When Good Girls Go Bad PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sara Celi   
Monday, 11 April 2011 07:33

041111FEATURE.jpg When Good Girls Go Bad
Inside look at Bad Girl Ventures

This micro-lending, fierceness fostering, start-up savvy organization just graduated a new crop of business women looking to take on the Tri-State and beyond. Learn more about Candace, BGV and the future faces of Cincinnati's new business frontier.

When Candace Klein launched her brain-child, Bad GirlVentures, a year ago, she says she didn’t know what to expect from the idea. Would anyone come forward to seek the business help? Would women out there with big ideas feel confident enough to approach her or her team about financing? How would it all happen?

A year later, she says, Bad Girl Ventures has more than happened.

“I am doing what I am called to do,” Klein recently told Cincy Chic. “Almost 100 percent of what I envisioned last year has happened.”

That includes 15 businesses funded, six full months ofclasses, and over 100 women who’ve applied to go through the BGV process, said Klein. The BGV board has been ableto raise almost $280k in capital, she said. There are nine finalists up for the $25K BGV loan in the second class and another 7 who went through the education process without seeking funding, she said.


Klein created Bad Girl Ventures in 2010 as a way to help other women, she said. She had noticed in Cincinnati that many women had great business ideas, but few opportunities to gain the funding or support that they needed, she said. Klein said that each class of Bad Girl Ventures is her way of giving back to the business community in Cincinnati.

And she said she is especially proud of the women who have graduated in Class #2.  

“We’ve got four potential high growth companies,” said Klein. “We had no idea that would see this kind of talent come through our doors.”

So who are some of the bad girls?

Lindsey Lusignolo, fashion designer

“The support network through BGV has been priceless,” said Lusignolo.

In 2010, this UC DAAP graduate showed her first line of couture evening gowns at Cincinnati Fashion Week. Since then, she’s been taking custom orders and looking for a way to expand her collection.

She came to BGV with the hope that she’d be able to get a plan to open a retail store, Lusignolo said.

“They taught me so much about the business planning process,” she said. “Now, I have a solid plan and I feel confident about running my business.”

Lusignolo will be opening her store on 1329 Main Street inOver-the-Rhine on May 20th with a VIP reception, she said. The store will offer evening gown, couture, cocktail and bridal wear, she told Cincy Chic.  She’ll also be showing 16 to 18 pieces at the second annual Cincinnati Fashion Week.

“The experience of this process has been more than I could have ever imagined,” said Lusignolo.

Allison Kulage, marketing guru

“I thought I would get help with my business plan, but what I got was an amazing amount of focus,” said Allison Kulage.

She came to BGV with a plant start a digital and online marketing company called Bare Knuckle Marketing, she said. 

“I am with my client through the entire process,” she said. “Bare Knuckle clients will get help setting up their strategy and then I will help them manage an influx of business.”

When she came to BGV, she had planned on working another job while getting enough clients toget Bare Knuckle off the ground, she said. Instead, she has resigned from her other job and now will beworking on Bare Knuckle exclusively, she said.  

“It gave me the confidence to stop doubting myself,” Kulagesaid of the BGV process and the classes the organization offers.  “I feel like I owe so much of my success to BGV.”

Robin Gentry, organic meal replacement developer

“I was able to take my product in eight weeks from a recipeon paper to research and development stages,” said Robin Gentry.

Gentry founded Just Great Foods, an LLC that has an organicmeal replacement drink in development right now, she said.

“It is complete nutrition, but it’s all real food,” said Gentry. “It’s for people who are looking for a certain amount of nutrition.”  

Each drink has between 320 to 340 calories in a serving, said Gentry. It’s a drink made from vegetables, grains, super foods, etc. she said.  

“Nothing in the drink is processed or refined,” said Gentry.“There is no sugar added.”

She created the drink after nursing her father when he suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago, she said.

“I really didn’t have a business plan for the product, butnow I have a 70 page business plan,” said Gentry of what she got out of the BGV process.  “I knew that I needed help but I didn’t know what I needed. I think we all have gotten a huge amount of success through this process.”

“These women really know what they are selling,” said Klein of the ladies who have completed the second class of BGV. 

One graduate of the BGV class will be offered the first ever Sam Adams Loan through the Sam Adams Brewing for America program, said Klein.  A pilot satellite program of BGV is also in the works at Miami University, said Klein.

“We’re hopeful to keep growing with each class,” says Klien. “We hope to have even more applications in round three than two.”

Applications for BGV’s third round of funding and classes are now open. The classes will start this summer on June 15th, on Wednesday nights from 6PM to 9PM.


Photographer: Neysa Ruhl

Model: Candace Klein

Location: M/I Homes Estates at Shayler Ridge Model Home


Sara Celi -

Sara Celi is a contributor to Cincy Chic and a reporter for FOX19. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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