Famous Hair Accessories (3)Previous Page First Page
She thinks her “strength is in finding unusual solutions to problems”. On success- and failure, she comments that “starting a business from the beginning keeps me forever humble because it never exactly does what I think it should do or what others think it should do. I have had my ups and downs with developing markets---that means I get often stretched beyond my liking. Marketing is an area I have had to teach myself”. Tenacity has been the key to her success.
“I think working with my son taught me that if one approach didn’t work, I just needed to go down another street and look some more. There was no giving up with him and I have brought that same persistent energy to this business”.
She used her own money to launch the product, lamenting that “an untried idea is not interesting to investors”. She came close to giving up on the product many, many times, but “then something would happen I would realize there was an untried path and I would go check it out.” Strokes of luck and good timing didn’t hurt either.
She credits meeting the owner of Accessory Brainstorms at a trade show in Las Vegas (an important business relationship for her) with her being able to get the product into Claire’s stores, with their assistance. She tells future inventors to “get some one who will mentor you. Everyone needs help and good advice.”
Hairdini™- 1992 to present. By 1994 grossing over $1 million a year.
Denie Schach, the inventor of Hairdini™ (a peanut-shaped, bendable hair tool that creates dozens of up-do styles), was always into hair. Since the age of 15, she did the hair of everyone from her mother to prom attendees. She even received a scholarship to go to beauty school.
She loved recreating what she saw in fashion magazines and on TV. She had thought about becoming an actress, dancer or fashion designer.
As far as being a fashionista, she says “I did get into magazines and love fashion, however money was very tight and I was an immigrant child at a catholic school - my dad a janitor. I had to be very creative to stay fashionable. This led to sewing my own cloths which was the key to my latter development in designing the Hairdini™.
The road to success was not perfectly paved- she recalls making misjudgments in people’s character in both her personal and business life. Certain products failed, yet they lead the way for better products to be developed, and so she doesn’t see them as failures.
She credits persistence, moving forward and believing in the products for her success. Also not losing sight of her goal of becoming that artist/inventor she had always wanted to be. I felt an obligation to the consumer which led to me pioneering the instructional videotape in products. I worked on it daily if only for an hour- it all added up to the finished result. Listening to the experience of other people that had more knowledge than I did and seeking advice. I also have a good disposition and seldom get down. Being a healthy person is the real key.”
She launched the company with angel investors. The company was under-invested, which led to some major business mistakes. She came so close to giving up at times that she “ threw the product in the garbage because it would not sew properly. Manufacturing seemed hopeless.
I took a break from the idea for about six months”. Denie feels timing was critical for her product, as infomercial marketing was just taking off at the time, and the product probably wouldn’t have had sold as much without one. Had she done things differently, she would have gotten more launch money and worked with people with more experience and integrity than she did.
Denie advises future inventors to make sure their “products are things the majority of people would find useful and to price it accordingly. Do not buy inventory until you know you have a market. Have a marketing plan. Do not let it monopolize your life. Persist, persevere. Be open to change”.
In conclusion, there are valuable lessons to be learned from these diverse women of hair accessory fame. Persistence seems to be the name of the game, but following your dreams is only so good as your business plan and the people you choose to work with. Childhoods full of creative pursuits gave these women a platform on which to build their visions.
Product designs spawned out of simple everyday items- a knitting needle, a pizza holder, a curler, a handle, went on to be the answer for millions of women to that age old question- “what do I do with my hair today?!”
Joan Lefkowitz, an original marketer of TopsyTail™ tm, is president of ACCESSORY BRAINSTORMS, NYC, a licensing, marketing and sales representation agency and consultancy for Fashion/Beauty Accessory and Lifestyle Inventions. Accessory Brainstorms is always looking for inventions in these categories, and offers one-on-one consulting for inventors who need guidance. ACCESSORIES Magazine awarded Joan for the “Most Inventive Products” and also cited her as one of the 100 most important accessories industry “Movers and Shakers”. www.accessorybrainstorms.com