The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Cathy Kerns’ Success – Part 2

On Tuesday, we talked to Cathy Kerns, KernsAble Enterprises, Inc. President and creator of Style Stick Fashion Accessories for Gently Assisted Walking. Here is the remainder of that interview and more great tips from Cathy: 

What marketing activities worked best for you to increase sales?

We discovered very early on that our customers were going to be our best marketing tools! A Style Stick® can turn a reclusive person into a social butterfly as everyone will stop to admire their beautiful cane so we became even more customer-service centered.
The true secret to our success is the customization aspect of a Style Stick®. Maintaining unlimited customer service and care has placed our repeat purchase factor above 60%.
Each person who purchases a Style Stick® receives a supply of business cards with their own name. When a Style Stick® user refers five new purchasing customers, the user receives a new cane with our compliments.
If possible, what would you have done differently when starting your business and why?

I would not have invested so much money to pursue traditional retail sales opportunities such as going to market, search distributors, etc. I would stress the customization design opportunity for those who deal directly with our company for that is the factor that has made Style Stick® a very loved product.Thanks so much for your inspiring story Cathy! Now, if you are ready to pursue your small business dreams and have questions, feel free to comment below, or write to me at www.rembrandtwrites.com. We’re here to help!

Because I have financed my company 100% since inception, I might consider inviting some outside investment. I would also cut back on international trademark registrations because we have discovered that although you may have registered your marks, the cost to pursue an overseas infringement is totally prohibitive.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who have a business idea but are nervous about pursuing it?

Make sure your “life infrastructure” is in place. Can you really financially and emotionally afford to finally leave your “other job” and transit to the home operation?

Be a person of faith. Not just faith in a higher power, but in your own product as well. Don’t let the naysayers do you in, but be prepared to accept the fact one of your ideas, methods, designs, etc. won’t work for others even if you like it.

Be prepared to not take a penny out of your business even if all the brilliant business minds remind you to always pay yourself first. Never forget the adage that this, too, shall pass.

Where can readers find out more about your business?

Please visit www.stylestick.com and you can also read more in “Birthing the Elephant” (Ten Speed Press). 

About the Author: Melanie Rembrandt

Since our initial launch date, Melanie Rembrandt has been an integral part of the StartupNation team. As the founder of Rembrandt Communications®, LLC, www.rembrandtwrites.com, Melanie is one of the country's top, public-relations consultants, an SEO content strategist and a published [...]