,” states Tuck.

Serving the mission to expand business through referrals, mutual support and education, TACL helps and supports women who desire to launch and expand their small businesses.

TACL feels it is important to bring in speakers to educate the group on topics that they could not supply for themselves. Tuck believes that it is also about, “building up the community, not just our members. We really want to get the word out about everybody.”

Take a Chair Ladies referral group (Photo by Macie May/ Longmont Observer)

At a recent meeting the group invited fashion stylist and small business owner Rachel Lefort to talk about the impacts of fashion on business and how to accommodate personal style into business attire.

Lefort has a long career in fashion that got put on hold when she and her husband moved to Colorado from New York. After moving to the Niwot area she found a calling to helping people style themselves and began her own small, local business.

“I hope they took away some high level tips about putting thought into your wardrobe and taking a little bit of time to plan how you want to present yourself.,” says Lefort about presenting to the group.

This organization is focused on helping one another and creating a sense of community and family. In order to preserve this feeling the group is kept to no more than 20 members.

There are simple rules established for membership, each member may represent two industries at a time but the group does not allow the duplication of industries.

They believe that this approach allows them to focus on the individual business and not feel as though they have to compete with one another.

One of the more treasured aspects of the organization is the opportunity to hear different perspectives from a small group of women who are or have experienced a similar obstacle.

“We are always keeping one member in mind,” says Martha Stott, TACL member for eight years.

Tuck adds, “everyone brings a slightly different perspective because we all come from different industries. When people are looking for different marketing ideas, it is so amazing the different ideas that people come up with.”

Not only do these ladies focus on supporting each other’s business, but they also provide moral support for those who are getting back into the workforce and those struggling to manage home and work demands. They have a portion of their breakfast devoted to announcing and celebrating each other.

Prior to joining TACL, Stott had been a member of another Leads group that met weekly. “It was expensive and they have very strict rules about member’s obligations.” This is one of the ways that TACL differs from other Leads groups.

TACL prides itself on being helpful and kind to the needs of all its members with the understanding that even if you don’t have a lead today, you may in the future.

The group is actively looking for new members. If local business members are interested in joining, TACL encourages them to make contact through the website. A list of careers not currently represented in the group is also available online.

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