It’s rare to meet a serial entrepreneur that has had success in all of the companies she’s launched. This person is Jackie Dinsmore.
Jackie is a good friend of mine and someone I truly respect in business. We first met when our boys went to pre-school together. We have lots in common, including our love for business.
Jackie is a lawyer turned serial entrepreneur. She has co-founded three Companies (one of which I consulted for), and successfully sold all three of them!
She first founded her own product business with her mom, as she wanted to do something that would allow her flexibility to be there for her kids, more than her corporate law career could.
She quickly realized that she needed to choose between her law career and her new side business which started to gain momentum. She chose the entrepreneurial route and hasn’t looked back. Since her first business, she launched two more companies and successful sold them all. Now, she is looking to launch yet another company in a completely unrelated field.
In this episode, Jackie talks about her decision to leave her safe law career, how she created her first prototype at her kitchen table, how she had to become resourceful when finding her first suppliers, some of the challenges she faced with overseas production, and more.
Jacqueline was a corporate/securities lawyer at Blakes in Toronto, and subsequently worked as Assistant General Counsel at The Toronto Star. Originally intended as a side project to satisfy her non-legal creative side, Jacqueline launched Luvali Convertibles, now FlapJackKids, a company that focuses on all reversible and convertible products for women and children. Jacqueline has been named Top Mompreneur by Mompreneur Magazine and appeared in Forbes Magazine alongside Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. Her company has been featured numerous times in top press and media including The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Ok Weekly, Us Weekly, Woman’s World, USA Today, The Huffington Post and Woman’s Day. Jacqueline’s products have been featured in swag bags for Emmys and Oscars pre-parties, and can be found in over 4000 stores in North America and worldwide. Dipping back into her legal roots, Jacqueline is also a founder and owner of Caravel Law (previously Cognition LLP). Caravel Law is a revolutionary law firm that has set out to change the legal profession and legal services industry for good, bymaking Bay Street trained lawyers financially accessible to entrepreneurs, with its tag line “Happy Lawyers, Happy Clients”.
View the full transcript
It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to my friend Jackie Dinsmore. Jackie and I first met when our boys went to preschool together. We have lots in common including our love for business. Jackie’s a serial entrepreneur. She has co-founded three companies, one of which I consulted for and has sold all three of them. She is a lawyer turned mompreneur who loves the freedom and flexibility that she gets from being an entrepreneur. Jackie’s a mom of two amazing kids who excel in all that they do. When I think of a super family seriously, I think of Jackie’s family. So welcome, Jackie.
Thank you. Thanks so much. I’m really happy to be here.
Jackie, can you tell me a bit about your background? Where did you grow up? What was the start to your career?
So I actually moved about 17 times as a child, which I credit the reason why I’m fairly good at meeting new people and being in new circles. So that was a really interesting childhood. I landed in Guelph for high school. So when people asked me where I grew up, I think of Guelph as basically my hometown, a great university town. Really interesting, but you’re a little bit, you know, sheltered in some ways from the world of entrepreneurship and what’s out there in some of the big cities. So I wanted to be a lawyer from a pretty young age. In fact, my aunt and uncle are deaf, so I wanted to be a lawyer for the deaf and that was what I was kind of driving towards. I wanted to do something to kind of help the greater good so work for the Children’s Aid Society or something like that. So I did my undergraduate at Queens, in psychology and then got into law school at University of Western Ontario. And Western is really well known for its Family Law programs as well as corporate and it’s really kind of well rounded. So I thought that would be a great place for me to go.
And I thought, Okay, this is great. I’m going to do this, I’m goint to save the world kind of work. Part of the problem is in second year, you get summer student jobs and one of the big corporate Bay Street firms came to Western and they kind of select certain students to be summer students. And I was really fortunate to be selected. The problem is, of course, is that it was like corporate law, which isn’t really what I wanted to do, but my dad at the time said, Listen, you don’t say no to a Bay Street firm. So just go. So I was a summer student. I articled there.
I was an associate for a few years, but I was not doing what my life’s work was supposed to be. My mom ended up getting stage three breast cancer. And you know, when you’re at a desk until two, three in the morning, I thought this is the last thing I want to remember my mom by. I don’t want to be sitting here working and finding out that my mom is dying. And these were my last days with her. So I accepted a job at the Toronto Star. It was four days a week. So I thought perfect. I could bring my mom to chemo on the fifth day and work four days a week and it would be ideal. But I wasn’t doing what I loved. I would get out of bed every morning and I earned a paycheck but I wasn’t passionate about it at all. So that’s kind of that was the pathway of my career before I started the business.
Wow, these are actually things I didn’t know about you. So what was actually the moment when you decided that you wanted to be an entrepreneur and what shifted that in your mind?
So my parents were always dabbling and they owned a couple of retail stores. They were always dabbling in it. My dad was a chartered accountant, but he always liked to do stuff on the side. And so he sold a bunch of health products for a while. And so I was always watching them with keen interest. I think the impetus was when I went on maternity leave, I’m not you know, me, Nicole, I’m not the kind of person that sits still very well. And so while your maternity leave is supposed to be really busy raising the kids, which I was doing, I was kind of using that time to really think about my life and what I wanted to do. My mom had survived the breast cancer, which is amazing. And she said, ‘let’s start a business together. You can do it on the side, you can still do law, your main source of income, but let’s just see if we can kind of start something’. So she was going on a cruise and she put six handbags in our suitcase. And I said, ‘we should come up with this kind of convertible handbag idea. So you’re not putting six handbags in your suitcase’. So we mocked up a sample.
I remember we went to a sewing school in Burlington and like literally cobbled it together, and it really looked good and worked. So we brought it to one of the biggest trade shows in Toronto. And it got kind of looked at and we won one of the top best products awards in Canada. And then we kind of got the eye of the Oscars. And then we went to an Oscar gifting suite where we were able to kind of give it to a whole bunch of celebrities. And that was kind of the moment of ‘oh my gosh, like a I don’t have to have a boss and be I can actually make my own income.’ And this was all basically happening between my daughter and my so’ns maternity leaves, and kind of at the end of the maternity leave, we were in about 250 stores with the handbags at that point, and my mom said, you have a decision to make. You can go back to law, but then we’re going to shut the business down or you can make a go of this business with me and don’t go back to law.
Wow, cool. So you were still working in law at this point and starting this business with your mom, whom I’ve met and she’s so lovely. And basically you’re doing this on the side while having kids – that is pretty amazing. I think that’s the story of most mompreneurs, they start something on the side. They’re not happy or fulfilled with their day job, and they feel like they want that freedom and flexibility to be at home. So was that a tough decision to leave your corporate job, leave law and start something new, and just take that risk?
Um, yes and no. So it was very scary in the sense that now you’re literally letting go the edge of the pool is kind of the analogy I use, and you’re they’re going to sink or swim. In terms of income. I was very lucky to have a very supportive spouse who was able to carry us financially throughout this. I really respect single moms who do this because when you’re trying to balance an income and be able to do this, it’s tough. But I did stay in law until 2010. So that was still a few years after my son was born, and it was 2010 when my mom said, Okay, now we’ve grown this business, you can’t do it on the side anymore. So that’s when I quit and went 100% into the business and felt comfortable enough that I could do it. Because the one thing that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize is not only are you not making an income for yourself, but you’re spending a lot of money and especially in a consumer products company, because you have to pay for samples and you have to pay for a product and and and …so it’s a huge risk that people have to feel very comfortable taking.
And how did you know that that was the right time? Like was there a certain dollar figure that you look for? Like how, how give some advice for people who are at the brink of maybe their businesses gotten to a certain level, and they feel like at that point, they’d be comfortable leaving…is there sort of a temperature mark that you can talk about?
it wasn’t dollar it was gut feel of momentum, things were really starting to move quickly with the business and there’s only 24 hours in a day. And I really felt that if I wasn’t paying my business, the attention it deserved, and really kind of following that wave or that momentum, all the good things that were happening would be going to follow the wayside. And I didn’t want that to happen. So it’s not like we were making millions when I left or anything like that, you know, obviously, we had sales. But it was one of those things that you come to a crossroads and say, which fork in the road I was going to take. And my mom pushed me. So credit to her because she said, okay, you really can’t do both. So what are you going to choose?
