Interview with Meghan Shannon, Founder of Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Meghan Shannon, Founder of Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions. She told us all about her business and her experiences as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

Small Business View: Can you tell us about your business and what you do?

Meghan Shannon: Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions is a small, boutique-style agency specializing in performance American Sign Language interpretation for concerts and music festivals. This allows music lovers in the Deaf community access to enjoy the show.

SBV: How did you get into this business?

MS: After graduation from Gallaudet University in 2003 in a special program for hearing students, I began my interpreting career in the DC Metro area. Some Deaf friends of mine were interested in seeing my other friends’ local band, so I interpreted just for fun. 

Everyone loved it and I ended up traveling and interpreting with that same band for a couple of years. From there, I began work at larger agencies for big venues and festivals, falling in love with the craft and service a little bit more every day. This year, I decided to take this passion and skill set to the next level with my own agency.

SBV: What is the most enjoyable thing about this business?

MS: The performances, of course! I also love the preparation and creativity it requires to take the lyrics of a song, figure out to the best of my ability what the intent of the words were, then turn them into American Sign Language, while keeping the rhythm and musicality enough for the Deaf concertgoers to sign along (and still have them make sense in ASL!) It’s more challenging than it looks.

SBV: What are some of your greatest challenges?

MS: Between the Deaf community, the interpreting world and the music industry, there are many cultural factors that need to be navigated with sensitivity and thought. This is an important aspect of bridging the worlds, and it takes constant attention to do it as appropriately as possible. 

SBV: If you could provide any advice to fellow business owners, what would it be?

MS: Get a mentor; in fact – get several. This is my second business and this time around, I have actual accountants. Consider part of the investment into the business the learning curve – pay for the expertise you don’t have (and if you’re not sure whether you have it or not, ask World Advisory!) It’s worth it to learn how to be an entrepreneur, even if this time around isn’t the one. 
You can learn more about Meghan and Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions at

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Interview with Kathi Harris, Founder of Hat-a-Tude

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kathi Harris, Founder of Hat-a-Tude. Her beautiful custom hats are worn at many of America’s most glamorous events, including the Kentucky Derby.
Kathi Harris, Founder of Hat-a-Tude
Small Business View: Can you tell us about your business and what you do? 
Kathi Harris: I custom design and trim ladies hats for all occasions, seasons and head sizes. My business is now primarily online through my website
I offer personal service by interviewing and helping ladies choose a hat which will not only match their outfit and occasion, but also flatter them and express their individual style.
SBV: How did you get into this business?
KH: My hat destiny has always been customer driven. Unlike many millinery designers, I actually began because women were ASKING me to make hats. I was already wearing hats. Not only as a fashion statement but to cover my overwhelming life of “bad hair days.” 
In my search of hats, I encountered two major obstacles. Hats were always too big in head size. I would turn my head and the hat was still pointing in the other direction. Second issue was there are some really, REALLY poorly trimmed (decorated) hats out there. Downright ugly and not fashion friendly.
I soon found I wasn’t alone and I had a market for my passion…hats! 
SBV: What is the most enjoyable thing about this business?
KH: Designing! I love the creativity of putting a new hat design together. Each January I go to NYC (Accessories Show and Garment District) to gain inspiration and purchase hats and trims. It is also important I be aware of the Spring fashion trends and color. 
My second favorite part of my business is trimming each hat as ordered and bringing all the work together. Client, Hat, Ribbon, Flower or Feather!
SBV: What are some of your greatest challenges?
KH: The greatest challenge was 10 years ago when I began selling online. Fit was a big issue so I sell all my hats by head size in inches (I tell client how measure on website). Part of my interview includes a ladies height (proportion to size of hat/brim) and face shape. Frequently she will also email me a picture of her outfit for assistance in matching colors. Next came shipping challenge! Hats don’t like to be crushed! Mine are all shipped In Hat Box/Bag and then in shipping carton.
SBV: If you could provide any advice to fellow business owners, what would it be?
KH: Pay attention to what your competition is doing. See what is being offered in your industry and find what isn’t. I found custom trimmed and sized hats were not being offered in a moderate price range by anyone online. That is where I have positioned myself. 
Personal Service is also becoming a factor in purchasing options. Everyone wants to feel their needs are special. So, I answer the phone and email personally. I care!
You can view and purchase Kathi’s beautiful custom hats at

Interview with Leslie A. Bray of Leslie Arnelle

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Leslie A. Bray of the Washington, D.C. area. She told us about her style and media company Leslie Arnelle and her experiences in entrepreneurship. We hope you enjoy!

Small Business View: Can you tell us about your business and what you do?

Leslie Bray: Founded in 2005, Leslie Arnelle is a style and media online boutique company based in Washington, DC. We offer services for individuals, professional, corporate and entertainment industry clients.

As the creative force behind Leslie Arnelle, I have proven  my natural skills in styling by acquiring clients such as TJX Companies and MTV, as well as being featured on Fox 45 and NBC 4.

Through our fashion services, our goal is to deliver impeccable style and a stunning presence. Through Leslie Arnelle TV, our goal is to shine light on people that exude style, talent, and great stories.

You can shop our online boutique for items that will surely add a fab statement to your wardrobe.

Our mission and motto is, “Live well. Live fabulous!”

SBV: How did you get into this business?

LB: I have always loved fashion and beauty, so it was natural for me to pursue it as a career. I’ve tried the corporate world and it never worked out for me, so I was forced to make a career out of what I love to do.

SBV: What is the most enjoyable thing about this business?

LB: I get to enhance a person’s beauty and style which makes them feel better on the inside and look spectacular on the outside.

SBV: What are some of your greatest challenges?

LB: Finding outlets (media) who believe in your talent enough to give Leslie Arnelle a chance to prove we are awesome at what we do as a business to be displayed on a national based platform.

SBV: If you could provide any advice to fellow business owners, what would it be?

LB: Don’t throw in the towel ever. Believe in your talent and keep going until something clicks!

You can visit Leslie Arnelle at