Talk of the Town - Attitude de la femme January 27 2005

Former Chapter 11 owner's keys to success

On a wooded street in Sandy Springs, a curved driveway leads to a private oasis where a steep roof, sloping almost to the ground, crowns a brown house. Its solid wooden door invites one in with hypnotic carvings. Behind it lies a fine display of elegant furniture and delicate decor. A slim woman bursting with energy paces through the maze of opulence and warmth while chatting about success and attitude.

Barbara Babbit Kaufman is best known as co-founder of Chapter 11, the Discount Bookstore Inc. Currently, she is a business consultant, motivational speaker and a teacher at Georgia State University. Babbit's book, Attitude, hit the stands last spring, adding to her already lengthy list of accomplishments. Having worked as a tax accountant, CPA, and chief financial officer at the family-owned Turtle's Music (now Wherehouse Music), she then opened a baby clothing store and later a women's boutique.

Creative Loafing: How would you describe yourself?

Kaufman: I like to have fun. I like new challenges. Life is short and every minute is important. And that's what motivates me - I try to do so much because I want to have many experiences in my life.

Where does your attitude come from?

I think it's learned. When I look back, and I do that in my motivational speaking, I tell stories about how having a good attitude became a habit. It's just like brushing your teeth.

As a woman, do you think you received more or less attention from the media?

More, because there are not that many women entrepreneurs. I learned early on that I am a woman entrepreneur and that is something that I could take advantage of and I did. I firmly believe in it and I speak a lot on it. I think it's an advantage to be a woman in life and in business, and it has always helped me.

Do you ever feel lonely while running a business?

When you are running a business, it is lonely because you don't have anybody to bounce ideas off. You have to make decisions that aren't always easy and you don't have people to confide in. But I always have mentors. I could always turn to my father, my husband or some other business associate.

What are you most proud of?

This is going to sound corny, but it's absolutely the truth. What I am most proud of are my two daughters. I have the two greatest daughters in the world. The second thing I do is these duathlons. I keep winning in my age group.

Did you make New Year's resolutions?

I haven't made a New Year's resolution in my entire life. I am afraid I won't keep them, so why make them? And if I make a resolution and I don't keep it, it might affect my attitude!


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