That’s so key. And so were there any mindset hurdles that you had to overcome? Like going from law to starting a business? Did you ever have doubts?
I think being a lawyer, you’re inherently conservative, which is the antithesis of being an entrepreneur, right? So a lot of folks would call me somewhat of a unicorn, in the sense that lawyers don’t like to take risks. So that was a bit hard. I had to learn to take my lawyer hat off and just trust but it was also good having that background because when contracts would come in, I knew what to look for, and I didn’t have that added expense although you know when you first start a business. There’s not a lot of legal stuff to do. So I really had to park that side of me and kind of bring the risk taker side of myself out.
But I’m sure there’s a ton of skills you brought to the table being a lawyer and having that knowledge in the background. So I’m sure that benefited your business. Let’s go back to when you started the bag company. How like you actually made your own prototypes. So is that what you’d recommend for people to do when they’re just starting out? Like design it yourself or outsource? How did you do this – what was your first step?
So make no mistake, I’m not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. So my first prototype was literally Bristol board and scotch tape and scissors and this ridiculous kind of structure that looked like my grade five son had done it. But it was enough to give the sewing school an idea of what we needed and there was a bit of back and forth and then the first prototype that they did wasn’t ideal either. But it was enough to then give to a factory who could then perfect it in the way they do manufacturing.
I think that’s so interesting because so many people would have the mindset of ‘Oh, I don’t know how to design something, I don’t even know where to start’. So they would just quit before they got going. But you designed it with Bristol board. So that’s pretty cool. Then when you went to a manufacturer, how did you even go about that process?
So Good question. And the one thing I might add about product development and the whole prototype thing, and this is the advice I give people all the time is don’t perfect it. I was actually in Facebook, Canada’s office the other day, and there’s a huge poster that says, done not perfect. And I’m such a believer in that when it comes to entrepreneurship. And that’s hard as a lawyer because we’re very used to being meticulous on detail, but get it out to market and fix it later. I mean, obviously, get it get it 60% of the way done because most of the improvements you’re going to make are going to be based on market feedback anyway. So, if you don’t have it to market, you could think you have the most perfect thing, spend years trying to get it out. In the meantime, your competitor gets out there and gets it out before you or you spend years trying to get it out, you go out to the market, and it’s not what the market wanted anyway, and you’ve got to go back and change it. So just get it out and get it out there and use that as part of the process to start working. So, your question was, you know, how did we source factories?
I mean, we were very rudimentary and the way we did things. And I think that’s a skill that a lot of entrepreneurs have, there’s no right or wrong way. And you just go out and ask as many people, surprisingly, people are really willing to help. We live in a fabulous country where entrepreneurs can be very supported. So, we went to the big trade show in Toronto, and we literally went around and looked at companies that did bags, and I would ask people in those booths, hey, where do you get your bags made? And do you have any factory contacts for us, which is pretty bold, considering they probably were going to compete with us but we actually came up with a couple options. And one guy in particular said, Hey, I have a couple of factories in China, what are you looking to get made? And that was how it started.
I love that. So, it’s like you’re just super resourceful. And I think that a lot of people would again, stop and go, ‘Oh, we don’t know any manufacturers.’ But you just took the bull by the horns and went after its, that’s awesome. And just going back to the prototype testing and done not perfect. I totally agree with that perfection is the killer of any action. So, when you actually did the prototypes, would you did ever do any consumer testing or get feedback? What kind of process did you go through when you were researching?
That’s probably something I would do differently. Now looking back. So, the process I went through as I asked my girlfriends, I remember distinctly there was a weekend that our cottage and I had, you know, six or seven girlfriends up and I literally passed stuff around and said what would you change about this? What do you like about it? It worked very well because they told me a lot of great things that I hadn’t thought of and gave me a lot of great feedback. The only difference I would make now is I probably wouldn’t ask friends because they’re your friends they want to they might not be as honest as they could. I think it would be better to get a group that you know people that don’t know you and then they be giving you more honest feedback.
