Meg Fisher to speak of Niche Retail Entrepreneurism
“I was sixteen when this whole concept started,” remembers Meg Fisher, Founder and Owner of Lincoln&Lexi, a high-end boutique for children’s clothing and maternity wear, specializing in unique and custom products. Agreeing to the guest seat in the January edition of Startup Stories, a program of Square One DSM, Fisher will be interviewed by Mike Colwell, Executive Director of Square One DSM, and she will join a growing number of women entrepreneurs who have shared their retail experiences with the audience.
For Fisher, who admits she was probably motivated to entrepreneurism by a family history, the concept in question was a confluence of her passions, childcare and high-end fashion. In fact, the business tag line “Couture Since Day One,” does as much to define her as it does her product line.
Not only did the concept come to her at an early age, so did the first draft of a business plan. “Yea, I was the cool kid on a Friday night sitting at home writing a business plan,” she recalls with a touch of self-directed sarcasm. But that early first step would shape the course of her still young but successful career. Enrolling in Drake University’s Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management programs her coursework became a means of honing her vision, whenever possible molding classroom projects to support her evolving business plan.
Near the end of her Drake studies, her Entrepreneurial Professor, Thomas Swartwood, shed the harsh light of reality upon her business plan, then six years in the making, causing her a weekend of introspection followed by the two of them collaborating on a revision after she informed him, “I’m doing this, so let’s figure out how.”
Two months and two days out from her graduation she launched Lincoln&Lexi, named as she intends to name her future children. One week later she won the 2010 John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Competition. “Winning a competition, pitching a children’s clothing company to a bunch of men in suits, was a real confidence booster,” she remembers.
Bootstrapping the business along with the Pappajohn funding, Fisher initially launched utilizing the home party approach augmented by trade shows, farmer’s markets and the like. “I did about anything you can think of, just to get our name out there and get some parties booked,” she remembers of the first year. By January of the next year she was ready to try a temporary mall location and began a relationship with Jordan Creek that would last two and a half years before choosing to relocate to Valley West, launch a second storefront, and finally landing at her current location on Bridgewood Blvd.
Sitting down with Colwell, who she met along her entrepreneurial path and who has served as a mentor of late, Fisher is happy to share her story and answer whatever questions others might have.
“I can share some extensive experience at market testing,” she suggests, having started in the basement of her family home and evolved through the home parties approach to e-commerce and ultimately taking a brick and mortar position. Defining a niche, something that Swartwood initially declared her to be without, in what is clearly a congested field of retail children’s clothing, is another lesson she can share. Like most entrepreneurs she can share some insights into delegation and life balance, as well as the pains and pleasures of bootstrapping a business while foregoing an income.
And then she has some stories that are less common, but no less entertaining, like the first shipment of product that fell apart in her hands, or her self-taught crash course in sewing it necessitated, a skill they curiously omitted from the curriculum at Drake. It’s sure to be a lively conversation!
$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
Networking and Lunch starts at 11: 30 a.m.
Presentation starts at Noon
Jan. 20, 2016
Greater Des Moines Partnership
700 Locust Street, Suite 100
Conference Center (street level)
Contact us at info@squareoneDSM.com for more information.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Square One DSM for details.
About Square One DSM
Square One DSM’s mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization.