Innovation is truly the mother of invention for Kim Olenicoff. From stick-on disposable pockets to sticky garment guards that stop underarm sweat from staining your clothing, it is possible that Kim has a solution for nearly any situation you can think of.
The problem started with underarm stains on her white shirts. There wasn’t a way to stop the stains before they happened. When she couldn’t find a product that fit her needs she did what many inventors before have done, she created a solution. As a matter of fact her business is called Solutions That Stick, a fitting name for a company that provides as many ‘sticky’ solutions as hers does.
Tell us a little about Solutions That Stick and what inspired it.
Actually, Solutions That Stick started as just one product, Garment Guard, the original disposable underarm shield. I was in law school at the time and sick of my new expensive white t-shirts getting those awful yellow “taco stains” in the armpits after just a few wearings. When I could not find anything on the market that I could just stick onto the garment to protect against that, I used my research skills to find a company to make them for my use. I also sent samples to a bunch of department stores, and thankfully, Nordstrom decided to begin stocking them. Over the next 10 years, I thought of other solutions to common problems, and here we are today.
How many products do you currently offer?
9, including our two newest*, launching within the next 30 days.
Garment Guard- disposable underarm shields
Skid Out- deodorant, drip & drool erasers
Knicker Sticker- disposable adhesive underwear
Subtle Butt- disposable gas neutralizers
White Collar Grime- adhesive collar (and hat) protectors
Quick Fix Sticks- adhesive wardrobe remedies
Pocksie- temporary sticky pockets
*Boot Stay- adhesive sag preventers
*Drip Strips- bottle drool absorbers
I heard you have a new product coming out soon to help keep saggy boots from falling too far. How long until it will be up on Solutions That Stick and ready to be purchased?
We are hoping for 15 February.
How much will it cost?
$9.95 for 6 stays.
In what ways has your business evolved since it was first launched 10 years ago?
Aside from adding all the new products, we are starting to delve into the world of private label. Also, when we started, we didn’t really have any competition and Nordstrom was our biggest account. Now, web sales, through our own site and through our wholesale customers like beauty.com, account for the majority of our sales. Further, we could just send samples to the major magazines, and they would write about our products once in a while, now we need to actively seek out new ways to get the information about our products out to bloggers and across the net.
After you release your latest product, might we see some new products emerge over the next year or so? Any hints on what we can expect?
Aside from the 20 or so products we are adding to our new private label line, we have a few in the works, including a way to fix holes in t-shirts, an easy stain removal kit, and a stapler that can fix clothes.
Do you have any any goals that you hope to accomplish over the next year or so?
We are really going to be focusing on the private label line this year, trying to really get it out there.
Have you always seen yourself as being entrepreneurial?
Yes! In fact, I majored in it at USC. And I come from a pretty big family of people who all worked for themselves. They made fun of me as a kid when I announced to them that I wanted to go to college and then work for IBM.
What are some of the lessons your business has taught you? How much space do I have?
I guess the most important is that cash is king. Always monitor your cash flow. Also, everything takes longer than you think it is going to take, so factor that into your schedule. Thirdly, learn how to delegate. Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean it is best for you to do it.
Any tips that have helped you balance your time between business and your personal life?
I might be the best person and the worst person to answer this. I have spent the past three years sailing halfway around the world, but part-time. I would sail, leave the boat and fly home to work. Then return to the boat and repeat. I was able to see some remarkable places and meet some interesting people, but that meant I spend my time at home working like a mad person. But, with my amazing staff, I was able to do both. So I guess my advice is to figure out what you want to do for fun, and make your schedule work around that.
Do you have any tips that you’d like to offer fellow inventor/entrepreneurs that are just getting started?
Aside from serious cash flow analysis, take your product or idea into the market and test it. Everyone will tell you that you have a good idea, but actually trying to get people to part with their money in exchange for it is another thing. You have almost nothing to lose by doing it, but a lot of information and insight to gain.