Dani Cone, CEO and Founder of Cone & Steiner General on e-comm expansion, self-care fails and shit-tons of money.

Dani Cone, outside the Cone & Steiner General downtown Seattle location. Photo by Nicole Proctor.

Dani Cone oversees six brick-and-mortar operations — three Cone & Steiner General stores and three Fuel Coffee shops. The idea behind her empire is simple — take care of people with good food, drinks and staples.

To support the growth of Cone & Steiner General, Dani raised money to launch an e-commerce platform and delivery service. It’s in beta while the team works out product assortment and logistics.

Dani built her companies on a tried-and-true retail business models. She uses city…


So you wanna know how to get others to do stuff for you.

After last week’s Q&A with Laura Clise, a few readers followed up to ask for more specific tips on how to coax other people to help with your business.

If only I could write a listicle for you. It’s just not that easy. There is no pill to take for a quick fix. You have to flex the ask muscle. And you have to figure out how to flex it in your own way.

From working with hundreds of startup CEOs over the years, I’ve observed that…


Meet the real deal, Laura Clise, CEO of Intentionalist and possessor of boundless vitality.

Laura Clise, CEO and Founder of Intentionalist.

It’s early December in Seattle. Gray and cold.

Look..over there! Beaming smile! Bright light on pitch stages! In cafes and gyms and shops! Dancing through Insta stories! It’s Laura Clise!

As the founder and CEO of Intentionalist, Laura is warming the startup scene, celebrating the color and character of local businesses and reshaping how we spend our money.

This month, Intentionalist celebrates its one-year anniversary with the launch of their Holiday Gift Guide.

Laura funded Intentionalist’s first year in business with personal savings and an iFundWomen…


“Illustration” by Britt Stromberg, a term used loosely and a teaching moment in that I need help with the graphics for Underwire. Leading by example here, people.

Why dialing back this time of year may be the best thing for your company culture.

Back off, lady

Here’s a radical idea for us over-achievers: This week, and for the rest of 2018, strive for a B-.

Effort-wise, unless you are performing surgery, dispensing meds, watching over little ones, shuttling precious cargo or flying airplanes, you probably don’t need to bring your A-game to work this week. Or to the meal you might prepare. Or the gifts you buy. Or whatever else you throw yourself into for the next six weeks.

B- is enough. B- is better than average. B- is human…


Jana Kleitsch, CEO of Wanderlust Society, writes about the other F word—failure.

In this Underwire exclusive, Jana Kleitsch, CEO of Wanderlust Society, writes about closing her company.

With her trademark humble intelligence and composure, Jana hits on the wrongs and rights of her three-year journey through the travel industry, including:

  • The importance of marketing and early lead generation
  • What not to do with a team of product geeks
  • Fundraising for introverts
  • Key insights to keep personal health in check

I’m writing on my failure and what went wrong. Britt wants me to be more raw, she thinks I’m not being honest enough because it hurts too much.

But for me the failure…


Meet the 16 women who made this year’s Fastest-Growing Public Companies in Washington State

Today I’m going all optimistic on your asses.

Instead of worrying about tomorrow’s election or despairing about our wide, troubled divide as a nation, today I choose the bright side.

My optimism stems from the work of data reporter Deena Zaidi of The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Last week the Journal published Ms. Zaidi’s annual list of the 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in Washington state. (Full report link, requires a subscription). There are 16 women-led companies on this list.

I combed through the results and calculated the total 2017 revenue generated by these women:


Kristen Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of Stylyze on pregnancy, taking leave, taking care and why you should stop waiting to have a baby (or whatever it is you’re waiting for).

Kristen Miller leads a tech company that helps major retailers offer personalized digital shopping experiences for their customers. Kristen has raised over $3.5 million in two rounds. Her customers are some of the biggest names in retail.

On December 23 of 2018, exactly one year to the date that she miscarried a baby in 2017, Kristen is due to give birth to a son with Down syndrome and a serious…


Channeling rage into conscious consumerism.

I’m mad as hell.

Nominations, white male tears, more lies, women wearing the mask of the patriarchy. That was an exhausting couple of weeks.

But it was Costco that broke me. While shopping for household staples, my teenage daughter dragged me to an overstuffed rack of The North Face down jackets. She declared that it’s 1) getting really cold outside and 2) she’s outgrown her old down coat.

I looked at the pricetag marked $149. I looked at the women swarming the jackets and shoving them into their carts without even trying them on, as if Jon Snow was coming for them personally and…


Read how Sarah LaFleur dialed in MM.LaFleur’s product-market fit to surmount the valley of death, vertically integrated to control their supply chain and invested wisely in content and offline strategy to build intense customer loyalty.

Underwire: One of the things many founders struggle with is the “valley of death.” It’s that time when your product is in market and you’re slogging to get traction. What was MM.LaFleur’s valley of death? And what got you out of that?

Sarah: I think there is not just one, but many valley of deaths. There’s also a false narrative that you get through this…

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