Renee Hanson, president
Carson City, Nev.
If you only had 1 minute with a retail customer, what would you tell them about yourself and your company to explain how and why you started manufacturing your product?
I have a large head – especially for a girl! Nothing else fit me so we started to make an adjustable headband that stays put in your hair and won’t give you a headache!
Tell us what the name of your company means or where it came from?
Funny back-story on this: My sister Bonnie started sewing them when we first started the business. I wanted the name to be unique so we called them “Bonnie Bands” after her, but spelled it differently. There was an accent over the ‘a’ in Bani but everyone missed it and just called them ‘Bani Bands.’ We finally gave in and started calling them Bani Bands since that is how the majority of our customers were pronouncing it.
What is your biggest pet peeve or regret?
I don’t have any regrets. Everything I’ve gone through has helped me become the person I am today. Sometimes we don’t understand in the moment why we have bad experiences but I know that they ultimately help us grow to be better people and better leaders.
What is the best advice you have ever received that has helped your company establish itself?
Cut my overhead, buy an RV and hit the road! My husband (then boyfriend) convinced me to move out of my cute beach house in Los Angeles and take the ultimate road trip in 2009 and 2010. We drove over 25,000 miles hitting events all over the country selling our headbands. The end result saved me tens of thousands of dollars in rent, hotel, rental cars and other living expenses. Within a year the RV had paid for itself and I had successfully grown the Bani Band brand recognition in over 15 different states and got to see the country while having the experience of a lifetime!
What were you, as the founder of the company, doing before you launched your current business?
I was an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army. I served for almost seven years before I decided to get out and go to fashion school in L.A. I had always wanted to design athletic apparel for tall women (again, born out of necessity) so that’s what I did. Headbands came along as an add-on to a line of clothing for those of us who don’t fit into ‘normal’ sizes.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo