While I’m always happy to highlight and share entrepreneurial success stories, I felt that given October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month this would be a perfect time to interview Haralee Weintraub. Haralee was definitely handed some lemons in life, not content to just make lemonade she started a whole business of manufacturing lemonade!
Haralee is the # 1 USA producer of Moisture Wicking sleepwear for women. I had a chance to grill speak with the Founder and CEO herself, Haralee Weintraub. Listen in and see why she is an amazing entrepreneur.
Manufacturing in USA Success Story
Before starting your company you had a well-paid, secure executive corporate position. What inspired you to leave that behind and start Haralee?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was life changing. I looked at my career path and thought I want to do something that lets me give back and become an entrepreneur. I started working part time while my health recovered and started researching my business ideas.After facing the challenges of cancer, becoming
an entrepreneur seemed very doable.
I knew if I was experiencing severe night sweats millions of women were also. I saw a problem and a solution and I chose to become the person to make the garments that would be the problem solvers!
When establishing your business you made the conscious decision to keep all the manufacturing here in the U.S. Why?
I made a commitment to have all my manufacturing done in the USA as well as buy all or as much as possible of the raw goods to produce my garments. My goal from the start was to employ as many friends, neighbors, and local business as possible.
I am devoted to keeping my business dollars in the USA and supporting the USA economy.
Please share how you overcame the biggest hurdles in keeping your manufacturing here in the U.S.
Finding manufacturing companies has been a big challenge. Since our start we have had 5 different manufacturers. 2 went out of business. 2 could not produce a consistent product according to our specifications.
Since we are a small company, many manufacturing companies will not do business with us because they want a production run of 1,500 units per style, and we want 150 units per style production run. Also the fabric is tricky to sew; a certain sewing machine is needed as well as thread and needles.
We also want to use a company that treats their employees well, so no sweat shops! I found the manufacturing companies by talking and asking everyone in the sewing business as well as boutique owners and fabric stores.
I also work very closely with my current manufacturer. I know when his slow times are and that is when I try to place my production orders. We are partnering together for success!
Your business is well past the infamous two year danger zone. What is your top tip to aspiring entrepreneurs in managing their finances to emulate your success?
My tips to start-ups regarding finances is to initially use a spread sheet and daily log in your expenses and deduct it from your start-up fund. This way you can see at a glance everyday where your money is going, because at first there always seems to be a huge outflow!
My other tip is not to spend money on things your customers or clients do not see that does not help the business. This means that an expensive desk and matching file cabinet may be an excessive expense, while an up to date computer may be a wiser use of money for the business.
Also if you don’t have business savvy, learn from professionals like the Small Business Finance Forum.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a subject near and dear to your heart. What would you like people to become more aware of?
Because breast cancer had such a profound impact on my life, our company gives a percentage of every sale to breast cancer charity. In October we up our percentage! Our charity of choice is Komen.org. Komen has had a part in funding almost every drug on the market for breast cancer while still funding uninsured or low income women mammograms and continued research and education.
Breast cancer awareness is so important for every woman to understand. Everyone thinks they are healthy and breast cancer will not happen to them, but the numbers are sobering. 1 out of 8 women will get breast cancer in her life time.
There is no cure for breast cancer.
The 2 leading causes of breast cancer are: being a woman, and too many birthdays. 95% of all breast cancer patients have no family history of the disease. If breast cancer is detected early there is a 98% survival rate.
Women over 40 need to get a yearly mammogram!
From The Numbers Whisperer: Haralee embodies the can-do spirit of a survivor. She didn’t just beat back breast cancer, she conquered it, planted a flag and started a socially responsible business. Check out her website www.Haralee.com for yourself or to find a gift for someone in your life.
What are some lemons you’ve been handed in life? How have you turned them around to be an asset?