Perseverance is key. If you truly believe in something- and you’re not getting the support you need- surround yourself with people who DO.
Heather started working in the bridal industry in 1998 and customers constantly asked her what to do when they have to use the restroom. In 2002, she came up with the idea for a solution and the blueprint for what would eventually become the Bridal Buddy. She also was having children at the time, so Stenlake put her idea away, and focused on being a stay-at-home mom.
In 2015, she rediscovered her notes for the Bridal Buddy, and moved to turn the idea into a business. Heather’s inspirational attitude won over the investors on hit reality show “Shark Tank” and by the end of her pitch, she had multiple sharks clamoring to invest in her business and eventually went with the combined offer from the two sharks, Lori Greiner and Kevin O’Leary.
Who is Heather Stenlake?
I am an inventor and entrepreneur. Artist and creative music lover who loves the outdoors. I have worked in the bridal industry since 1998- I’ve had all sorts of jobs-starting with bagging dresses after brides tried them on- and putting them back on the rack, to being a consultant- then owning my own bridal shop with my sister!
What inspired the invention of “Bridal Buddy”?
I was inspired to invent the Bridal Buddy back when I was a consultant- and without fail-most every bride asked the same question when purchasing their gown. “How am I going to go to the bathroom in this dress?” I sought out to find an answer.
|Heather pitching the “Bridal Buddy” on Shark Tank. Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal
What other inventions do you have in the works?
Can you tell us about the biggest obstacle you have faced, as an entrepreneur, and how you overcame it?
Perseverance is key. If you truly believe in something- and you’re not getting the support you need- surround yourself with people who DO. Surround yourself with positive energy like a light. My biggest challenge was tuning out the negative energy and words. They’re not worth one moment of your time. Ever.
If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you offer a younger Heather?
If I could go back in time and give younger Heather advice…
#1 – Being pregnant does NOT mean you can eat whatever you want.
#2- Cherish every day with the people you love. Don’t wait to visit them or tell them what they mean to you while they’re still on this earth.
#3- You are always good enough. Don’t waste a single moment on people who contribute nothing but positivity in your life.
What / who inspires you and why?
And definitely WonderWoman. Simply because she is a strong female figure who holds herself with grace and is feminine- Yet independent and powerful in her own way. Plus she can kick your butt if you cross her.
What is the most important lesson being life has taught you so far?
One important lesson that life has taught me so far would be that if you have a bad day or something happens to you that brought you down- it’s ok. As one of my friends, Robin always told me “Go have your pity party. Eat your cake. But then tomorrow you’re going to get back up put your big girl pants on and get back to work.”
And while it’s ok to feel some sadness if things don’t go as planned- You cannot sulk more than one day over something you cannot change.
What advice would you offer other women looking to start their own business?
Advice I would give other women starting their own business would be, plan, but don’t over plan. Take risks, but don’t be too risky.
There’s a fine balance – and it’s up to you to find what works for you. Another thing I always have done is read books. I find if you don’t have an actual mentor then find a book with somebody you admire who has been through it and knows the ropes and inspire me. My favorite books have been by Anthony Robbins, Joel Osteen, Daymond John, Kim Lavine, Lori Grenier. Find who inspires you- and get inside their minds.
What is your take on “women supporting women”?
“Women Supporting Women” is key. In a world that is dominated my men in many areas- we NEED each other to lift each other up! For instance- I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have Marissa at my side during the good and bad parts of this business journey. She reminds me how strong I am- and that God has me on a mission. I am here to help other women lift themselves up and feel strength- to do great things. She has been the “Micky” to my Rocky Balboa.
What is one bad habit you are committed to changing?
If you could recommend one woman for us to interview next, who would it be and why?
If I could recommend one woman for you to interview next it would be Joy Mangano. I had the pleasure of meeting her on the “Steve Harvey Show” and even though a movie has been made about her- she has so much inspiration and such positivity. She has been thrown many life challenges, but came through as a example of what a strong woman can be through hard work, and perseverance.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as a woman who helped other women become strong, passionate females who did what is best for them- and their children. I would like to be known as an inventor, an innovator, and a woman who didn’t take no for an answer. I would like to be remembered as a woman who had a confident smile and spread it around the world for other women to pass on.