Five accidental business-success stories
Sometimes all it takes is a good idea and some luck. These folks had both. (The Internet helped.)
Tue Mar 8 2011
Big idea: Just Like Molly
How it happened: Leave it to a former Mormon to come up with a blog that makes modest clothing a hot topic. A fashion-business buff by trade (he'd been working as the director of product development at biz-support website WeConnectFashion), Zubal discovered an overlooked trend when he was visiting his hometown of Salt Lake City in 2009: modesty. The women he saw in Utah were wearing T-shirts under halter tops, and he wondered how far this type of restrained stylishness extended. He sent out a Facebook questionnaire to his female friends in SLC, who then forwarded it to others—and soon he'd canvassed hundreds of women in Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Indiana and New York who all felt a similar way. Clearly, he thought, there's something missing from the fashion market. So in April 2010, he launched the blog Just Like Molly (justlikemolly.com), which highlights humble yet chic styles and outfits, sometimes even asking readers to vote on how modest a skirt really is. As Zubal explains it, "Modesty goes far beyond just dressing for religious purposes, it expands to professionalism, body consciousness and a love of the classic silhouette." The site is proving to be popular, attracting 4,000 visitors a month and making some money by linking to existing retail sites and advertisements. But the real goal is to start an online retail store based on this idea—and for now, the blog is serving as a market-research tool, one that's definitely connecting.
His advice: Go into business with smart individuals who share your vision and bring useful skills to the table. Zubal says his partners are instrumental to the success of the blog: Curtis McClain contributes 12 years of creative and art-direction expertise; fashion coordinator Michelle Minite (who works in the buying office at Macy's) brings brand and retail-research knowledge.