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Robert Trigaux

St. Petersburg company hits No. 3 in ranking of fastest-growing, woman-led businesses



rhondashear.jpgWake up and good morning. St. Petersburg's intimate apparel retailer and wholesaler, Shear Enterprises Inc., ranks No. 3 nationwide in an annual nationwide listing of the 50 fastest growing women-led companies. The ranking, which will be made public shortly, cites executive Rhonda Shear (left), for founding the business in 2003 and achieving $73 million in revenues in 2011. The ranking are done annually by the Women Presidents' Organization, a global membership group based in New York, that will announce the complete list at its annual conference this week. The top ten names, including Shear, are reported in the Wall Street Journal here. To be eligible, companies must be private held, women-owned or led, and generated at least $500,000 in revenue in 2007 and at least $2 million in 2011, among other criteria. The Journal reports that 350 companies competed in the rankings.

rhondashearsleftmichelecaperellmaisonrougecustomercheriediez2007.jpgShear, a former "Miss Louisiana" beauty queen, is also known from her work on the USA Network's movie series "USA: Up All Night." Area folks may also know her as the entrepreneur behind Maison Rouge lingerie shop first opened in St. Petersburg in 2007. That's Shear in the photo, right, on the left holding up some merchandise for a customer. (Photo: Cherie Diez, Tampa Bay Times.)

Here's the "Best Tip" offered up by Shear, as noted in the Journal story: "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! I decided not to have any other investors in Shear Enterprises but my partner in life, my husband."

(Another St. Petersburg company that's red hot, woman-owned and led that was too small to qualify for this list company may soon make its debut on it. Defense contractor Crystal Clear Technologies, started by Crystal Culbertson, made Inc. magazine's list in 2011 as the fastest growing company in all of Florida. Read more here.)

Shear Also has a kindred spirit in Tampa Bay: Another woman entrepreneur in women's shapewear clothing who did her own thing and recently became the youngest self-made woman billionaire... in the world. That would be Clearwater's born and bred Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. Read more here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

[Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 6:59am]


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