That’s so true. Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s a plus and negative to get your friends it’s probably easiest way to go but it is true that you want to get your ideal target market when you’re researching. Alright, so after you actually grew the bag business you eventually sold it. How did you know it was the right time to sell your business?
So I’m sure we’ll talk about the other sales but that was probably my smallest sale and it was specifically designed that way because of the moment in time. So the bag business is going really well and we have we expanded it to a whole bunch of different other women’s reversible accessories. So our big concept was the whole reversible and convertible, which is why I think we stood out amongst all the other accessories companies out there. But what we did find with women’s products, women’s products are very, very brand focused. So we were competing with the Louis Vuitton and the Kate Spades. And we realized we just didn’t have the money to build the brand the way that those companies did without investors. And my mom and I really looked at each other and said do we really want to bring on significant investors at this point, does it make sense? And at the time, there was a company that came in that pretty much knocked off our concept. And we were getting very nervous. So it was funny how at that exact time, my son was a little bit older and wouldn’t wear a sun hat. And as parents, you want to protect them and I thought maybe I can kind of bring this whole reversible concept to kids. I had gone to a parenting class and they said, don’t ever tell your child to wear the jacket. They say wear the red jacket or do you want to wear the blue jacket and if you give them some choice and empower them, then they’ll wear the jacket and that apparently works.
So, you know, the child walks out the door with the red jacket, all proud that that’s the thing that they’ve chosen. I thought I said to my mom, I said, I think we can do this reversible concept really well with kids’ stuff. And maybe my son will wear a son hat. So, we created a prototype of a sun hat with a lion on one side and a monkey on the other. And so, I said to Jack, do you want to be a lion or a monkey, and he wore the sun hat with a lot of beaming pride. And you know, he was passed the toddler age at that point, but still at the age where you still want to protect them. So that just said to me, I think kids is where we wanted to go and kind of get away a little bit from the women’s world. Because kids, obviously you want really good quality product. You want something that’s interesting and unique and looks good. But you don’t need a Louis Vuitton hat for a kid. Brand isn’t as sensitive as it is in the women’s market. So, we felt that that was the right time to pivot and do something different.
Cool. So yes, I know flapjacks kids very well and that business has turned from hats to every kind of product basically. Right? So convertible, totes, matching socks, it’s really, really cute. And so how many years did it take you to develop that and how different is Flapjackkids from what it was?
A lot of entrepreneurs will tell you that if you expand too quickly in terms of different products, that can be the death of you. So, we’re really careful not to do that. And we’ve been very careful not to get into clothing. The problem with clothing is you’re automatically into a lot of different skus, right? If you do shirts and pants and you know, you’ve got to get 6 months and 12 months and 18 month and TT, so we’ve always kept Flapjackkids an accessories company.
We wanted to do most of what we were doing reversible. So, if you’re doing reversible items, you’re a little bit limited in what you can do, which actually was a saving grace, so we don’t end up with 1000 kind of different skews. So at the end of the day, you know, we’ve been really particular about how many products we bring in and maybe we expand on the styles. So in addition to the reversibility we want to have a lot of our products have up 50 SPF protection. Parents are really big about sun protection these days. And we found that ended up being a really great value add so we expanded from sun hats to like beach cover ups that are reversible again, protecting them from the sun. And then you can add the fun accessories like the totes and things like that. So, we’re telling a really good comprehensive story around functionality and safety.
Cool and then like eventually you expanded Flapjackkids and sold it most recently. So again, what was that journey like? How different was that?
Um, it’s funny, unlike Luvali the handbag business, with Flapjackkids, we weren’t looking for a seller. They kind of landed in our lap so to speak, and my parents were getting older so the timing was really good. They wanted to spend a little bit more time on the golf course than in the boardroom and we ended up partnering with an individual who was very, very strong in manufacturing. And what’s been really great about this partnership, or the sale, we ended up selling a majority share.
