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Bags To Riches
In 1998, Stephanie Johnson had it made. At 31 years old, she was earning a six-figure salary at telecom—which would later become WorldCom. However, Johnson was unhappy with her job. She had been gradually moving up the ladder at the same company since she graduated high school, and when it became WorldCom, Johnson noticed a change. According to her, everything became about making money and she no longer enjoyed her job. She knew she wanted to leave the company but was not sure for what. It wasn't until she took a trip to Thailand and saw handbags that sparked an idea: she would start a new business selling cosmetic bags in the U.S.
After enrolling in night business classes, Johnson decided to propose her idea to factory owners in Hong Kong. Fortunately, one owner liked her idea and decided to make her creations in bulk. The beginning of her new business was underway and Johnson felt confident enough to quit her job at WorldCom—just two years before they declared bankruptcy.
Initially, her bags did not sell, but after a year of constant peddling at trade shows and boutiques, she successfully sold a couple hundred bags to the clothing retailer Fred Siegel. As she expected, her bags sold out instantly and orders started flowing in. Ten years later, Johnson is now pulling down a seven-figure salary.
Starting a new business can be scary and unpredictable, since you never know if your business idea will be a success or a failure. Though Stephanie made the leap and quit her job to build her business, she advises other entrepreneurs not to lose their day jobs...just yet. "It will take some time to get things going," she says to the Wall Street Journal. "It's better to stay employed than exhaust your savings." [Wall Street Journal]