Name: Haralee Weintraub
Location: Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Industry: Apparel & Accessories
Reason for starting? After breast cancer treatments threw me into menopause with drenching night sweats, I could not find anything soft and comfortable for sleep, so I started my own company. I design the sleepwear with the breast cancer patient in mind — no itchy lace or buttons or doodads to irritate sensitive skin. I use super soft moisture-wicking fabric that feels wonderful and does the job of keeping women comfortable all night long. My company’s mission is to be made in the USA and help other women understand breast cancer. With that in mind, we donate a percentage of every sale to breast cancer research, and our models are cancer survivors, their daughters, sisters or friends.
How do you define success? My definition of success is being able to help other women. My sleepwear line helps other women get a better night’s sleep. Most women don’t even know that there is sleepwear that can wick away their night sweats so they stay drier and more comfortable. Success also means giving back. My company has a charitable component to give a percentage of every sale to breast cancer research. I also use real women who are survivors of cancer or their daughters, sisters or friends to show breast cancer is not necessarily a death sentence and these women are living beautifully. Lastly, I measure success for me and my company as a source of income — to be able to hire other entrepreneurs here in the USA for their expertise.
Biggest success: My biggest success was when the local paper ran a story about my company. They did a story when I first opened, and I thought maybe I had already saturated this market, but I was wrong. The story brought out many new customers!
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Since I am in retail, my business spikes at Christmas time for gifts. I have to have a full inventory of product ready to ship out the door. Working with my local manufacturer, we have partnered to make this easy on both of us. I send them orders for a style production run and prioritize the sizes I need first and the styles I need first. In this way I am billed for the completed work so my outlay of cash is spread over 5-6 months instead of 2 months. Also it keeps my manufacturer steadily busy. It is a win-win situation!
Who is your most important role model? My father, who never saw my business, was an entrepreneur, and I think back on how he handled situations graciously and try to mimic him. I look at my mother, who did marketing for my company until her health at age 90 forced her to retire. They are my role models in my business.
Edited by The Story Exchange