So I’m still a minority shareholder, and he’s very hands on. So you see the Dragon’s Den deals where people go in there and sell 50% of their business or 80% of their business. But at the end of the day, they’re left holding the bag on operating the company. Still, we were very fortunate to have a buyer that knows the industry really, really well. He’s manufactured for big companies like Roots and various others, he owns six other brands. So we have the strength of all the brands together. So if we want to hire a marketing person or social media coordinator, that person can work for other brands. The cost is spread across all of them. So it’s been a really, really interesting way of growing the business and has been incredibly successful.
Amazing. So if anyone’s looking out for Flapjackkids, they are the cutest products I love them. Just a little plug there. So after you sold Flapjackkids, did you feel in the selling process like you’re giving up your babies? Basically did you find that difficult or was it just pretty easy to let go?
it was hard because my parents weren’t my partners anymore in some ways but it was easy in the sense that we had brought into as far as we could go and you know, it’s crazy when you mortgage your house several times and in a product business unlike some services businesses, the cash flow can be tough right? You know, the more successful you are, the more money you have to spend. So, we sell in Indigo across the country for example, which is super exciting, but Indigo will put in their order in September and not pay you until April or May. So, you have to front the cash to get the product made and shipped and, in the stores, and then you get paid. So, it’s a very cash intensive business and that’s where I think we got to a point that we needed deeper pockets. And we were lucky to find that.
Great. And so, you actually have a third business as well, that you’ve started, which is not a product business. But can you just tell us a little bit about that?
Sure. So um, I guess you can you can take the lawyer out of law but you know, you’re not always going to leave it. And I was a little worried about the fact like, I still pay my law dues. I don’t practice. But now being on the entrepreneur side of things, I felt the frustrations of legal in the sense that when I went to go hire a patent lawyer, it was crazy that I was looking at lawyers that were 1200 dollars an hour or $1,000 an hour as a small business. Or if you want to kind of get a lawyer that’s $300 an hour, you don’t know what you’re getting. And I didn’t think that was right. Now colleagues of mine in the industry had started a firm called Cognition and the concept was they pulled Bay Street lawyers off the street and gave them a little bit more of a flexible lifestyle. And because they work from home and didn’t have the overhead of traditional law firms, they were able to provide their services that are like half or a third of the cost of what they would add on Bay Street, which was amazing, because at the end of the day for entrepreneurs starting a business, they’re going to need an incorporation, they’re going to need maybe an employment agreement, they’re going to need a shareholders agreement, and all those things.
And the last thing you want to do is be paying 1200 dollars an hour out of your pocket when you really should be investing that in your product. So essentially, two of my colleagues that started this firm, and I convinced them, they need some estrogen, so I invested as a third partner. And we’re up to about 70 Lawyers now in all different facets and areas of law that can help small to medium to even large businesses at a very reasonable price. So it’s been a really exciting venture to dip my toe back into the world of law, with my entrepreneur hat recognizing what entrepreneurs need from them.
That’s amazing. I would definitely as a small business, agree with that statement about finding lawyers and knowing even where to go and then knowing that it’s a reputable lawyer and that you’re getting a fair price. For small businesses I know the name is called Cognition for those who are looking for the law firm and so what would you say is your favorite business to work on and why?
Well Flapjackkids was my biological baby and Cognition, and we actually just recently changed the name to Caravel Law, is my adopted baby I guess because I didn’t start it. So, you love them both equally. But they are obviously very different – one’s a product-based business one’s a services-based business so I learned kind of the pros and cons of both. Obviously Flapjackkids is you know where my heart lies.
I started with my mom and a time of her life that where she was really recovering from her health and I think we were given a huge gift in the sense that we were given the gift of the ability to work together and grow something from scratch. It’s pretty amazing. When you can grow something from zero dollars and grow it for and turn around and sell it for seven figures that somebody actually really wants to write a check for it. That is crazy to me that as an entrepreneur, it’s something that you could do. I mean, whoever thought that something that my mom and I built at our kitchen table people would actually want to pay a lot of money for. So that’s just super exciting.
