Powerful Women Entrepreneurs – Lisa Bruckner
A Powerful Army of Women
There is a veritable army of powerful women, who have chosen entrepreneurship and Social Media to further their ambitions and their reach.
They come from all walks of life, all professions and diverse backgrounds. And the qualities they have in common make them perfectly suited for Social Media success — even in an unpredictable economy.
They are the leaders, explorers and prime-movers in a shock-wave that will alter the course of American business. Never before have businesswomen marshaled such incredible force and kinetic energy, and Social Media is the platform from which their stories can best be told.
Their power is soft, but durable. Their dogged determination assures their success and their choice of Social Media makes their businesses sustainable.
And beneath each of their images is a compelling story. A story worth telling. Over the next few months, I will highlight their individual stories, monitor their progress and advance their message.
New and Valuable Skill Sets
For over twenty years I have been advising entrepreneurs on every aspect of their online businesses — strategy, tactics, marketing, execution and management — but mostly men I am somewhat embarrassed to admit.
For some time now I have been, in my very small way, attempting to correct that mistake by recognizing women who have proven to be innovative, industrious, and courageous in ways that are hugely valuable to our economy and to business in general.
And ironically, in this particular case I am proud to introduce my friends and followers to a woman entrepreneur who is especially adroit in new and valuable skill sets that mostly benefit her male counterparts.
Such is the fascinating story of Lisa Bruckner, co-founder of Hendricks Park.
Traveling often gave Lisa a greater perspective on society, culture and service standards — invaluable skills in today’s global marketplace.
An independent child, since the age of ten she has been honing her entrepreneurial skills — often without realizing it. At 5’10” in 8th grade, she was recruited for modeling and while she didn’t particularly enjoy the profession, she did enjoy the fabulous world of fashion. This led to a lifelong obsession with style, shopping, and shoes.
She graduated with an honors degree in Psychology and pursued a career in research, (the antithesis of style, she admits). She remained restless, however, and felt a calling to do something completely different.
Right before the birth of her third child, she left her career in research to be a stay at home mom. After a year, she realized this wasn’t the best career choice for her.
After all, her own mother was one of the first female electrical engineers in the 70’s and was fiercely career minded. Lisa’s parenting role model was a career-mom and she recognized she should embrace it rather than run from it.
She agonized over what she wanted to do. How could she start a new career in her mid-thirties with three young children? Being an entrepreneur never entered her mind.
Then came the epiphany: Her husband, a Tech Executive, left the house wearing a pink Everybody Poops T-shirt. She cringed and nagged him to change. Jokingly, he told her to be a men’s style expert, and the entrepreneurial vision took hold. In a moment of clarity, genius and courage she decided it was time to start her own business — Hendricks Park — naming the business after the historical park next to her home.
The rest is sartorial history in the making. Or as her website proclaims, “Dressing Well Made Easy.”
A Word About Her Market
As a starting place, let me explain this remarkable company and its founder by personalizing the experience as a potential client.
Throughout my online business career, and before that my years as a Senior Officer of a worldwide company, I have spent 18 hours per day consumed with generating profitable sales, negotiating contracts, and managing personnel — often dismissing a hugely important aspect of every man’s career — image.
Rushing through airports, attending countless meetings and speaking engagements, and striving endlessly toward success in my field — the way I looked while on the journey always seemed secondary. As an executive on-the-rise, my appearance was crucial to my career and lifestyle but the time and effort to coordinate it all was elusive.
Twice per year I would dart into Brooks Brothers near my downtown New York office, or into a local mall near my home, and purchase a new suit — always black or gray — and if I was lucky the shopkeeper would suggest several new ties and shirts.
In short, I always looked like the business drones in the crowds on the subways and walkways of the financial capital of the world. I could certainly have afforded to do better, but there was simply not enough time.
Had Hendricks Park existed at the time I would have been a frequent, delighted and grateful client.
In June of this year, Mashable highlighted Hendricks Park as part of Microsoft’s The Spark of Genius Series. In the article, entitled Men Can Skip the Mall With Skype-Based Concierge Clothing Service, they announced what they called a “Genius Idea.”
Mashable went on to explain: “Hendricks Park is a concierge clothing service for men with neither the time nor inclination to shop. The one-year-old startup, founded by CEO Lisa Bruckner, a former model, offers style consultations and shopping services primarily over Skype.
After filling out an application online, a client meets his free personal Style Expert for a brief Discovery session on video chat to enable the stylist to see and understand his individual style and clothing needs.
After he receives his first box, the client will review all of his options with his Style Expert over Skype, get recommendations for styling and tailoring, and return whatever he doesn’t like using a pre-paid shipping label.
Every time a client is looking for new clothes — or perhaps needs advice about what to wear for an event, or what kind of razor to buy — he is invited to get in touch with his Style Expert, free of charge.”
Every modern entrepreneur realizes that to be successful he or she must have a remarkable idea.
It need not be a world-changing technology, requiring millions of dollars of Research and Development, but it simply must cause the new customer to say “Wow, this is terrific!”
Even a cursory review of the Hendricks Park testimonials reveal a company that has captured that elusive quality.
With that as a starting place, the next pivotal step is to understand your market. Lisa Bruckner has targeted her market niche with laser-like precision, even though her market is still developing.
The Mashable article continues, “Bruckner is the first to admit the service isn’t for everyone — Hendricks Park doesn’t offer discount pricing or products, for one thing. ‘We focus more on quality, and unique brands and products, particularly those with an environmentally responsible edge,’ she says.”
Style and environmental responsibility. Wow! Sign me up!
She also readily admits that the service might be ahead of its time. “People aren’t necessarily comfortable buying clothes over Skype [yet],” she says, but she believes “the increasing prevalence of webcams and applications such as Skype will make Hendricks Park viable to the mainstream.”
It is axiomatic in retail marketing that we male buyers are very specific, and idiosyncratic potential customers.
We shop only under compulsion, enter the store furtively and usually grab the first item the store presents to us.
In the retailers lexicon we are called, deservedly and euphemistically, “reluctant male shoppers.”
If we are lucky and persuasive, we wait outside the store — on one of those benches we men somehow know intuitively were placed there just for our benefit — while our wives or girlfriends do the shopping.
Personally, I hate those benches. Because every woman who saunters by knows that I don’t have the courage or skill to do the shopping myself.
Imagine successful executives, who battle the business world like Titans of Industry every day, afraid that some store clerk will ask them about their style preferences. “I like black or gray,” was my common and humiliating thought, which I always kept to myself. Instead I would say. “What do you think?”
Therein lies the fatal flaw in men’s shopping ability. If the shopkeeper looks like your father on a bad day, you are in very big trouble. Even worse, if she looks like your aging grandmother, an imminent and expensive crisis is in store.
So What’s The Solution
I suppose there are two:
- Become so wealthy and powerful that you can afford a full-time personal assistant to shop for you — a demeaning task that is rightly criticized and financially wasteful.
- Join Hendricks Park’s loyal and passionately devoted clients, an alternative I strongly recommend.
According to Lisa Bruckner, the ingredients for her success have been plain old hard work, perseverance, luck, a great team and not knowing ahead of time something couldn’t be done.
“Simply do the best with what you have,” she says determinedly, “and create a picture in your mind of what you want.”
“Stick with it”, Lisa continues, “believe in it, and don’t give up. I truly believe the best rewards are saved for those who can endure the tests of hardship to show they are worthy of earning the big prize: Happiness and success.”
Well, I certainly wish Lisa Bruckner and her team the happiness and success they so richly deserve.
They will greatly assist hapless executives who yearn for, but seldom achieve, sartorial splendor. It’s about time.