Liz Lange – Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur, and Founder of Liz Lange Maternity

Episode 51

My guest today is the legendary Liz Lange. Liz is truly an entrepreneurial pioneer. She started making and selling maternity clothes that were actually cute. Liz started her business in her home. She sold fashionable maternity clothes to celebrities, and at that time, she had very little competition. As her business started growing, she opened more stores and then became a nationally well-known brand that sold at Target locations all across the country. On today's show, Liz talks about how she started her business with very little money and a great idea, how and why she sold her brand, who and how to hire people, the advice she would give to new brands, and much more.

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Kara Goldin: Hi, everybody. It’s Kara Goldin from Unstoppable with Kara. I’m here with somebody super, super special that I’m so excited to have on our show today. Her name is Liz Lange and very, very, very excited to have her.

Kara Goldin: For those of you who do not know who Liz is, I have to tell you. So as many of you know, I have four children and when I was pregnant with my first child, and this was I guess a little over 20 years ago, crazy how time flies, I stumbled upon Liz’s, I think it was your first kind of store or it wasn’t even really, it was on the Upper West Side, is that right?

Liz Lange: On the Upper East Side, but it was on the second floor.

Kara Goldin: Upper East side. It was on the Upper East Side on the second floor. And I think I may have read an article about it and it looked like exactly the kind of clothes that I really wanted.

Kara Goldin: So I stumbled in there and I think I bought one of everything. Liz really, really in my mind was like the first person to understand that just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you have to wear dumpy, yucky clothes. And especially if you’re going to work every day and wearing suits and very, very cool clothes.

Kara Goldin: So I remember the black pants very specific way, how great they were and they saved my life. As I mentioned to Liz before, I worked at AOL at the time and I think I sold a bunch of pairs just by wearing them. People were like, “Where did you get those pants?”

Kara Goldin: Anyway, when I finally got to meet Liz, that was my story for Liz, I’ve been fawning over her for years and years as somebody that is not only a great entrepreneur and not only super stylish, but just somebody that has just built a brand that has stuck and done lots of different things.

Kara Goldin: So anyway, I’m really, really, really excited to have you here, Liz. Welcome.
Liz Lange: Thank you.

Kara Goldin: So Liz, just a little bit more on your background. In addition to that, you started at Vogue, is that correct?

Liz Lange: That is right. A long, long, long, long time ago. Yeah.

Kara Goldin: Wow, that’s so much fun. And developed the idea for a sophisticated slim-fitting collection of maternity clothing and really, like I said, changed the face, I think many people would agree with me, in maternity fashions.

Kara Goldin: It has been worn by not only myself, but all kinds of other beautiful pregnant celebrity women, including Kate Hudson, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields… Goes on and on and on.

Kara Goldin: The other thing that Liz has done which I think is really, really amazing, and I think one of the first big brands too that I saw was built a brand within Target. So the Liz Lange Collection at Target, which is super, super terrific.

Kara Goldin: Anyway, welcome, welcome, welcome. Very, very excited.

Kara Goldin: So take us back to the beginning of Liz Lange. Where did you come up with this idea? How many people are working at a magazine like Vogue and then decide, “I’m just going to go and start this amazing maternity line.” Tell us a little bit about that.

Liz Lange: There was actually a step in between. So I’m working at Vogue, I am introduced to this young struggling fashion designer. I leave Vogue to go work for him. While I’m there, I’m loving it. I’m learning a lot about the fashion industry just by doing it all.

Liz Lange: He’s struggling and my friends are getting pregnant because I’m like you, I’ve got a 21-year-old, I’ve got a 19-year-old… So it’s that time of my life. This is about 22 years ago, 23 that’s crazy.

Kara Goldin: Yeah.

Liz Lange: Anyway, it’s a long story but the short of it is he was struggling. I noticed my pregnant friends were complaining about maternity clothes and squeezing themselves into the things that he designed. And I had this like aha moment that pregnant women, and this was back in the ’90s so I know it’s different today; pregnant women want to wear clothing that is fitted, which they were not being offered back then. And pregnant women will spend money on maternity clothing, particularly working women cause they have no choice. Their body’s changing. Nothing in their closet fits them anymore. I used to say, it’s almost like imagine there’s been a fire at your house and your closet is burned out. So yes you are going to shop, you have no choice.

Liz Lange: So I noticed, okay, they’re spending money and they want different things than what they’re being offered in maternity stores. So I turned to this designer because I’m not a designer… You and I didn’t go over it, but I went to Brown, I majored in Comparative Literature. I like fashion, but I’m not a designer. So I say, “I think I have an idea. I think it’s going to turn around your business.”

Liz Lange: I’m about 28 years old, all full of enthusiasm and can do. So I was like, “This is it. We’re just going to turn around your business. We’re just going to add the word maternity to your label. We’re not going to change anything. Just see what happens.”

Liz Lange: He looked at me like I had 10 heads, like I might’ve been smoking crack. That is the way that the world felt about maternity clothing back then, to be honest.

Liz Lange: So like so many different entrepreneurial stories, I think every story in this one respect is the same. I found myself up every night. I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. I finally realized that if I didn’t do something, if I didn’t try to design this line of maternity clothing that was in my head, if I didn’t do this and someone else somehow did, that I just wouldn’t be able to forgive myself. I was like, “I won’t be able to go on living.”

Liz Lange: So I left him and I started Liz Lange Maternity with very, very little knowledge of what I was doing on any level.

Kara Goldin: How did you finance the original?

Liz Lange: I was very fortunate and people like to say now like, “Oh Liz, it sounds so brave. You just jumped in.”

I always like to clear up that misconception. I don’t think I was particularly brave. I was probably quite stupid. I was 28 or 29. I was married. I didn’t have children yet. I don’t think I was at risk of starving if it didn’t work out. I believed I could get another job.

My husband worked and I was able to borrow money from my parents incrementally. They would help me pay different bills and I kept my costs super low. It’s something I wish I saw more startup entrepreneurs doing today. There was no concept back then of an entrepreneur raising money. It wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

So I’d say over the course of a few months, my parents lent me about $25,000 which is not a small amount, but they were very clear with me that after three or four months, if I were to continue to need money, well then they wouldn’t be able to keep giving it to me because that would just be more of like a hobby and not really a business.

They didn’t see business as something where you could project losing money for years and then start making it. So I didn’t see business that way either. So I knew I was kind of on a tight deadline, but my costs were super low.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome.

Liz Lange: I just start making money right away. It wasn’t that hard given how low I kept my costs. I mean, I didn’t have any employees. I didn’t have a store. I barely had an office and I didn’t stock inventory.
Kara Goldin: So who was doing maternity wear at that time? Who were your biggest competitors?

Liz Lange: It never really felt like… This is such a… I know this is again an entrepreneurial thing to say, but I never really felt that I had any competition back then. There were some well-known maternity brands… The best known one, and I’m not criticizing them and they’ve changed a lot over the years, by the way, was a publicly traded company whose high-end stores were called Pea in the Pod and their medium-level stores were what we used to call the contemporary market or the missy market, they had a line called Mimi Maternity.

So there’s Pea in the Pod and Mimi Maternity, and they were owned by the same brand; they were owned by the same parent company. Pea in the Pod back then used to advertise itself as being the “Bergdorf Goodman of maternity clothing.” I don’t know how many of your listeners are familiar with Bergdorf Goodman, but think Neiman Marcus, think the most expensive, exclusive store in the world.

I knew Bergdorf’s very well. I grew up in New York City. When I checked out Pea in the Pod and I saw what it looked like, I kind of almost gasped. My jaw was on the floor because it didn’t look anything…. There was nothing Bergdorf Goodman about it.

The racks, everything was just pushed together like almost like, again, I’m dating myself, but more like Filene’s Bargain Basement, not like Bergdorf Goodman.

It wasn’t a [inaudible 00:08:35] beautiful clothing. The clothes themselves just felt oversize. They felt babyish looking. What I mean is almost like you were morphing into a baby rather than you were expecting a baby.

Everything had bows and everything was very, very oversized and mostly it was pale pink or pale blue. I guess you wore the color of the baby you were supposed to be having? I was surprised and then I understood almost immediately why friends of mine were spending money… Again, this is the ’90s… At Calvin Klein and Donna Karan and all these really expensive labels trying to get just some clothing that looked-

Kara Goldin: Basic. Yeah.

Liz Lange: Basic. Exactly. We were all at an age like you were. We weren’t the most senior person at our job. We couldn’t be just by virtue of our age. So even those of us had gained some early success, we still worked for other people, insecure. Nobody wanted to walk into their office, say, “Hey, I’m pregnant and I’m also dressing like a baby doll.” It was just really awful.

Kara Goldin: Yeah. How many pieces… What was the starting… Were the black pants one of your first?

Liz Lange: That was a key piece. I had this idea back then, and again, it was all the way the people dressed in the ’90s but I was influenced by Donna Karen. I think she had like eight easy pieces. I could have the number wrong, but I decided that I would have like the five or six essential pieces and then you could get them in black, brown or navy. And that was it.

Liz Lange: I invested in this somewhat expensive stretch fabric out of Italy, this Italian stretch. I didn’t make any of the clothes, I just had the fabric, so that was an expense. The idea was I made one of everything. There was a pant, a dress, a tunic top, a little jacket. There was a cashmere twin set, a skirt, a pencil skirt I think.

Liz Lange: The idea was you picked your color and you could just get the whole look in that color and then you could mix and match. You can make a whole multitude of looks. I made them all to order.

Liz Lange: I found a factory in New York City that would make them and would give me a two-week turnaround time. So I was, again dating myself, I was faxing them orders every night. So you if you came in, then I would just be faxing your order. Then two weeks later, if you were in New York City still you’d pick it up or I drop it off at your hotel or maybe I’d send it to you in California.

Liz Lange: But again, I was just a one-woman… I don’t know what the word is. I was the do-everything person. I did it all.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, absolutely. So did you have stores as well?

Liz Lange: Oh no. That was later. I had a little office. It had no windows on the street. It was on East 61st Street because I lived on East 61st Street and I had noticed a “For Rent” sign across the street.

Liz Lange: There was a little office where you could come see me and at that office you could call me and make an appointment to come. I had one item… One skirt, one dress, one whatever and you could try that on. I had it in every size. Then I would make it for you.

Liz Lange: Later, within a year, it had taken off in a huge, huge, huge way, much bigger than I ever expected. I was able to open the store that you visited, which was a little second floor shop on Lexington Avenue. Then after that, with the success of that store, I was able to open a huge flagship on Madison Avenue; another store on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills and a third store in Long Island, so yeah. And all sorts of other things.

Kara Goldin: That’s amazing. So you talk about how it really took off then after a year. What was it as an entrepreneur? When did you know, “Wow, I’ve really hit it.” What was it that you were… Did you feel like consumers… Who was driving? Were people throwing money at you trying to invest? [crosstalk 00:12:18]

Liz Lange: Often my answering machine would be on, “Can’t accept any more messages.” I started getting an enormous amount of press. Press meant a lot back then. It was bordering on pre-internet, but it was certainly pre-social media. So press meant everything.

I started reaching out to celebrities because I knew that celebrities were very influential when they were pregnant. So I would reach out to any celebrity that was pregnant and I frankly had almost 100% success rate because no one else was trying to dress pregnant celebrities back in the late ’90s. Nobody.

So no matter who was pregnant, no matter how famous they were, you mentioned a bunch of them… But honestly Cindy Crawford and Paulina Porizkova who were top models back then and Elle MacPherson. I was dressing Kelly Ripa single day when she was pregnant, doing a Live with Regis and Kelly.

When Julia Roberts made Oceans… Was it 11 or 12? She was pregnant and I did all the costumes for her. Same with Catherine Zeta-Jones, anytime they had to go to an award show. It was just… That kind of thing became like this huge multiplier.

Kara Goldin: That’s amazing. And most of these people were coming to you or were you-

Liz Lange: At the beginning, I was reaching out to them. They didn’t know who I was. I was reaching out to their manager, their assistant, their publicist. Any phone number I could get… Again, pre-internet, it wasn’t as easy. And they were all saying, “Sure, I’ll send so-and-so in to see you if you…” “Sure.”

Then, yes, it started to go the other way and celebrities were calling me, which was super cool. I still remember when Julianne Moore called, she introduced herself as Julie Moore. I was like, “Julie Moore? Julie Moore. Oh, my God.”

Kara Goldin: You were just freaking out about it. That’s awesome. That’s so great.

Kara Goldin: I always talk about and think about how most great entrepreneurs today… I think you’re just a great example. You’ve gotten bigger but you haven’t lost your scrappiness and your ability to get in there and you’re talking about making those phone calls back then.

What else do you think are the key things besides scrappiness? I read a quote where you said that you have to be overly optimistic in order to really be the entrepreneur. What do you think are those key pieces?

Liz Lange: I always make this joke that entrepreneurs have bad judgment and I don’t mean that as an insult. I think it’s a positive, but really, if we had good judgment, who would ever… Like you… Who would ever start their own business?

Most businesses fail. It makes no sense. So I think we see the world beyond glass half full, beyond that. It never occurs to me that something’s not possible. I always say I’m a cockeyed optimist. I believe in businesses. I love the early stages of businesses.

Today, now that I sold my brand, I invest in small businesses like that. That’s what I like. I don’t see it as… Of course, it’s risky, but it’s almost like my brain can’t compute that. I do think that entrepreneurs share that in common.

I always joke about, again, it’s an old commercial, but in my generation we all know it, sort of being Energizer bunnies. There’s no concept of… When people talk to me about, I used to joke about me time or relaxing time or whatever, it’s almost like I’m looking at them like they have two heads.

I’m like, I don’t know. I’m just working all the time and I absolutely love it. I sleep with my phone by my bed. I’m not recommending this. It’s all probably horrible. But I don’t listen to any of those things about turn off your phone, leave at the other room. I don’t. I am looking at it, I wake up at three in the morning, I’m reaching for my phone, I want to see if there’s something going on.

When I owned Liz Lange, I would be sending emails nonstop and texted different people like, “You know what we need to do tomorrow? We have to do this, make this happen.”

I think as a consumer facing entrepreneur, so if you’re someone that has a brand that deals with customers, I’m always surprised. I think all entrepreneurs… We love our customers. I love them. Like when people say, “Oh why would you bother?”

I like answering… I think I told you. I like answering customer emails. I like doing it. I genuinely like doing it. I want to do it. It helps me in business. I want to connect with the customer.

Kara Goldin: You’re curious, too. Right? So it’s great. I do too. It’s great.

Liz Lange: Of course. That doesn’t surprise me. You wouldn’t be success you are. You’re never too big for that. That would be the day that your business is going to die. You can’t be too big for that. So I like that.

When I had stores, I liked being in the stores. I liked being around and I think that’s a key to the entrepreneur who deals with customers success.

Kara Goldin: So then you also sold your company a few years ago. Congratulations.

Liz Lange: Thank you.

Kara Goldin: And so was that just a huge decision to do that? What was sort of your… It sounds like you had this idea probably similar to me where you just thought, “Okay, let’s just get it off the ground.” Did you ever think that day was ultimately going to come?”

Liz Lange: Again, I wasn’t terribly sophisticated when I started about business. I didn’t know words like exit strategy. Of course, I understood what they meant, but I wasn’t thinking about all of those things. Investors. All these things ended up happening and I learned them along the way, but I didn’t know them going in.

Liz Lange: I went out to raise some more capital actually to roll out more Liz Lange high-end stores. At that point I had licensing deals with Nike and with Target. But I wanted to do more Liz Lange Collection stores, the high-end part.

Kara Goldin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Liz Lange: I found that rather than being offered money to roll that out, people just kept offering me to buy the brand. I hadn’t really been thinking that, but then on the other hand, my children were at an age where I felt they needed me more.

People always say, “Oh, when they were little, that must have been so hard.” And it was hard. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t, but frankly, and maybe this is just self-justification or rationalization, but I believe that the times that they needed me more were the times when they were in high school.

