Antonia Saint Dunbar, the co-founder and owner of the Thinx and Icon underwear lines, knows a thing or two about launching successful products and building high-profile companies. Want to turn your own dreams into a profitable business? Here are Dunbar’s best ideas:
Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.
This quote from legendary investor Chris Sacca helped Dunbar turn Thinx from an idea (spurned by a comment about underwear from her co-founder) into a real product, fast. “There are so many great ideas and so many people who have great ideas. But what’s so key, and I know that’s what this conference is about, is execution.” Dunbar credits her desire to solve an issue for women with the rapid momentum of the Thinx launch. “I’m motivated by solving issues for women.”
Observe your world, then solve the problems.
Dunbar says she constantly sees problems to solve in the real world and wants you to do the same. “Ask yourself, is there something wrong with the way this or that is done?” And if something is wrong, what could be done differently?” This tactic led to Dunbar’s new shoe company, Antonia Saint NY. After suffering in uncomfortable dress shoes for too long, Dunbar decided to create high heels and flats for women that look classic and sophisticated but feel like sneakers on the inside. By zeroing in on life’s dilemmas like this, you can create opportunity to build incredible products and services.
Kickstarter is a great place to start.
“Kickstarter is like blowing dandelion seeds out into the world,” Dunbar says. Dunbar and the Thinx team raised almost $65,000 on Kickstarter for their product launch in 2013. Her top tip for making the platform work for your fundraising? Tell a story, and tell it quickly and succinctly. “Get your story down into language that people can tell their friends, because that’s how products spread.”
Watch highlights of Antonia's talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:
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