How Did You Start Just Nips?
Starting Just Nips was one of the easiest decisions I could’ve ever made. It was so easy it didn’t even feel like a decision.
Everyone always asks me “what made you decide to start a fake nipple company?” looking to hear that pivotal yes or no moment they talk about on Shark Tank all the time.
But that’s just the thing. For me, there was no yes or no moment.
It was always yes.
I never questioned “if” I was going to make Just Nips fake nipples a reality, the only question was HOW.
Most entrepreneurs will agree that starting your dream company isn’t the hard part. Maintaining and growing are the hard parts. Keeping a positive attitude when you’re pretty sure at any moment your company is going under is a hard part. Weathering a deal that falls through or a check that didn’t clear are hard parts. Taking a risk that doesn’t pan out is a hard part. Being a strong leader for your team who quit all their old jobs because they believed in you and your mission is another really, really, really hard part.
But starting? Nah, that’s the easy part.
I started Just Nips because I wanted to. Plain and simple. I had no background in product development, entrepreneurship, sales or web design. Had I any of these skills, even one, starting Just Nips would’ve been easier, that’s for sure. But I didn’t. I didn’t even know much about breast cancer or the various organizations that are committed to helping survivors (but more on that later).
My only “real” work experience was leasing apartments back in college and copywriting. I worked at Ralph Lauren as a copywriter for a little over 5 years. I was the girl who wrote the product description of the polo shirt you buy your dad online for Father’s Day. Every day. For 5 years.
“Copywriters don’t start companies!” is a thought that never crossed my mind. Not once.
My first step bringing Just Nips to life was doing what I knew best:
I wrote out the labels for the nonexistent packages of my nonexistent product over and over again. I probably wrote 150 drafts of copy before even considering making our prototype.
This proved to be an invaluable step for my company. Why?
By using the only skills I had, writing, I was able to draft, fine-tune and edit my product and bring it to life with just words. I saved time and major money upfront when it came time to finally making prototypes because I had already drafted all of the real-life variations of our product on paper.
I cannot tell you how happy my bank accounts and I are to have worked out the kinks up front.
Could you imagine if I took my original metal fake nipples to market? Yup, metal. In the beginning, metal seemed like a brilliant choice for fake nipples. Metal’s inherent smoothness would allow shirts to glide effortlessly over Just Nips, a critical factor to our success. Plus, once we hollow them out, metal Just Nips would be super lightweight, yet still keep their sturdy shape.
Wondering what made me change my mind? Writing.
I was drafting up possible uses for Just Nips and knew we needed a Swim line. I realized that fun in the sun would take a turn for the worse if metal fake nipples got exposed to too much heat. Ever put metal in a microwave? Well, it wouldn’t be that bad, but who wants hot-to-the-touch fake nipples sitting directly on your skin?! Not me. And probably not you.
Instead of shelling out cash on a prototype, we just went back to the drawing board and metal fake nipples were instantly a thing of the past.
See? Through a lot of up-front writing, planning and drafting, I was able to chip away at my dream company. By the time I had the perfect copy, I knew exactly what I wanted the website, packaging, and final product to look and feel like.
Having my crystal clear vision made the rest of the start-up work easy. I found a web designer and was able to communicate exactly what I wanted to him. I found an engineer who could make a mold quickly with that precise specifications I provided. I found a packaging guy who loaded up the printer with my pre-planned designs.
And the next thing you know, I’m getting sales! Not a lot of sales yet, but sales.
Using the only skills I had, which at the time, seemed pretty irrelevant to the world of product development, I did it. I figured it out. And so can you. Just chip, chip, chip away using everything you got and you’ll get there. I promise!
Oh and by the way, did you know that Tory Burch is a former Ralph Lauren copywriter, too? Just saying!