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Frances Prado

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When my son joined the Navy and my daughter went to college, my calendar had openings I wanted to fill. I still had the roles of wife and Costco senior manager with my days beginning at 3 a.m., but I had time to expand who I was. Idle hands didn’t serve me well, so I organized my house and started with the bedroom.

Tackling my lingerie drawer opened my eyes to the reality that I had been shoving and crushing beautiful bras for years just enough to make them fit into the drawer.

This was my “Aha!” moment. I knew there had to be a better option to organize and protect my lingerie. I just had to pull my vision from my mind to create a prototype. Hanging Secrets was born.

Frances Prado

The journey wasn’t straightforward. Instead, there were curves and humble pie. I pondered what to call my bra organizer, and every time, I came up with a new name, I ran it by my daughter, Ashley. Ashley was 22 years old at the time and attending college, majoring in graphic design. After about the tenth unsuccessful attempt, she said, “Mom, you don’t want to confuse your customer. Your product name should describe what your product does.” That was it! I asked myself, “What does my product do?” The answer was, “It hangs my Victoria’s Secrets bras,” and that is how the name of Hanging Secrets was born.

“Create your dreams. Crave your dreams. Cultivate your dreams.” This is a quote that I authored and live by, and one that I invite others to live by as well. Ideas, dreams and goals begin in the mind, and it’s up to you to take action and to take care of them.

My daughter Ashley has been a part of the Hanging Secrets journey since day one. Throughout this time, her input has been very valuable to me. Ashley created the Hanging Secrets logo and is the official graphic designer for all of our business needs. She provides me with a valuable millennial perspective, which assists with our marketing and social media outreach. Ashley also regularly emails me articles that are relatable to our business. Working together has been pretty awesome as it’s given me an opportunity to learn from her. Hanging Secrets will always be very dear to me because it represents a beautiful collaboration of our creativity.

Frances Prado
Photo by Omar Araiza

I had to transition from being an inventor to being an inventor and an entrepreneur. I first thought all I had to do was come up with a great idea that solved a problem and invent a product that people would see value in, which would inevitably sell on its own. That wasn’t the case. I wasn’t on social media when I started Hanging Secrets in 2015. I didn’t even own a personal laptop. I had a lot to learn.

The easiest part of this process was the invention. The hardest parts were getting distribution, gaining brand recognition and generating sales. Back then, I didn’t comprehend that these steps went hand-in-hand.

I remember when we first had to select a manufacturer. I had to think about this as a long-term partnership. I knew my product was only going to be as good as my manufacturer, and I knew that this partnership needed to be a win for both parties.

When I realized my own capabilities, I was excited to run my business. It was about this same time that I figured out I could do it all from a laptop, and so I bought one. I then got on social media so I could connect with others. I evolved into an entrepreneur who became the face of my own invention and company.

I was homeless when I was twelve years old, but I remember that being one of the happiest times in my life. I felt loved, and I worked hard in school. My mother taught me many things, but one of the greatest gifts I inherited from her is the ability to maintain a positive attitude despite the circumstance. One example that comes to mind that I will never forget was a childhood Mother’s Day celebration. I remember my mother was happy and grateful that we were alive, healthy and together and that was all that mattered, yet at the time, we were homeless and living out of our car. She did not let our current situation define us, and instead, built a strong foundation for our family on faith.

My dad passed along his strong work ethic to me. But alas, my father struggled with alcoholism and ended up widowing my mother with seven children that were all under the age of 21 at the time. We went from a modest, stable home to being in survivor mode overnight. Being without a roof created an underlying strength within me; possessions didn’t hold weight in my life as they did for others because I could live with or without them.

Now, what success looks like to me is doing what I love to do and finding my true talents and life purpose as a female Latina inventor. I don’t believe success has an ending point; it’s ongoing, and it unfolds as we go. It changes at different stages in my life. Success at 21 was being able to buy a condo. Today, it’s about helping others. Sharing knowledge. Leaving a legacy.

What brings me joy is that Hanging Secrets is a Pink product. We donate a percentage of our sales to women with breast cancer through a nonprofit organization called the V.A.S. Fund. They assist breast cancer survivors that don’t have medical insurance. That’s success.

Frances Prado
Photo by MMARTIN Photography

There’s nothing that I would change about the journey I’ve taken to be where I am. Changing it implies that I have regrets, that I’m dwelling in the past or that I wish I would’ve had an easier path to victory. I don’t wish for any of that. Everything that I’ve experienced has taught me lessons that have contributed to who I am. All I have is the present, and that’s the position of power that I’m able to come from because it’s within “the now” where I can take action.

Ambitious women tend to address the issue of balance head-on.

Photography by Freddy Alvarez, Akasha Photography
Photography by Freddy Alvarez, Akasha Photography

There is no such thing as balance for me. Overall, my family takes priority. However, I take each day one at a time and prioritize my tasks. I used to attempt to do everything; to be “Super Mom”; a “Super Wife”; a “Super Manager”; to have my home immaculate. I no longer beat myself up for falling short of perfection, nor do I maintain a standard that is humanly impossible to consistently live up to. My own self-imposed standard isn’t guiding me, but rather the level of significance of the tasks at hand is.

When obstacles would arise in business, I would force success to happen, and nothing would materialize. When I took a step back, relied on the faith that my mom instilled within me, and focused on the duties I could control, opportunities fell on my lap. I wasn’t going against the grain but with it. When I think about Hanging Secrets being sold on HSN, QVC and Amazon, I feel blessed and grateful. It’s an honor to have been featured in Forbes, CBS, People Español magazine, amongst other publications and networks—all this is due to my aha moment while standing over my bedroom dresser drawer.

Frances’ 5 Business Tips

Be Well
Treat your health like a business and make it your priority. You can’t run a business if you’re not alive and well to do so.

Keep Learning
Continuously learn and share your knowledge with the next generation. Learning opens your mind to different perspectives, gives back repeatedly and empowers the world.

Get Linked
If you don’t have one already, create a LinkedIn account and take initiative to connect with
other professionals consistently on this platform. Building your network expands your opportunities.

Remember Your Passion
When discouraged, remind yourself of the passion you have for your artistic talents and how they are aligned with your life purpose. Your passion will provide the energy you need to make your dreams come true.

Take Action
Take action to move forward. You are always a handshake, tweet, text, call or email away from your next big break.

Find The Best Manufacturer For You

Who is a good fit? It is a process, and this isn’t something any dedicated inventor should rush. My advice to those seeking a manufacturer is as follows:

1. Spec Sheet
After the creation of the prototype sample is complete and the product is ready to manufacture at full scale, create a product specification sheet with a photo of the prototype that lists all the components of the product. This should include the product dimensions, weight, type of material that will be used, PMS colors and your logo with PMS.

2. Create A List
Make a minimum list of three manufacturers. Have each manufacturer from your qualifying list that you’re “interviewing” sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in order to start the quoting process.

3. Detail Is Important
Review the specification sheet with the manufacturers. The more detail, the more accurate the quote will be.

4. Get 3 Leveled Estimates
Obtain at least three quotes for the same quantity of units from three different manufacturers (i.e., 1K, 5K and 10K) and request one manufactured sample of the product from each vendor.

5. Test Deadlines
Request a time frame as to when the quotes and sample will be ready from all three. This will determine which manufacturer is good at meeting deadlines.

6. Review Package Offers
Compare the quality of the sample and the pricing. Questions to ask yourself: Did the manufacturer meet the deadline? How was their communication during this entire process? Did they respond in a timely manner? In what condition did your sample arrive in (packed correctly, any damage during transit and quality of the sample)? You will remove at least one manufacturer based upon one of these factors alone.

7. Negotiate
Once you have narrowed down your manufacturers, you can negotiate the cost per unit and select the manufacturer that’s the best fit for you.

Oftentimes, the cheapest route may not always be the best path to take. The quality of the product should always be the first priority. We were fortunate that Hanging Secrets passed the QVC and HSN strict quality standards with flying colors. The aforementioned advice should provide insight and a tangible plan once you’re ready to move forward.

When my son joined the Navy and my daughter went to college, my calendar had openings I wanted to fill. I still had the roles of wife and Costco senior manager with my days beginning at 3 a.m., but I had time to expand who I was. Idle hands didn’t serve me well, so I organized my house and started with the bedroom.

Tackling my lingerie drawer opened my eyes to the reality that I had been shoving and crushing beautiful bras for years just enough to make them fit into the drawer.

This was my “Aha!” moment. I knew there had to be a better option to organize and protect my lingerie. I just had to pull my vision from my mind to create a prototype. Hanging Secrets was born.

Frances Prado

The journey wasn’t straightforward. Instead, there were curves and humble pie. I pondered what to call my bra organizer, and every time, I came up with a new name, I ran it by my daughter, Ashley. Ashley was 22 years old at the time and attending college, majoring in graphic design. After about the tenth unsuccessful attempt, she said, “Mom, you don’t want to confuse your customer. Your product name should describe what your product does.” That was it! I asked myself, “What does my product do?” The answer was, “It hangs my Victoria’s Secrets bras,” and that is how the name of Hanging Secrets was born.

“Create your dreams. Crave your dreams. Cultivate your dreams.” This is a quote that I authored and live by, and one that I invite others to live by as well. Ideas, dreams and goals begin in the mind, and it’s up to you to take action and to take care of them.

My daughter Ashley has been a part of the Hanging Secrets journey since day one. Throughout this time, her input has been very valuable to me. Ashley created the Hanging Secrets logo and is the official graphic designer for all of our business needs. She provides me with a valuable millennial perspective, which assists with our marketing and social media outreach. Ashley also regularly emails me articles that are relatable to our business. Working together has been pretty awesome as it’s given me an opportunity to learn from her. Hanging Secrets will always be very dear to me because it represents a beautiful collaboration of our creativity.

Frances Prado
Photo by Omar Araiza

I had to transition from being an inventor to being an inventor and an entrepreneur. I first thought all I had to do was come up with a great idea that solved a problem and invent a product that people would see value in, which would inevitably sell on its own. That wasn’t the case. I wasn’t on social media when I started Hanging Secrets in 2015. I didn’t even own a personal laptop. I had a lot to learn.

The easiest part of this process was the invention. The hardest parts were getting distribution, gaining brand recognition and generating sales. Back then, I didn’t comprehend that these steps went hand-in-hand.

I remember when we first had to select a manufacturer. I had to think about this as a long-term partnership. I knew my product was only going to be as good as my manufacturer, and I knew that this partnership needed to be a win for both parties.

When I realized my own capabilities, I was excited to run my business. It was about this same time that I figured out I could do it all from a laptop, and so I bought one. I then got on social media so I could connect with others. I evolved into an entrepreneur who became the face of my own invention and company.

I was homeless when I was twelve years old, but I remember that being one of the happiest times in my life. I felt loved, and I worked hard in school. My mother taught me many things, but one of the greatest gifts I inherited from her is the ability to maintain a positive attitude despite the circumstance. One example that comes to mind that I will never forget was a childhood Mother’s Day celebration. I remember my mother was happy and grateful that we were alive, healthy and together and that was all that mattered, yet at the time, we were homeless and living out of our car. She did not let our current situation define us, and instead, built a strong foundation for our family on faith.

My dad passed along his strong work ethic to me. But alas, my father struggled with alcoholism and ended up widowing my mother with seven children that were all under the age of 21 at the time. We went from a modest, stable home to being in survivor mode overnight. Being without a roof created an underlying strength within me; possessions didn’t hold weight in my life as they did for others because I could live with or without them.

Now, what success looks like to me is doing what I love to do and finding my true talents and life purpose as a female Latina inventor. I don’t believe success has an ending point; it’s ongoing, and it unfolds as we go. It changes at different stages in my life. Success at 21 was being able to buy a condo. Today, it’s about helping others. Sharing knowledge. Leaving a legacy.

What brings me joy is that Hanging Secrets is a Pink product. We donate a percentage of our sales to women with breast cancer through a nonprofit organization called the V.A.S. Fund. They assist breast cancer survivors that don’t have medical insurance. That’s success.

