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Smelling bad stinks. What’s worse? Recent studies suggest a correlation between the aluminum used in popular deodorants and serious health issues like breast cancer. How do you cut down your exposure to potentially harmful ingredients and keep yourself from smelling, well — bad? For Sarah Ribner and Jess Edelstein the answer was PiperWai.
Jess put her kitchen mixer to work and came up with a natural deodorant using activated charcoal, essential oils, and natural moisturizers. Sarah put it to the test on a trip to South America and became an instant believer. The duo joined forces and launched PiperWai.
Great business ideas are born of necessity and innovative thinking. Barbara Corcoran of NBC’s “Shark Tank” says “If your business idea clearly answers a need in the marketplace, it's probably a good idea. If the need is already being met by well-entrenched competitors, it can still be a good idea if it's a new, cheaper or more clever way of doing it.” PiperWai clearly met the “good idea” criteria for Barbara. When Jess and Sarah pitched their idea to the sharks on season 7, Barbara Corcoran had a favorable reaction.
Many entrepreneurs are aware of the “Shark Tank effect” — PiperWai was one of them. They experienced tremendous growth after appearing on the show. Jess advises, “anyone pitching a business idea needs to be confident. Practice public speaking, sign-up for pitching workshops, and grow your network.” Shark Tank is not the only way to get funding for a business. Angel investors, venture capitalist firms, and start-up competitions are all good ways to get help with financing.
Anyone who has started a small business will tell you it’s a tough uphill battle. “People would often see two young women and instantly think they can take advantage,” said Jess. Expect ups and downs as you continue to move your business forward. Jess advises entrepreneurs to “be prepared and be confident. From early on I was never taught that my age, gender, or ethnicity would hold me back.” You need to believe in yourself and your business in order to sell it to investors and your customers.
There are many things that go into launching, managing, and growing a small business. PiperWai is a great example of how problem-solving can turn into a successful business. Every business idea is going to have a different journey, and success will look different for everyone. For the co-founders of PiperWai, it all started with a need to be healthy and smell great!
By the way, in case you were wondering, “why PiperWai?” The brand name is a combination of “Piper,” Edelstein’s family dog, and “Wai Wai,” a South American tribe of legendary hunters who know all about staying cool under pressure.
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