273 Congress St., Portland
For any woman who has lived in the Portland area for more than five minutes, Angela Adams needs no introduction. Her eponymous collection of distinctive, colorful designs can be seen around the city in handbags, and in homes in a line of accessories that range from dish towels to area rugs that add a burst of modern style to any room. Many national magazines, including Coastal Living and Architectural Digest, have featured this Maine woman’s work. Adams founded the business in 1998, and since then has added new products, such as upholstered furniture, fabric, wall coverings, tile, bedding and bath products, and fine art prints. Adams is also helping to encourage the entrepreneur in other Maine artists by her serving on the board of the Maine Center for Creativity and hosting networking events for other creative professionals at her Portland studio.
What were your most important needs in getting started?
Having a good plan and setting my life up so I could really focus on getting the business up and running.
What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
I’ve always been goal oriented, whether it was in athletics, life or business. I think I’ve always embraced challenges and pushing myself and rallying a team to accomplish goals.
What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
One advantage might be that women are often underestimated. That can go both ways. Overall, I think the pros and cons balance out and it comes down to the basics at the end of the day. It is less about gender than it is about having a good plan, a strong team and a lot of hard work.
What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
Think about how you want to live your life. How much do you truly want to work? What’s most important to you? Design the whole lifestyle and the career should fit nicely in there if you consider all aspects of how it will fit into your other priorities, which might be family, exercise, hobbies, whatever it is that is important to you. Design it as a whole and it should feel inspiring and natural if you have considered it all in advance.