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