Dana Rubenstein, Tamar Rosenthal, Dapple, Women Entrepreneurs
I met with a woman for coffee who had emailed me a few months ago. She was the assistant to Anna Wintour for more than a year and the fact that she stuck that job out intrigued me. She was figuring out her next path. After we spoke she asked me if I would mind talking to her friends who had a company called Dapple. She felt that they were in need of some advice in regards to how to grow their business. After meeting both Dana and Tamra I am not sure whyTrust me, the women behind Dapple do not need advice, they have built a natural cleaning products business from the ground up. They are two scrappy independent women that are as impressive as the product.
Dana Rubinstein was born in Israel and moved to Vienna and then NYC at age 15. Her Grandparents are holocaust survivors who were in displaced camps. Her parents met in Israel but decided to move to Vienna where her Grandparents reside. Her father is a software developer and her mother is a journalist. After high school Dana majored in philosophy at Yale and then went straight after graduation to Columbia Law School.
Law school was more of a default than a thought process. She went to work for Davis Polk after graduation practicing litigation. The hours were insane and after three years she had a baby. Dana took maternity leave and they let her work from home. It was 2006. She was one of several women working from home and they really made it a great experience. She stuck that out for three more years. Three years staying home and now with four kids she decided to leave law.
Tamar Rosenthal grew up in Toronto. Her father owned a bunch of retirement homes. Her Mom was a super hero, aka domestic engineer. After high school Tamar went to York University for a year and then transferred to Yeshiva University in NYC to study philosophy. She also took a year and went to Israel to study. Like Dana, after graduation she went immediately to NYU to get a masters in public administration. By the time she graduated Tamar had two kids and her daughter was severly allergic to everything.
Young mothers with serious energy. Dana and Tamar got involved with a non-profit organization. They put on an event where teams would compete on trivia to raise money for charities. They became fast friends. Tamar had grown up with Danas husband. They both clicked on their desire to save the world and have a lot of kids.
With a highly allergic child Tamar started looking differently at everything. When she was washing out the baby bottles she wanted to find a product that was completely natural and safe. She scoured blogs and parent forums for the right products but soon realized that there was a void in the marketplace for these type of products.
She talked to Dana about it and as business oriented women they decided to fix that problem. They began to work with chemists and pediatricians to create a product that was baby safe with non-allergenic ingredients. It took time but they finally created the right product. In 2006, they incorporated and called the company Dapple.
The first place they sold was Alpees, a kids store on the Upper West Side. They knew the owner and pushed him to put the product in his store. He took two products and in one week he called them to ask for more because he sold out. That is when they knew they were on to something.
In the meantime they applied for a program called Seeds for Success that Yahoo puts on. Yahoo chooses three women led companies out of 5000 to spend three months with mentors. At the end of the three months a panel votes on the winner. Dapple won and with the $20K grant they were able to seriously boot-strap the business.
After that they contacted Baby R Us and pitched them from a board they put together. Then a year later they were in Bye Bye Baby and continued on to Toys R Us and Duane Reade.
These are two tenacious women who saw a void and took Dapple on the road. They literally dialed for dollars and the retailers ate it up. The line has grown from two products at launch to a mixture of cleaning products, wipes and detergents. Super impressive women. It is entrepreneurs like this that are allowing consumers to make better choices for their families and kids.