Today’s entrepreneur is Stefanie Kushner of BagInspiration.
When and why did you start your business?
Michelle and I started our business because we wanted to create a business that we were passionate about and that would allow us to work from home around our busy family schedules. We launched BagInspiration.com in Sept. of 2010. The idea for a website that sells eco friendly, eco chic, unique bags came from our love of purses and a trip to Mexico. In Mexico, Michelle found adorable purses made from recycled candy wrappers. We are both eco conscious and started doing research on how many other practical and green bags are out there. We were surprised at the number of creative people that have found ways to create awesome bags from recycled or repurposed material. We also saw that there wasn’t a website that offered all types of eco friendly bags in one place. We knew that offering these bags was something we could both be passionate about and BagInspiration was launched soon after that.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I love the challenge of finding bags that excite people when they see them. A customer will find a bag that suits their style. When they hear what it is made out of, and that it is fair trade made employing people around the world they are amazed. It is a constant challenge to find the right bags. We have purchased bags that we think people will love but they aren’t a great hit. We’ve also accidentally ordered the wrong bag and it was a huge hit. The constant challenge to find the right bag, made out of the right material is fun and the reward of enthusiasm from our customers makes it all worth it.
Describe your business in 20 words or less.
A website that offers eco chic, unique, adorable, environmentally friendly bags of all types for all types of people.
What is your biggest success or accomplishment you’re most proud of in your business?
BagInspiration offers online and physical purse parties where we donate 15% of the sales from the party to the non-profit of the hostesses choice. It is so inspiring to learn about different non-profits that people are passionate about. It is really a win-win because we are getting people to realize that recycled goods can be great looking and functional, while obviously reducing new product production and saving our landfills of more waste. Plus, we are helping non-profits and making our hostesses feel great about having a BagInspiration party.
What is one mistake that you made that you really learned from and what did you learn?
We learned that unless you invest in marketing you aren’t going to sell your products. We have relied a lot on our local purse parties as we grow our business and get more cash available to advertise. Because of the purse parties we put more money into inventory than marketing. We are learning that in order to really grow the website, we need to focus more on our advertising efforts and learning ways we can advertise that don’t cost a lot of money.