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The UK’s largest independent membership network for women in business, everywoman, is inviting entries for the 2012 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Awards

Now in their fifth year, these awards recognise the achievements of women in the retail sector, with categories including "Entrepreneur of the Year" and "Woman of the Year". Keep reading for details of last year's winners in these categories.

By highlighting inspirational female role models who are excelling, the awards aim to demonstrate to other talented individuals the exceptional opportunities offered by a career in retail.

regine harrRegine Harr, founder of Nelou, is a cool woman. Her fashion startup for independent designers in Berlin has a great following and now she wants to move to Sillicon Vally to speed up the growth and get connected even more. Time for an interview with The Next Women.

Elizabeth Galton is a celebrated British creative talent. Creative Director of Links of London for two and a half  years, Elizabeth was credited with successfully modernising the brand’s design direction and steering  the company through the next stage of  growth and design evolution at the forefront of the British jewellery retail  scene.

As a Board member she contributed to taking the turnover  from £45 million in 2006 to £79 million  in 2009 and was responsible for directing store design, advertising campaigns and the full creative portfolio.

In 2010, Elizabeth was named in ‘Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Elite’ and was nominated for the ‘Women  to Watch’ Award; a cultural leadership programme celebrating the achievements of some of the most ambitious and talented women in the cultural and creative industries. Her  reputation grew globally as Creative  Director of Links of London with profile pieces in publications such as Elle Japan and Vogue.

Alle Fister is the Principal of Bollare Communications, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle public relations firm which partners with brands across three verticals: celebrity seeding, editorial coverage and digital consultancy. 

Since Alle founded Bollare in Los Angeles in 2006, the firm has grown to become a bi-coastal presence in the US and has worked with some of the best names in the business including ghd, Minkpink, Paper Crown, Ruthie Davis, Smythe, Quiksilver, and VANS.

Alle has been interviewed and featured in Chic CEO, Los Angeles Business Journal, Gen Lux, Wall Street Journal and Women’s Wear Daily for her entrepreneurial successes and expertise, and has been listed in the LA Business Journal 30 Under 30.

When Monif Clarke initially launched her plus size clothing range in 2006, she would pitch her design ideas to the major retailers, only to be told again and again that no-one would purchase her clothing: it was too trendy, too colorful, too sexy and their plus sized customers weren’t that fashion conscious.

The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series features Michelle Madhok, Founder, CEO & Chief Editor at SheFinds Media, which publishes SheFinds.com, Bridefinds.com and MomFinds.com.

Distributed via e-mail and blogs, these online publications help millions of busy women everywhere shop the web for the latest fashion and style finds. 

A widely regarded shopping expert, Michelle has shared her expertise through channels such as The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, The New York Times, and the Washington Post.

Prior to launching SheFinds, Michelle was the Director of Entertainment
Marketing for CBS Broadcasting New Media, then Group Director of
Editorial Products for women at AOL, where she oversaw all women's content. 

Her book Wear. This. Now. will be published in August 2012.

The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series features Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Executive VP & Artistic Director of OPI Products Inc., the world leader in professional nail care.

Shopping meets social this Christmas with introduction of innovative new Facebook application

With the Christmas season well and truly upon us, last week saw the launch of Shopcade, an unique, fun and interactive Facebook application which, for the first time, combines the elements of social media and shopping to create a truly social shopping experience that consumers can begin enjoying this Christmas.

Regardless of your political opinions and views on why our economy is tanking, we all have that favorite restaurant we still frequent, that favorite store we always love to shop, that hobby that we spend too much money supporting, or that indulgence  or addiction we just can’t give up. We, as America, are making choices every day where, and for what, we are spending (or wasting) our money. 

As successful businesswomen, we must be savvy as to how we capitalize our business dollars. As a small business owner, I feel strongly about the responsibility we have to economically support our colleagues, community, and country.

A remarkable recent movement is the 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday occurring on November 26th.

Sponsored by American Express, Small Business Saturday occurs during the heaviest shopping weekend of the year. Its purpose is to direct shopping towards your local small business rather than the large chain retail stores. Then, in turn, these businesses can invest back into the community and possibly even your business. “When we all shop small, it will be huge.”

Nike does it, Adidas does it, and Upperstreet does it: Design your own Shoes.

Julia Grinham is Co-Founder of Upper Street (with her sister Katy Chandler), the luxury shoe label where you can design your own shoes. The business was launched in spring 2010, and has since gone on to win hundreds of loyal customers, has won huge support from the media and fashion industries, and has been shortlisted for the Drapers Smaller ERetailer of 2011.

Here Julia gives us her Top 10 of Why Customization as a Business Model is a Great Route to Take: