One of the Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) newest members, Winky&Dutch, became an instant success after winning the New Product Award at Creativation 2019 for their Machine-Washable Picture Buttons. We had a chance to sit down with Winky&Dutch owner, Alice Globus to learn more about her entrepreneurial spirit and her award winning product.
AFCI: Tell us more about you!
Alice: I am a former rocket scientist from Wall Street who left my career to run the family business after my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Driven by my love of Star Trek, I studied chemistry and astrophysics later working at an observatory in Chile before entering into finance. As a fierce supporter of women, I am a member of the board of the Financial Women’s Association, an organization that works to propel women’s careers within the financial sector and empowers underrepresented women by teaching them about financial literacy.
AFCI: How did Winky&Dutch get started, and what do you contribute to its success?
Alice: Winky&Dutch was founded by my father, Ronald Globus, and my uncles, his identical twin brothers, Ric and Steve, in 1987. Most observers would consider our founders eccentric with a flair for photography, engineering and fashion. They revolutionized photography with the invention of the first panoramic camera and the lenticular lens, which they lovingly called “Winky.” The Globus Brothers’ search for creative ways to share photographic art led to the Winky&Dutch legacy. Today, I’m proud to be running this women-owned family business.
AFCI: Tell us more about your award-winning Machine Washable Picture Buttons.
Alice: I conceptualized our new patent pending machine-washable cabochon shank buttons while I was pregnant with my son, Theodore. I was too tired to hand wash my laundry adorned with Winky&Dutch buttons. Not letting the baby bump slow me down, I applied my chemistry background to design picture buttons that I could just throw in the washer and not worry about hand washing!
The result was the creation of quality art buttons for handicrafts, knitting and home sewing. Now, I want to make these buttons as widely available to not only moms but also to anyone who wants something fun, unique and creative without a hassle and can trust that their crafts will hold up over the long term. This is the first innovation in buttons in more than 50 years!
We can create the perfect images within our cabochons to meet the targeted market crafter based on needs of a geographic location or seasonal trends.
AFCI: As an accomplished entrepreneur, what advice can you share with entrepreneurs in the creative arts industries?
Alice: I am a firm believer there are three things that make for a successful entrepreneur:
The first is finding a niche market that is being underserved. What problem are you solving? In our situation, there are no machine washable picture buttons on the market. Markets in multiple sectors are taking notice. We have a technology to allow for customization on one button at a time. How fun would it be if you could upload a photo or pieces of artwork that you made and then a week later, have a denim jacket with those buttons on there? This is something we are working on developing now.
Persistence is the next attribute that makes for a successful entrepreneur. It took me close to two years to design, develop and now begin to execute on a new concept. We had a lot of bad product before a final product was available. This rule of persistence also applies if you are trying to raise capital, bring on advisers or the right partners. You will hear a lot of no’s before your first yes. You must stick with it to get the results you want. It is also important to know when something is not working. It can be extremely difficult to give up after a lot of time and money has gone into something, but you need to acknowledge when you are throwing good resources into a bad well and learn from it.
Lastly, and most important to me, is having the support of your family. This may sound sappy, but you generally need to have two years’ worth of cash in the bank in order to start a new business. During that time, you will be in a state where having the emotional support of your family to believe in you when you are putting in the hours is extremely important. If your husband, wife or parents do not believe in what you are trying to create, it will be very hard to justify to them why you are traveling so much for investor meetings or working long hours to prepare for a sales meeting. Fortunately for me, my family and fiancé truly believe in me and how I can execute.
Learn more about Winky&Dutch by visiting their website https://www.shopwinky.com/.