In his book The Lean Startup, author Eric Ries introduced readers to “the pivot,” a term he uses to describe “the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future.”
In his piece today on Forbes.com, Dan Gross, Vice President at Encore Consumer Capital, identifies four brands that have executed the pivot in the realm of consumer products—with extraordinary results. The tagline to Ries’ book reads: “How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses.” The entrepreneurs Gross identifies have achieved radical success by recognizing that consumer tastes change, and the most successful businesses keep a finger on the pulse of what consumers will want in the future.
One of Gross’ entrepreneurs is Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin, who founded Luxe Jewels—the brand that would become Stella & Dot—in 2004. Luxe Jewels launched as a party plan company offering DIY jewelry kits to women. The brand reached $550,000 in 2005, but Herrin realized the DIY kits did not afford the kind of flexibility and profitability that appeals to busy mothers seeking a job opportunity. Herrin led the company in its pivot to become Stella & Dot, whose independent Stylists sold its chic but affordable jewelry to the tune of $175 million in sales in 2011, rocketing from just $4 million in 2008.
Gross also highlights KIND nutrition bars, Udi’s gluten-free foods, and popchips’ non-fried, non-baked twist on traditional rice cakes. Each business owes its current success, and perhaps even its existence, to the transformative vision of entrepreneurs willing to risk a change for the better.