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I Created A Trending Product And Everyone Ripped It Off

Business

It all started on a Saturday evening. I was in the shower and thought to myself "do I have time to wash my hair AND glue on my lashes? Ugh, why do lashes have to take so much time?"


I had a demanding career and two young children who I wanted to hang out with before our dinner party. Lashes instantly enhance your overall look. I wanted amazing lashes in seconds, at home, and I didn't want to deal with the time or mess of glue. I thought that lashes should be just like your other go-to accessories…. Two seconds to put on and two seconds to take off, just like earrings or a watch.

The concept of the magnetic lash was born, right then and there – in my shower!

I knew if I wanted glamorous lashes in two seconds, other women would as well. If you've ever glued on false lashes – even once – you understand.

Thus began my two-year research and development phase as well as business development journey. I had a cushy real estate development sales career, but six months into R&D, I decided I needed to commit all of my bandwidth to One Two Lash. Yes, I was established, married and in my late 30s, but it was still very scary to make such a change. Now, I look back on that moment with pride – making the decision to become an entrepreneur was a huge moment of conquering fear (once you start doing it becomes addictive, by the way).

Many interviews commenced with chemists, engineers, and scientists. I had many trips to craft stores, Home Depot, and spoke to anyone I could reach via online searches that had knowledge on magnets. All the while I was looking for someone who would "get it" - and no one did. My patent attorney even recently confessed that during our first meeting he thought my idea was crazy. Most men do not understand the lengths women go to get great lashes.

I was an outsider to the beauty industry so I just relied on what I intrinsically thought it would take to create the product. It took every bit of grit I have to create the product and build a startup company around it. Pay attention to whatever inspires you! One Two Lash all started from my personal desire to improve a product I had used for years.

I will vividly remember the day my first magnetic lash prototype arrived for the rest of my life. It was clunky, but it worked! I knew I had something. A few iterations later, I was ready to share the One Two Lash you know today. Having an end goal is so huge for maintaining your motivation day in and day out on any venture.

When I launched sales of One Two Lash, all of the positive press was exciting. Not only did people get it, they were buying and loving them! After selling through the initial stock immediately, we now have tremendous U.S. production capabilities and ship worldwide. With success and demand comes a challenge many companies, especially in the fashion and beauty industries, are faced with – copycat, knockoff products. The prevalence and accessibility of e-commerce and social media have multiplied the effects of counterfeit products.

Meditation is part of my daily ritual and key, more than ever… After meditating, I check on social media – One Two Lash and my personal account. I see questions, confusion, and complaints from people who have been duped into ordering knockoffs of the product I worked so hard to create. It's heartbreaking because the motivation that inspired One Two Lash was to make false lashes easier! I always knew knockoffs would follow my innovation. I was as prepared as I could have been by advisors who had gone through similar experiences with their own startups. But I actually can't believe the extent of the copying – some imposters have gone so far as to use some of the first images and videos shot in my own home.

As the inventor of the Magnetic Lash, Making Beauty Effortless is more than a tagline. I know women are loving One Two Lash for how it enables them to enhance their natural beauty and simplify their routine. But as a leader, I'm also committed to making the One Two Lash difference clear. As sales have grown, so has our team. Everyone at One Two Cosmetics is devoted to premium materials, customer service, a warranty, and safety. I commissioned an independent consumer research study (long before knockoffs started popping up in my Instagram feed) to ensure the safety of One Two Lash.

Amidst the copying, I've learned that if you are continuously improving your product and have the desire to be a leader in your industry, copycats will fall to the wayside.

Despite imitations, our sales continue to grow. It's also refreshing that the major retailers we are in talks with are committed to working with only the original, official, patented product.

I love life as an entrepreneur. I start each day by waking up to the phrase “thank you" and then no two days are alike. Coffee and an intense workout are each essential. And I take a few minutes to call at least one customer – or as I prefer to say, Lash Lover – every day.

As with anything in life, I did not get to this point on my own - I have the support of friends, family, and the One Two Cosmetics team. My children's presence keeps me motivated in the many proverbial fires that burn daily in the entrepreneurial world. Most importantly, the satisfaction and fulfillment that come from doing something you're passionate about can't be knocked off by anyone.

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8min read
Politics

Do 2020 Presidential Candidates Still Have Rules to Play By?

Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.


When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.

2016: What rules?

Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.

Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.

And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.

And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?

Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.

Digital policies for 2020 and beyond

While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.

Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy

Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:

  • If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
  • While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
  • If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
  • Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
  • Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?

Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.

Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply

The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:

  1. Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
  2. Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
  3. Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
  4. Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
  5. Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
  6. Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
  7. Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
  8. Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.

Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles

Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.