Hot! Wendy Krepak, Card Cubby

Card Cubby, founded in 2009 in Winter Springs, Fla., offers stylish, money-saving accessories for women.

‘Ah ha’ moment that led you to launching this business:  I could not find a good way to organize my gift cards and discount cards to I made a system for myself.  Others started asking where I got it.

Ideal customer: Women from 20 to 65.

First Customer: Via an ad in Real Simple magazine.

Measuring Success: Honestly, by sales.  In 2009 we were selected by People magazine for their Holiday Gift Guide and did more than $100,000 in sales in 30 days.

Biggest Struggle: We introduced our product right in the middle of the recession. Where retailers in the past were eager to try new items and money was flowing, now they are nervous and many are going out of business.

Surprise!: How many different hats I need to wear and how I need to know how to do everything.

Promoting Business: I advertise and sell on QVC.

Two things I wish I would’ve known: How much money it would cost to bring a product/products to market.

What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Cash flow.

Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Everyday.  My background is in commercial real estate but with the terrible market in Florida I don’t feel like I am missing much.  I just keep moving forward and doing the best I can in hopes that I can build the company I dream of.

Moving Forwrad: We just redesigned our website (launch is Friday, May 18th) and I am working to drive traffic to it and generate more sales. Retailers are having a hard time right now and direct sales are actually easier to get, have more profit and cost less.

Pricing/advice on getting it right: We tested a few price points on line and found that the market is pretty quick to tell you where you need to be.

A Few Good Tips: Research companies with product like yours.  They have spent a lot of money in design and often have great examples of what you should try to do. Act like you are a big company and do what you can to look like one within your budget. Be really careful who you use as a manufacturer.

The absolute best part of owning my business is: he satisfaction of making something from nothing.

If I had to start over again, I would have: saved more money first.

I never imagined: getting health insurance as a self-employed person would be so difficult and expensive.

If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “If you believe in what you are doing, have had a reality check, are willing to work as hard or harder than you ever have before and realize that all business is SALES then you should jump in with two feet.”

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