Name: Sara Peak & Whitney Nordmoe
Business: Dean & Grace, shopping via text message
Location: West Virginia, U.S.
Reason for starting: My business partner, Whitney, and I have been friends since Kindergarten. We were both stay at home moms looking to create a business that not only would add value to our own lives, but to other women’s as well. One day we were out shopping at the mall with our kids when we had an awful experience…. kids screaming, baby pooping, complete disaster experience. Needless to say, no shopping was accomplished! On the car ride home we were saying how there had to be an easier way to shop! Yes, there is online shopping, but even with that, we found it time consuming trying to sort through sizes and products, all while a child is screaming for attention.
Our business started with the cliche “Ah-ha” moment we had later that day, sitting around my kitchen table drinking coffee. Realizing women appreciate any shortcut that means more valuable time with their family, or additional time to work or do things they enjoy. We thought to ourselves, “What if we could shop by text? How easy would that be? In a meeting… just text back. At the playground with your kids… just text back.”
That day, we revolutionized shopping as we know it and created text message shopping!
How do you define success? Success to us means making a difference in lives beyond our own. It is not enough to us to simply make money from our business. Success is when we help our customers shop easily and efficiently, so they can spend their time on more important tasks such as cuddling a child, attending an important meetings, or simply enjoying life. Success also means bringing other women to power through use of our business model. We work with women all around the world who make or sell unique products, and give these women owned companies opportunity to sell to our customer base. When our vendors are successful and our customers are happy, that’s when we personally feel we are successful.
Biggest Success: Our biggest success keeps changing. When we started the company, we had no idea what we were doing. Thinking of the barriers to entry, it would have been easy to give up on our idea and dream. We had no formal legal, accounting, technology, marketing, or even retail sale experience. We had no large capital to work with for expansion. Yet with each step, we have done the “imaginable” by combating little task, by little task. We never thought we could create our own website. Then we did. We never thought we could create the technology we needed. Then we did. Our biggest success therefore has been expanding, despite obstacles, and despite a lack of initial resources. We continue to find ways to grow and expand, and that has truly been our biggest success to date.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Our top challenge is the novelty behind text shopping. The great thing about it, is that it’s new and different. The challenging thing about it, is that it’s new and different.
New and different is exciting, but also means introducing and educating potential customers about the process. Our top challenge is obtaining new shopping club members. With little capital to spend on advertising, most of our growth has come from word of mouth, press, and social media avenues. We address the challenge of membership growth by best utilizing the tools we do have, such as a strong and loyal customer base, and good relations with the press.
Who is your most important role model? Personally, my most important role model is my own mother. Not because she has created a huge business empire for me to emulate, but because she is by far, the most positive person I have met. Positive attitude is everything as an entrepreneur. And I mean… everything. When times are tough, or things don’t go our way (which happens more often than we’d like) the only thing left is our attitude. Through my mother, I have learned to keep it positive. Keep moving forward no matter what. When the world says “no” you just say “great, thanks” and smile, without missing a beat. It’s almost a naive amount of positiveness that keeps an entrepreneur going.
Related: Positive Attitude, Positive Change
My mother (who does have great entrepreneurial experience as well, as our family owned a furrier for years) has been my role model, simply by her attitude. Many people in business do not carry this positiveness around with them. We feel that by carrying it with us, we put ourselves well ahead of most competition. It’s an easy thing to do to stand out, and to be happier in the process.
Edited by The Story Exchange