Entrepreneur Series: Pocket Poppet Founders, Helen Tyler & Karen Hill-Krolow
What was your inspiration for creating Pocket Poppet?
Have you ever found yourself freezing in an air-conditioned restaurant? Or on an airplane that changes from sweltering to sub-zero? We had, and that’s where the inspiration for the Poppet packable travel Cardigan came from.
We searched for a garment that would fit in a purse or carry-on, and stay neat and clean until it is needed. After many hours of research, we found it actually didn’t exist. We found that this was something that women did want and need, but surprisingly, there was no solution. We also knew women would want a garment that would be stylish as well as warm. Armed with an idea and a prototype, we set out to solve both problems – style and convenience – and the Poppet was born!
What has been your biggest success or rewarding moment to date?
Our biggest success would probably be winning the trophy on the Good Morning America ‘ Shark Tank Your Life’ segment. Our most rewarding moments change constantly, from completing a successful production run to having a successful selling event. One great customer testimonial can keep us pumped up and encourage us in those challenging moments.
Do you wear multiple hats in your business? Which hat do you enjoy the most? The least?
As two women running a growing company we each wear many hats.
Direct sales is Karen’s favorite part of the business, “I get to see the reaction on people’s faces when they first see the Poppet “pop” out of its pocket. Women universally understand the need for a convenient cardigan! “
For Helen its coming up with new design ideas and watching them come to fruition. “ I will see something that inspires me and we translate it to become part of a new garment i.e. a bow on a Kate Spade purse, was the inspiration for the back detail of the Kate Poppet, or the dress I bought in England, which triggered our upcoming packable wrap dress design. Seeing the finished product is very satisfying.
The most arduous part of managing the Poppet business is keeping everything organized. Between production, accounting, maintaining inventory, customer service, booking selling events, social media, website updates, retail and wholesale, there is a never-ending list of things to do. In the end it ALL gets done, by the two of us.
What If you can have lunch with any inspirational woman who would it be (alive or deceased)?
We would love to have lunch with Lori Greiner, inventor, designer and QVC maven, in addition to a powerful force on Shark Tank. As a successful creator of innovative items she struggled through some challenging years before her ideas were widely accepted.
This is the current situation with our Poppet garment, finding a way to spread the word! ( JackieDeals.com is a great platform to assist in that!). We think that lunch with Lori would afford us a chance to be inspired by her success, as well as have a place of understanding about growing a company with an innovative idea!
What do you love most about having your own business?
We essentially created something out of nothing. Armed with an idea and self -funded, we learned literally everything from the ground up. Neither of us have a background in design, marketing, social media, accounting etc., but somehow have managed to get this far.
Only when we tell our story and see how positively people respond, are we made aware of our accomplishments to date. It is then when we realize how far we have come. The life of an entrepreneur is full of hills and valleys and is both challenging and rewarding. Ultimately you are working for yourself, making your own schedule, working long hours, calling all the shots and working every day, to stay in business and hopefully, make it a success.