Becoming A Post-Career Entrepreneur
By Karen and Erica
We both worked for large institutions—a law firm and an accounting firm, respectively, both global in scope and focus. We loved our jobs and our institutions, so when we left, we didn’t want to work as lawyers any more—we could never find anything to match those experiences. But we definitely wanted to continue to be engaged with the world. So we decided, eventually, to start Lustre.
Our vision at first was small—a blog to promote our still nascent views that retired professional women were hidden behind dated stereotypes, with the consequence that both they and everyone else were missing a huge opportunity. Obviously, we needed images as well as words, and our prior careers had not placed much emphasis on the visual (other than clothes, where we exercised what talent we had to the fullest.) We knew we needed help to achieve our vision.
So we took some concrete steps.
First, we hired some nice young people to help us with a website. We wondered if they would understand what we were doing. And they did—sort of! “Our mothers would love this,” they all said.
Then, we learned where to find pictures , and Erica’s daughter explained to us what “stocky“ is and how to avoid it.
We hired a famous photographer (Erica’s nephew) to take photos of us. There are few things on earth we dislike more than having photos taken of us, but we were told we had to do it so people could take our measure, remotely. So we did.
Writing we could do, and we had formed some strong opinions about topics that needed addressing. So we wrote a few things together, debating nearly everything except the basic idea that notions of retirement were outdated.
Then, hearts in mouths, we took Lustre live.
We didn’t at first think of ourselves as entrepreneurs, because we saw Lustre as more of an advocacy instrument than an actual commercial enterprise. But we began to realize that our message would be heard by more people, and would carry more weight, if we built a self sustaining business. Doing everything ourselves was essential, and fun, at first, but Lustre just keeps growing.
We have reached out to our fabulous contributors to help us build a site that offers all kinds of ideas for people like us—and for younger people who want to see what we have done and how that allowed us to do what we are doing now. We expect to start podcasting soon. And we have bunch of other ideas.
Meanwhile, though, we have achieved some major goals. We wanted, through Lustre, to build a community of retired career women who would join us to challenge the status quo and change the way the world sees us. That’s happening. We wanted purpose—Lustre has certainly met that objective. We wanted an official place to work, so we set up Lustre Global HQ, in a WeWork space, where we raise the average age considerably. We wanted to meet people. Because Lustre touches on so many aspects of retirement and age, we have have met amazing people that we never would have known in our prior lives. We wanted to have fun. In that, we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
Lustre remains a work in progress We share this status report because we hope you will be inspired to do something crazy too!