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Mark Winstein, Butterfly Wallet

How I got my first 3 customers and the steps for you to do the same.

Mark Winstein

Butterfly Wallet

I wanted an ultralight, skinny wallet but couldn't find any for sale. So I sewed one wallet just for my own use. For fun, I made it out of yellow fabric. People standing near me at the checkout counter at the grocery store would notice the wallet and ask me how they could get one. This happened so many times I decided I'd see if they'd sell at a retail store.

Since I like backpacking, I went to the small outdoor gear store in my town and asked the owner if he'd buy a few for a trial. He agreed. Then I hired a local sewing expert to make 24 wallets. My kids helped me design silly hang tags so the wallets could hang on a rack.

I delivered the 24 wallets to the gear store and they started selling immediately. Even though I only broke even on the transaction, it was clear I had done something right. So I started looking for larger sewing companies who could make the wallets in large quantities at a price that would allow me to make a profit. Based on the sales in the first store, I was able to convince other retailers to place orders.

The Tip

To whet your beak

Test your market before spending a ton on producing inventory.

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