And while I was there at the Boom Boom Room’s Golden Globes Gifting Suite, I decided to take the opportunity to interview some entrepreneurs, many of whom were amidst their first “big break” at this celeb giveaway event.
The BonBon Cupcakes ladies I told you about (see last post) got their idea in a very simple way: necessity is the mother of invention.
What’s a darling child to wear to a wedding in the middle of July? Without an answer, mom decided to get crafty. She cut the feet off a pair of tights, shortened them to capri length, and added some frouf. Voila! Everyone wanted to get their mitts on a pair, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I met another entrepreneurial couple who was tired of getting dirty looks when they took their little tykes to grown-up restaurants (and good luck finding a nice restaurant in L.A. that even HAS a high chair!) so they created their own family restaurant.
It’s called Giggles ‘n Hugs and they have REAL food (not just pizza/crap) and a HUGE play area for the kids — all supervised! Mom & Dad can take the kids somewhere fun where even the grown-ups can enjoy a real meal w/uninterrupted conversation!
Visit www.gigglesnhugs.com for more info and directions. (BTW, this idea took only 5 years from conception to fruition). And according to the owners, they get celebs in there all the time — on a repeat basis, no less! Mmmm, I wish we had a place like this in Colorado!
Lori Rose was perhaps the most laid-back entrepreneur I met at the event. As the owner of Green Girl, she creates absolutely gorgeous green backs for shopping, toting, or whatever we gals need. Now we can be green and still be stylish, thanks to Green Girl’s exceptionally high quality bags.
Again, a simple idea borne of necessity. As in, I want to be eco-friendly, but I don’t want to carry around tacky, cheap, flimsy, ugly-colored bags. Hmmmm….what if I created stylish, high-quality bags instead? Yep, virtually instant success for Lori.
What I found most interesting about meeting Lori was the fact that she was so casual about marketing. She mentioned to me that whenever she checks out of a store or grocery, people all around are always commenting on her bags (other customers in line, the checkout clerk, etc.) I asked her if she passes them a card when that happens.
She looked genuinely shocked.
“No, I don’t. I really don’t like to be pushy.”
Hmmm, I was intrigued. Think that’s a limiting belief? That slipping someone a card means being pushy? Might want to use your fave Truth Testing method right now to see if you’re saddled with this same belief or something similar….if you do, you’d better believe it makes it tough to make connections, meet people, and get the word out about your product or service.
“Really?” I was authentically surprised at her response.
“Well, I don’t really need to do that — we were featured on ‘Sex and the City’ and it’s really taking off,” she said.
I gently reminded her that you never know who someone knows, who they are related to, and who they could connect you to. And just because things are taking off, that doesn’t mean they can’t REALLY take off in an even bigger way, right?
Lori considered my response.
Then a celebrity was approaching (very cute, the PAs rush the table to let the rep know the celeb is coming over) so I offered to bow out and let her do her thing, and you know what?
She offered me my choice of Green Girl bag. And I gladly accepted and picked out a little black and white number. Their website is still under construction but you can catch a glimpse of the cool product here. thanks Lori!
Racing fans might be impressed that I had a chat with Steve Strope of Pure Vision. (Is he famous? Hell yeah, he’s even got his own line of Hot Wheels cars!)
Again, an idea that sprang from an unfulfilled need — Steve noticed how many women (wives, girlfriends, daughters) of racers and racing fans were left out of the proverbial loop when it came to merchandising. So he launched his own line of racing and muscle car merch for girls. It’s called Girlie Gear (high octane apparel) and the kids stuff he had on display was absolutely darling.
Perhaps a bit out of place among celebs (I didn’t see any of the stars from Talladega Nights there) but definitely a cool concept. Please direct all your female fans of NASCAR and racing here for the coolest girl gear on the track: www.ShopGirlieGear.com
Of course, I met all sorts of entrepreneurs I won’t bore you with their details here….some were skeptical, probably figured I was just there to score some swag…some were so excited about their product yet so clueless that I wasn’t interested so they just kept talking and I had to wait for them to take a breath so I could politely escape…some were out of giveaways already (in the early AM on day 2 of a 2-day event)…and there were those who either looked so overwhelmed or so frickin bored that I didn’t even bother to approach them. And one lady wanted me to call her and make an appointment to chat, even though there was NO ONE anywhere near her table at the time. Um, no thanks lady, there’s dozens and dozens of other folks here who would love to chat with me right now.
Oh, and there was one guy who wanted to trade me his $12.95 book (which isn’t even out yet, so he had nothing at all to give the celebrities much less little ol’ me) for about $100 worth of product from another booth. Yeah, sure, I’ll be right back with that, dude.
Perhaps the most fascinating entrepreneur I met was Sheila Oberaigner, creator of Snugaboo. This idea was 13 years in the making — honestly, what’s the last thing YOU committed 13 years of your life to? The only answer I can personally come up with is my marriage! She refused to settle, sending for prototype after prototype until the finished product was perfect. Even now, these unique items are 70% handmade, so they are sturd
y and cool and fun, but without the feel of being mass-produced. Sheila also held the intention of doing much more than just making cool blankets that kids can make-believe with — she wanted to create a way to make a positive impact on the world. Which is where the idea for the Freckle Rewards was borne. Teaching kids to be kind (think golden rule) and good and earn cool freckles (temporary tattoos that match their Snugaboo) as a payoff. What a fun concept, and so long in the making but so worth the payoff! Visit the Snugaboo blog here.
And Sheila was nice enough to gift me a Snugaboo (“Frankie” is the blanket pictured here on this boy) for my own little pretender.
Oh, and how did Sheila start Snugaboo in the first place? She needed a unique shower gift idea. Again, necessity and all that. Seeing a pattern here?
And I love their motto: “Be good.”
How many great ideas have you come up with but never acted upon? Sure, Sheila took 13 years to bring Snugaboo to market, but at least SHE ACTUALLY DID IT. And was part of the Golden Globes celebrity weekend. How about you? Are you getting into action? Or still dreaming of making your fortune or following your passion “someday”?
and if you’re complaining that you never get the good ideas, or you don’t have the connections and capital to get started, then why not leverage someone else’s fabulous idea for fun and profit? That’s exactly what my hubby Andy does.
But wait — I didn’t tell you the best part yet. The thing that made my “crash” totally worthwhile.
One lady was so excited, she asked if she could have her picture taken with me. And yes, she knew I wasn’t “Amy Grant that singer.”
That totally made my day. Well, that and the very cool swag I scored.