Julie Deane wanted to send her daughter to a better school. She was being bullied in her public school and the only other option was private education, which was financially out of reach. So Deane came up with a plan to make up the $31,000 and get her daughter the best education possible, away from her bullies. She started a business with only $775 and a dream. Six years later, that company is worth $65 million. Her story is a testament to what determination can do with a good plan.
Deane started by making a list of the ten things she would need to pay for her daughter’s schooling along with idea and how much those needs would cost. She decided one thing she could do well was make school bags, which are expensive, ugly, and not made to last. She mocked up an idea with cardboard, found a manufacturer and sent prototypes to fashion bloggers at New York Fashion Week. Soon the orders started flowing in.
Because she could not afford to hire employees, she recruited her mother. Because she could not hire a graphic design team to brand her product, she made a logo for herself on Microsoft Paint. She did everything herself. At one point, a manufacturer started selling knockoff versions of her bags at a fraction of the price.
That sort of irritated me,” she told CNBC. “But then the next line was the real kicker: ‘Because you’re a stupid woman and you don’t know about manufacturing.’ And he was so pleased with himself. He turned on his heel and went out the back.”
In response, Deane cleaned up a warehouse and started her own manufacturing operation staffed by employees she hired out from under the rude manager simply by treating them fairly.
Today, her company is worth $65 million.
Needless to say, Deane was able to send her daughter to a better school and now is able to be an industry leader in manufacturing excellence and employee care.