The world of Entrepreneurship has many revolving doors and yet not one day goes by when someone may surprise me by what they do. It is imperative to pivot, gravitate and demonstrate flexibility while maintaining your core values with your brand and as a small business owner. And I’ve learned that not all minds think alike!
From incubator phase, to startup, to big franchise businesses, we learn, grow and embrace change to best accommodate our customer’s needs and deliver upon them. Over the past 10+ years as a small business owner of multiple businesses, I’ve experienced so much beyond what I did in the corporate workplace - from handling my own operations, brands, billings, collections and many other forms of the business including product innovation, design, development, sales and distribution, media and marketing, production, etc. All these very important parts of the business take patience, tolerance and personal experience over time. It has been with customer interactions that have helped shape my businesses and allowed me to learn as a one-woman show business owner who keeps the ops low and outsources with subcontractors to pace with growth.
A quote I learned from Shark Tank Daymond John - “keep it mean and lean Jean”, and I have! “Don’t get greedy and over extend yourself. Growth comes with time”.
I always dealt fair and square with our competition throughout my media and technology sales career, and now can add fashion to that portfolio as I continue to expand. What I never expected to experience was so much background noise, the nonsense and blatant idiocies that hit you from time to time, from the people or companies you would never expect to hear from, and frankly, waste your time, money and resources. So let me be a little more specific.
Earlier this year I was presented, from left-field I might add, a frivolous claim that I was in violation of someone’s trademark, patent, website, brand, logo, marks, product names, features, etc. you name it. Additionally, they claimed I could not use the word “PINK” describing my Bras or Brand. Well first, let me clear up any confusion about the use of the color “Pink” or any relevant info herewith related. . . The law clearly disclaims any exclusive rights to use the term pink. Pink is one of thousands of shades and millions of colors available in the world and no one owns the use or names of colors or shades. Pink is a pale color of red named after a flower of the same name, it has been around since the 17th century, and it is one of the most common colors of flowers. Pink is the founding color of Breast Cancer Awareness and myself, along with thousands of other companies use it, bar none.
COLORS OF PINK - d
The asserted claims were sent in a deck totaling over 60 pages long, it was quite humorous. They must have printed my entire website and attempted to make ridiculous assertions about my work that everything I did was wrong and not of my own content and IP. While this person and their legal counsel, in my opinion, used extremely poor judgment — clearly they were not thinking straight and obviously making an attempt to bully me in an effort to close my doors. All it did was put fuel to the fire, and I got better and better with what I do today, as I’ve continued to grow as an entrepreneur and business owner! I thoroughly took the time, read the correspondence over and over again, to ensure I was not missing anything, and, of course, sent to my counsel for their input, careful review, and response, and then, we all had a few good laughs. The nonsense was a waste of all of our time, at my expense of course!
It was obvious that not only was this individual trying to push me out of business, they clearly wanted to take my brand down and everything I had built up, prior to theirs. Yes, that’s right. I did my own research on this person’s brand, their business, and Intellectual Property all to find out mine existed prior to theirs. In fact, they may have copied some of my ideas. While their one product has completely different characteristics than my entire collection, it was obvious they were trying to spread their wings to grow into other areas to penetrate the market in which I’m in, and decided the only way to get there was to complain by serving me these preposterous papers.
So fast forward, we responded to each and every point in this legal brief, and found them wholly without merit on every single point they attempted to hit me with. The CRISSCROSS Intimates brand was/is trademarked and approved with a utility patent by the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) and mind you, I’ve spend thousands and thousands of dollars annually to ensure I do things the right way as a small business owner innovating a creative product line. So as idioms go . . . typically, 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ but in this case they lost.
While others may take claim to your IP and/or product, or try to, or attempt to push you out when the going gets bad for them, just remember to rely on your own work. Do things the right way. So use my example here as testament for ‘no policy makes bad business’ and ‘good policy makes better business!’ Okay I just thought up those phrases but they are true! If you do business the right way, seek the proper help, and work thru the proper channels, enlist the proper guidance, you can have a successful brand and bring a product to market. So utilize these tips if you are a new Entrepreneur seeking to start a company - whether in fashion or any other industry and remember ‘kindness goes a long way’.
Having good partners can make or break you and it’s those partner you want on your side. I once had a manager tell me, ‘there’s a lot of fish in the sea. If you’re not swimming with the right fish, go find a new pool of them’.
GO FISH -
I’ve also personally met and hired a few of the real “Sharks” from Shark Tank and while their advice has been invaluable, I have also meta pool of “Piranhas” in this marketplace and choose to go fishing elsewhere.
The Not so PINK person/company who is desperately trying to be a player in this market supporting Breast Cancer Survivors and Healthcare organizations, recently scrambled by my exhibit at a recent Breast Cancer Summit last week. They didn’t think I knew who they were but of course I greeted them as I would any other customer; “Can I help you?” Know your haters and competition even if you don’t think they are true competitors - always be one step ahead of them. You can ‘win over more customers with sugar than honey’ - a phrase I’m sure you are familiar with. This individual was grappling at straws; stunned at our lovely fashion designs, displays and booth traffic! Sometimes it takes a Village to innovate and launch so protect your IP and be proud of your accomplishments when it happens.
So if you are a business owner, involved in healthcare, retail, e-commerce or like fields or any other relevant market for that matter with your brand, please remember, ‘it’s the small fish that WIN!’ Never give up if you believe in your product/brand! Whatever your area of specialty. By the way, we’re here to ROCK YOUR WORLD with a contemporary, colorful, comfortable collection of LUXE Activewear and Post-Surgical Intimate Apparel for Women and Men - products made for Survivors by a Survivor too! Made in the USA/NYC as well. SHOP CRISSCROSSIntimates.com and receive a special incentive this month too!.
Survivor Strong. Be that warrior like none other!
PINK IT UP! -
Let’s Pink it Up and show off our Fabulous Pinks this month to raise awareness to Breast Cancer! Here are a few of our “Pink” designs.
A special shout-out to all my favorite partners, brands and companies represented from all over the world who have inspired me since the launch of Crisscross Intimates. Please Share and Like this Blog post, and Follow Us - there are more exciting innovations and designs to follow.
Wishing you all the breast!
For product information about CRISSCROSSIntimates, contact us at email@example.com. For media information about our brand, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For investors looking for an innovative company to share your future with, kindly contact us at email@example.com and preview our pitch deck here Fundable.com. Products sold on Amazon too.