Innovator, Business Owner, Caretaker:  The Many Synonyms for Women

Part of Women’s History Month is to recognize and support the contributions of women in the workplace, which have increased drastically since the 1950s when only 29% of women worked outside the home. Today, that number has risen to 57% of women in the labor force—many owning their own businesses. According to the National Women’s Business Council, women own 42% of the 13 million U.S. businesses in total and those women-owned businesses employ more than 9.4 million people. 

Conversation with Johanna McShan, Founder of River Road Clothing Co.

In celebration of these women-owned companies, our marketing team spoke with River Road Clothing Co. Founder Johanna about her journey to business ownership and the inspirations she found along the way.

River Road Team:  What drove you to start your own business?

Johanna McShan:  So many things. Mainly, creative freedom and drive. I have motivation like no other! Not sure where it comes from, but it’s here. When I get something in my head, it's going to happen one way or another. Being my own boss with my own schedule is another thing that lured me. I love having the flexibility to attend my kids’ field trips or just take a day off when I need. Another rewarding part is having a business I can pass down to my children. All of my kids are very creative. I can see River Road still being around years down the road.

RRT:  What are the struggles and rewards of being a working mom & business owner?

JM:  Finding that balance between work and being a mom is my biggest daily struggle. I have a hard time turning my “work brain” into “mom brain” in the middle of a weekday. Juggling three kids all in different sports and grade levels, preparing dinner, squeezing in exercise, plus a million other things on top of working is no easy task. I fail daily. I have to be extremely regimented and energetic to keep up.

The biggest reward for me is being an inspiration to my kids. They truly admire my hard work. They’re all so proud of me and get so excited when they see people wearing River Road gear. It’s so important to be a good example for your kids and I feel like I’m doing a good job at that.

RRT:  Who are a few women in your life who inspire you?

  Stacie Lang
  {Mom & Owner of Alice & Ames}

  Mariam Naficy
  {Mom & Owner of

  Amber Lewis
  {Mom & Owner of
Amber Interiors}

RRT:  What would you say to other women thinking about starting their own business? 

JM:  Do what you love. There’s no greater reward than loving what you create. Happiness is everything. Why do something you hate every day? You only get one life. Make it count.

Don’t be scared to take chances. An oops is always better than a what if. Hopefully, if you DO fail, you learned something that will make your second try a success.

Take advice from others. This one was the hardest for me to do. I’m very headstrong and like to figure things out on my own. As soon as I started listening to others and taking their advice, my business thrived even more.

Hire help. Another tough one for me. Initially, when you start your own business, you will have to wear all of the hats. But when the time comes, and you’re too overwhelmed taking it all on, don’t hesitate to relinquish control and give the smaller tasks to others.

RRT:  What advice did you receive in the beginning that helped a lot?

JM:  I go back to answers 3 & 4 above. Allow help from others, and don’t try to do everything yourself. Divvy out the day-to-day tasks so you can focus on the next big things. For the first year RRC was in business, I did it all—designed, built & maintained the website, received orders, shipped orders, handled customer service, etc. It was tough. Finally, when it all became too much to handle, I hired a warehouse manager. Then I was able to pump out more designs and plan ahead.

Click Here to Read More about Johanna's Journey.

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1 comment

She’s done and doing a great job. Proud of her !👍

Marc Mcshan

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