This feels typical to me. One startup gone, one still struggling, one completely revamped and doing pretty well. Thanks for that to Brent Bowers of The New York Times, who first profiled the three startups about a year ago, again six months ago, and now with an update this week.
I feel like I was sufficiently cynical about the one that closed, which was the T-shirt company I posted about here a year ago. And cynical isn’t just my word; in this case, it’s the word founder Tina Ericson applied to my post in her comment the next day.
It’s sad that good intentions weren’t enough. Passion and perseverance weren’t enough. A year ago Tina wrote the following in her comment to my post:
what the article in the Times did not cover, as it was not germane to the topic, was the intention and the impetus for our venture. We hope to impact women in positive ways and to reinforce their authority over their own lives as mothers and women. The products are designed to be fun and hip but also carry a serious message. Our commitment to charities and philanthropy were the first seed of an idea. Our business goals may seem lofty, but I will assure you, sir, that you have never met a more dedicated team or a more driven collective work ethic than the Mamas.
That’s the kind of resolve we’d all like to see succeed. I rooted for her and, if you read that, you were probably rooting for her, too. But a year later, the business has closed. Says the report:
she fell victim to a classic error of fledgling entrepreneurs, letting her enthusiasm overcome her judgment, according to Neal Thornberry, associate professor of business management at Babson College in Massachusetts. Still, he said, “I look at her experience as tuition,” learning hard business lessons firsthand rather than reading about them in a business course.
And a sadder but wiser Tina Ericson, who had been so full of hope, doesn’t seem so easily consoled by the tuition suggestion as a silver lining:
Ms. Ericson, 41, acknowledges that she had an inadequate grasp of the retail market and realizes her startup was too much of a distraction from her job with a financial publisher. Nevertheless, she holds out the slim possibility of resuscitating her venture.
“We have decided to put Mamaisms Gear to bed,” she said, “perhaps to be awakened another day.”
And the moral to this story is? More later …