(This article uses an episode of Discovery Plus’s popular show, Sister Wives, to illustrate a point about the importance of proper business planning. Any implications about the actors’ inner lives or motivations are unintentional, as these would be beyond the scope of this article. My broader point is not about the show itself, but about how many things can go wrong when a business plan is not put together properly.)
Trouble From the Beginning
In season 5, episode 2 of Sister Wives (titled “Polygamists in the Shark Tank”), the polygamist Brown family attempted to launch a luxury jewelry business called “My Sisterwife’s Closet”. After a few brief discussions, they pitched their “business plan” to a venture capitalist. I put the phrase “business plan” in quotation marks, because their presentation might not deserve such a name. Putting together a business plan is a difficult, time-consuming process, where the stakes are often high: the Browns allowed their own personal rivalries and emotions to interfere with their planning process, and as a result, their plan was not taken seriously by their investor.
Right from the beginning, there was conflict about which sister wife would be the CFO of the company. The business was Robyn’s idea, but Janelle was implied to have contributed the majority of the capital, and she had differing opinions on how the business should be run. There was also some doubt as to whether their husband, Kody, was fully clear about what a CFO actually does.
Due to the show’s popularity, the family had access to a large potential customer base, particularly since they had a functional website and were able to complete online orders. When the website was launched, it received millions of views immediately, but only a few hundred sales. This generally speaks to a problem with branding. The Browns chose “My Sister Wife’s Closet” as their business name, shortly after Utah (their base of operations at the time) had briefly outlawed polygamy. The jewelry itself was sold at a relatively high price, but online reviews complained that the font and design choices did not match the expectations of luxury jewelry consumers. Additionally, as some Reddit users pointed out, the word “closet” does not immediately make one think of jewelry.
Fans knew that the business was not doing well when they saw another sister wife selling the products at a loss on her Instagram Live. While My Sisterwife’s Closet still has an active business license with the state of Arizona, the website has not been updated since 2019.
Don’t Neglect Your Business Plan
A business plan is hard work. You will need to research your market, determine a strategy, and anticipate potential problems. (See Planning Your Business for a more in-depth look at this process.) In addition, it is extremely important to make sure you understand all of the legal requirements for your new business, which can differ from state to state. Working with a licensed attorney is the safest way to avoid legal troubles down the road. Unlike many other legal technology companies, L4SB is actually run by business lawyers, with over 200 years of combined experience. Talk to one of our licensed attorneys about your business today!
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