Having an idea and executing it are two different things entirely.
So, a few years ago, I was given an old Estee Lauder case from my mom that I absolutely loved. It was just a zippered case, but I could fit quite a bit in it, and I thought it looked pretty cute on my countertop. That case brought the thought to mind, what if this had something to actually organize my makeup? I knew that would be the perfect solution to solve my makeup mess.
This is where the idea became “how do I execute it?” It became time for the rubber to meet the road.
I mean, what did I know about designing, manufacturing, and then potentially selling a product?
I was not a sales person and I never wanted to be. I was actually very comfortable with not asking for anything.
As I started to create Beauty Binder, I thought to myself,I might have something here. This might be something that actually helps other women to organize their makeup chaos too!?!
After I had created my sad-little prototype, I decided to go to the local sewing center where my mother was a customer to see if I could find somebody who was interested in trying to make my idea come to life. I found a woman there who seemed pretty excited about the prospect of helping me. She took my sample, and I never heard from her again.
Feeling slightly let down, but not willing to give up,I decided to reach out to a sewer on Etsy to find somebody who might be interested in helping me with my idea. I spoke to a woman in Minnesota a few times. I thought that might work out, but nothing ever came of that either.
Strike Two and still determined...
I finally came across a manufacturing company in Costa Mesa, not far from where I live in California. They were, sort of, manufacturing middlemen. I reached out to them via email, and I was super excited when I got a response within an hour or two. I took them my prototype, and we made a video to show a potential manufacturer in India what I was wanting to create.
The first actual, real-life product cost me $150, and took a month to receive. When I finally saw it, I was devastated. The vision in my head looked nothing like the sample they had made, so I decided to bag that one and move on.
The silver lining -- because there’s always a silver lining -- was now I actually had a real sample I could work with. So, I was making progress and moving forward.
The second and third samples were made, and let’s just say, I was still not ready to start production.
How many strikes is that? I stopped counting. I kept pushing through the limiting beliefs because I believed in what I was creating.
Then, I found a bag designer to help me bring my vision to reality. I was all in and wanted to make sure it was practical, not just a pipe dream. Annette was perfect! She was from New York -- I LOVE New York -- so I was convinced we were soul sisters.
Annette had designed purses and bags for companies like Nautica. I was so grateful for her direction and knowledge. She was patient and kind and could see my vision. Annette helped me to ask the right questions, and she taught me some product and design terminology. I sounded like a real professional. Like I knew what I was doing. She was a gift and just what I needed to finally get a sample I could put out into the world.
With the new manufacturer, I would complete Samples 3 through and 4.
The last manufacturer, and the one I am currently with today, I made samples 5 through 7. We would test different fabrics, colors, add pockets, take away pockets, decide on hardware finishes, sample different plastic elasticity, test and test again.
Remember, I was still working a 9-5 job. My nights became full with kids and Beauty Binder. My communication with my manufacturers would begin at the end of my regular workday. We would text back-and-forth through the night attempting to find and source products in the market to keep costs down.
I loved the design aspect of creating Beauty Binder. Every minute of it was hard AND I LOVED IT. Ok, I didn’t love every minute of it, but I loved what I was creating. I was finally bringing my vision to life!
I wanted the woman who purchased BB to feel so special and know that every detail was hand chosen and as unique and beautiful as she is.
That is where the “Beauty on the Inside” came from. I was told to lose that verbiage; that the customer wouldn’t know what it meant. But I knew she would. We are constantly fed so much negativity about women and aging, weight and false ideals of who we all need to be and live up to.
I just wanted a reminder -- maybe for myself too -- that we are enough as we are. We are equipped.
They say ignorance is bliss. And I think that is true sometimes. Next to raising my children, this process has been one of the hardest but most transformative of my life. I am so glad you are here to be a part of the process.