I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Murphy, CEO, of Product Launchers, which represents inventors, manufacturers and importers as sourcing agent, distributor, and sales and marketing arm. Linda also recently launched Unscripted, a business development firm that offers sales services such as list development, graphic design, lead generation and closing sales. Linda has degrees in Marketing, Management and Advertising; and she is
a licensed New York State attorney.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I learned about business at a very young age, growing up in her family’s retail store, starting with mopping floors and working up to helping customers. I pursued a law degree, thinking I wanted to be a lawyer, but my love of business drew me back.
I worked in advertising sales for a while, becoming one of the top three salespeople, then joined a 20+ year old global marketing firm, rising up in the ranks to become the youngest senior vice president ever on the team.
I was honored to be named a ‘Top 40 Under 40’ Rising Star by the Westchester Business Council and most recently, I was awarded a Stevie Award for Entrepreneur of the Year, a Best in Biz award and was named a Forbes contributor.
Why did you found your company?
I thought my career path was set. I was on an upward trajectory at the marketing firm, was named senior vice president — the youngest ever — after just a few years and upper management essentially told me I was being
grooming for entry into the C-suite.
Around this time, I noticed that the profile of potential clients coming through the door was changing. More and more entrepreneurial types were seeking help not just with marketing their products, but developing them as well. I saw this as an opportunity to not only better support clients’ launches, but also to diversify, expand our offerings, and ultimately, generate more revenue for the firm. I approached company executives with a plan create a new business unit within the company that would cater specifically to new inventors, guiding them through the product launch process from development to market.
Management scoffed at the notion of diversifying. But I felt very strongly that the idea had merit. I persisted in trying to convince upper management to pursue it. The atmosphere quickly turned caustic. I was no longer ‘towing the
corporate line’ and the CEO and president resorted to bullying and belittling me in an effort to exert control. I was bewildered and felt betrayed by the company to which I had devoted so much. I resigned shortly thereafter, leaving behind a 6-figure salary, with no replacement job or prospects on the horizon.
Believing not only in my concept, but also my abilities and myself, I launched Product Launchers with the same drive and determination I devote to my hobby of running marathons.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
That experience alone was pretty disruptive! It was a high stakes gamble paid off, but I was confident it would pay
off — and it did. it’s in my nature to be forward thinking. I recognized early that the retail climate was changing and
began investing heavily in online campaigns to support clients’ launches. I was among the first to identify the fidget
spinner craze, selling millions through hundreds of retail outlets before the trend hit the mainstream. And as an
inventor myself, I knew how to inject clients into the highly lucrative and profitable world of product placement.
When Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy, we immediately made a decision not to sell to Toys moving forward, even though the company was, at the time, claiming they expected to recover from the bankruptcy due to new financing.
I predicted that the company was too far behind the curve to catch up with competitors like Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores, who invest heavily in e-commerce. I received a lot of backlash because of that, but, of course, I was proven right when Toys R Us announced six months later they were going out of business.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
My father. He owned a successful hardware store, Radio Shack, video store and general store that he merged under one “general store”. Then he opened a car and pet wash.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?
Again, my father. He taught me the importance of diversifying.
For example, he had the opportunity to do custom repair work for one major company in the city he operated his businesses in. However, that client would comprise 95% of his business. He decided not to take the business and within 2 years, the other company closed its doors.
Had my father been their sole provider, he would’ve lost his other client base and be left with nothing. But most importantly, he instilled in me that being an honest and ethical person would go far in business and in life.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Richard Branson. He’s accomplished so much and is a huge visionary. I love his adventurous spirit and passion to take on the world to better it.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Connect with me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindaparrymurphy/
Originally published at medium.com