About a year ago we first brought you the story of Diana Ho and her boutique clothing company: Diana Ho Designs. Instead of going into a written explanation of what it is she set out to do I’ll just post a couple of pictures.
As you can tell from the above pictures Diana definitely has artistic ability and the shoes that she was making were pieces of art. Unfortunately, it proved rather difficult for her to make a business out of this. Once she realized that making artsy shoes wasn’t going to be enough for her business she went ahead and made a change to her business; that would be called a “pivot” in our parlance.
A pivot isn’t something too difficult to grasp in the abstract as a pivot is nothing more than a fundamental change in a part of the business’ strategy. In this case, Diana made the pivot away from selling expensive shoes to selling more economical jewelry. Pivots, however, can be difficult to implement in the real world. Why? One of the reasons why is because a pivot represents a change in vision and, as is the case with most small businesses, the person(s) who started the business is/are the one(s) with the vision and for better or worse they have an attachment to that particular vision. Making a pivot to them might represent some kind of failure on their part because why would you make changes unless you had been wrong about something?
Fortunately, Diana isn’t in that group of stubborn entrepreneur who will go down with the vision (so to speak). She made some changes to her business model and is realizing the success she initially sought out. Here’s more of the story as retold by Dr. Atul Teckchandani:
Ho’s success as an entrepreneur has hinged on her ability to master the pivot. Her desire was to create a firm that offered products allowing people to express their uniqueness through their fashion. She called her firm Diana Ho Designs and initially started off selling customized shoes, which she would hand paint based on the customer’s specifications. When that didn’t go as well as expected, she pivoted to offering a seasonal collection of hand-painted shoes. While these shoes are still available for purchase, Ho realized that her primary audience was interested in more affordable ways to show off their uniqueness.
So she pivoted again and offered jewelry. And in selling her own line of jewelry, Ho has found a hit. Diana Ho Designs is currently available at Boutique Carolina in Berkeley, Taxi CDC in Los Angeles and online at www.dianahodesigns.com.
The article written by Dr. Teckchandani goes on to talk a great deal about the benefits Ms. Ho derived from participating in the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program and is well worth the read just for that reason. It also goes into more depth about the entrepreneurial process that Diana had to go through in making her business a success.