At the start of 2014, my husband and I took a leap of faith. Like millions of other innovative and hard-working Americans, we made the decision to start a business. And like our fellow entrepreneurs, we had hopes and dreams – but no clue as to what the future held.

Pink Lily was born from an eBay shop that was more like a side hobby than a revenue stream. When we transitioned to an established website and officially launched the business, we had a seven-month-old baby and zero investment capital. Without funding and without any assurances of what was ahead, we took the risk. To keep us motivated, we set what we felt was an ambitious revenue goal for year one - $50,000.

I'm a big believer in goals – professional, personal, mental and physical. My standards have always been high, and I was raised in a household that prized and promoted the can-do American spirit we all hold dear. I was taught that a strong work ethic is the engine that powers dreams, no matter your origin story or circumstances.

Tori and her husband

But that's not how I was raised, and that's not going to fulfill me or my husband in the long-term. Instead, we're brainstorming beyond financial metrics and thinking through the larger impact of our business. We're at the stage where it's time to complement our next set of revenue goals with customer impact, employee relations, philanthropy and community engagement goals. We know that by honing in on the aspects of business often viewed as secondary, we are actually supporting future revenue goals. Strong employee engagement leads to greater productivity and lower turnover. Dynamic, two-way customer relationships lead to social media influence and brand loyalty. Philanthropic and community investment leads to better brand positioning and reputation.

These components are inextricably linked to financial success, especially for a fast-growing business. How much time have you devoted to each of these areas?

Tori Gerbig

In my head, I have a picture of the world in 2038. It's a world filled with more love, kindness and generosity. My daughter and son are thriving, and so is our family business. Pink Lily has become a trusted brand and a household name around the globe – a beacon of positive energy and a business that sets the standard for giving back and paying it forward. We're exceeding our revenue goals, but that's only part of the story. Far greater than our financial achievements are our contributions personally and philanthropically. We're successful because of our strong relationships with customers and communities, our faith and our unparalleled work ethic.

This vision of the future may sound like a pipe dream, but we're already working daily to achieve it. And I'll never forget that some friends and acquaintances were equally skeptical about Pink Lily finding any kind of success. They could never have imagined that we'd earn $50 million in our first four years. But unlike them, we could imagine it. And that made all the difference.


Tori Gerbig