The Art of Entrepreneurship

A Manhattan entrepreneur knows fashionable rainwear, but she needed outside talent for the eye-catching illustrations to promote it.

Teresa Soroka launched Ame Ame because she'd had enough of rainwear in funereal black and crossing-guard yellow. She'd spent a few teen years in Japan, where rain brings out a creative flair that she wanted to import to the United States — and wherever the Internet reaches. Though the New Yorker is kept plenty busy as the CFO of a software company, she was able to hook up with stylish suppliers and launch a website on a shoestring budget. What she didn't have, though, was a connection to a talented and affordable artist to provide her site's logo and some fashionable promotional images. She didn't know where to find the right freelancer until a group of fellow entrepreneurs told her about oDesk — and that searching the world for the best talent isn't just something huge corporations do. She took their advice. "When successful entrepreneurs talk about it, you listen."

Ame Ame

Teresa Soroka / Ame Ame

For small business, oDesk is a great investment.

Ame Ame

Soroka, 28, wanted trendy, New Yorker magazine-style illustrations of people using umbrellas and rainwear, but she wasn't clear at first on how she'd integrate the work into her marketing. Through oDesk, she found two talented artists and worked with them to refine artistic ideas until she had promo postcards and a logo for her early 2009 launch. Because oDesk let her find artists who were not only talented but affordable, she was able to commit precious resources to a project others might have left on the back burner.

She's not done, either. She talks about hiring more oDesk freelancers for other purposes, including to create a Facebook application, but the 28-year-old businesswoman gets cagey when asked for details.

"Sorry, it's still in stealth mode," she tells us. "But it has nothing to do with fashion or rain."

Whatever it is, she not only knows how to get it built, she knows how to make it look good, too.

Teresa used test jobs to make sure she had the right artists, after picking candidates largely based on their portfolios. She chose artists who made their artistic styles evident even in their profile pictures. "They had artistic self portraits that gave an immediate sense not only of their skill level but also of their artistic style."

Ame Ame

About Ame Ame

The ultralight startup sells high-end rain gear through its website, and used oDesk freelancers to create a stylish logo and to illustrate promotional postcards.