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We've Got a Secret

Dare we say the "F" word? Fulfillment, that is. It ain't easy to fill all those website orders, but it ain't impossible. We show you how.

This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Triathlete Laura Stanford, 32, knows how hard it is to find good exercise clothes. "Either the stuff is dowdy, or the service is terrible," she says. "You go into a sports store, and the gearhead dude working on the bikes in the back just doesn't understand your needs." Formerly a paralegal in a busy Silicon Valley law firm, Stanford always looked to her workouts for solace from her high-stress job. When she decided to quit the firm to start an e-commerce Web site, selling exercise apparel was a natural choice. All she had to do was go to a few trade shows, set up a hot site, take in the orders and ship them out. Simple, right?

"I had no idea what I was getting into," Stanford recalls of her online sports apparel boutique, Pro Se Sports (, which launched in 1998. "If I could do it again, I probably wouldn't go into a business that involves inventory or fulfillment."

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