Big Boost

Finding The Right Prototype

The good news was, Heroff realized she needed help. So she started talking to apparel sales representatives, local clothing manufacturers and virtually anyone she could find who might be able to help. After dozens of inquiries, she was given the lead of a potential manufacturing partner, Private Label Industries of Los Angeles, which saw the potential of Heroff's concept.

The company agreed to produce prototypes and to help with finalizing the product's design in return for part ownership in the company and an agreement that it would manufacturer the product once it was ready for market. Heroff also had some brief discussions with the company about playing a bigger partnership role by picking up production costs until orders were paid for. "I decided not to ask the company to do more," she adds, "as I felt they had already done so much to help me."

But Heroff wasn't quite ready yet. It took a lot of work to make her product, and it was going to be downright expensive. Heroff expected her tops to retail for about $48 to $60 and her bras to sell for about $24-meaning she would need to sell to high-end women's apparel shops. Lacking the expertise to create the kind of designer look these shops were seeking, Heroff hooked up with designer Robin Monteith, who proved invaluable.

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Big Boost.

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