tv Your Business MSNBC June 24, 2017 4:30am-5:01am PDT
networks did too? introducing america's largest, most reliable 4g lte combined with the most wifi hotspots. it's a new kind of network. xfinity mobile. good morning. coming up next on "your business," a former line cook creates a luxury apron line which grows into a multi million dollar company with celebrity she have customers. designer tori birch tells us how she grew her brand into a billion dollar business and how she's now helping empower other women entrepreneurs. and i head down to washington to find out how you can procure a government contract. we have all the information you need to grow fast, go far and work smart coming up next on your business.
hey there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramburg. welcome to your business. the show dedicated to helping you grow your business. for those of you that watch us each week, you might notice something is different. we have a brand new set and a brand new look and we're very excited about it. what we have that's the same is the same great stories that will help you run your business. when ellen bennet was a 19-year-old cook working her way through culinary school in mexico, she never imagined in a few short years later she will cook up something stateside to change cooking fashion forever. her designs have caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of fans across the country. now she's run ago multi million dollar business and there's no doubt the ellen has made the leap.
♪ it's been called the apple of the culinary world. offering a collection of high ends durable aprons and accessories. l.a. based hedley & bennet has revolutionized the way we look at fashion in the food space. we take making aprons very seriously. >> ellen bennet, fondly known as the apron lead has been at the birth of this movement. her vie brand handcrafted design has become a favorite in more than 4,000 kitchens across the country. ellen was working as a line b cook earning just $10 an hour when she cooked up the idea for he did dley & bennet. no one ever thought about making an apron that looks good ask was functional. >> the standard white apron lacked style, durability and chfrt. >> i really wanted to make a
better uniform and make something people felt proud to wear in the kitchen. >> the art of the high ends apron became ellen's daily focus. her lack of design experience never held her back. >> i had fabrics. i had chunks and dreams and ideas. i'd have to be like, no, let me just tell you. we're talking about proper -- brands made out of japanese dem, they're handmade in los angeles. every single pocket is reinforced. i'd put identity their body and tie it on and they would love it. >> t you look at the craftsman ship that goes into it and you're going to be like, okay, this thing is going to last forever. it takes 12 people to make one apron. >> from the structure and stitching to the hardware, hedley & bennet brings design to culinary work wear. much of the company's success is driven by ellen's work ethic.
when tickets are coming in, the chef is yelling, somebody gluten free and you have to fix it, it's that mentality of working with urgency. it really is a game changer to have to be like hustling especially, you know, when you have a start up. >> one item on ellen's management menu that needed tweaking was her fine dining approach to details. . everybody is about finding the ninniest error in fixing it and making it perfect. when you take that approach to business, sometimes you can, like, really clash with people because you're trying to get them to be soma particular yuls on something and they don't think that way. so it's like finding that happy medium, recognizing that not everybody is me. and being willing to be okay with that. >> ellen uses instagram to celebrate her ever growing group of loyal fans whom she calls the apron squad. they, in turn, celebrate the drive and passion behind hedley & bennet.
that's the apron squad. we're dreamers, we're doers, we're hooligans. >> it's like, okay, you're part of this apron squad. now get out there and wake up and fight. we're going to be hustlers and we're tot going to sit on our laureles and we're going to make something of ourselves. that's what we stand for and that's so cool. >> mario batalli and martha stewart are two of the most well known squad members. and oliver ellen's pet big serves as its mascot. hedley & bennet headquarters is not just for manufacturing. the factory is a place for customers and the curious to get an immersive brand of the experience. >> it's like willie wonka and the chocolate factory. we greet you. we'll give you a hug if you're willing to take one. you get coffee. you get to try aprons on. somebody rides the zip line.
