Business Women Logo


News, Events, Funding, Grants and More for Business Women & Entrepreneurs

Home News/ Blog Events & Workshops Publications Organizations Grants & Funding

Monday, April 29, 2019

3 Successful Female Entrepreneurs Who Overcame Bankruptcy

Tracy Matthews, Richelle Shaw, and Hilary Devey

Starting and running your own business can come with many ups and downs. These successful female entrepreneurs who survived bankruptcy are amazing examples of what’s possible when you don’t give up.

Tracy Matthews

In 2007, Tracy Matthews’ 10-year old jewelry business was booming. Her collection was being sold in over 350 retail outlets around the world, and her company had reached nearly $1 million in sales. However, the market crash of 2008 hit her business hard. Her revenue dropped by half each successive year, and she was forced to close multiple stores. Eventually, Matthews realized that she would have to close the business, and she filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Eighteen months later, she decided to start over by opening a new business that specialized in commissioned fine jewelry. Within one month, she had earned more money than she’d ever made in a full year. Today, her new businesses have multiple streams of revenue to diversify risk, and Matthews now recognizes the importance of hiring a trustworthy consultant to provide sound business advice.

Richelle Shaw

Richelle Shaw started her career in an entry-level position with a telephone company in Las Vegas. Following a series of promotions, she eventually bought the firm from her boss. By the time she was 30, she was making $200,000 a year. However, the 9/11 attacks immensely affected the Las Vegas economy, causing many of Shaw’s clients to lose revenue. Despite taking on loans to keep her business from going under, it eventually failed, and she was left with nearly $3 million dollars in personal debt. As a result, Shaw lost her house to foreclosure, was forced to sell her firm, and had to file for personal bankruptcy. Four months later, however, she launched her own start-up company called FreshStart Telephone, which generated over $1 million dollars of revenue in its first year. Shaw later sold the firm, and she now works as a business coach and has written three books on her own business experiences.

Hilary Devey

Hilary Devey experienced the negative effects of bankruptcy at a young age. After her father declared bankruptcy, Devey dropped out of school at the age of 16 to help support her family. After working in sales and logistics for many years, she developed an idea that eventually evolved into a multi-million-dollar freight business, Pall-Ex. However, getting the business off the ground was challenging due to her economic past, which made acquiring a bank loan impossible. Devey chose to sell her home to raise the funds to start her business. Her sacrifices and hard work clearly paid off - she’s now a successful businesswoman and TV personality on shows such as Dragons’ Den and The Intern.

If you’re lacking confidence in your business start-up, let these successful female entrepreneurs who overcame bankruptcy remind you that anything is possible.



Like Us on Facebook: