[quote style=”boxed”]I strongly feel that you should have a prototype made if it’s a product idea. Something that you can hold in your hands and show people what it is intended to do really makes a difference and helps bring it to life.[/quote]
Hilary Genga founded Trunkettes when she realized there were no stylish yet comfortable swimwear lines for women. With its trademark feminine spin on men’s swim trunks and a large celebrity fan base that includes Carrie Underwood, Felicity Huffman and Real Housewife of Orange County Gretchen Rossi, the Trunkettes collection has since expanded to include tankinis, one-pieces, dresses, sarongs and a new line, KrickyLu by Trunkettes. Trunkettes has been prominently featured in Glamour, In Touch, The New York Post, The Chicago Tribune, the TODAY Show and Sports Illustrated’s 2013 Swimsuit Issue.
What are you working on right now?
New fashionable swim trunks for women.
Where did the idea for Trunkettes come from?
I always used to swim in my husband’s swim trunks paired with cute bikini tops. I loved the look and just felt more comfortable and confident than in traditional women’s swimwear. I wanted something more feminine, though, and could never find anything. That’s when I realized there was a need for women’s swim trunks and decided to create them myself.
How do you make money?
I make money by selling my swimwear online as well to stores around the country.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up early and usually do something to get my creative juices going, like a word game on the computer. After that, I jump right in with calls to the East Coast since it is three hours later there and then I help get my kids ready and take them to school. After that I go into my office and work until I have to pick my kids up from school and usually take them to some after school activity. I make sure my family is fed and then I work for a couple more hours at night. I end my day like I started it, with an online word game to wind down from my hectic day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I strongly feel that you should have a prototype made if it’s a product idea. Something that you can hold in your hands and show people what it is intended to do really makes a difference and helps bring it to life.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I love virtual showrooms! They have become very sophisticated and you can show your products to buyers while saving the huge expense of traveling.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was an assistant investigator at a PI firm. I learned if you suspect someone of wrongdoing you are probably right.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t be so trusting. I tend to put a lot of trust in people and always think the best of them. What I have found out the hard way is that people will take advantage of the new kid on the block.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I ask almost everyone I meet a lot of questions. I truly believe you can learn from so many different people. You need a variety of skills when you are an entrepreneur so it’s important you tap into as many sources of information as you can.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In our first season, the manufacturer made a huge mistake in the sizing: some of the styles were two sizes too big! It really hurt us that first season and compromised our credibility. I overcame it by correcting the problem the next season because I was more aware and had quality control.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Since I have the heart of an entrepreneur, I’ve had many ideas since I was a kid. One I particularly like is a nice family restaurant with games built into the tables. All parents know that going out to dinner with young kids can be harrowing.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I’d make incompetent people competent and more invested in their work by finding ways to make it matter more to them.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am a total word nerd. I love most word play including analogies, acronyms, poetry and so forth.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Google: because you can find out anything about anything. Facebook: because it keeps me connected to my family and friends when I otherwise wouldn’t be during my very busy day. Dropbox: because it is so important to easily share files.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Daymond John’s “The Brand Within” because it tells you everything you need to know to be successful in both business and life.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Daymond John (founder of FUBU), Mark Cuban and Sara Blakely (founder and CEO of Spanx). They are all great entrepreneurs and it’s inspiring to see where they ‘ve come from.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Today. My kids were poking fun at me for being the dorkiest mom on the planet.
Who is your hero, and why?
My kids. No matter how busy or stressed I get during the day, they can always make me laugh and realize what’s important in life.
If you had to do it all again would you?
I bet you’re expecting me to say yes, but I’m really not sure. There is absolutely nothing easy about starting your own business; yes, it has its rewards but you do have to make a lot of sacrifices as well. Some days I say yes and on others I say no.
What’s the last thing you did with your family just for fun, where you didn’t have to talk or think about your business?
Since my entire family is a fan of Harry Potter, we took a family vacation to Orlando where we immersed ourselves in Hogwarts School of Magic.
Trunkettes on Facebook:
Trunkettes on Twitter: @Trunkettes
Hilary Genga on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.