Below is an interview I conducted via email with Alicia Rockmore, Co-founder (her “official” title is Queen Bee) of Buttoned Up, the company that makes all of those cool little products I gave away a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, it’s always fun to talk with entrepreneurs because so many of them are inspiring. I hope you enjoy this interview. If you have any questions that you would like to ask Alicia, please leave a comment and I’ll see if I can get her to stop by and answer them when she gets some free time.
What did you do before you started Buttoned Up?
I was a CPA at Ernst & Young, then got my MBA at University of Michigan and then worked for 14 years at CPG companies (e.g. General Mills and Unilever) before doing my own thing.
How did you come up with the idea for your organizational products?
Sarah Welch (My partner) and I worked for 15 years marketing to women. The need for women to get organized was (and still is) huge and there are not many products out there that make it easy. That is what we try to doâ€¦.making getting organized easy so you can get on with the rest of your life.
How do you find clients?
Word of mouth and referrals. We have a great team at Buttoned Up. All are dedicated to what we are trying to accomplish.
Have you always been an organized person?
I am not by nature an organized person. I am like most womenâ€¦.I get organized because I have to in order to get on with the things I prefer to do (e.g. spend time with my family) My house is not perfect, my closets are not color coordinated.
Whatâ€™s it like co-founding a company with friends?
Wonderful. Sarah and I are very lucky to have grown closer as friends by working together. There is also an opportunity to be very honest with each other because you know one another so well
What was the hardest lesson you had to learn about starting a company?
Everything no matter how great, has unanticipated costs, delays, etcâ€¦. We learned many lessons in our first 18 months that cost us time and money but we learned a tremendous amount.
How long did it take you to get your companyâ€™s products in Target stores?
2 years from when we started Buttoned Up.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do not give up. People will tell you what is wrong with your idea, why its already been done (there are no new ideas), etcâ€¦ If you believe in what you are doing, keep at it and you will find success.
What motivates you?
I love the challenge of making products that will help women get organized and that will really mean something to them. There is no greater high than when people write or call and say they love our products.
Finally, I noticed that your bio on the company website mentions that your husband is disorganized. Is this a challenge for you?
Yes, but we have been married 15 years so in each house we live in, he has his own messy space (a closet, extra room etcâ€¦) that way he can be messy and I donâ€™t have to see it.