By Brian Lahm
Pretty in Pink: Beka Celebrates Red-Letter Anniversary
E-commerce small business, The Pink Store, and owner Beka Doolittle’s special one-year anniversary will be a pink-letter day. In late December 2014, corporate giant Victoria’s Secret backed off on its legal opposition to the trademark for Beka’s business, The Pink Store.
Conversely, a two-year anniversary Beka would like to forget was anything but a red-letter day. Well, Code Red, maybe. Beka admits shedding tears in late December 2013 when she received a stunning demand from a Victoria’s Secret lawyer to drop the trademark on her everything-in-pink retail business. As mysteriously as the legal threat surfaced, it disappeared in the same way in 12 months’ time.
Relief For The Pink Store
“Having something of that magnitude hanging over my head for a year was a bit daunting to say the least,” said the 41-year-old Elkhorn-area resident. “Being able to walk away from that without the worry of losing all I’ve worked for has been a relief. Knowing I can continue to move forward with my company and allow it to evolve leaves me feeling thankful. It was very freeing when Victoria’s Secret relented. No money was exchanged. They dropped it as quickly as they started it. If I may say so, getting the ‘bragging rights’ is pretty cool.”
Victoria’s Secret, America’s largest lingerie retailer, petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Beka’s trademark for thepinkstore.com after she had received it in May 2013. Her business includes a wide-ranging variety of pink-colored items: from children’s tricycles to handbags, cuff links and dog accessories, but she does not sell any line of products that competes with Victoria’s Secret. She has one employee – herself.
Victoria’s Secret challenged Beka’s trademark because the mega business claimed it was concerned the trademark could cause consumers to confuse her online store with its pink-branded apparel. Victoria’s Secret Pink stores sell its Pinkbrand lingerie and loungewear, marketed to teenagers and young women. The company has more than 120 standalone Pink stores in the United States and Canada.
Many observers were impressed with Beka’s persistence and faith during her yearlong ordeal. Some even said they believed Beka’s battle with Victoria’s Secret had biblical overtones, not unlike those detailed in 1 Samuel 17, where David prevailed against Goliath in the paramount against-all-odds story of the Old Testament.
David prevailed against Goliath!
When asked how her faith helped her endure the struggle, Beka said: “The first Bible passage that comes to mind is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will direct your path.’ I am a firm believer that everything happens at the right time and for the right reason. We don’t always see the reasons in the moment, but eventually, they will play out.”
Describing her gratitude for what many business experts called “an improbable victory,” Beka said: “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m going with an 11! But I will say this: For every experience, there’s an instrumental element of wisdom worth infinite value. I wouldn’t give up a single day of my entrepreneurial journey no matter how difficult it may seem at times. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Each and every obstacle we face or every victory we experience is a part of who we become. That is, in fact, the best life story each of us has to hand down to the next generation. It’s an amazing life circle.”
I wouldn’t give up a single day of my entreprenurial journey. ~ Beka Doolittle
In the year since Victoria’s Secret pulled out of the challenge, life has changed for Beka and her family. Beka took time away from The Pink Store so she could focus on her youngest child and husband Brad. Along the way this past year, she also married off her oldest son and became a grandma. Beka enjoyed watching two of her children tour the country with their Christian band Unscene Patrol. “It brings me great joy to know they are bringing God’s Word to people across the country. The boys are incredibly talented,” Beka said.
Omaha-area entrepreneur Joseph Kenney, a business and nonprofit consultant, as well as the founder of Christian businesses 316 Strategy Group and 316 Marketplace, has watched Beka’s saga unfold. Joe and 316 Strategy Group jumped into the fray and provided spiritual support as well as access to their business acumen. Joe and his associates savored the good times with Beka and Brad.
“I have been impressed with Beka’s attitude toward her situation,” Joe said. “She is a fun-loving person who is a bright spot on the horizon. She did not wish Victoria’s Secret any ill will nor denigrated them in any way, shape or form; she’s a very forgiving person who is full of grace.
“I can tell that she was puzzled and hurt by their actions. I also know that she is a fighter – she’s spunky. She absolutely loves what she’s doing. In my view, it would be difficult for anyone in her shoes if it was all taken away. She and her attorney knew that most of the time, businesses simply close down from fear when legal threats like this happen to them.”
Joe said Beka is an idea person who had dreams and never stops looking ahead – a characteristic of a natural-born entrepreneur. One vision is to keep her online store, which continues to reach consumers nationally while adding a local warehouse for fulfillment and a small storefront for local pink lovers.
Joe said despair had never set in for Beka and her family, and she knew whatever happened would be part of God’s plan. “She was fine with that,” Joe said, “and you can’t help but admire her deep faith in God and His will.”
You can’t help but admire her deep faith in God and His will. ~ Joseph Kenney
During one of their summer meetings, a severe weather watch was posted for the Omaha area, and Beka commented that she needed to shave her legs and paint her toes pink before any potential storm arrived. “I asked why, and she said she simply wanted to be ready for heaven ‘if tonight’s the night,’ ” Joe said with a laugh.
Beka and The Pink Store praised Joe and 316Marketplace.com for coming to her aid. “Ah, yes,” Beka said, “316Marketplace.com has been invaluable. Having their mentorship is by far more than I expected or could have asked for. As a result, my focus is getting better each day because of this team effort. I simply cannot say enough good things and I cannot express enough gratitude for the time invested into my company as well as my personal journey. The vested interest is truly a work of God and I’m blessed to be part of the 316 family!”
For more information about The Pink Store, contact owner Beka Doolittle at (402) 740-6891 or toll-free at (877) 991-PINK. Check out the business website at www.thepinkstore.com. For more information about how 316marketplace.com can help your business or entrepreneur efforts, visit http://316marketplace.com/ or call (402) 415-9842 or stop by our offices at 17117 Burt Street, Omaha, Nebraska, in the Nebraska Realty building.