> Black Dress Circle

Founded by Erin Joy, is an innovative organization that specializes in creating and facilitating roundtable groups of female entrepreneurs

Black Dress Circle, founded by Erin Joy, is an innovative organization that specializes in creating and facilitating roundtable groups of female entrepreneurs. Black Dress Circles® help guide, empower, and support women as they address the specific challenges and opportunities that come  with emerging, evolving, and leading companies.

As a child, Erin Joy played office under her mother’s desk. Even then, she knew she wanted to become a businesswoman. After starting two companies, Erin turned her sights toward her next goal: empowering other women entrepreneurs to achieve holistic success in their endeavors. She also knew that St. Louis was the perfect place to base this effort. With its startup culture, plethora of resources, and supportive community, St. Louis provides an environment where new and innovative ideas and businesses can flourish.

Erin followed her passion to found Black Dress Circle, an innovative program that brings together  groups of women business owners. Black Dress Circles are expertly facilitated round tables, and provide a forum for participants to discuss issues, frame decisions, and share experiences with others who  understand the challenges of managing emerging and evolving companies.

Studies reveal that companies with at least 30% female leadership have higher net-profit margins, while new businesses started by women are sound financial investments, generating more than twice the return on funding as compared to male-founded startups. However, only 2% of female-led companies ever break the $1 million mark—and this is something Erin is committed to changing. But Black Dress Circles aren’t just about the roundtable participants’ revenue—it is about their wellbeing. As a third generation female entrepreneur, Erin has made it her life’s mission to provide women business owners  with the resources, services, and support they need to be successful in business—and in life. As a result of  participating in Black Dress Circles, female entrepreneurs are equipped to strategize, prioritize, and improve organizational performance, as well as  find guidance for successfully navigating relationships,  work-life balance,  and more.

Black Dress Circle success stories abound. Kathy Jordan, Founder and CEO of Jordan Search Consultants, values the camaraderie with other Black Dress Circle members. “It’s nice to know we’re all struggling with similar issues—and that success comes as a result of transforming those struggles,” she says. “We all benefit from the depth and breadth of each other’s knowledge and experiences.” Nancy Cripe, President at GRS Strategic Liquidations, has seen significant business gains since joining a Black Dress Circle, and most importantly, feels well equipped to handle the volatility of entrepreneurship. “I would not have been able to effectively and quickly navigate the myriad business transitions and stages with confidence without this group by my side,” she shares. “Erin’s ability to guide the conversations so they are impactful for everyone is masterful and sets the tone for the Black Dress Circle experience. The diversity of personalities, businesses, and industries results in some powerful knowledge share.

In addition to her work facilitating Black Dress Circles, Erin is a sought-after speaker and thought leader. She developed and produced the awardwinning St. Louis–based Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference that drew female entrepreneurs from throughout the Midwest. She also shares her significant knowledge and insights on a variety of business topics through other channels, including her ongoing series of podcasts, videos, and workshops. Erin is currently working on a book anthology and is committed to bringing the Black Dress Circle model to cities across the globe.

Black Dress Circle

+1 314 223 0000
[email protected]
9666 Olive Boulevard, Suite 150 St. Louis, MO 63132

Submit your Innovation Story

Join and network with a global community of innovators  by sharing your success story with the world.



Our promise: we dislike spam as much as the next person, and promise never to break your trust in us. We will never sell data – this is only used for the INNOVATE® Newsletter