Goodbye, Mom & Pop

3. You're Never Finished

That said, creating a winning business isn't like painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The ceiling, however large and difficult it is to work on, is at least finite. You create your masterpiece, and you're done. Old and crippled, maybe, but done.

Not so for the dynamic entrepreneur. No matter how innovative your original venture is, it's only the first in what you hope will be a lifetime of creative efforts.

For Ilona Karme, 36, and Nick Scalisi, 41, co-founders of Karmic Niche Inc. in Los Angeles, reincarnation is a regular event. That's not just because they create clothing designs with a Buddhist bent; it's also because they're constantly reinventing their business--spinning off new clothing lines and even new business concepts.

Although they launched Karmic Niche just two years ago, Karme and Scalisi already have annual sales of more than $3 million and five separate clothing labels: Little Thrills (tops and dresses for girls), Future Shock (tops for young men), Instant Karma (cotton tanks and sleepwear sets), Cheap Thrill (aimed at the junior market) and China Surf (surf-inspired women's casual wear). Karmic Niche also works with corporate clients such as House of Blues and MTV to create karmically correct designs for promotional T-shirts and accessories.

"It's demanding to come up with [and execute] new ideas all the time," says Scalisi, "but being an entrepreneur isn't about staying with the status quo."

The rewards of constant creation aren't merely financial. With each new challenge comes the satisfaction of having produced something. With every positive market response comes the joy of having connected with an audience. For true entrepreneurs--who thrive on growth--evolution isn't a chore. It's the point of the exercise.

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This article was originally published in the May 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Goodbye, Mom & Pop.

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