Entrepreneur’s Dresses “Would Save Mothers Endless Work”

Schumpeter would have loved the passage quoted below—it is a wonderful example for his argument that capitalism mainly benefits ordinary people of modest means.

(p. 147) Listen to how Borgenicht describes his decision to expand beyond aprons:

From my study of the market I knew that only three men were making children’s dresses in 1890. One was an East Side tailor near me, who made only to order, while the other two turned out an expensive product with which I had no desire at all to compete. I wanted to make “popular price” stuff–wash dresses, silks, and woolens. It was
my goal to produce dresses that the great mass of the people could afford, dresses that would–from the business angle–sell equally well to both large and small, city and country stores. With Regina’s help–she always had excellent taste, and judgment–I made up a line of samples. Displaying them to all my “old” customers and friends, I hammered home every point–my dresses would save mothers endless work, the materials and sewing were as good and probably better than anything that could be done at home, the price was right for quick disposal.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. New York, NY: Little, Brown, and Co., 2008.

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