At a meeting in Silicon Valley one day seven years ago, when securities lawyer Ali Wing heard herself criticizing her client's revenue model, she knew the time had come to change hats.
The daughter of a Montana land investor in a family of nine children, including five adopted siblings, Ali
says "we were all raised to conquer the world.
After attending Lewis and Clark College
in Portland, she
went to work at nearby Nike for eight years, picking up valuable marketing skills.
left to get an MBA because "I wanted more finance.
also thought a professional law degree could help because "I was from a working class family background and wanted every advantage in my pocket.
At Northwestern she
picked up a combined business law degree and in 1997 joined Silcon Valley law firm
Gunderson Dettmer, whose clients fund fledgling businesses.
When founding partner, now mentor, Bob Gunderson, first recruited her
had told her
"I would be happy to have you as a lawyer or a client."
Founder CEO Ali Wing
When Ali first left law for business, she became marketing head at Gazoontite, a retailer of allergy products, But soon she became attracted by the opportunities presented by the growing demographic of older parents.
So in 2003 she launched her company, Giggle, in San Francisco, to provide information, organic clothing, equipment, and smarter products for babies, along with customized services to make it easier when you become new parents.
Now with products and services available both online and in 15 retail outlets around the country, Giggle
offers customers personal shoppers, a baby registry, and various gear guides along with, as one recent customer commented, "a very cool aesthetic which appeals to professional women."
Now based in New York, with a corporate staff of 40 and some 120 employees in the field, Ali Wing
says "we're currently in expansion mode building out an executive team.
Results make her
point: last year overall sales were up 35%, with catalog and web sales skyrocketing by 70%.
sees herself as brand CEO and considers herself "atypically operational.
I'm not a serial entrepreneur, but I do have global domination plans for Giggle
It may take a long time to build big plays, but I have the work ethic and tenacity to prevail, though I am also quick to delegate when I have the right team."
But Ali Wing is just one of a host of former lawyers turned entrepreneurs who value their legal training but were lured by opportunities they couldn't resist.