Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sherry Goff, Founder and CEO of SherryWinks, LLC., located in Vero Beach, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Women want to be hands-free and worry-free! In 2011 I recognized that women did not have storage to carry their personal items such as phones, keys, credit cards, cash, insulin pumps, wearable technology such as health trackers, etc. It is not always convenient to carry a purse, and fashion does not give us pockets that securely store our valuables. My daughter was in college, and she was always losing her college ID, and it was $50 every time to replace it!
Pockets on bras was a novel idea, so in 2011 I filed my first patent. I now have 11 issued utility patents for pockets on bras, sports bras, bathing suit tops, etc. I also have one more that is patent pending. I have an open line of continuations, so when technology changes or fashion changes, I am able to file new patents. Because I am the "prior art," I am the only one in the country who can file patents for pockets on bras/sports bras. I also own the trademark PocketBra®.
Yes, there are now many infringers out in the marketplace, but that is a good thing! It is proof of concept! I now have a large law firm that has taken on my case on a contingency basis, and we are now addressing the infringers. Right now, I am selling a traditional bra with pockets on the inside of both cups and elastic lace pockets on both side panels, all large enough to carry your phone, IDs, keys, credit cards, money, insulin pumps, etc. I am in the process of designing a sports PocketBra® and hope to have it on the market soon. My target market is any woman who is active and wants her hands free!
Tell us about yourself
While I was getting my MBA, I had the most wonderful opportunity to interview the founder of Dunkin Donuts. He said to me, "Sherry, take an old idea and make it better." That is what he did with corner coffee shops, and that is what I am doing with bras and sports bras.
My father died early in my life. When I was going through a very rough time, I prayed to him and asked for his advice. That's when I realized that my keys in my bra were making me sweaty and they were itchy. I was always afraid they would slip out and get lost. That is when it hit me.
I have received the most wonderful notes from my customers, thanking me for making this product, and this is what motivates me. The most special note was from a mother of a diabetic teenager. She said the PocketBra® changed her daughter's life by giving her a discreet and convenient place to keep her insulin pump. As a mom, I really felt for this mother and was so grateful that I made her daughter's life easier.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been protecting my product concept through utility patents. The first patent took 2 1/2 years to be issued. When it was issued, I was elated, but I wished I had done a few things differently. My patent attorney told me I had a certain amount of time to file a continuation. Now I have the bras and sports bras covered with pockets, and I still have an open line of continuations to file new ones!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is the loneliness of being in business alone. All of the stress and risk are on my shoulders. The team is me, myself, and I.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't listen to anyone.
- Listen to your gut.
- Go for it!
There are a lot of people that are nay-sayers and want to tell you that you can't do it. That should just make you want to do it even more!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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