Name: Janie Cooke and Caroline Nix
Business: O-Venture, accessories designed to help simplify your baggage
Industry: Clothing & Accessories
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth Area, Texas, U.S.
Reason for starting: The company and our first product, the Big O Key Ring, were born from a unique place and time in our lives. As mothers and friends, we wanted to tap into our creativity and brainpower. And, we wanted to help other women too.
We sat down with one question: How can we make women’s life easier? We realized the idea was right in front of us – actually weighing us down as we talked. Not only did we spend countless hours looking for our keys, but it was time to free ourselves from the unnecessary baggage we had been carrying around daily (and literally)! If we could lighten a woman’s load and give her another set of hands simultaneously, we would really be on to something. From this, the O Key ring concept came to life. And, that idea launched our O-Venture!
Our goal at the outset was to change the way people think about what they carry around every day! We’d love for all women to drop their excess baggage and carry only what they need. Think about the fact that one simple change from a heavy handbag to a Big O and Ossential might just be the beginning of a more organized and care-free life!
How do you define success? Giving women an extra hand is a pervasive part of our culture and the inspiration behind everything we do…from the products we design to our approach to the marketplace and O-ver the top customer service. Women’s hands are full with responsibilities, children, paperwork, groceries…you name it. If we can literally and figuratively give women an extra hand to hold onto what’s most important, then we have achieved success.
Our vision is to be a good steward of success by a) creating revenue, good will and success for our wholesale customers; b) connecting with our customers in ways that lift their spirits and brighten their days; c) creating an environment where women thrive; and d) creating opportunities for talented women who do not have the way or means to deploy their talents in the workforce either because they need flexible schedules, part time work or aren’t even aware of their valuable talents.
Biggest Success: Our dream from the moment we started O-Venture was to be one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. We are O so proud to be featured in Oprah’s 2014 Favorite Things!
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Obviously, our top challenge was taking an idea and making it into a company. But, beyond that, there is not one challenge we can point to, rather it is the sheer number of obstacles that we continue to confront in all areas of our business over long periods of time. We address these challenges by, first and foremost, expecting to have obstacles and staying positive! We don’t ignore or shy away from challenges. Instead, we hit them head on seeking creative solutions to the problems that arise, never relying on the way we have done it in the past (or the way anyone else has done it for that matter) to be the answer for the future. Staying positive, flexible and innovative ensures we can overcome the obstacles in our path and turn challenges into opportunities.
Who is your most important role model? Sara Blakely of SPANX is our most important role model. We modeled many of our early decisions off of her career and business decisions. She built a company based on an idea that changed the way people viewed hosiery. She approached women with humor and authenticity, which we emulate. As she grew, she remained committed to helping other women through her Leg Up program for female entrepreneurs. Imagine how honored we were to received her Leg Up Award. She featured us in her catalog and gave us an opportunity to visit by phone and ask her questions regarding our most pressing business issues. Sara Blakely is an example of women utilizing their success to lif up other women that we admire immensely.
Edited by The Story Exchange