How two competing entrepreneurs Nisse of Bachette (left) and Jenny of Stag and Hen (right) teamed up and why you should too
An entrepreneurship story not entirely about tacos...
It’s no secret that I love Taco Bell. No, I don’t eat there everyday (although I probably would if my scale wasn’t so damn judgy), but let’s just say I have the Taco Bell app on my phone with several menu favorites saved. One of those favorites is the Doritos Locos Taco: A delicious partnership of addictive seasoning dust, whatever magic the almighty Bell puts in their tacos.
While I was sitting down to write this blog—which is about a recent collaboration we did—I thought about this co-branded partnership between two of my favorite guilty-pleasure food heroes. After a little Googling, I discovered that the Doritos Locos Taco is the most popular menu item in the fast food chain's 50-year history. And, I learned it wasn’t easy to make. This unicorn taco took years of work to get the formulation just right, and over 40 permutations. Product Developer Steve Gomez was quoted saying he sometimes felt it would never pan out, "Execution was so difficult," he said. But, thankfully for me, eventually Gomez and his team were able to make the dream collaboration with Frito-Lay a reality in 2012 and now the Doritos Locos Taco is one of the most successful fast food innovations of all time.
Recently, we at Bachette embarked on our own collaboration journey of a much smaller, but just as tasty variety. 😉 We joined forces with a direct competitor of ours, Jenny Van Der Kar, Founder of Stag and Hen. Jenny launched her store back in 2018, and immediately, I was equally annoyed by having another rival and grateful to have someone out there to keep us on our toes. We started Bachette back in 2012 and there really wasn’t much in the way of serious competition until Jenny came along, guns a blazin’. 🤠
One day, my business partner Jeff said something wise to me (as he usually does) about “rising tide raises all ships” or “there’s a piece of the pie for all of us” or something really insightful and smart like that, and we realized that if we teamed up with Jenny, we could probably make something really cool. "Like A KNITTED PIZZA SLICE COUCH BLANKET WITH POCKETS FOR YOUR REMOTE CONTROL AND BUTTON-ON PEPPERONIS, or OVERALLS WITH BUILT-IN KOOZIES?!" I said. Jeff said something like "Sure. Or, more realistically, we could learn from one another and, you know, grow as entrepreneurs and share knowledge and stuff." (I'm paraphrasing here, because I was really stuck on the pizza blanket thing and I really couldn't focus on anything else)
Jenny (right) and I (left) met for the first time in Houston on a layover I had on my birthday. I had an exit strategy prepared in case she was a snooze—but I didn't need it. Jenny did NOT disappoint. She showed up, birthday gift in hand. In the RAIN. I knew then and here this chick was 'aight. Plus—who can resist that punum? 😍
So I reached out to her on Instagram. I didn't want to wave my weird flag too proudly right away, so I didn’t even mention the pizza blankets or Taco Bell—you’d be so proud. We started up a friendship, liking each other’s posts, cheering each other on for our big achievements, hopping on the phone to catch up and help each other troubleshoot bachelorette pitfalls. She definitely had different strengths than I did, (her being clearly more organized and strategic, me being the more goofy creative type) and I found myself—again—both annoyed and grateful for the challenge.Despite all odds, and to some degree because of it, we quickly realized that we had something pretty special, and we started talking about how we could work together on a project. We chatted over the phone a few more times, and even flew to meet up in person and have a drink together—because I’m convinced you can’t really partner with someone you haven’t shared a few cocktails with—and we came up with THE idea. Our Doritos Locos Taco. We decided to make … drum roll please …
Okay, okay, I hear you. It’s not the most innovative idea on the planet, but we really felt we could make a better bachelorette bathing suit. One that was cuter, more figure flattering for more body types, more cost-effective, and reversible, so you can wear it again after the party is over. (Spoiler alert: we did it. The suits are awesome. Buy yours here)
Historical reenactment of us working through swimsuit samples and saying things like "Pantone Swatch" and "silhouette".
And, like the DLT, it wasn't easy. We spent six months ideating on designs and coming up with suit patterns, meeting with fabric vendors and cut and sew factories. We tried on dozens of samples, mailing them back and forth in a dance I lovingly refer to as our “sisterhood of the travelling swimsuit”, each sample accompanied by several very unflattering bathroom mirror selfies with fit issues and changes needed. At one point we almost gave up because the process was getting very expensive and complicated. We were very quickly running out of both money and time to get them done before the summer hit.
Eventually though, we ironed out all the kinks and the suits were born! As Jenny says in her blog, “I can say with confidence these swimsuits wouldn’t be nearly as awesome if we hadn’t teamed up. Each of us brought our own strengths to the project resulting in a better final product for our customer.” The suits have been very successful and we’re already in talks about making some additional styles for the 2020 season!
AND HERE THEY ARE! ...
Aren't they cute? 😍
What can others learn from our story?
If you are willing to put your ego aside and be open to the possibility, teaming up can produce some amazing results: whether it’s a tasty taco, or a bad-ass bathing suit. It’s so competitive these days, and it can feel a whole lot easier to ignore our competition, or worse, tear them down. We’re hoping that through hearing our story, you’ll be inspired to muster up the courage to reach out and connect with others, and be open to the opportunities you find. It doesn’t have to be a competitor, it could be a customer, a friend, someone you admire on Instagram, or a potential partner.
Jenny is in Texas. I’m in California. We’re competitors. We’re also very different. And we’re both women (Didn’t Mean Girls teach us we’re supposed to kind of hate each other?)
We truly are stronger together, and we encourage you to support other entrepreneurs, boss babes, neighbors, strangers and friends, share helpful tips and take advantage of opportunities to collaborate.
And on that note, feel free to slide into our DM’s or shoot us an email anytime. We’d love to hear from you!
Nisse (Bachette) and Jenny (Stag & Hen)
P.S. ... Unsurprisingly, This blog is in no way sponsored by Taco Bell or Doritos.
All photography and videography in this blog by the P-Diddy to my Nissy Elliott - Patrick Patton. Also special thanks to the Kinny hotel in San Luis Obispo for letting us get all up in there to take these pics.