it's a whole world. i want to see you post about it online, we're going to repost it and we're taking old school ideas and new school technology and jamming them together. >> the apron factory hosts all kind of events, dining the spot line on people and brands throughout the community. >> we want every touch plate with hedley & bennet to be special. >> we threw a thousand person party in the apron factory. i'm like, put a dj in the tree house. to open your doors and share that with other people, we're growing together and we're doing something bigger and better for everybody. >> that sentiment rings true in their package, every shipment customers receive a little gift, highlighting another brand. >> it's like connecting the community and being willing to share that platform and say, hey, what do you have that's cool? let's include it. i think it's awesome and i want to help my computer grow. >> el one hedley & bennet ape
ron at the same time. >> teams are looking better, feeling wert, put this had on and hold your head up high and do a -- good job today. that's so awesome to impart that with, you know, a uniform. >> over the last 13 years, tori birch turned her fashion company into a billion dollar enterprise. and today, while she's best known for her very recognizable close clothing, she herself is equally if not more proud of the work she's done to help empower other women entrepreneurs through the tori birch foundation. we sat down with her to talk about her journey building both ventures. tori burch built her fashion company on a simple premise, making clothe that fit her own aesthetics, colorful, classic and a little bohemian.
>> i certainly never went to business sool. i never went to design school. and i had an idea and it struck a cord. it was something that was missing in the market. it was something that i was personally missing. and it was a pretty simple idea. it was clothes that were beautifully made that didn't cost a fortune. and i think that when you're missing something that's another good way to think about the business you're launching or working on building. >> her style resinated with women almost immediately. even though there were nay sayers who discouraged her almost every step of the way. >> think of negativity and, you know, really believe in yourself. there were so many times people said, woeb i don't like your logo. why are you launching online? people will never buy online. in this was 12 years ago. we launched with one retail store and an e-commerce site. they said that was absolutely the wrong way to do it. i think if you have conviction
and you go with your gut and you really believe you're answering a need, that's when it works. >> in 2015, forbes listed burch as the 73rd most powerful woman in the world. but behind the scenes, she knew her company was starting to suffer from growing pains. >> unless every ceo i have spoken with told me about this point and i didn't really buy into it until in retrospect i definitely had that point at ten years. and i just had this feeling that things were different, things were happening, technology was taking hold and we needed to really address the next ten years of our business. it was about putting in the right infrastructure, putting in the right systems, looking at our team which was hard because i'm a really loyal person, but some people are great at different parts of your business and you need to look at and pivot into different areas. it was probably the hardest
thing i've ever done. you have to be a leader. you have to have your team believe in what we're doing. and it's not always easy. but i think if you're not nimble and you're not reactionary, that is when businesses really have long-term problems. >> from the day she launched herr business, burch knew she wanted to do something else, as well. she wanted to start a foundation to help other women develop their companies. >> we just want to help more .more women. we want to be the go-the to scattered showers for women entrepreneurs. and i think our website is really that. people are writing business plans off the website and hopefully we're giving them a ton of information. >> the tory burch foundation provides access to capital, education and resources. we are -- business as usual for the boutique business industry. >> the foundation offers a fellowship program where ten
companies gets to pitch their investment for burch at their new york headquarters. >> there were 800 applicants and then we narrowed it down to 200 and then we narrowed it down to 35. from the 35, incredible businesses, pretty tough. >> the winner is paris sabo. >> paris s abo, a former cancer surgeon started dr. bright with her sister, a dentist. they created natural toothpaste and products. her pitch convinced burch that her business was the one they wanted to help boost. >> paris is going to get $100,000 no-interest loon towards her business education. and i think it's the beginning of a wonderful relationship. >> finding great employee sess hard. in my experience, it's one of the most difficult things you have to do.
and it starts with making sure you're getting the right people into the interview process in the first place. if you don't have a good pool, you're not going to end up with a good result. forbes gives us five ways to help you attract great candidates. one, use interactive video. when deloyt used a game-ifide version for their search, the result was greater candidate engagement and a better sense of what people were looking for. two, invite candidates behind the scenes. host open houses where potential employees can experience your culture firsthand. this would help you weed out people who aren't the right fit. three, integrate artificial intelligence and big data. tools that can great le reduce the admin work so you can have human reciters hiring data plots can't measure, like personality and character. or be optimized for mobile. now google ranks companies that
are mobile friendly here i in searches. five, don't ignore word-of-mouth. encourage them to spread the word with when you have open positions. earlier this week, i went to washington, d.c. to participate in a conference on government contracting. and here is a fun factor for you. the u.s. government is the largest consumer of products and services in the world. the entire world. so if you're looking for a new customer, don't count them out. but it's not easy to get those contracts. managing director of red carrot wondered if she could sell the company working with her company when she launched in 2011. six years later, it makes up 80% of her business. i caught up with her to find out how she did it. getting a federal government contract was a dream come true for us. we were a lot smaller of a firm and we got our first government contract about two years ago and it really helped us hire more people examine deliver events all over the country.
and it grew us to the next level. >> you're an advertising and marketing agency. i think when people usually think of government contracts, they think airplane parts. what even got you thinking about this? >> so i do know that government almost works like a business. and they purchase everything. they purchase marketing services, janitorial services, they purchase everything that you wouldn't think of and i started looking into the government and seeing what they procure on fbo.gov and i was able to find that they do buy advertising services. >> .how hard was it? because it's a common thought that it's just not worth the red tape going through the bureaucracy and it's going to be too hard so why even bother. >> everything in life is hard. and if you really want something, you have to stay focused. it's not easy to land a federal government contract. they don't go to your door knocking. but if you stay focused and you persevere, you will get a government contract if you're good at what you do. >> well, what tips do you have? again, i talk to a lot ooh people who tried to get them and then at some point throw up their hands. >> i think the most important
thing with federal government contracting is to stay true to your core and focus on what you really do. don't try to do it all. and also, establish the right teams. sometimes you may be good at something and you may find another company that's really good at another area and you get teams together to work together to get the government contract. >> did you do that? >> i have done that before. >> in what way? there's an rsp and we can handle the advertising and someone else can handle something else? >> exactly. we can handle the advertising and someone else can handle logistics. it really depends. you can't think ooh a government contract you're going to do by yourself. they have great past performance you can use to make your proposals stronger. >> did you use any consultants to help you get through the paperwork? i did not use consultants that help me get through the paperwork. luckily, i have nod had the chance to work with consultants to help me with the paperwork. >> and why not? >> i like to do things on my own. i like to try something first on my own and see if i can do it. then if i need the extra
resources, then i can tap into a different consultant. >> so how long did it take you and what mistake did you make that you say to other people, hey, watch out for this? >> oh, gosh, there's so many mistakes you can make with federal government contracting. i did learn a lot before i submitted my first government proposal. i read a lot, went to a lot of conferences and the first proposal we did, we won. it was because we did our homework and doing your homework really, really helps. and it was just reading and talking to people. reading and talking to people. >> and you were able to fill that out. and you beat out an encouple can bant, too, so you took the object job from somebody else who had been dining it. a lot of people think once you're in, you're in. that clearly wasn't the case. >> not in this situation it wasn't. we offered very innovative solutions and i guess the client really liked our proposal. >> congratulations. 80% of your business now comes from the government. >> it does. >> i'm sure the company will
