Bad news can open the door to good news if you play your cards right.
Donna Rug watched her employer go under, but she used that event to reinvent herself.
She started her own company and was kind enough to share her story with us.
Donna, what type of firm were you working at before you started a company?
I was working for a retail firm. Unfortunately they went bankrupt.
I had been there for 10 years and that ended in 2001.
You've got your own company now, right? What is it and what do you do there?
My company is Akron Grove Bath Products.
We are an independently owned soap and bath products maker located in Lockport, New York, USA.
We make quality, natural, handmade soaps, bath products, lotion, skin care, gift baskets, gifts, shower favors, shampoo, conditioner and foot care items. We are constantly adding new items to our product line. All items are made to order and we have over 200 items and over 100 scents available.
Sounds like a great business! So, why did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of simply looking for another job?
It all started as a project for my grandchildren. One Mother's Day, they decided to give their mothers a hand crafted gift that they had made. They made bath fizzies from a recipe we got off the internet.
Then a friend gave me a "Bath Bomb" she had received as a gift. I liked it so well that we went online to find more but I was appalled at the price. I thought, that will be the day I spend $6.00 for a single bath.
When I looked at the ingredients in the "Bath Bomb" I realized they were the same as in the bath fizzies the grandchildren had just made.
I decided to start a business making bath bombs, a few glycerin soaps, and bath salts. This was my entire product line. My concept was simple. I wanted to provide a quality product at a price everyone could afford.
Did you buy an existing business or start Akron Grove Bath Products from scratch? Which do you think is the best approach?
I started from scratch. I think that's the best way because you control your own destiny.
How did you decide what kind of business to go into?
My love of bath products steered me into this business. I believe it's important for new entrepreneurs to pick something that they are passionate about because you do much better if you love what you are doing.
Owning a business is very different from working as an employee. What are some of the biggest differences you've noticed? What do you miss? What don't you miss?
The ability to work when I want and not be tied to a time clock. Actually, I now work all day.
I do miss the interaction I had with the other employees though.
What advice would you give to somebody who is leaving the life of working for a company to go out on their own?
Be prepared to work harder than you did at your job. There are no "sick days" or breaks.
Be prepared to fail more often than you succeed (and pick yourself up and try again). Be prepared to fly in the face of advice you get to give up.
Anything else you'd care to share with us regarding the transition from losing a job to starting a business?
It's the best thing I have ever done for myself.
Donna, thank you so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us. Your company sounds great, and now we know where to go if we need some nice gifts. Good luck to you as you grow the business.