Passing the torch: Lore under new ownership

March 26, 2024

Bridget Flaherty and Te’Jal Cartwright share a belief in the power of stories.

This belief led Bridget to found her company, Lore, in 2018. And earlier this year, it led Te’Jal to pick up the reins as the company’s new owner.

Navigating a business exit, and acquiring a business, are important aspects of the entrepreneur journey that don’t get much airtime here on the Launch Dayton blog. We were thrilled that Bridget and Te’Jal were willing to share their experience. Read on for the (lightly edited) conversation.

To start off, for the folks who don’t know you — introduce yourselves!

Bridget: My personal mission statement is: I fearlessly cultivate a healing life-changing love that affirms, empowers and liberates. I am an award-winning storyteller, an entrepreneur, a process improvement consultant, an author, a mother, grandmother, sister, partner, and friend. I love my life.

Te’Jal: I’m the new owner of Lore — I’m so proud to say that. I’m also a media personality, story coach, and community advocate. (And you might know her as the founder of What’s The Biz, a platform to promote Black business owners through storytellling, which Te’Jal ran for four seasons)

Bridget, what inspired you to start Lore?

Bridget: I began with telling my own stories on stage. I found telling stories on stage to be a liberating experience. When the Me Too movement started, I saw an opportunity for stories to be an impactful part of the movement. I worked with the Brightside and Dayton Story Slam to coordinate an event where 16 women shared their Me Too stories. It was heart wrenching and beautiful. Then I was invited by Stivers to lead an after school program for interested creative writing students. Their performance brought me to tears. I knew that I wanted to continue creating platforms for stories. So, LORE was born.

Te’Jal, how did you come to Lore?

Te’Jal: I’ve been working with Bridget since she started Lore in 2018. She was looking for a digital marketing specialist, and I was looking for clients! I thought a storytelling business would be so cool to work with. Though I didn’t understand the concept completely, so I took one of Bridget’s courses. I fell in love instantly — with storytelling, and with Bridget — she was so cool and brilliant.

Bridget, what did you learn through your experience as Lore founder?

Bridget: I learned that most people want to share their stories. People want to be heard. Not everyone wants to get on stage to share their story, but almost everyone wants to share their story and be heard. Which is one of the reasons that I love the LORE business workshops. Facilitating team building workshops that give coworkers the opportunity to share stories with one another, whether remotely or in person, while learning how to give better presentations, has been a genuine joy. When you give people the platform to tell meaningful stories about themselves, they do. And then the rest of the team starts to share, and before you know it there is a chorus of “I didn’t know that about you!” and “OMG, me too!” The stories bring the team together, build trust, and create lasting friendships. It is a wonderful thing to witness.

How did you know it was time to move on?

Bridget: In May of 2023, Te’Jal hosted a LORE workshop and graduation. The class was on fire. The audience was packed and engaged. Te’Jal was bright and bubbling. And I realized that it had been awhile since I felt that way about LORE. My son was getting ready to go to college. I was getting ready to sink into a new chapter of my life personally, and I was no longer as fired up about LORE as I had been. And here was Te’Jal showing up with all this energy and passion. It was clear to me that it was time to pass the torch.

Te’Jal has been with LORE since the beginning. She cut the ribbon with me at the grand opening. We met weekly to plan and ideate together for years. She is a fantastic storyteller and an effective coach. It was a no-brainer. Te’Jal is LORE.

Te’Jal, how did you feel when Bridget approached you about taking over the business?

Te’Jal: At first, I didn’t want to. I enjoyed Bridget and I’s working dynamic, and it felt good to love something for someone else. But it only took me 24 hours to say “hell yes!” Lore just feels so intentional, and I’ve always appreciated this business, so it was a no-brainer. I’m happy to carry this special tradition. Lore has a special place in our community’s heart.

What is it that you love about Lore? What pulled you back into full-time entreprneeurship?

Te’Jal: I love how special Lore is, and intentional. We really want to build connections and skills through storytelling. Our work has always been genuine, which is why I think we get the best results. Lore teaches a skill set that has a positive impact on humanity. And as the business owner, I love having the flexibility to be there for my family. Sometimes, when you work for people, your schedule can be strict, you have to adhere to this 9 to 5 standard, but I enjoy volunteering in my son’s class, and traveling. Entrepreneurship gives me the space to do those things.

What was it like to take ownership of a business that you didn’t start? Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to consider opportunities to acquire a business?

Te’Jal: I thought it was going to be a hard process, but it’s actually been really fun. I’d say that we have the advantage of working together so closely since I joined the Lore team, so honestly it’s been a four-year process. But I started to practice more of an ownership role last year with Bridget close by, and I feel like it was one of the easiest things to learn because I was able to apply everything to the work. For example, it was easy to learn the back-end technology because I had real time examples to practice with. I would definitely encourage someone else to acquire a business. It feels like a lot less pressure. Lore is highly esteemed. I feel blessed because Bridget set a solid foundation for me to build on. I’ve learned so much.

What’s next for each of you?

Te’Jal: Right now, I feel like I’m in a relationship with my business! We’re in the honeymoon phase, and I just want to work on it 24/7. I just released a new commercial that I’m excited about as well. I have plans to expand our business to at least two more states and do our first official Lore training to bring on a few more story coaches.

Bridget: I am continuing to work as a process improvement consultant. I have already finished one contract and have started another.

Any advice for fellow/aspiring entrepreneurs?

Bridget: Share your passion, and find people who are also passionate about your passion. Whether a friend, colleague, or partner, being able to share with someone else what you are up to and why and to find enthusiastic support is priceless.

Te’Jal: Listen to your heart. It will tell you where you need to be. And surround yourself with people that want to see you thrive! Put yourself out there and believe in your ability to THRIVE!

Spots are currently available in Lore’s April Storytelling class — find more info and sign up here!

Inspired to take the next step on your own entrepreneur journey? Check out our resource guide for a list of organizations and people in the Launch Dayton community who are excited to help you succeed!