keep growing. rosemary knows an opportunity when she sees it. she understood get ago government contract could make a business. so when she started her company, go rill la stationers, she had her eyes on the prize. her strategy was to cut through the red tape and make it as easy as possible for the government to work with her. the government is the world's biggest procurer of products, right? so that's a huge opportunity for someone like us the.. >> rosemary is something of a rock star in the world of government contracting. >> we were able to do business with the government within 60 days of starting the business. >> she's mastered the art of of getting certifications, bidding on government contracts and filling out piles of paperwork. when she lost gorilla stationers in hunting bton beach, california, she was bound and determined to get her small business a slight slice of uncle sam's pie. >> we definitely started the company knowing that we would go after government and diversity
business. so that was always our plan, to become a diversity supplier because i think that is a niche in the market that's not 100% fulfilled at this point. >> but it's hard to get that first contract. how did she do it? actually, for her, it was just about experience. rosemary's knack for the office supply business and fearless approach to government contracting was something she learned at her first job. >> so when i moved to california at 18, i went into the office products business. i've learned a lot of things about doing business with the government. >> with $500 billion available every year for purchasing, rosemary simply couldn't afford to let an opportunity as big as this pass her by. she had to go out on her own and start a business. >> hey, heather. it's rosemary. hope you're having a good week so far. >> for the uninitiated, working with the government can be daunting. that's why we asked rosemary to share some tips on how to
approach land ago government contract. her first piece of advice, if you can, get a diversity supplier certification. rosemary has six of them. >> a diversesy supplier is a small business, a woman-owned business, a hispanic owned business and an asian business and now they have the gay and lesbian designation. that diverse business is a percentage of sales that the government has to spend with these designations. >> for instance, women of-owned businesses get 5%. if your head is spinning, rosemary recommends contacting your local small business development center to help figure it out. that's how she got connected with linda hoit. >> we'll pick a day and you can come over. >> i would love that and i'm dying to meet charlie. >> ssbdc people experienced in doing business with the government, like lynn ka, can guide you through the process. >> number one, you need to understand who your target markets are. it's not just saying i'm going
to get government contracts, but who is going to buy the products, how do they buy and understanding that whole process. >> understanding what products appeal to the government led rosemary to buy out two smaller companies to diversify and broaden her product a company called gizmo. and in may of 2015, we purchased a company based in van nuys called ink for all. they just sold toner and ink, where gorilla station sells attorney toner, ink, janitorial products, paper products. >> one of the founders has stayed on with rosemary. so far, the partner shship is working exactly as planned. >> rosemary approached out and inqui inquired about purchasing ink for all and it turned out to be a great thing. >> reporter: prior to the acquisition, michael had no government customers. now the ink and toner portion of the business is a big seller at
gorilla, especially for the government customer looking for those special recycled products. >> there are so much opportunity in the government sector, so, you know, we're always looking for new contracts, new segments of business that we can get involved with. >> reporter: another way to find out if, indeed, you want to work with a government agency and if you qualify to is to go to a how-to class run by the organization. >> if you don't understand how to do business with an agency, they regularly have classes. how to do business with this agency, what paperwork they require. >> reporter: and there's the dreaded word, paperwork. >> it's government, so it is going to be -- it's all about the paper, unfortunately. she had some experience, so she knew what she was up against. and she understood the system. for somebody that's starting out totally new, it takes a while. >> reporter: linda says once all that paperwork is figured out and that first government contract is snagged, getting
others to follow becomes easier. rosemary now has customers at the federal, state, and local level. and as she guessed when she started this process, they've turned out to be some of the best customers she has. >> they pay their bills on time. so with the federal government, in some cases, it's net ten. so before they pay big businesses, they pay our invoices. >> stay with us. coming up on "your business," we have some expert advice on how to scale your company and then we go to our brain trust to find out where to go to fund that growth. so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what?
keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough. there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you! so we're doing it. yes! start saying yes to your company's best ideas. let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. what are some unexpected challenges you face when scaling a medium-size business to a large business? >> the biggest unexpected challenge you face when scaling from medium to large is just because you're the business leader and you say it doesn't make it so. you have to start scaling your decision making, which means you like all the other leaders in your company need to sell through great new priorities. you need to create check points to make sure they're getting done. otherwise, you'll come back five
weeks later and realize nothing has gotten started. but trust me, the reverse is far worse, which is you've mumbled something under your breath in a meeting and everyone has taken that as the net new priority. so making sure getting things done is something that can scale and you're stating your priorities to everyone so they know what's most important is one of the biggest most unexpected challenges you'll face. >> this is the brain trust, where i get to take the really complicated, sticky, messy questions that we all deal with in business and ask it to some of the smartest minds in the business world. today, i have cindy whitehead, ceo and founder of sprout pharmaceuticals. you took the female viagra, pushed it through the fda and sold your company for $1 billion, which is truly amazing. sam ski, the president of she knows, which has grown three times as you've been there. it's one of the top five women's media companies online. and you have the biggest conference for female bloggers, so congratulations to both of you. >> thank you. >> i want to talk to you about funding. you decided not to take any vc
funding for your company. how much did you raise for sprout? >> ultimately $100 million. >> that's amazing! >> but no venture capitalist, and i want to know why, what was behind that? >> i had been in a number of different operating roles in venture-backed companies and i felt that that sort of short-term perspective and that lack of appreciation of the fabric of building the company really was missing. and when i was going to do it, i was doing it on my own terms and i wanted people in there who believed in what i was trying to do, more than just the bottom line alone. >> and sam, you've been in vc-backed companies, public equity, private companies, you've sort of run the gamut. and one of the things i hear from people on the good side of getting venture money is suddenly you're part of a club. >> though doubt. >> you get this automatic network and this group of people that can help you. >> no doubt. and i've had good experiences in all of the above, whether it's public, private equity backed, private equity owned, and i've had terrible experiences with all of the above, also.
but i think being vc-backed, it gives you a polished feeling of being validated, endorsed, and i'm so impressed by those who choose not to go that way, because it gives you confidence in a moment when you don't, you might be struggling for confidence. and it gives you a network. >> one of the things i always sort of get, i think is crazy, is when you say, how's they're company doing, they're so successful, they've just raised $40 million in venture money. venture is littered with unsuccessful company. >> sure, sure. >> it's weird that we celebrate that metric. like, they've just raised. for me, that was the beginning of abject terror. i had people's money. i had their kids' college tuition. it became very personal to me, because of raising it through angels, so i really knew their family, what this money was earmarked for, and why i had to deliver it back and then some. one of my fears is, and i've had good experiences, of course, in
venture-bakd compa venture-backed companies, a little bit of other people's money syndrome, well, they made a bet, they can lose it. i think we're nonchalant about that. >> you think the founders are? and the venture companies, they're expecting to lose it, so if it happens -- >> if you look at the odds, you're more likely not to succeed as a vc. i think we celebrate these funding rounds, because we're looking at like five companies who got a lot of funding early on and blew it out of the water. and we're not usually -- i think more and more, we're starting to look at the hugely venture-backed companies who failed miserably. i think that that's going to change a little bit. and that there'll be more due diligence, i hope. >> that is a perfect place to leave it. thank you both. >> this week's "your business" selfie comes from kingsley gardner, owner of kgm entertainment in bonita springs, florida. he runs a talent management
agency, and he looks like he's pretty good at his job, because he just got a picture of some of his clients on national television. so kingsley, come on to our facebook page and let us know who those women are. we'd love to know. all of you out there, why don't you do what kingsley did and pick up your smartphone and take a picture of you and your business, in professional shots, please, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @msnbcyourbis. don't forget to use #yourbizselfie. thank you, everyone, thank you so much for joining us today. running a show is just like running a business, and when you make a big change like this, you have to have process and leadership and all kinds of things, like you need when you make a change in your company. soi . so i want to personally thank every single person at msnbc who touched this project and there are a lot of you, because i think it looks great. now we would love to hear from you. so if you have any questions or
if you have any comments about today's show, just e-mail us at email@example.com. also go to our website, it's openforum.com/juni openforum.com/yourbusiness. don't forget to connect with us on all of our digital and social media platforms, as well. we look forward to seeing you next time. until then, i'm jj ramberg, and remember, we make your business our business. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods. you're a go! you got the green light.
that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. morning glory, america, i'm hugh hewitt, monday through friday, you can hear me on the salem radio network and its affiliates across the united states from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. now you can find me right here on msnbc on saturday morning, as well. today i bring to you my conversation with the director of the central intelligence agency, mike pompeo. this is his first interview with a news network since taking the job. i sat down with the former congressman, west point and harvard law graduate at cia headquarters in langley. i started by asking him about russia's meddling in last year's election and what the administration is doing to