Frances Prado
Photo by MMARTIN Photography

There’s nothing that I would change about the journey I’ve taken to be where I am. Changing it implies that I have regrets, that I’m dwelling in the past or that I wish I would’ve had an easier path to victory. I don’t wish for any of that. Everything that I’ve experienced has taught me lessons that have contributed to who I am. All I have is the present, and that’s the position of power that I’m able to come from because it’s within “the now” where I can take action.

Ambitious women tend to address the issue of balance head-on.

Photography by Freddy Alvarez, Akasha Photography
Photography by Freddy Alvarez, Akasha Photography

There is no such thing as balance for me. Overall, my family takes priority. However, I take each day one at a time and prioritize my tasks. I used to attempt to do everything; to be “Super Mom”; a “Super Wife”; a “Super Manager”; to have my home immaculate. I no longer beat myself up for falling short of perfection, nor do I maintain a standard that is humanly impossible to consistently live up to. My own self-imposed standard isn’t guiding me, but rather the level of significance of the tasks at hand is.

When obstacles would arise in business, I would force success to happen, and nothing would materialize. When I took a step back, relied on the faith that my mom instilled within me, and focused on the duties I could control, opportunities fell on my lap. I wasn’t going against the grain but with it. When I think about Hanging Secrets being sold on HSN, QVC and Amazon, I feel blessed and grateful. It’s an honor to have been featured in Forbes, CBS, People Español magazine, amongst other publications and networks—all this is due to my aha moment while standing over my bedroom dresser drawer.

Frances’ 5 Business Tips

Be Well
Treat your health like a business and make it your priority. You can’t run a business if you’re not alive and well to do so.

Keep Learning
Continuously learn and share your knowledge with the next generation. Learning opens your mind to different perspectives, gives back repeatedly and empowers the world.

Get Linked
If you don’t have one already, create a LinkedIn account and take initiative to connect with
other professionals consistently on this platform. Building your network expands your opportunities.

Remember Your Passion
When discouraged, remind yourself of the passion you have for your artistic talents and how they are aligned with your life purpose. Your passion will provide the energy you need to make your dreams come true.

Take Action
Take action to move forward. You are always a handshake, tweet, text, call or email away from your next big break.

Find The Best Manufacturer For You

Who is a good fit? It is a process, and this isn’t something any dedicated inventor should rush. My advice to those seeking a manufacturer is as follows:

1. Spec Sheet
After the creation of the prototype sample is complete and the product is ready to manufacture at full scale, create a product specification sheet with a photo of the prototype that lists all the components of the product. This should include the product dimensions, weight, type of material that will be used, PMS colors and your logo with PMS.

2. Create A List
Make a minimum list of three manufacturers. Have each manufacturer from your qualifying list that you’re “interviewing” sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in order to start the quoting process.

3. Detail Is Important
Review the specification sheet with the manufacturers. The more detail, the more accurate the quote will be.

4. Get 3 Leveled Estimates
Obtain at least three quotes for the same quantity of units from three different manufacturers (i.e., 1K, 5K and 10K) and request one manufactured sample of the product from each vendor.

5. Test Deadlines
Request a time frame as to when the quotes and sample will be ready from all three. This will determine which manufacturer is good at meeting deadlines.

6. Review Package Offers
Compare the quality of the sample and the pricing. Questions to ask yourself: Did the manufacturer meet the deadline? How was their communication during this entire process? Did they respond in a timely manner? In what condition did your sample arrive in (packed correctly, any damage during transit and quality of the sample)? You will remove at least one manufacturer based upon one of these factors alone.

7. Negotiate
Once you have narrowed down your manufacturers, you can negotiate the cost per unit and select the manufacturer that’s the best fit for you.

Oftentimes, the cheapest route may not always be the best path to take. The quality of the product should always be the first priority. We were fortunate that Hanging Secrets passed the QVC and HSN strict quality standards with flying colors. The aforementioned advice should provide insight and a tangible plan once you’re ready to move forward.