Stephanie Sumarsono Defines Success With Court Couture

When it comes to business, I have long and often wondered what exactly the difference is between success and failure. Owning my own company is a dream, but I am just now starting to look at the type of women who have made it.

In this quest I have asked a few women for interviews. Luckily for me, “I know a guy who knows a guy” who knows Stephanie Sumarsono ; owner and designer of Court Couture tennis bags. She recently got back to me and her story is just too good not to share.

I recently got in contact with Stephanie and asked her a few questions about how she began her business, the struggles she had starting the company and her goal as the business owner.

Stephanie Sumarsono, who graduated with a bachelor`s degree in interior and graphic design from CSU Fresno has enjoyed the sport of tennis since high school and continued to play through her college years but she stopped when she began working.

“I have always loved the sport but didn't start playing again until my youngest child was in preschool when I finally had a little free time in the morning,” she said. “I joined a neighborhood tennis club and got addicted to it!” Stephanie admits she got to a point where she was so in love with the game she would schedule her work and chores around her tennis schedule; playing came first.

After several years of playing tennis five times a week, and even that wasn`t enough for Stephanie, she realized that the sport was missing something; a fashionable, functional tennis bag for women.

“I noticed that women have so many choices in tennis outfits.  Every season we have new apparels with nice matching tennis shoes. In spring and fall we have totally different looks on the court. The choices are unlimited, but we had no choices as far as tennis bags. I thought this was sad and rather odd that no one created tennis bag to match the cute tennis outfits.”

That one notion marked the beginning of Court Couture tennis bags. With her love of fashion and addiction to the sport, Stephanie set out on her quest to create tennis bags that are affordable, functional and fashionable for the modern tennis woman like herself.

Of course, as with any new business, there were challenges. “When I started nothing was easy,” Stephanie admits. One of the main problems was finding the right factory that could manufacture her tennis bags the way she had envisioned and then having to narrow it down from  several factories in several countries seemed overwhelming, not to mention frustrating, “It was a long and expensive process with so many ups and downs.”

Luckily for Stephanie, her family was always behind her every step of the way. “My whole family encouraged and supported me all the way. If they didn't I would have not been to where I am now. I think my family knows what I can and can't do. I don't think they ever doubted me.”

Despite the support from her family, juggling between her home life and business life proved to be another test of her ability to run her own business, “…this was another challenge from a totally different level.”

Stephanie, who has three kids, two boys, 21 and 14 and a 13 year old girl, said her family has always been her first priority and schedules her work hours around her children`s calendars. “My husband and I both have very busy schedules but we try to always be there for the kids.”

“Some issues are always there and will never end as this is part of a process of doing business. I guess with experience some issues are more easily handled.” After hearing about her ups and downs I asked Stephanie, “If you could do it all over again, would you change anything about how you started the company, how you run it?”

Her response was simple and to the point but extremely encouraging to someone like myself who is weary about the business world, “I would not change anything.” It was refreshing to know that with all the difficult times starting her company and the ongoing challenges that she faces on a daily basis, she has no regrets.

In my interview with Stephanie I really wanted to understand her philosophy to running a business and her goal with Court Couture. She said the key the maintaining the business “is to come up with new designs, new materials, new improvements, finding new markets, etc.”

She also gave me her insight on her goal for the company and what she aims to provide for her customers.  “The focus is to provide tennis bags that are stylish, good quality and multi-functional that women will be proud to carry to the tennis court and anywhere.”

Since the start of Court Couture in the Summer of 2009, Stephanie`s company has made great strides in the tennis world.

Recently, her tennis bags have become famous being featured in three episodes of ABC Family`s new series, “Pretty Little Liars.” When I asked Stephanie about the bags` guest appearances on the show she said, “The prop master was looking for high end tennis bags for some tennis shootings and found my website. He contacted me and asked for several bags to see if the stars liked them. They loved the bags and decided to have the bags at the show.”

In spite of the challenges that Stephanie faced and continues to face on a daily basis, she has overcome the obstacles and manages both her family and work life; a juggling act that many would not be able to do. The success of Court Couture tennis bags is a perfect example of how you can have a family and a successful business without having to sacrifice one for the other.  Maybe now I`ll give it a try! 

 

Courtney Sloan is a copywriter and a college student studying mass media. As a copywriter, Courtney has made it her mission to find interesting stories on sports, fashion and more and share them with the community. 

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