“Boomerpreneur” Gretchen Asher is a Prime Example of The New Retirement in Action

by Anne Holmes on December 30, 2014

Gretchen AsherA booming welcome to new NABBW member Gretchen Asher, who exemplifies the  growing trend of entrepreneurial Baby Boomers we like to call “Boomerpreneurs.”

At an age when our mothers and grandmothers were looking forward to leaving the workforce and actively planning for retirement, Gretchen, like many of her fellow Baby Boomers, has taken on what some analysts call an “encore career.” (Others refer to this sort of development as  Boomers taking on our second or third act, while NABBW Associate Jan Cullinane calls this time of our lives “The New Retirement.” )

Whatever you choose to call it, Baby Boomers and seniors have been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. In fact, over the last decade, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes entrepreneurship,  we Boomers — especially women Boomers — now represent the demographic with the largest increase in entrepreneurial activity.  And this has happened, amid economic and social changes, and in spite of a tepid economic recovery.

“It’s a whole movement of starting your own business, no matter how small,” according to Elizabeth Isele, co-founder of the nonprofit Senior Entrepreneurship Works in Washington, D.C., and New York.

We’ve been championing Boomer women entrepreneurs for years, frequently citing statistics and numbers. So today we decided to put a real face on this phenomenon,  by profiling one of our newest NABBW members, Gretchen Asher, who is  a shining example of  entrepreneurial action. As you will read in the profile below, Gretchen recognized a problem she was personally experiencing, researched it in order to determine that she wasn’t the only one facing this challenge, and then took action to  solve her problem. In the process, she is in the final phases of launching  a new company, BeFab Skincare.

But let’s let Gretchen tell her story in her own words…

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a perfect example that 55 is the new 35.  Okay, maybe the new 43-45?

I love to travel and I’m a SCUBA diver. I am a corporate consultant turning entrepreneur.

A few years ago I noticed the changes in my skin due to menopause. Being a Boomer and feeling younger than my years, I tried everything on the market to help stop the signs of aging skin. I was sorely disappointed…. So for the past year, I have been formulating skin care products that have the right ingredients in the right concentration to really make a difference.

I’m excited to be launching my new company, BeFab Skin Care, in early 2015.

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I am divorced with furry children. I cared for my very ill mother for 8 years until her passing. The last year of her life, was magical. We left nothing unsaid. It was powerful and left us both complete. I have recently re-entered the dating world. Oh my, what an experience. LOL!

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

I grew up in Sun Valley, Idaho in the 60s-70s and it was fantastic. I rode horses all through my childhood, camped, skied. One of my favorite childhood memories involved banding together with other families in campers and RVs and caravaning to Mexico. I didn’t realize, until adulthood what a crazy long road trip that was.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I am creative, energetic and curious. I look and feel much younger than my years and I love that. I am successful and comfortable in my own skin.

What inspires you?

People who have passion and follow their dreams, shimmy out onto the skinny branches in life inspire me.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

I am happy with who I am. I trust my gut and intuition. I have great friends whom I treasure.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I mentioned earlier that I love to travel, SCUBA dive. I am also learning to golf. I live in a foodie town (Portland, OR) and enjoy exploring the diversity in restaurants and entertainment.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

Oddly, one of my favorite movies is The Legend of Bagger Vance; a golf movie. I have loved it long before I began learning golf. It really is about getting out of your own way.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

I do travel and I have lived overseas (Japan). I am heading to Mexico in a few weeks. I travel with laid back friends and enjoy the ocean for the diving.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.

I have a wonderful Naturopathic doctor and I use bio identical hormones. I had very severe menopausal symptoms a few years ago and researched what I could do, like a woman on fire – well, I actually was on FIRE (hot flashes). I feel fantastic with energy, flexibility and tons of vitality.

What do you stress about?

I have been through it all; the loss of family, divorce and losing all of my savings through an unethical financial advisor (yes, he went to prison). I don’t stress over too much these days. I feel that everything is workable.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

Yes, it is very important for me to retain my youthful looks. I want to look how I feel. I don’t want to do anything drastic like Botox/fillers or a facelift.

To what degree am I willing to go?? Disappointed with my $1,000 beauty product drawer in my bathroom, I have formulated my own skincare products, working with a manufacturer who utilizes the latest science in skincare.

I never thought I would find myself launching a skincare company, but I am in early 2015.

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I have picked myself up from complete financial ruin and I am currently about to give birth to a company. I’ve never done this before. Yikes!

Do you plan to retire?

If BeFab Skincare builds well, I will likely leave my corporate job, but I don’t foresee myself “retiring” for quite some time. I love a challenge and stretching myself, so I will likely run this business for many, many years.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

I live in Portland, OR. It is a Green town, for sure. There is much shame if you don’t support the community’s Green initiatives.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

Yes. When I lived in Japan in my 20s I taught English, I was placed in a Japanese corporation to work with executives being placed in other countries. I ended up helping them with the cultural differences in other countries. It was then I decided I wanted to be a teacher in corporations. When I returned to the US, I went to Graduate School to get a Masters in Organizational Development.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

I am very excited about the launch of my skincare company. My dream is to use this as a platform to help women. I plan on involving my customer base in decisions to donate a percentage of net profits to help other women. I think of it as beauty that does good; beauty that is good for our skin and beauty that supports causes to help other women.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

I am also involved in animal rescue.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

My mother. She always told me that I could do anything that I want and to not let fear stop me.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

I think it might be that I am the Goddess of Beauty that Does Good! Wow! Is that self-aggrandizing or what? Oh my word, I don’t think my head will fit through the door right now. LOL!

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