Allison Pincus and Susan Feldman launched their company, One Kings Lane, in 2009. Responding to a hole in the luxury goods market, One Kings Lane provides luxury goods and vintage finds in a limited number and at a drastically discounted price. The items go on sale for a limited amount of time and usually sell out before the sales period ends.
By 2011, Pincus and Feldman found themselves with a company bringing in over $100 million in revenue. You read that right: after only 2 years, One Kings Lane was bringing in 100 million dollars.
What’s the secret behind their success? Feldman acknowledges that good ideas are a dime a dozen, but making those ideas a reality is a whole different ball game.
Pincus and Feldman first recognized that they’d come across a good idea when they couldn’t think of anything else. The idea just wouldn’t leave them alone, and they paid attention. They started focusing, planning, and making sure they were clear about exactly what was so awesome about their concept.
Welcome to the ADD world. (Just in the process of typing that sentence I wondered who was cooking downstairs, thought about where I wanted to go for a walk later, and started planning a new project.)
Keep. It. Simple. No one is going to take the time to listen to your long, drawn-out, theoretical reasoning behind why the world needs your app that monitors how much people’s pet dogs eat every day. Take the time to really clarify your thoughts and pare them down to the fewest words possible.
Having trouble? Get off your computer and grab some big pieces of paper and some markers. Gather your team around and set a goal of describing your idea in a paragraph. Then do it for three sentences. Then two. See if you can get it down to a word or two and you’re ready.
Listen to what other people have to say.
It’s so easy to get into a bubble when you’re developing an idea. You start with something really fresh and interesting, with everyone on your team contributing something new but then, after awhile, you start to hear your own ideas come back to you.
Of course they sound good. You thought of them weeks ago! Feldman and Pincus recommend that you get out of your bubble and solicit other people’s opinions. Really listen to what they have to say and incorporate it into what you’re doing but only if you…
Trust your instincts.
Some people are going to give you great advice, some people are going to give you good advice, and some people are just going to talk a lot of nonsense. You know your product better than anyone and if something someone says doesn’t sit quite right, trust your gut. Just because someone is older than you or more experienced than you or someone you just really trust doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything they think.
Pincus and Feldman point to the fact that they were told in the beginning not to go with the name “One Kings Lane,” but they really dug it and decided to push forward, despite what everyone else was saying. Now they’re totally satisfied with that decision and feel like they couldn’t be doing better.
Don’t get stuck.
Every successful entrepreneur says the same thing: make sure you keep your core values, but don’t get so attached to the original iteration of your idea that you can’t grow. If you listen to the marketplace, it will tell you what’s going to work and what won’t. Pay attention, adapt, grow, and you’ll end up with a better product.
Pincus and Feldman’s story is definitely one of the more awesome rapid growth startup stories, one of those ones that we all look to when we’re feeling frustrated or overworked. Don’t just admire what they did though; take their advice and run with it.