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Entrepreneur Kraft receives 'Vision Award' from national women's business owners group

Lorelei Kraft

Lorelei Kraft of Park Rapids received the National Association of Women Business Owners "Vision Award" last week in Minneapolis.  

The award is presented to  "a woman business owner or a corporate partner who demonstrates exemplary vision in providing opportunities for women business owners, supporting and advocating for women, helping guide women on a path toward success."

Jill Johnson, president of Johnson Consulting Services of Minneapolis, who nominated Kraft, said "Lorelei Kraft was a mother who in the 1970s turned her candle-making hobby into a fulltime business that at its peak wholesaled to 6,000 stores.

"After tourists flocked to her studio to hand-dip candles themselves, she and a group of other women built a tourist destination near Park Rapids called the Village of the Smoky Hills, and Lorelei was named the Minnesota Woman Business Owner of the year for her tenacity and amazing success," Johnson said.

"Lorelei was a 'serial entrepreneur' and 'mom-preneur' long before the phrases were coined. She was generating revenues of over $1 million a year at a time when women were just beginning to think about starting businesses," Johnson said.  

"Rather than retiring like most women of her generation, Lorelei is embarking on new challenges," Johnson said. She produced a documentary on the story of the building of the village, "Five Weeks and Five Days," which was chosen as a PBS special.

She is the author of "Anything Is Possible!" a book that world renowned speaker and author Brian Tracy calls "extraordinary."

Kraft is also now sharing her stories on the speaking circuit, including speaking in Hong Kong in 2012.