Today we have Jeanne Voigt on the show to talk about her experience starting, growing, and selling MindWare, a catalog and online retailer of educational toys.
Jeanne started MindWare after leaving the corporate world when she was 39. Today she dives into detail about her initial go-to market strategy, why she realized her business model needed to be restructured, and how she “bet the farm” to grow a company that she would eventually sell after getting an out-of-the-blue offer she couldn’t refuse.
Even though the offer was one she couldn't refuse at the time, Jeanne reflects during the interview about what worked and what did not and the things she may have done differently.
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Jeanne M. Voigt is the founder of MindWare, a catalog and online retailer. She sold the company in 2003 but continued as president until 2007. She currently serves as a consultant and board member for the company and is also CEO of a startup decorative arts licensing business in Minneapolis.
Prior to MindWare, Voigt was an executive at First Bank System (now U.S. Bank), where she held positions in operations, cash management, and strategic planning. She is active as both a funder and volunteer for the Jeanne M. Voigt Foundation, begun in 2003 to further women's economic development in emerging economies.
Voigt has an undergraduate degree in music education and a master's degree in business finance, both from the University of Minnesota. She has been active in nonprofit endeavors, including the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and Destination Imagination. She is a member of the Minnesota Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Metropolitan State University's Center for Women Entrepreneurs.
09:50 - “There was sort of this risk aversion thing. In fact, when I left my corporate job, my dad was really concerned. He could not understand why I would leave a corporate job where I was making really good money, I had respect. So that was a tough thing to do.” - Jeanne Voigt
11:45 - “You know? I don’t want to just sell this stuff. I want to do something more. I want to learn more about it.” - Jeanne Voigt
22:43 - “If there is a regular process that’s in place and the job is to simply follow it, that’s not the job for me.” - Jeanne Voigt
48:35 - “I was good at hiring creatives. I’m good at hiring them, I’m good at working with them and keeping them motivated.” - Jeanne Voigt
53:12 - “It is that thing with entrepreneurs where we go along and we say, ‘I believe in this. I believe in it.’ Then when it does happens, you’re like, ‘My God! I really did it!’” - Jeanne Voigt
55:05 - “Every year that it got bigger at Christmastime, it was riskier. Because any I could be blown out of the water.” - Jeanne Voigt
01:11:53 - “It’s not all about money. We’re invested in these companies totally. They mean something to us and the people who work there mean something to us.” - Jeanne Voigt
Jeanne Voigt email: [email protected]
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