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Slaps Q & A
Tell us about your eureka moment, and how and why you started satin line caps (SLAPS)?
*The idea began last spring when my sister Grace was wearing her satin wrap to bed and was just tired of hearing the snickers and comments from other family members (mostly male who don’t “get it”) about how it looks. She looked over at her beanies that were stylish and wondered why no one had made a satin wrap that provided hair protecting benefits and looked fashionable – Eureka!
Whats is your background?
*I graduated from West Point in 2004 and joined the Army handling supply chain and logistics internationally for my organizations. From there I joined Amazon.com fullfillment as an Area Manager. I worked my way up the ranks to being Site Leader running a 1.1 million square foot fulfillment center in California. E-commerce and logistics have been my career and I am loving taking that experience to a startup and shipping Slap’s all over the world!
What sets the product line apart from other beanies or doo-rags?
*Function + Fashion.
A beanie may keep you warm and look fashionable, but that’s about it.
A doo rag can protect your hair and maintain moisture, but that’s about it.
A SLAP – all of the above 🙂
How many years of planning and experimenting went into the development of the product line?
*About 3-6 months of making the product, getting feedback, and rapidly responding to feedback from initial friends/family and then initial customers. We built our brand and company after studying the Lean Startup methodologies and have focused everything we create around intense customer feedback and rapid prototyping. We launched officially 6 months ago and we’re already on our 3rd version of the Slap based on many customer phone calls, customer emails, tweets, posts, and video’s. Our planning is done through the generous suggestions and advice provided by the most important people in the world- our customer’s! Please, if you have any feedback on the product, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Which colour is your most popular in the line?
Where do you see the brand in 2 to 5 years?
*We have many, many idea’s that have been provided by our customer’s and we’re working hard to get really good at implementing these suggestions. We eventually plan to move from making just functional and fashionable accessories to functional and fashionable apparel under the Grace Eleyae designer brand.
How would you describe your target market? Please explain the SLAP customer and her lifestyle?
*Men and women who care deeply about protecting and keeping the moisture in their hair. They are also unsatisfied with current options out there like doo rags and satin bonnets.
Do you have plans to expand on the Slaps designs?
*Absolutely! Stay tuned on our email list 😉
Do you envisage the brand to become global and if so what are your plans to conquer the international market? … Starting in the UK of course (cough cough)!
*Yes! We have been growing very quickly thanks to a great response by our customer’s and as long as we continue to satisfy and serve them, we feel we can continue this rapid growth. The only way we can do that however, is by working with customer focused partners like my3beauties.com to continue to serve and satisfy customer’s around the world.
What do you enjoy the most about embarking on your entrepreneurial journey?
*Seeing the results that we imagined would work for others actually working for others. The idea was so simple when my sister explained it to me I had to wonder why no one else had thought of it! Now we’re seeing hundreds of people all over the world sending selfies to our instagram and facebook, making video’s on YouTube, writing blog’s about our products, leaving reviews, and emailing us with encouragement about how the Slap is helping them. We’ve been so humbled and inspired by the response, it’s been amazing!
What has been the most difficult or frustrating experience in getting started?
*Not having the right advice available when we needed it. There are more questions than answers starting a business, and the questions are almost always dramatic – we either answer it or go bankrupt! (or so it seems…) Having people, or even someone, who can answer those questions (or keep you from being so dramatic) is incredibly invaluable. However, not having that person can keep you in the dumps for weeks questioning why you ever decided to do this in the first place. If I could rank the biggest challenges that come to mind, they’d be these (in order):
1.Knowing who are customer’s are, why they’re buying from us, and where they come from. (get your analytics right! – both quantitative AND qualitative)
- Technology – the hidden time drain. If you are not technical, bite the bullet and spend the money to have someone on call to deal with this for you, or you’ll spend more time than you ever imagined just trying to keep your site running. I’ve spent too many sleepless nights(weeks) dealing with migrating servers, installing tracking codes, chatting with hosting providers with hosting providers (more accurately – waiting on hold) , and integrating third-party services – email service providers, shipping services, accounting services, etc.
- Manufacturing and Quality control – Making sure that we manufacture high quality products at scale has been a challenge! We started out making Slap’s one at a time by hand and the demand quickly became too much for us to manage that way so we began bringing on seamstresses and manufacturers which, naturally, has created some quality control challenges. However, we recognize that we are not perfect all the time, and we will make mistakes that will not meet our customer’s expectations. That’s why we strive to respond immediately to any issues that are brought up by our customer’s quickly and transparently. From issues with an order, issues with the product, or even just an issue with a specific email/tweet. As soon as we’re aware of it, we fix it!
What advice would you like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs?
Currently Listening to ?
The most recent My Wife Quite Her Job podcast by Steve Chou
Greatest inspiration and why ?
*This poem resonated with me from the first time I heard it as I tend to shrink even when I know I’m capable, and I keep it with me as a reminder to let my light shine so that others feel comfortable doing the same.
A poem by Marianne Williamson (sometimes attributed to Nelson Mandela)
Our Deepest Fear
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”