Winners' Circle

It’s not easy to choose one bright idea over another, but DailyCandy readers have done it. Every day for the past twenty, you’ve voted to select three final winners from the thousands of creative entrepreneurs who entered our Start Small, Go Big Contest.

Each of the savvy, scrappy businesses below (all of which — yay! — just so happen to be run by women under 30) will receive $10,000 and a trip to NYC to attend DailyCandy Academy, where icons like Isaac Mizrahi, Marcus Samuelsson, and Rebecca Minkoff will help them get to the next level.

We can’t wait to meet these bright lights in the big city, and to say we knew them when.

nella pasta!

Nella Pasta
Since losing their day jobs last year, Boston-based duo Leigh Foster and Rachel Marshall have been working eighteen-hour days to create their pillowy, farmers market-driven pastas. The contest prize couldn’t have come at a better time: When we called to tell them they’d won, their ravioli machine had just broken. After a few bites of Nella’s ultra-fresh pastas (roasted beet linguine; fresh corn, caramelized onion, and thyme ravioli), we knew they’d be coming soon to a table near you.

dolly pearl!Dolly Pearl
Houston, Texas, native Vi Hoang has been sketching since high school and made the leap two years ago to move to Manhattan, study at FIT, and start her own line. The 28-year-old’s streamlined, feminine cocktail dresses gained a small-but-loyal following once she launched her website. A one-woman show, from the pattern making to sewing by hand, she’s been scrambling to fill orders ever since.


When reading through 27-year-olds Colleen Reilly and Stephania Stanley’s application, our editors were thoroughly charmed. Self-proclaimed “expert idea generators and friend gatherers,” the pals have been holding Thursday-night dinners and crafting parties with girlfriends since their college days in Indiana. Their goal: to make getting together and connecting easy for women everywhere. With recipes and party ideas for everything from cozy winter evenings to postbreakup cheer-up sessions, their website and book proposal brim with approachable ideas and personality.