The Sandlers ran into typical entrepreneurial challenges, like finding a manufacturer to make small batches of the product for their first big sale at a mall kiosk. The U.S.-based manufacturer they wanted to use turned them away at first, but Sandler found out the manufacturer's CEO was a woman and gave her a call.
"I said, 'Listen, I'm really trying to set an example of empowerment for my daughters, I'm trying to teach them to do it through business and I assure you, if you just give us a chance, we will exceed your expectations,'" Sandler recalled.
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The manufacturer agreed to work with BLAMtastic, proving that sometimes, women can use their gender to their advantage in business.
Sandler looked to have her daughters involved in the business as much as possible. As tweens, Melanie and Lily learned about logistics including packaging, labeling and shipping. They even participated in negotiations with retailers.
There were times, however, when Lily and Melanie felt belittled because of their gender and age.
In the early days, at a trade show, a man asked Lily to give him her pitch. Her mother said Lily did an excellent job reciting her lines and using her charm, and even thought she was close to making a sale, when the man patted her on the head and said, "You're cute."
Lily turned to her Mom and said, "Mom, he said I'm cute, just wait till he sees what we do with this business."
They've done quite a bit and women have made progress too. Today, there are 26 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to the Pew Research Center. But Sandler said there are still plenty of ways women are being held back when it comes to things like equal pay and when they take the plunge to start their own firms.
"Female entrepreneurs start their businesses with one-third of the capital of their male counterparts," she said.