Laura McGuire, Founder of Hipstik Legwear, doesn’t feel the need to identify herself as a female business owner. She is simply a business owner who is a woman, focused on marketing her product; one that aims to make women comfortable. She believes that we are living in a time where men and the world are listening to women. It’s an amazing opportunity to be a woman!
She is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Laura has grown her business to greater heights by administering the best practices with e-commerce. She uses a pragmatic approach to handling her business without failing to recognize the importance of making customers know, like and trust a business.
Laura has some strong insights into building a successful e-commerce brand, and a refreshing outlook on health insurance. In this article, she mentions the importance of caring for customers and highlights the word ‘care’ in healthCARE.
Key points to note about succeeding as an e-commerce entrepreneur
Adapting to change
Hipstik Legwear innovated a product that’s been designed the same way on the same machinery for 60 years. According to Laura, the brand’s daily challenge is changing women’s perceptions of a product she’s tried and didn’t like with one that addresses all of her complaints as well as the women she polled at the beginning of the business endeavor- Hipstik Legwear.
While their efforts to keep an age-old manufactured item alive carries on, there are also other changes that Laura finds herself adapting to. For instance, the pandemic has changed buying behaviors for the moment and time will tell if some habits stick (like wearing PJs “to work” from home). What we needed or wanted in 2019 was very different from what we needed in 2020. Fortunately, Laura’s company was e-commerce and digital minded before the pandemic so they were at an advantage. Many had to gear up into e-commerce in spring 2020. Sometimes it takes a forced push to be in what you needed to be all along.
Spheres of influence
There is so much to know to be a successful entrepreneur. Spend your time in the spaces you know and love. For Laura, this is the branding space. Put together an A-Team for what you don’t know well. At Hipstik, they rely on our manufacturer to know the manufacturing or their tax preparer to know business taxes. Time is everything. Days go by fast. But time takes time.
There is a theory that a new idea takes seven years to make or break and Laura has found this to be a true gauge. Your job as an entrepreneur is to do the right work in the time you have. You’ve got to solve the right problems fast enough to make a difference. Putting in the hours and prioritizing the right work is the way Laura has been able to build a brand, maintain a second business, and take care of her home and family.
Laura is married to her business partner, and naturally, that puts the two of them spending every hour together. This setup works for them because of mutual respect and love for what they do for a living. Sharing their work unites them.
Must-know tips for any entrepreneur before starting a business
Sell what you have to offer and sell as soon as possible to find out if you have an available audience and market. Start gaining customers, income and intel. Don’t get hung up on ideas – get the ideas to life and out there. An idea is useless on a Post-it note.
Laura’s Hipstik Legwear brand logo was sketched by her sister on a yellow sticky note and she made it come to life that day itself. Inevitably, you’re going to need to change things. Fail fast. There’ll always be new brands nipping at your heels, especially if you’re doing something right.
If you’re not already a frugal person, starting a business is going to be a life lesson in learning how to spend money wisely. Make only the most necessary purchases at the beginning. With Hipstik, Laura uses the color yellow in Hipstik’s branding. She really wanted a yellow couch in her office; she thought getting that for her office would make her feel legit. But it’s been five years and she still doesn’t have one. She wants to get one, but spending the money on acquiring more customers right now is the most necessary for the business.
E-commerce, product design, branding
There’s no silver bullet, unfortunately. It’s exciting to be constantly learning. What may work last season fizzles and a new winner takes its place. Marketing (and the way consumers want to receive information) is constantly changing which is why Laura doesn’t get complacent with one method of reaching women with Hipstik.
Cartoonist Tom Fishburne has said it best: “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing”. The most effective way Laura and her partner have raised awareness for Hipstik is to put the product in real customers’ hands (or in their case, put Hipstik onto their customers’ legs) and let them tell their friends, family and colleagues about their experience. The best way to describe the product has actually been the way real customers describe it to others.
With health insurance for the self-employed, know the value of your investment
Laura’s thoughts on health insurance used to be that it is all a scam, complicated to intentionally be complex – to pull the wool over the eyes of the average American. When she was insured under an employer, she was in zombie-mode – if they said an Rx was $x, she paid it, without questioning the cost, value, or the system. She was in a dreadful healthcare plan for a hot minute.
When she became self-employed, one of those “adulting” things she thought was the most complicated became one of the easiest things after meeting Dr. Noor. Health insurance to Laura was always super complicated so imagine her surprise that, at 36 years old, it finally made sense thanks to one woman. Dr. Noor’s process is like stepping stones, every conversation leads to a customized end goal. Laura is grateful to Dr. Noor for being patient, open and for having a way of making a woman feel like she is really heard and cared for.
Have you just started your own e-commerce business? Need someone to guide you in identifying the best health insurance solution for the stage of business you are in?