Maybe when they were very young, whether I took them to the playground or someone else took them to playground, maybe it didn’t matter as much. Maybe it did, but I’m just saying… I really was finding it hard to find the balance between business and motherhood, so I decided to sell.

There was something great about it. There was something extraordinarily gratifying about it. Obviously to monetize was incredible.

On the other hand, I sold my baby. It was hard. I was almost in mourning afterwards. I think I was in shock and mourning. Even though I knew what I was doing, I had lived and breathed it for so long, I think I had a hard time letting go of it.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, but you stayed on though. They asked you to stay on to really-

Liz Lange: I did.

Kara Goldin: Was the Target relationship done at that point? Were you already in Target or…

Liz Lange: Oh yeah. I signed with Target in 2001. I sold in 2007. I stayed on throughout the remainder of the Target relationship which ended in 2017.

While I was doing that, I also started up my own new line that wasn’t maternity because that I had sold the rights to. I started a new line for Home Shopping Network that was just regular women’s clothing at a very affordable pricing.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. That’s great.

Liz Lange: Which I [inaudible 00:20:22] there. So it was fun.

Kara Goldin: Yeah. And so are you, how often are you going to Home Shopping Network?

Liz Lange: I actually wound up… When Home Shopping merged with QVC, I decided that I didn’t want to be doing that anymore. I was going… For 10 years, I went once a month to Tampa where their studios are and sold on-air for three days. I came home and basically slept for a week because you sell all night long. It’s exhausting. It’s exhilarating but it’s exhausting.

Liz Lange: At that point, I didn’t really want to… I loved it. I had loved it, but I was done and I really wanted to focus on investing. So I spent the last two years doing that.

Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. And so full disclosure, Liz is actually an investor in Hint. We’re so excited to have you. So very, very excited to have another great female legend entrepreneur who’s invested in our company as well.

Kara Goldin: So what do you think are some of the things that you wish you would’ve known when you were starting this company? When you look back on times… What are some of the things that maybe you would tell your entrepreneurial best friend, daughter, whatever, son?

Liz Lange: I’ll start with the fact that I do think sometimes when it comes to be an entrepreneur that ignorance is bliss. So I’m kind of glad when we talked about earlier-

Kara Goldin: I totally agree.

Liz Lange: It would’ve been hard for me to have this like crazy enthusiasm and all this optimism if I had really known everything, the way the next 10 years, what was going to ensue; although so much of it was so great. It was probably the most fun ride of my life.

Liz Lange: I wish I had had a better understanding of numbers. I mean that’s maybe obvious to most entrepreneurs today, that wasn’t my background at all. Comparative Literature at Brown, so that would’ve been really helpful. Basic accounting. I learned all of this along the way. I wish I had understood.

Liz Lange: I learned that sometimes you hire the people who are the most enthusiastic about your brand, who you think are smart and you think are capable, not necessarily the people that come from the background that you think is the perfect background for your work.

Liz Lange: I found I was so much more successful with the people that I ultimately hired who loved the Liz Lange brand, lived and breathed the culture and maybe didn’t come from another huge fashion apparel brand because then I felt like maybe they had learned bad habits or they weren’t as entrepreneurial or scrappy. So that was something I learned along the way.

Kara Goldin: I couldn’t agree more with that.
Liz Lange: You do?

Kara Goldin: Absolutely. I talk about that a lot. Initially I thought, “Oh, I’ve got to go hire a bunch of people from Coke and Pepsi and they’re going to show me how to do this.” And I think that the whole point that you just made about bad habits and they’ve also been trained to think a certain way. It’s not that they’re bad people necessarily, but it’s almost harder to undo some of those bad habits. It’s not to say that you can’t learn some things from those people, but…

Liz Lange: I do. Some of it could be crucial. I was going to say, I’ve definitely hired people who knew more than me and that was great, but I will say what we were just saying… I felt especially the same about Ralph Lauren. I felt if you had been at Ralph Lauren, that was like such the gold standard, and it is the gold standard and they’re fabulous.

But I would find that they’d come and if I’d say, “Oh, okay, but what are the buttons for that dress?” They’d say, “Oh, well, can’t somebody in the Notions Department or in the Accessories Department figure out the buttons?”

