Hectic and challenging can describe the day of nearly every entrepreneur. We recently caught up with two busy, homebased, Los Angeles-area entrepreneurs and business partners--Caroline Packman and Lisa Cohen, both 37--to check out how they organize their time and entrepreneurial duties.
Dividing their responsibilities by day of the week seems to work well for the minds behind Pack Happy, a designer and manufacturer of chic bags that separate packed items in suitcases. The friends, who met in Los Angeles when Packman worked in fashion and Cohen was a lawyer, started the company in 2001 with dreams of making cute fabric packing bags for items like lingerie, shoes and dirty laundry. "We were both frequent travelers, and we were using baggies and [plastic] bags to pack," says Packman. Today, their products are available online (www.packhappy.com); at high-end retailers like Fred Segal in Santa Monica, California; and in specialty boutiques nationwide. Last year, the company, which projects sales of nearly half a million dollars for 2005, launched its Baby Happy line of baby products including bibs, blankets and towels.
The pair divides duties according to each person's talents. Packman handles PR, for instance, while Cohen sees to the books. Occasionally, a huge order throws a wrench into the works. "It [feels] like there is no possible way that everything is going to get done and get done well--and somehow, you just do it," says Packman. A garden-variety week for Packman and Cohen shakes out like this:
Monday: The pair visits the local factory that manufactures the Pack Happy line and consults with seamstresses on bag design elements like embroidery colors. The early afternoon sees them traveling to various local vendors to pick up things like beads, fabric and cord. "It's usually 3 o'clock before we eat lunch," says Packman. "And then we usually grab it and eat it in the car on the way to a sales appointment."
Tuesday: Cohen does bookkeeping from home, while Packman works on press kits and pitching story ideas to press reps. In the afternoon, the partners meet to go over different projects in the works--like the private-label bags the company creates for specific clients.
Wednesday: Packman attends a baby class in the morning with her young daughter, while Cohen "holds the reins," says Packman. Cohen often hits the factory in the afternoon while Packman makes calls from her home office.
Thursday: Packman and Cohen meet with the graphic artist to evaluate packaging ideas. And since the partners package all orders themselves, they usually reserve a big block of time on this day to do that.
Friday: The pair ends the week with a healthy bonding activity. "In the morning, we do yoga together," says Packman. "It's something we started about three years ago--it's our favorite time of the week. It gives us both a chance to kind of unwind and come together." After yoga and lunch, Packman and Cohen head back to their respective home offices and tackle any end-of-the-week business.