Lynne Lambert founded Prak Productions in 1995 in Chappaqua, New York.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
We are making fashionable tees, sweatshirts and accessories for Men, Ladies and Kids. Each line has its own website, New York City Subway, London Line Z, and the Coney Island Line.
How did you come up with your business idea?
As my main business is under license from the MTA, that light bulb went off while waiting for my train to come in – so to speak – at the Boro Hall station in Brooklyn.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was a long-time "working actor" most of whose success was in TV Voice-Overs and Radio Commercials, though I had some other highlights to my career – like doing all of the women's voices in "Grand Theft Auto II" and the voice inside the first interactive talking baby doll – "Baby Talk!"
Who did you hire to help you? Bookkeeper, Accountants, Lawyers …? Would you suggest others do the same?
I was lucky enough to get mentors in Sales and Licensing along the way. Almost went broke on lawyers until I found one who is an angel and truly cares about the creative people she represents. I have been very fortunate getting great help from interns from a local college. One is now my full-time employee!
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
The world still has a lot of men who will not deal with you as they would a man, unfortunately! Depending on their culture and background, there's not much you will be able to do to change them. Their wives have probably been trying it for years. If you can't get what you need, find another vendor, bank, resource! On the flip side, some men can be very helpful, as they do not feel competitive with you, and I have had some wonderful male mentors!
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
Don't quit your "day job" until your business seems certain to give you the income you need to do so! Use interns and tap friends and family for recommendations of people they know who may be helpful, before you pay for consulting! Most people are happy to help.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
Having had my own "service business" as an actor for years, I felt capable of captaining my new business. I had no idea how much more challenging a product-based business would be!!! Production and Murphy's Law! Inventory!!! It's a beast!
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Get a job in the apparel industry, and in retail for a while so that you can understand how things work on someone else's dime!
That is great advice, Lynne. Good luck with your clothing line!