In Conversation with Carine Vinett of The Best Friend
Describe your business in a few words?
The Best Friend is the 1st premium product that helps you zip up the back of your dress all by yourself!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
Each morning when getting dressed for work I’d really struggle to zip up the back of my dress for work – it was a daily battle. I knew this was an issue for a lot of women and I thought to myself how does something like this not exist?! That led me to invent The Best Friend.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I worked in media and sold advertising for some of the world’s biggest brands like People, InStyle and Real Simple.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, I’ve always had a very entrepreneurial spirit. It started with lemonade stands and girl scout cookies which turned into nightclubs and advertising. I love the art of the deal and knew it was only a matter of time until I started my own company, I just needed the right idea.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Having worked in publishing for most of my career I had a lot of great contacts to help get the word out. Real Simple had picked us as one of their favorite holiday gifts and we were featured in national publications like Travel and Leisure and Rachael Ray for the launch which was incredible. We were also in the SAG Award gift bags in partnership with People which was definitely a pinch me moment.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
To be honest I haven’t made any major mistakes just yet as we’re still a relatively new business. I’m very calculated and think things through and counting on my team + network to sound ideas off of really helps. My girlfriends have gotten their fair share of texts asking for their opinion on visuals for the next Best Friend, creative for my holiday ad campaign, you name it. It really takes a village.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I’m most proud that I was able to actualize my dream of bringing The Best Friend to market. For years (and even to this day) I struggle when I zip up the back of my dress and it’s thrilling to provide women with a solution to this everyday problem.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
This is our first year in business so it’s definitely been a wild ride. We launched with Amazon in May and that’s really changed the trajectory of our business. Even though people aren’t going out as much we’ve seen steady growth month over month and we’re getting ready for a robust holiday season. I think people are prepping for life post COVID and that means getting dressed up and out of the house!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We’re introducing our 2nd Best Friend who is a person of color in January which is really exciting. The Best Friend is popular with brides (Will You Be My Bridesmaid gifts, bridal showers, bachelorettes and getting ready the day of) so we’ll be entering the wedding space and will be coming out with a Best Friend Bride. We also have a suite of exciting new products on deck designed that will have you thinking “OMG finally!”.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
There is so much opportunity with The Best Friend and I’ve learned that patience is key. This product is for ALL women, from prom to senior citizen and some have even called it the next Spanx! I won’t stop until every woman owns a Best Friend and that may take a little time but I’ve learned that little by little becomes a lot.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Having a business is like having a child and I often joke that The Best Friend is my 2nd baby. You wake up thinking about it, you go to bed thinking about it – it can consume you. I’ll be out to dinner taking pictures of the Best Friend and all of a sudden I’m sharing how it works with the waiters. Luckily for me it sets my soul on fire and has already brought so much joy and excitement and there is so much more to come.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Being home with my family has kept me grounded. The Best Friend can be 24/7 but being home has allowed me to slow down, enjoy and be present.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I absolutely believe in work/life balance but as a new business it’s easier said than done. During the week there is always something to do, another email to send, social post to create, etc. I’m working on powering down an hour or 2 before my daughter goes to sleep so I can relax with my family (and maybe even watch Real Housewives of SLC). On the weekend or vacation I try to unplug and really recharge my batteries so I can hit it hard when I’m back to work.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I love hip hop and have been to a lot of shows (remember concerts?). I’m also a big carpool karaoke fan and have been known to spit a rhyme or 2.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
I’m most focused and energized in the morning so I try to schedule meetings in the AM and early afternoon. I’m most efficient during those hours and block out time for emails and calls and use breaks to keep things fun (social media, coffee, stretching and pilates are favs). My To Do list and calendar keep me on track. I’m always moving a million miles a minute and rely on both to get the most out of everyday.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means everything. I love that I’m in the driver’s seat of my future and get to impact all aspects of my business. It’s both empowering and exhilarating and has brought so much excitement and fun to my life.