I’m not sure this is gender specific but I think the best thing about being an entrepreneur is that you have complete control over the destiny of the company and it’s also the worst thing. Sometimes I just wouldn’t mind going to work and picking up a paycheck without the pressure that comes with owning the business but most of the time, it fuels me to do more than I would normally have done.
Leislie Pierson is the innovative female entrepreneur behind Good Hangups, airing on Shark Tank on September 30th. This passionate woman in business won the Today’s Show “Next Big Thing” Contest last October, and because of that, she has been on the national morning show numerous times, as well as QVC.
What did you eat for breakfast?
I had an egg scramble thing or whatever we had in the fridge.
What’s your favorite sport or exercise?
I like to walk around a lake near our house as it’s great exercise and clears my mind!
What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I’m a crafty person by nature and I’ve always loved solving problems. When I was in the corporate world I did systems implementations and that was finding a technical solution to a process problem. So when my son went though a super creative period, I set out to find a better way to display his artwork that wouldn’t damage it and that I could change out regularly (because every day he brought more home)….and thus GoodHangups was born. I’m passionate about solving everyday problems through great design.
What do you see for your future?
I plan to continue to grow GoodHangups to get the product out there, and then expand into other solutions for everyday problems.
How large is your business? How many employees do you have?
I have a couple key employees, but mainly I work with an amazing assemble company here that has a social mission for all our production and fulfillment. NW Center employees people of all abilities and then funnels their profits back into programs in the area for families with kids with disabilities. They are the Good in GoodHangups! The great part about that is that they can throw 30 people at our product when they need to and then we don’t have challenges with how to manage those people.
Tell us a success story about funding your business.
I have never taken outside funding before, but we decided to do a Kickstarter for this product and that was life changing. Not really because of the funding but because it got our product out in front of people and we got amazing feedback that we could use to improve the product before we went to market. We have PO Financing and Factoring set up to help us grow but in general I try to bootstrap whenever possible.
What do you see as challenges for you and your business? What are some opportunities?
Managing growth is the biggest challenge we see. We’ve grown tremendously in the past year and 1/2 and have so much more growth coming down the pike with our appearance on Shark Tank being one of them. Managing growth is a very tricky thing but its a challenge every business would love to have.
Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame?
When we did our Kickstarter we had a confusing campaign because we offered 2 different regular GoodHangups sizes because of the cost of the magnets. We realized quickly when we got so many questions, that we needed to have 1 size that work for small and large items and 1 that was for Kids Art so the customer didn’t need to think before they bought. Luckily we were able to make that change quickly and I have to say it may have taken 6 months to a year to figure the same issue out if we hadn’t done our Kickstarter!
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I like having control on my schedule and my work. I have a family and with a 6 year old there are always thing that come up that I want to be there for and because I can control my schedule, I can be there when I need to be.
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
I’m passionate about solving everyday problems through design so when a customer gets excited about our products, it really feels great as I set out to solve my problems with hanging art and in turn created a solution for others. It feels great. I had looked at doing other products that were nice to have gift items but they didn’t resonate with me like GoodHangups does because they weren’t solving a problem.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?
Enthusiasm. I have enthusiasm for my products, my life, my friends and family, other women entrepreneurs, and so many things. Because of this enthusiasm I think people find me approachable and genuinely want to help me succeed. I heard once in a talk by Tina Rosenburg that the difference between Confidence and Enthusiasm is that confidence is about you and enthusiasm is about others and that really resonated with me.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
Wow that’s a tricky one. I usually admire the things that people do vs the people themselves because technically I don’t know the person and who they really are. I love to see entrepreneurs structure businesses with a social focus and that’s where partnering up with NW Center has really felt great and the inspiration for that came from many of the great things other entrepreneurs have done.
What’s the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
Wow that’s a tricky one. I usually admire the things that people do vs the people themselves because technically Hmmm..I’ve gotten a ton of advice that has been great but my mom used to say “Pick a lifestyle, and then pick a career.” It’s such great advice as once you know how you want to live, picking a career after that is much easier.
Connect with Leslie Pierson founder of GoodHangups