On ABC's hit show "The Bachelor," young women from across the country compete for the attention, and maybe love, of a hunky single man. Among them are lawyers who don't fear aging, plastic surgery office managers who do, an aspiring dolphin trainer and, notably, several small business owners.
This season's Bachelor is Nick Viall, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, with a double major in accounting and supply chain management. ABC describes him as "one of the most accomplished and successful Bachelors. He seems to have it all – except for his one true love."
This season, three small business owners already seem to have a claim on Nick Viall's heart: Raven Gates, Danielle Lombard and Corinne Olympios. (A fourth small business owner was eliminated early on.) Their prominence on the show is relatively surprising considering Sarah Brice is the only small business owner to have won, although even she is also a nurse. Over 20 seasons, the Bachelors have most often given their roses to nurses and real estate agents.
What is it about this season's small business owners that make them such strong contenders?
Raven Gates, 25, is the owner of women's fashion boutique Grey Suede in Hoxie, Arkansas. Her company offers Bachelor-themed clothing and has incorporated Raven's time on the show into savvy social media campaigns that tap into a devoted consumer base.
According to the company's website, however, Raven's journey has not been without its hardships: "At the age of 24, after a year of Law School, and the devastating news of her dad being diagnosed with lung cancer, Raven had a 'come to Jesus' moment. Life's too short not to do what you love, and she loved two things: Fashion and being a Girl Boss.
"With less than $1,000, Raven single-handedly created Grey Suede, one of Northeast Arkansas most successful businesses. With less than a year of being open, Raven now employees 10 women, and has made young girls all over Arkansas believe that you should never be limited by where you come from, what you've been through, or how much money you don't have. You can make your dreams become a reality."
Raven's story reminds us of the determination and perspective needed to be a small business owner. Perhaps these are qualities that Nick appreciates and is looking for in a future wife.
Danielle Lombard is a 27-year-old entrepreneur living in Los Angeles, California. At 23, she opened her first business, the nitrogen ice cream shop Crafts Creamery. On her profile, she calls that her greatest achievement to date.
Since then, Danielle has opened multiple nail salons. According to her LinkedIn profile, she continues "looking for opportunities to use retail management skills, creativity, and passion to deliver meaningful results within a large established corporation."
Lombard describes herself as a "true relationship builder, self-starter, and team player with exceptional communication skills."
But the contestant viewers cannot stop talking about this season is Corinne Olympios, 24, from Miami, Florida. She is unfiltered, driven, and, according to host Chris Harrison, "approaches 'The Bachelor' process with a business boardroom attitude."
When she isn't taking naps, wishing that her nanny was on set to do her laundry, or getting into fights with the other women, Corinne can be found talking about her extremely successful business. In a particularly heated moment in week four, Corinne retorts, "I'm not an idiot, I run a multi-million-dollar company."
That appears to be ArmorGarage Inc., which is owned by James Olympios, Corinne's father, and supplies "high-performance premium grade epoxy coatings and floor products." According to Wet Paint, ArmorGarage works with some major clients including "the U.S. Military, multiple Fortune 500 companies, and the U.S. Coast Guard."
Corrine's exact role in the company is unclear. In an interview with Glamour, she declares, "I run my family's online business." TMZ reports that she works "mainly in sales." If Corinne does play a role in securing high-profile accounts or providing the company's online services, that may in part explain her won't-take-no-for-an-answer attitude.
Between Raven's determination and perspective, Danielle's exceptional communication skills and Corinne's tenacity, it is clear that the small business owners of "The Bachelor" bring a lot to the table professionally and romantically. They are raising the profile of America's female small business owners and, at the same time, making for riveting television.