Oars+Alps founders: Entrepreneurship advice doesn’t work for everyone



Laura
Lisowski Cox, left, and Mia Saini Duchnowski, founders of
Oars+Alps.

Courtesy of
Oars+Alps


  • Laura Lisowski Cox and Mia Saini Duchnowski are the
    founders of men’s skincare company Oars+Alps.
  • They say developing and marketing a tangible product
    takes a different approach than an online or software
    startup.
  • They’ve never regretted taking their time developing a
    product.

By the time they started men’s skincare company Oars+Alps, Laura Lisowski Cox and Mia
Saini Duchnowski had held a range of jobs between them.

Duchnowski, who holds degrees from both MIT and Harvard Business
School, began her career doing research for NASA. She then spent
two years as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, and most
recently was a TV reporter at Bloomberg. Cox, who holds a Masters
in finance from Brandeis, spent three years as a client solutions
manager at Facebook.

But by the fall of 2016, they’d left their high-profile jobs
behind to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs.

They quickly learned that advice for entrepreneurs isn’t
one-size-fits-all.

For instance, many entrepreneurs are advised to begin with a
Minimum Viable Product, or
MVP. The term, which denotes an early release version of your
product that’s meant to be optimized in real time, as users adopt
it, was created by Frank Robinson in 2001 and popularized by
authors Steve Blank and Eric Ries in classic startup books
including “The Lean Startup
and “The Startup Owners
Manual
.”

Duchnowski says that while that widespread advice might be
applicable for people developing software or apps, when you have
a tangible product like a bar of soap, “you need to put out a
product that’s pretty damn near perfect, and you need to put that
product out in the market without spending a lot of money or
wasting a lot of time,” she said. “Because…

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