Yeah, I could imagine that’s very special that you started with your mom. And I’m sure you both are so proud. So, for all of these businesses, I noticed the common thread is that you saw a need that like it was your own personal need in the market. And you just solved the problem. And I think that is the ideal way to go about starting a business you’re solving a need, like an untapped need in the market. So I just applaud you and it’s just a testament to why you did so well in all the businesses that you created. So if you were going to give any advice for women who want to start a product business, what would you say?
So, I’ll reiterate that done not perfect and getting it to market as fast and quickly as possible. That’s number one. Number two, I would say be really careful who you get into bed with, so to speak in terms of don’t rush out there and find any partners or shareholders, I always say, putting my lawyer hat on, it’s easier to get out of a marriage than it is out of a shareholders agreement. And I see so many people have breakups and relationships that are really devastating because the business often can’t handle that.
So be really careful who you partner with and really question whether you need a partner, I was really lucky because I partnered with my parents, and so they can’t really get rid of me. But I see a lot of friendships break up over partnerships. So just be really careful about that. And if you really think you’re going to make it work, think about all the horrible, really bad things that could happen at the beginning and put pen to paper around it. So, you know, get a good shareholders agreement in place and think about ‘Okay, if this happened, you know, if somebody was disabled or died or we just didn’t get along anymore, how would you deal with that’ and really give it some good thought.
That’s great advice. I fully agree with that. And many people rush out. And just because they’re best friends with someone, they think, oh, we should start a business together. And wouldn’t it be fun, but there’s so many things that can go on with the business, and you just want to be so careful with why you’re actually starting a partnership. And then, you know, making sure it’s the right person, and you complement each other’s skills. So were there any issues or challenges that you went through that you really learned from and that maybe possibly you would never do again?
Yeah, so I’ll tell a story. When I first was looking for a manufacturer, we connected with a sourcing agent. And so for people that don’t know what a sourcing agent is, it’s almost an intermediary between you and the factory. The way that China works, you very rarely work directly with the factory. They can even say that they’re from the factory, but most of the time they’re not. And you know what, that’s not the end of the world. As long as you find a sourcing agent you can trust and the way it works with the sourcing agent, they work one of two ways they will sometimes say okay, you want to make this widget? Okay, your cost is $1. And they’re taking maybe 10 cents off the top.
And you wouldn’t even know about it because your cost is $1. And whatever they take, they take, but if the dollar price is fine for you, great. The other way they work is they were they say your cost is $1. And I’m going to take 10%, they tell you what percentage they’re taking. So that’s the two ways that they work. And sometimes they won’t even tell you where the factory is or who the factory is, which isn’t ideal, especially as you get into big kind of key accounts. If you’re working with Disney, they’re going to absolutely want to know where your factory is and who they’re working with. So I remember our first shipment and this was for the handbags for Luvali, It was a $60,000 shipment. $60,000 in my own money out of my pocket. And we’re working with a sourcing agent, and it was getting close to the time when the shipment was supposed to arrive here. And the sourcing agent went missing on me. And the way that China works is you have to put 30% down when the product is ordered and 70% down when it’s about to be shipped.
And I think at this point, we’d put 100% so we’d already given all of our money, so 60 thousand dollars out of my pocket done out, and I couldn’t get a hold of sourcing agent. And of course, I didn’t have contact with the factory name. Somehow through some email or somewhere I found a contact. I said to my husband at that time, we’re going to go to China. We’re going to go to China, we’re going to look at the shipment and make sure it’s okay because I don’t have any contact with anybody. So we jumped on a plane, we got this address from somewhere, went and we told them we are coming and we got there and everything was great. Like all the product was laid out. The employees were wearing their t shirts with our company name on it, they had signs like it was a bit of, you know, a Showboat exercise.
It was really strange. And the visit went incredibly well. And the product looked fantastic. So my husband and I kind of did the happy dance, I might Okay, well, we just spent a couple thousand dollars around China probably for no reason. Still not really understanding why the sourcing agent was kind of being a little bit distant and a wall so we come back to Canada. And the month or so later the shipment arrives and it’s Perfect, and it’s great and everything’s fine. So but that’s not the end of the story. So a few weeks later, we get a call from the factory we visited. And they said, we just want to let you know that we’re actually not the factory that produce your product. And your entire visit was staged. And we were paid to stage your entire visit by the real factory and by your sourcing agent. And so my first instinct was, well, why are you even telling me this? Like, why would you tell me that that you were part of this scam, basically, and they said, Oh, it’s not a scam.
