Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Diane Rankin >

Diane Rankin, President and Founder,

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship requires being willing, resourceful and convicted – no matter what – to doing all the small things (with unwavering passion) that are required to fully realize your really big thing.

What did inspire you to start your business?
A lot of random life events leading to a crossroad combined with a few calculated ideas and a little bit of wisdom inspired me to start the business. But mostly, I could see myself really wanting to be a consumer of the website, which means I completely believed in the model and timing.

How did you finance it?
I financed it by finding the perfect partners. Our CEO is Jack Sandbach. He is highly accomplished and has years of experience with internationally packaging and distributing resources as a service. Along with well-respected industry veteran Elizabeth Corrigan, President and COO of Global Beauty Group, we were able to privately finance bellezabandida.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
I don’t know, as I am a Caucasian woman, originally from Ohio. But I sure hope to become professionally adopted!

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
In the bigger picture, by having total confidence in the plan, my partners and our close strategic alliances. In the real picture, there are many choices along the way and challenging influences, which will send the message that you can’t do something or that success is unattainable. I have found by surrounding myself with positive-minded and supportive people the ability to navigate the tough times becomes so much easier. One of my alliances is uniquely unconventional. His name is Charlie Engle and although he is also an entrepreneur, he is best known for being one of the world’s most respected and accomplished endurance athletes. From the earlier moments when I first started writing the business plan to date, he has been my coach, mentor, supporter and friend. Charlie has literally taught me to keep going to levels I had never previously found within myself, helping me find total confidence. He leads by example and inspiration. After all, how could I possibly say I was tired or couldn’t keep going to a guy who ran across Africa?

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Thankfully, we overcame the biggest challenge our business has faced: finding a way to not compromise and rush the timing to get to market as a lesser “me-too” type-site.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the business, it would be to have launched sooner. However, the final go-to-market plan really came together beautifully, in the right time. Taking several deep-dive looks into market opportunities were crucial gut checks. The process provided new insights and more importantly a lot of validation.

What was your childhood ambition?
To attend FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), live in NYC and own a business one day. Looks like I am 66% to goal!

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
(1) My Dad who had a chance to possibly play major league baseball and instead saw a longer-term opportunity to own a business. (2) My partner Jack Sandbach who looks outside all of his direct success and is willing to give others an opportunity to grow and achieve. (3) Ivan Braiker, CEO of HipCricket, a pioneering mobile marketing company. ...”HipCricket has also shown a tremendous ability to identify lucrative market segments—such as Hispanic-Americans—and then deliver solutions tailored specifically to helping advertisers reach these targets…”

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast. Definitely. The earlier the better. My mind is rested and ready for new thoughts to kick-off the day. My schedule is still (hopefully) running on time. Nothing better than a great meeting and a first cup of coffee!

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Thankfully, I haven’t had to make any sacrifices in my personal life. An old friend of mine told me once that in order to realize your true life dream you must be willing to lose and give up everything. There are definitely new choices you have to make. I think it is more about the concept of being willing when necessary vs. actually feeling like you were forced to make personal sacrifices.

What is your favorite quote?
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” (Excerpt from Poem “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson)

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I have never really considered that question until recently a much younger friend of mine described me as eccentric. After getting past my bias that this meant “crazy old lady” (and looking on, I realized that I can’t change my nature… and wouldn’t want to be any other way. I used to think it was hard to stand by convictions when those around me do not necessarily share them. But now I realize and appreciate that that there is great value in mutual diversity.

Biggest mistake made?
Not paying better attention in Ms. Smith and Mr. Hornyak’s Spanish classes during high school.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Humm? Yes. I guess I do consider myself an innovator. It is beyond rewarding to combine several existing business models, adding a few new concepts and introducing it to, an invaluable and very influential demographic!

About the Company: is the first and only multi-cultural private sale event website exclusively focused on beauty. The members-only site enables visitors to browse and buy high-quality, luxury beauty products at prices that are discounted up to 75% from retail prices. Products are hand-selected by beauty insiders who know what’s new, what works and what women need. The site, created to serve as a trusted source for all women, provides meaningful content about beauty products, issues and trends.

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