MISSION: BUILD THE DREAM

This Lucky Chick shares her business success secrets

Stephanie Sakoff left the world of designer shoes behind to launch the Lucky Chick line of bath and body products eight years ago. Starting her business at 27 years old in a cramped studio in Manhattan with $40,000 she borrowed from friends and family, today Stephanie has built Lucky Chick into a multimillion dollar company.

You can find Lucky Chick products in Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works and spas, salons and gift stores around the globe. The new line, Lucky Chick Girlfriend, which is aimed at younger girls, is about to hit stores. And, the Lucky Chick brand recently hit a major milestone
óit just snagged its first licensing deal.

We asked Stephanie what made her company so successful and what tips she has for other women who want to make their business dreams come true, too....

THE INSPIRATION

Why she launched her own business:

"I started out designing shoes. I worked with Beverly Feldman, Sam and Libby, and Reebok. Then I decided the shoe industry wasnít for me. It looked like a really hard life. These people were always on the road. They always traveled. They never had a personal life. I thought, 'Thatís not what I want my life to look like in 20 years.'

"You have to sometimes search until something comes easy. Not that everything isnít difficult. But it has to feel good.

"One of my dreams was to create a product that I could manufacture in the United States. But I didnít know what it would be."

Making the decision to focus on bath and body products:

"I would ask myself the question, 'If I had a company, what would it be? What could I be passionate about?'

"I thought maybe I should pamper womenís feet instead of draw shoes for their feet. To me it was very logical. I make shoes. Iím going to pamper feet. Then I expanded it to pampering the whole body."

Boosting her confidence that she could launch a business:

"I would clip articles out of magazines of people who I wanted to be. Those articles were good for me at the time because I needed role models of women entrepreneurs."

Coming up with her company's Lucky Chick name:

"I figured I should probably call it something that has longevity. It should make people happy and laugh. And it should be something Iíll want to say forever. It was kind of funny that I lived in apartment LC at the time and friends nicknamed me Lucky Chick. So I went with that."

Coming up with the Lucky Chick logo, which Stephanie drew herself:

"I imagined a character who would be the most perfectly pampered woman that I know. Her arms would be in the air and she was going to have an amazing life. I was basically talking about myself."

How Stephanie started making the products for her line:

"I got a computer and, for my first time on the Internet ever, I Googled the word 'laboratory'. Three labs popped up. I got on the train at Penn Station and went to one and they told me I might have something here. Six months later, I launched Lucky Chick."  

Choosing fragrances and ingredients:

"I have 'noses", people who specialize in scent. I give them a description of what Iím looking for and they formulate the fragrance. For instance, if I want deep and sensual, they put in patchouli or sandalwood. If I want it light and flowery, they put in some light, white citruses. I okay the final scents. Then I send them to my chemist and we talk about what ingredients are hot and what I want put in my products."

What makes Lucky Chick products stand out:

"No one does fragrances like we do. We have a mandarin white orchard and a mimosa, jasmin and violet. Theyíre not too fruity. Theyíre not too flowery. People donít know what to call them.  Weíve also got great formulas, like sugar body scrub. It doesnít separate and itís a great texture."

LESSONS LEARNED

Biggest hurdle:

"Reinvention. People always want to see something new. You have to keep it fresh."

Blunders:

"We came out with a line of stationery. That was a big mistake for us because weíre not in the stationery business. If we wanted to sell stationery, we could have gone to a stationary company and they could have paid us a percentage. The way we were doing it, we were trying to sell it and make all the money. Meanwhile, we didnít make any money on it."

The lesson:

"Focus on what your core products are. You want to make your foundation really strong and tight. A lot of people who want to start their own business say, 'I want to have accessories and shoes and handbags and everything like Kate Spade.' Itís really tricky for that to work even when you do have amazing people doing it."

NEWEST DEVELOPMENT

Lucky  Chick's first licensing deal:

"Lotta Luv, a company based in New York and most known for making lip glosses, have licensed my Lucky Chick name for lip glosses. They license lots of brands, like Hershey and Snapple. So, for example, they make Snapple lip glosses. Snapple doesn't make them. This company does."

How licensing works:

"You probably donít realize that many of the products you buy are created through licensing. For instance, if you buy a Kate Spade China piece, sheís not designing that. Thereís a China company that came to her to ask her for the rights to her name.  

"A company comes to me and they say they love Lucky Chick and they see the products all over and they think that this brand has legs other than with bath and body products. Say theyíre a hand bag company. They think that Lucky Chick is so big that they want to make knapsacks for girls and use the Lucky Chick logo. We get final approval of the design. Then they make it and sell it and we get a percentage."

COMING UP

The future of Lucky Chick:

"Lucky Chick is going to have lots of other licenses for all the things you can picture that will make a Lucky Chick life cushy and comfy and fabulous, like sleepwear, accessories and more makeup."

STEPHANIE'S ADVICE

What Stephanie recommends to women who want to start their own business:

"Think about something in your life that you're passionate about, which you love doing or which would fill a need in your life."

Visit Lucky Chick at LuckyChick.com.

This month, two lucky Four Weeks subscribers will win
either a Lucky Chick Mandarin White Orchard Body Butter or Shea & Shimmer Body Cream

Have you subscribed yet? It's free!

 

  

 

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