That’s just the way it works in China. And the reason we did it is because your sourcing agent didn’t want you to know who the factory is and felt like you’re going to go around him. So he staged the entire visit. And then the worst part is I think the staging cost $2,000 and we had paid for it. So of course, I said to the factory, we will never ever work with you because you are part of this scam and thank you for telling us. But yeah, they were calling because they wanted our business. They said we actually really like your product and we actually think we could produce it for you. And I said, well, obviously, there’s no trust here. And that won’t happen. So I think the lesson learned from that was I trusted first.
And I probably shouldn’t have. I don’t know if there’s anything that I could have done to have discovered this, but my Spidey senses were up that the sourcing agent wasn’t replying to me. And even when we first engaged with the sourcing agent, I hadn’t checked references. I didn’t know this guy. He happened to be a Canadian, so I trusted them, but I shouldn’t have. And so I think, again, back to my comment about figuring out who you’re getting in bed with here, it applies not only just to your business partner, but to anybody that you would engage in your business, check references, make sure that they’re the real deal, because if you give them a lot of power, and they’re not the real deal, you can end up being in huge hot water.
Wow, what a story so what happened with the sourcing agent and the manufacturer?
So they were probably all fired right away. And we started from scratch again, but I started from scratch doing the right thing. like finding the references finding the right people, and that manufacturer ended up being our manufacturer all the way through and was fantastic. And actually, they were the ones that ended up helping us with the kid’s products and ended up being part of the purchasing group.
Okay, so did you how did you vet this new manufacturer? Like, did you go through another sourcing agent? Or did you just go direct to the manufacturer vet through contacts? Or like, how did you go about that?
I went through another sourcing agent, but I had a lot of references and I came he came highly recommended from other entrepreneurs that work with them. And I was just really particular this time. And so, like I said, it ended up being great and, and a long-term relationship and someone that we still use.
Wow, okay, amazing story. So yeah, I think the moral of the story is – do your background checks and do your homework and also leverage your networks. I think that’s one of the biggest things and there’s so many networks out there for women entrepreneurs that you can tap into, I know a ton of groups. And all you have to do is start asking the questions and people will help you. Everyone’s super helpful. So that is all for today. I wanted to ask you so what’s next for you on your journey?
Well, I am still involved with Flapjackkids being a minority shareholder. So, I still want to see that and ensure that that grows really, really well. I’m still involved with the law firm. We’re adding lawyers all the time. And that’s been terrific. So, we actually sold half of that law firm, but I still retain half. So that’s what the third sale I guess we were talking about. And of course, as my husband said, I’ve been out of a few businesses for all of about eight seconds and I’m starting a new one. So, I guess I am a serial entrepreneur. The business I’m starting with three friends that we have, you know, got a shareholder’s agreement in place and we’ve really kind of figured out the best way to do it is disrupting the death and funeral industry. So, I would like to think of myself as a disruptor. We did it with the legal industry. We did a little bit with the kids clothing and now we’re doing it with the death and funeral business. So wish me luck.
Well, it sounds fabulous. And where can people find you connect with you and all of your great products? And we’ll put this in the show notes.
Absolutely. So, Flapjackkids is Flapjackkids.com Caravel is Caravellaw. com. You can go to the website and all of our emails and everything is there. So feel free to email me on Instagram. It’s Jackie Dinsmore on Facebook, it’s Jackie Durk Dinsmore. And on LinkedIn, it’s Jacqueline Dinsmore.
Awesome, thank you so much for your time. It’s been super fun chatting with you. I learned so much. And you know, a lot of things we haven’t actually talked about as friends. So thanks so much for your time, and I’m sure everyone got tons of value out of this. Thank you.
Thanks for having me, Nicole.