Victory by a Hair

MBA Fellows grad takes her “Clever Clip” to TV sales

By Magazine staff

A hair crisis is the mother of invention.

One morning while running out the door to a class at Loyola, Rachel Taylor, MBA Fellows ’99, realized she needed to tie back her hair. She reached for a discarded sock clip—the mini plastic hanger socks are sold on—and gave it a try. To her surprise, it worked.

From that discovery Taylor created a hairstyling piece. Ten years after earning her MBA, that item—the Clever Clip—has joined the ranks of “As Seen on TV” merchandise.

“It’s Kismet. The whole story, it’s almost surreal,” said Taylor, while driving to New Jersey this summer for the filming of the Clever Clip commercial. “This just came out of my brain.”

To Market, to Market

The journey to the world of the Shamwow has moved at a steady pace since Taylor approached a patent attorney with the idea two years ago. “I was very clear about what I wanted the Clever Clip to be as far as the branding, and I just kept a very open mind,” she said.

Taylor originally named her device the Athena clip for Team Athena, her Loyola MBA cohort, which used the hypothetical product as a learning tool in a class taught by Doris van Doren, the late professor of marketing. “This was the fictitious product that we took to market,” Taylor said. “Loyola is very much a part of this.”

Along the way, Taylor renamed her product the Clever Clip, a name that came to her while driving one day. When inspiration struck yet again, the Clever Clip acquired the Tattle Tail, a decorative beaded piece that hangs from the clip.

“One of my best friends from college came over and hung this little beaded thing on it. And I thought, ‘This is genius,’” Taylor said. “Women love jewelry. We wear earrings and bracelets and toe rings. It’s just another place to accessorize.”

Even before Telebrands—the company that created the “As Seen on TV” logo—signed Taylor, she had started selling the Clever Clip in area hair salons. This past spring, as Taylor found the fruits of her marketing efforts were paying off, she wanted to share the news of her success with van Doren.

“I figured there was a way to get in touch with her, and she had died just two days earlier. She was my favorite teacher. She was the marketing guru,” she said. “I love the fact that I did this for Doris’s class, and Doris loved the idea.”

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