Company/Designer Name: Twotara/Kate Janeczko, President
Designer Background Summary:
How did you get started?
I had been to one-too-many baby showers for friends that were keeping the sex of their baby a surprise until birth. It was yellow and green ad nauseam! It was the most anti-climactic gift to buy, to give, to receive…and I would argue the baby’s didn’t even particularly enjoy wearing the yellow and green! I thought there had to be a better option.
I had a “light bulb” idea to create a garment that could be both pink AND blue…and Twotara’s reversible product line was born. It was truly a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, and the idea eventually materialized into a product, which is now on its way to store shelves.
Why did you join Noblivity®?
Prior to joining Noblivity, all of my sales were face-to-face with me and the potential buyers…and, I could only be in one place at one time! By joining Noblivity, I was able to tap into the virtual selling model, putting me “face to face” with thousands of buyers all at once. The closest thing I could do to cloning myself, so it was a no-brainer.
How would you describe your design style, design signature and who is your targeted customer?
First of all, my targeted customer is the expectant mom that thinks like I do…
Loves surprises, but still a “Type A” planner! What an enigma! This is the mom that won’t give in to her “Type A” nature and ruin what is the truest surprise on earth! I cannot imagine what it must be like to give birth and be told “Meet your son or daughter” for the first time while looking into their eyes. That being said…the planner in me would want cute clothes for both a boy and girl. Short of buying 2 complete wardrobes, Twotara’s line is a perfect fit! The designs are whimsical yet sophisticated, and above all practical!
What inspires you?
People inspire me. (There are so many amazing success stories out there!
So do motivational quotes. And song lyrics.
Somehow I can find whatever I am looking for in the right quote. Whether I need motivation, or validation, somebody out there (wiser than me) has said just the right thing.
What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are?
I have a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and sales experience in the insurance industry…
I knew NOTHING about manufacturing! I don’t sew, and I don’t have any babies! There was a lot to learn! I didn’t even know what I didn’t know when I got started. How do you describe how cotton feels to somebody that doesn’t speak English? Or what exact shade of pink you want your garments to be? (Things Google taught me: Colors are described using the universal language of the Pantone Matching System. Thank you Google!)
How did you overcome the obstacles along the way?
I just kept asking questions, and finding answers. I apparently never outgrew my “why?” phase from when I was 2 years old! I would ask Google questions, I would network and ask other entrepreneurs questions, I would ask my boyfriend questions, I would ask strangers questions, I would ask the mailman questions, I would ask my mom questions, I would ask….you get the picture!
What has been your greatest moment on your journey so far?
The response that my line has gotten from the boutique community has truly exceeded my expectations! Of course I believed in my product, and I saw a need for something other than yellow and green…
But when the buyers began supporting it, I knew I was onto something! That was the best feeling! While I will never forget my first sale (my face literally hurt from smiling so big!!), each subsequent sale has been a rush! It feels like a back-to-back explosion of “greatest moments”. All of the hard work I have put into this is validated with each sale, and I continue to pick up momentum!
What has been the biggest change in your designs so far?
I have made very few changes up to this point (with the exception of sizing tweaks). The product exists in the same form I had envisioned it from the very beginning. I knew it would be a combination of circles and stripes, and I pictured the rompers and footies with pockets on the butt!
However…there are many changes coming, with additional pattern options and new garments….so stay tuned!
What’s next for your brand? Line extensions…more patterns, more products….Stay tuned!
If money were no object what would you do right now to promote your brand?
I would hire a team of marketing and public relations professionals that could spend their time focusing on introducing my product to the world! If they had a direct line to The Today Show or Oprah, that wouldn’t hurt! In the meantime, I will have to wear that “hat” too.
What are the best and worst things about bringing a product to market?
The best: It’s empowering to see something through from bar napkin to barcode! So many people have the “back of the napkin” idea, but it takes courage and determination to see it through. I am very proud of myself! It’s amazing to look back and see how far I have come.
The worst: Being patient. This has been sooooo hard for me!! It took a full year of trial and error to get my product out of my head, and into my hands. With each new manufacturer providing a sample of their work and so many instances of high hopes being crushed with poorly constructed bad quality samples…and then having to start all over again! I simply refused to settle, and somehow someway found the patience to keep at it until the line matched my vision for it.
Describe your typical day?
Depends on what hat I am wearing that day. Am I wearing my “designer” hat, my “sales” hat, my “marketing” hat, or my ‘operations” hat? I would say that the only thing “typical” about my days is that they start early, and they end late. And for the first time in my life, I love getting up and getting started on my work day! Some days feel crazier than others. Sometimes I have to wear all 4 hats at once, and it feels chaotic. But I even love those days! What is your philosophy of life? There is a magnet hanging on my refrigerator that I gave to my boyfriend a few Christmases ago, it reads:
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
That question allows you to imagine your dream life, because it eliminates the fear of failure. Combine the answer to that question with my underlying belief that all of us can BE, DO and HAVE whatever we want in life. That combination is unstoppable. First you decide what your dream life is, and then you create it….there is no need to fear failure if we can all have whatever we want!
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I always struggle answering these types of questions, because the choices I have made up to this point, have gotten me to where I am today….and I like where I have ended up! Sure I have made a few mistakes along the way, but they have allowed me to grow. I swear my mistakes and setbacks have continually turned out to be “blessings in disguise”.
When will you know you have made it?
At times during this journey when I would need a little motivation or inspiration I would ride my bike on Chicago’s lakefront. I would stop along the path in front of a yacht called “Perseverance 2” and basically just stare…
When my boat is docked by theirs, I’ll know I made it! Maybe I’ll call mine “Ditto” with an arrow pointing to Perseverance 2!