I can't get enough of stories like this. Cynthia Jamin had an idea and a dream. There was no design experience behind it, but she knew what she wanted to build. So she took a class, and started from there. She met the contacts she needed and kept taking one step in front of the other!
The story behind her business is pretty incredible too, as Cynthia suffered some pretty big pain in her childhood. Going back to the main core that girls just want to feel beautiful, she formed Twirly Girl (TwirlyGirlShop.com) as a way to create dressed that make every girl beautiful (and now women too)!
Your business started from an inheritance, and you had no design experience. Where did you begin? Before she had that money, she had secured the Trademark because there was something in the name she loved. Even at the very beginning, she still had the feeling it was something to explore. She also felt lucky that she didn't have the pressure of having to make money.
Her luxury was not having to rely on Twirly Girl to make money right away. When she got the money, she wanted to be smart with the money and figure out where she could invest it in her business, wisely.
She invested in a website and the branding (the look, the feel, and the logo), and then she started to investigate if she needed to sell it to a store to figure out what they would need. She took a class to begin learning the apparel industry. She met a pattern maker, and it started from there.
The point is to be willing to learn, and if you will, everything is there for you.
[ctt tweet="The point is to be willing to learn, and if you will, everything is there for you. #podcast @thestartersclub http://ctt.ec/8H92f+" coverup="8H92f"]
Start taking those baby steps. She started with manufacturing, and then she secured a better website, then moved forward.
[ctt tweet="Don't grow beyond your means, but price your items for growth! @thestartersclub #podcast http://ctt.ec/41W0U+" coverup="41W0U"]
You won't be small forever, and lowering your price is much easier than going too high. You'll never regret pricing your items for growth.
Where did you begin to start getting noticed? The easiest way to do that is through the boutiques because you can reach more people at one time. Cynthia immediately looked at getting representatives in other states, to get it in front of people that she couldn't reach. She also did local boutique shows at school fundraisers, etc.
It's also been a process for her. There's sometimes you'll go full circle, but it really doesn't all happen right away. Start getting your product out there local, and wholesale if you can manufacture at a certain rate.
When dealing with wholesalers how do you make them happy while still listing on your site? Times have changed where more boutiques are okay with you having your own site. Cynthia does recommend getting a Manufacturer's Agreement Advertised Price Agreement. That means that no one can advertise their products for anything less than what Twirly Girl is selling it. They can sell it for less with discounts and coupons, but just can't advertise it for less.
It really ends up helping both ways because some people may want to go to the stores to the shop. And then some may see the clothes online and ask their favorite stores to carry the product.
What's a wish you would have known before starting your business? Establish a great customer service plan. You can't under-estimate is the power of your reputation and to really protect that. That should come first. Don't take abuse, but short of that, do everything you can to help them.
One mistake is thinking you need to hire people to grow the business because they didn't think they knew what they were doing. When in fact, they did know what they were doing, they just didn't trust themselves.
You do know what you're doing, even when you think you don't. Every piece of advice they got, Cynthia has found she has come full circle.
How do you make the decision on hiring now? At first it's important to understand how everything works. Then it's time to evaluate where your time is best spent. Then can you pass on the info to other people to help you.
Figure out where you're best served, and trust the money will be there if you're being more productive.
More About Cynthia: Cynthia grew up in Chicago. She had a rough childhood and was then relocated to California at 13 to live with her father. (see the video about Cynthia’s Story here: http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/ giving-back/)
After graduating Beverly Hills High School in 1982 (she is fond of saying that she lived in the slums of Beverly Hills to attend the high school for the dance program) Cynthia became a professional dancer and actress. She started with music videos and then started acting. She worked her way up to being a recurring guest star on shows like Friends and Veronica’s Closet among many other sitcom roles.
Skipping college at first, she decided to go to Santa Monica City College in her early 30’s to get an associates degree. After 4 years (to complete the 2 year program) she was accepted to UCLA. BUT, she got pregnant with her first daughter and decided to opt out. She is married to Michael Jamin, a sitcom writer. They met on the set of Just Shoot Me where Cynthia was guest star. A non-typical Hollywood story as Michael and Cynthia now have 2 daughters and have been happily married for 15 years.
After the birth of Roxy, she decided to focus on raising her daughter and quit acting. Soon their 2nd daughter, Lola, was born. When the girls were old enough for preschool, Cynthia took a sewing lesson. Long story short... she started making clothing for the girls, other mom’s loved them, and TwirlyGirl was born in 2007. Michael is now head of Marketing along with his day job. Their daughters model the clothing and help with the business too.
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