Kathy Pickus is the co-founder of Dot Girl Products, a fast-growing personal care products company on a mission to make puberty for young girls a whole lot better and more joyful. The Dot Girl First Period Kit is a fashionably packaged kit filled to abundance with every item a girl will need as she experiences her first menstrual period. “When every young girl has a great first period with The Dot Girl First Period Kit at her side, we will have achieved our mission,” she says.
Before launching Dot Girl Products, Kathy Pickus earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in business economics from UCLA. She later invested three decades working for quality organizations such as the Los Angeles Olympic Committee, Precor Inc. and ADP — Automatic Data Processing, Inc. In these roles, she was responsible and accountable for managing important customer relationships and meeting and exceeding their high expectations for performance and results. Today, that commitment continues, yet the impact on young women and their parents is deeply personal and very satisfying and life-lasting.
What are you working on right now?
For the past several months, a redesign of The Dot Girl’s First Period Kit has been taking place based on feedback from our customers. The redesign is complete, the manufacturing is complete, and the new kit will be delivered to our offices by the end of August. The new packaging of the kit is suitable for retail stores, and we will be offering quantity pricing to schools and non-profit organizations.
3 trends that excite you?
1. The explosion in support for women business owners from financing to membership organizations targeting women business owners such as Ladies Who Launch. Using this support allows us to test our ideas in front of other women and know that we have a best-selling product before bringing it to market.
2. Social media sites that allow us to connect with customers directly. Instead of guessing what we think our customers need to hear, we can ask them in real time, receive feedback in real time and provide immediate answers.
3. Michelle Obama — Her focus on healthy living for children extends to all areas of health. We applaud her for this.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I know my weaknesses and look for others to help me when I can’t do it myself. This saves so much in time and energy. I am much happier finding the right consultant than doing a project myself and having it come out badly. I also rely on a strong network of similarly minded people to hold me accountable. Therefore I will do what I say I will do, or I will look foolish at the next accountability session.
What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
Research and then research some more what the true price of your product or service is before putting it on the market, and then watch costs continually. The Dot Girl kit was not priced appropriately in the beginning because a proper cost analysis had not been done. Working with a financial consultant (and I have connected with a free one at SCORE) has helped tremendously in determining what is the best pricing. I learned to pay more attention to the numbers and not undervalue my product.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
“Ride Like a Penguin” by Nicole Donnelly is the book to have. Nicole founded BabyLegs, a Seattle-based company that sells baby leg warmers. Nicole has been our example in much that we do with Dot Girl products, and her book is a perfect guide to a successful company in mind and soul.
The best tool is Accessline for an 800 number for customers. It also has conference call features and fax receiving. This allows me to have a “professional” office in my home and allows customers to call toll-free.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Do not operate in a vacuum. Join at least one professional organization or networking group. This is true if you are looking for a new job or launching a new business. Support is critical, and it’s OK to ask for help. With the help of the Internet it is possible to research any area to find support groups.
How do you support parents in discussing puberty with their daughters?
The “Articles and Resources”‘ link on the Dot Girl products website has a list of articles written for parents to help their daughters through this transition. Article topics include “How to Tell Your Daughter’s Period Might be Coming” and “When to Worry About Irregular Periods.” We also sponsor a Facebook page that explores all matters related to raising tween daughters.
Why did you start this company?
I was totally surprised by my first period. I didn’t know it was coming and didn’t know what it was all about. My mom just did not feel comfortable discussing this topic with me! I vowed to not let that happen to my daughter, and I made sure she was prepared. I realized then that this might be something that other parents might need help with and thus the Dot Girl kit idea was born.
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