And here's the competition: Laurie McCartney is 32-year-old CEO and founder of Los Angeles-based eStyle inc., babyStyle.com and kidStyle.com. BabyStyle offers such merchandise as $75 linen pillow shams, a DKNY cashmere sweater for baby and a pewter rattle. In contrast to the grassroots effort of RainBee, estyle went for full funding and has raised more than $60 million. McCartney has a staff of 200-plus.
McCartney, a Harvard Business School alum, brought her high-profile expertise and business networking to the job. While the average entrepreneur may not have the benefit of McCartney's experience and connections, there's lots to learn from her course of action. She found mentors for herself, people who knew the industries of children's products and luxury goods, and learned from them. She networked in many local professional groups in order to find a knowledgeable staff. She also looked at other Web-based retailers' site designs and product cata-logs and put thought into what she could do differently to make her business better.
While the company is privately held and thus not disclosing sales figures, McCartney is pleased with the evolution of babyStyle, which launched last year, and kidStyle, which launched in April. She plans to continue to roll out her own additional sites under the eStyle umbrella and focus on better-selling items, such as gift sets.