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Refining Your Big Idea

In this transcript, Clay Clark (U.S. SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) and Jill Donovan (founder of celebrity endorsed, Rustic Cuff) discuss refining your big idea on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Clay:                Jill “the Thrill” Donovan, thank you for allowing me to harass you. How are you?

Jill:                  Thank you, Clay.

Clay:                We are here talking today about how to refine your big idea into a big time product. Do you have your Rustic Cuffs on today?

Jill:                  I have a big time product on my wrist.

Clay:                There it is, the big time product on the wrist. Your products have been in figurine stores all across the country. I’ve allegedly … Actually it’s not allegedly, it’s provable fact. Britney Spears has worn your products. Miranda Lambert is actually chosen to wear your products.

Countless other celebrities have chosen to wear your product as the product of choice; their style accessory of choice. Do you ever pinch yourself and say, “How in the world did I get to a point where these people are wearing my product?” Do you ever pinch yourself or just surprise yourself …

Jill:                  I do. Actually, every morning, I wake up and I turn on The Today Show or Good Morning America and for each person that is wearing it, I pinch myself. If it’s a five-pinch day, it’s a good day.

Clay:                Oh, boy. You might get a lot of bruises overtime. Is that sort of …

Jill:                  No, I was in Dallas on Tuesday and I was walking to the airport and went to get a magazine for the flight. I picked up, I think it was Entertainment Weekly, and I opened it. Right in the centerfold was a big picture of Miranda Lambert. She was sitting just like this or she was doing a peace sign. She had a Rustic Cuff on. I just happen upon it and that is … Those moments are still, for me, just yeah.

Clay:                We like the photos where people are doing this.

Jill:                  We love this.

Clay:                With the Rustic ... .

Jill:                  We love this. We love peace sign. We love anything nice with hair.

Clay:                I feel like it’s part of Thrive moving forward. Maybe we should do every photo where do this and we have sort of us …

Jill:                  I love the idea.

Clay:                This might be an editor’s note here. Sarah Blakely, she is the founder of the billion dollar company Spanx. She said that, “I failed …” This is her talking. She says, “I failed the LSAT. Basically, if I had not failed, I’d have been a lawyer and there would be no Spanx.”

                        She failed the test needed to become a lawyer. She’s, “I think failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you that you are off course. My attitude is that failure is not attached to the outcome but in not trying. It’s liberating.”

                        In your mind, how important is it for every entrepreneur to be able to deal with the fact that there are some rejections that are going to happen before they launch a product? We have so many examples of this on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Jill:                  First of all, I am [rank spanks 00:03:31] right now.

Clay:                Really?

Jill:                  Go Sara Blakely, yeah. I follow her and I think she’s amazing in what she’s done. I actually took the LSATs. I didn’t fail them but I went on to a law school and I passed the bar and realized, after I did that, that I did not want to be an attorney.

Clay:                Why?

Jill:                  Why? Because I was hoping people … It was family law and I was hoping people get divorced. Nothing wrong with that but it wasn’t … It was the greatest people but at the worst times of their lives. It was very hard. Every day, I didn’t love it. It was not my passion.

                        I love being able to say that I was an attorney. Anyhow, right after I passed the bar, I had an opportunity to go on to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Had nothing to do with being an attorney but the Oprah Show had found out that I was a chronic re-gifter.

                        I was born and raised Jewish. My mom was extremely frugal and never believed in going to the store to buy presents for my friends’ birthday parties so she just had an entire closet full of gifts she had gotten throughout her life. When it was my ten year old girlfriend’s birthday, we’d have to go to her closet.

                        We give candles, totally age inappropriate for my friends. Anyhow, the producers of Oprah found out that I had this huge gift closet that for every party I went to and everything I did, that I would re-gift.

Clay:                You really bring gifts at every …

Jill:                  Everything. I mean like 75%. I got to save money. I didn’t have to go to the store. I just go to my closet. What started happening is like my mother-in-law would give me a gift one year for my birthday. Her birthday was an extra night, forget what gift she gave me and I would go and give her the same gift.

Clay:                No.

Jill:                  I had a lot of stories like that. One of the partners in my law firm gave me a present. I’m like, “I’m going to go visit somebody in the hospital, one of my clients. I’ll take that present to them.” Only to find out that they were best friends and she …

Clay:                How do you deal with that when someone finds out that you re-gifted a gift from someone that’s very close to them?

Jill:                  It was tricky. The Oprah Show found out about it. They asked me come be a guest on the show, did a little story about it, and it was going to be my chance to tell the world how funny that I am. What a great idea is to re-gift and it’s going to be a whole amazing thing.

                        I went on the show, sitting on the couch with Oprah, and she asks me questions about this. Right before I start to answer, she said, “Hold on, I’m going to ask the etiquette experts what you think about what Jill does.”

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