I’m like, “Oh no, here we do everything. By the way, I’m the fit model.” So no, we don’t have different departments and assistants for assistants for assistants.

I think I did know this, but it’s a piece of advice I think that’s helpful is I’m really… I think you also need to, on the other hand, really, really listen to your… There’s no point in gathering together a meeting or a team of your senior people or the people that you trust that are your advisors that work for you, with you, and not listen to what they have to say.

I feel like it’s very easy, especially as a brand become successful, to be surrounded by people that are kind of “yes people” that are just like, “You’re you. And you’ve started the brand and the brand is popular.” So they are almost like your cheerleaders.

On the one hand, of course that’s lovely; it’s wonderful, but it’s actually not helpful. You want people that are going to challenge you, that are going to disagree with you, that are not scared of you, that will say, “Liz, I think that’s a terrible idea and here’s why.” So I found that that was something I found really helpful along the way.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. You absolutely… I always talk about hiring people that you want to learn from, too. I really push that on my teams internally that I sometimes have said it as are they smarter than you? And so people initially think like, wait, why did she just ask me that? Does she think I’m stupid?” Whatever. I’m like, “No, no, no, no, no.”

What I mean by that is are you going to learn from them? Because I’m also a huge believer that if you’re in a role as a senior leader and you’re just teaching all the time and you’re not actually learning, then you’re going to get bored too. Right? And so you hire people that you’re going to learn from, whether it’s teaching you how to do social media or teaching you how to do online commerce or whatever it is along the way.

But I think it’s a really, really important piece and every great leader that I know, no matter what industry it is, really wants to keep learning, right? It’s just life.

Liz Lange: Totally.

Kara Goldin: And so, so important.

We’re actually taping this during a time that is historical in so many ways during the shelter in place orders for coronavirus and obviously retailers and fashion retailers, it’s really tough out there right now. All stores are pretty much shut down.

Kara Goldin: What would you say is sort of… Have you thought about if you would have been running your company during this time what would you do? What is sort of the key components?

Liz Lange: Well, I think I’d start by saying that I think as an entrepreneur… I think the silver lining is that entrepreneurs are made for this time period in a way. Entrepreneurs are always, if you want be an entrepreneur, you’re somebody that likes a small boat that knows you need to be able to turn on a dime and pivot.

So I think for some entrepreneurs, this kind of thing comes naturally. I also think it’s not that dissimilar to what the ride is like when you start out anyway. It is bumpy as heck and nothing really ever goes the way that you planned.

So this is obviously a big bump. I’d say a few things I’d be doing now if I still owned Liz Lange is of course conserving cash, obviously, and trying to keep things as essential as possible.

But I think this is a real opportunity to connect with your customers at a time… Maybe you’re not even trying to sell them anything. We have rarely seen since the whole social media, internet explosion, the opportunity to get so many eyeballs in one place. I feel like I was lucky that I was able to do that in the ’90s because the world was different.

Look at what’s happened today sort of with Tiger King. Everybody’s watching Tiger King on Netflix. I think that’s a sort of a good example for brands. So I think this is a moment where I would be thinking like for instance, I can just give my own brand.

Like all right, I’d be thinking, so moms are home maybe for the first time ever with their babies. Maybe moms who were used to having some sort of help or were at the office sometimes now don’t and are trying to homeschool and trying to entertain.

I’d probably be trying to offer them a bunch of content that was helpful around that. I don’t know exactly what that would be right now.

Kara Goldin: Great idea.

Liz Lange: Things that are hopeful. I really think that if you can form this relationship, when you’re done, when this is over, which it will be, that you might even see yourself in a better place.

Liz Lange: I also found that every time there was a real bump… I owned my brand on September 11th. I looked very closely at my budget and I’m not talking about furloughing employees, although perhaps that needs to be done, but I’m talking about just really crossing off line items that didn’t feel essential. It made me look at my company in a new way.

Liz Lange: I saw like, “You know what? We’ve gotten a little complacent. We’ve let budgets get too big in these certain places. We don’t actually need this.” Even once the economy bounced back after 9/11, some of the discipline that we learned during that time period, I always look back on it and thought that really helped us. That was good. We didn’t change it.

