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Been There, Done That

Why you need a mentor

This story appears in the January 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Ask any entrepreneur who's hit it big, and you're sure to find a supportive mentor somewhere in his or her past.

Larry Schwarz, 28, is a case in point. He's taken his New York City toy company, Rumpus, from start-up in 1995 to grossing more than $1.5 million in sales in 1998. But he credits his success in part to one of his mentors--a friend's grandmother, who also happened to be cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. "She started her business from nothing," says Schwarz admiringly. "She mixed things in her uncle's garage and went around peddling them to stores, trying to get interviews with buyers on her own, and built it up into an incredible company."

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