The Story Exchange, Kim Nimsgern, Casual PanacheYour Name: Kim Nimsgern

Business Name: Casual Panache, Inc., a maker of a detachable brush styling tool for women

Type of Business: Health & Beauty

Business Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin, United States

Twitter   @ClicknCurl

Reason for starting
I came up with a good idea and was curious and determined enough to pursue it. Plus, I am surrounded by successful business owners. My parents have owned and operated a tax and accounting service all my life and my husband runs a successful commercial painting company. Both my husband and family have been very inspirational and supportive.

How do you define success?
Achieving sales targets and revenue projections are definitely part of my goals but the times I feel most successful are 1. when I exceed the expectations of other 2. when I complete more than I thought I could (overcome challenges or obstacles) 3. when my kids and husband tell me how proud they are my progress and accomplishments.

Biggest Success
I have a few worth mentioning: 1. Click n Curl was on the Today Show. Bobbie Thomas, the Today Show Lifestyle Editor, said that Click n Curl just might be her “favorite thing this year.” 2. I just returned from COSMOPROF North America, the largest hair and beauty show in the US. I had the opportunity to audition for HSN, QVC and the Shopping Channel from Canada. There were more than 100 application and only 18 audition slots. I was one of them. We were picked up by the Canada Shopping Channel. 3. At the COSMOPROF show a distributer stated, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. Every once in a while, you come to a show and you find that one product that you just know made your trip worth the while. Well I have that feeling about this one.” 4. My daughter wrote in my Mother’s Day card, “I’m so proud of you. Don’t ever give up on Click n Curl.”

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
An ongoing challenge has been producing a retail quality product on the cheap. My husband and I self-funded the development of Click n Curl so we needed to find less expensive resources (i.e. designers, website development, packaging, prototypes, patent agent, etc.). However, when you pay less, you don’t always get the best or the most timely results. We needed to find the balance between “affordable” and “quality” so that in the end we would have a sellable product. I was so worried that we would spend a ton of money and end up with a product that no one would buy. Funding is difficult. I still have a day job – I work full time. It’s hard to give up a secure job when your new business isn’t yet producing enough revenue to cover your current salary. However, I have learned that you get out what you put in. If you only put in part time hours then you only have a part time business.

Who is your most important role model?
I have had so many mentors and supporters along the way – too many to narrow it down to just one. Sometimes, I feel like I won an Oscar… “I have so many people to thank for helping me get to where I’m at today…”