So I do think that there are some opportunities here. Obviously, it’s a really rough time for many people. So I don’t mean to make it sound to be Pollyanna about it, although I can tend to be a little Pollyanna, but I think there are opportunities here.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, I do too. I think the key thing you and I talked for a few minutes before we got on this, but the thing that I see is that if your business does not have multiple forks today, in our case, if your business is totally reliant on, it’s called Corporate Food Service for us, where all kinds of businesses shut down that were putting beverages into their micro kitchens or inside their cafeterias. For the last two months, no one is stocking those micro kitchens or refrigerators.

Kara Goldin: I think also that if you believe for example, that all your business is in Bergdorf Goodman or all your business is in your one store, you need to figure out another path. Again, stop focusing on what you did before and instead if this happens again, I think every single entrepreneur, every single leader should be thinking about, “Can I handle it again? Can I handle two months of shut down?”

Liz Lange: Maybe that’s a good test. Maybe you should be able to. As you were saying, maybe it’s about diversifying. I think right now, which is such an entrepreneurial trait as well, maybe it’s about pivoting.

Liz Lange: Maybe right now if you’re a fashion brand, I’ve seen some of them doing it, maybe you’re all about making masks right now. Maybe you’re no longer producing dresses, you’re producing masks and you’re producing the clothing that some of our frontline healthcare workers need to be wearing to protect them.

I think it’s about maybe radically changing course for a little while, seeing what you could that you could sell right now, even if it’s not your specific product, maybe there’s an adjacent product. I think as an entrepreneur you should always be thinking that way anyway.

Kara Goldin: Yeah. I totally, totally agree. So it’s such an interesting time, but I think to your point, entrepreneurs are built for this and you should roll up your sleeves and start figuring out what do your customers need? What are they saying? Right? So answer those emails.

Kara Goldin: I think also social media, too. I’m pretty active on Twitter in particular. I mentioned to you my dog went through cancer surgery over the last couple of days. The number of people that were… I laid it out on Sunday night. I said, “I’m a little in shock that I’m taking my dog in for the surgery tomorrow.” Hundreds of people wrote to me and just saying like, “Sadie’s going to be okay.”

Kara Goldin: It’s nice. I think the more people… Social media really offers a huge opportunity for the customer or the would-be customer to get to know you, too. They know that I have four children. They know that I’m shelter in place, but because we’re an essential product, I’m going into stores once a day with my mask. I go in fast and I get out fast.

Kara Goldin: Things like that, they’re watching that and they’re saying, “Wow.” I’m also a huge believer that I’d never send my sales team to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.

Liz Lange: Wouldn’t do yourself. Of course.

Kara Goldin: So I think that’s also a big piece of this, too. So, I always ask, but I think you’ve answered a lot of this. What makes you unstoppable?

Liz Lange: I think what makes me unstoppable is I don’t really see problems. I only see solutions. I’m not saying that my solutions are always right, but problems don’t throw me. I don’t think of it that way. It’s an opportunity. It’s okay. So what are we going to do about that? And maybe that’s the way I even look at a COVID-19.

Kara Goldin: Yeah, I totally agree.

Favorite Hint flavor?

Liz Lange: Grapefruit.

Kara Goldin: I love grapefruit, too. Yeah, it’s so good.

Liz Lange: I love it.

Kara Goldin: Although I’ll share with you, during this time, we’re testing new flavors and we just tested a blueberry lemon, which is unbelievable. I was like, we’ve got to get this out. Yes, so good. We’ve been really trying to get it right.

It’s another thing that you do during shelter in place. It allows you to actually be home and start focusing on what else can we be doing. So it’s really, really exciting.

Well, thank you so much, Liz. Where can people find you?

Liz Lange: My Instagram is… I’m very active on it. It’s at Liz Lange Official. I don’t have my website ready yet, but it’s unimportant because it’s really just about my investing. But I’d say Instagram is a great way to get in touch with me probably… Right? Where else? Yeah.

Kara Goldin: Yeah. Those are the key things. Well, thanks again Liz. Really excited and really inspiring as well, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Liz Lange: Thank you.