Hildy Abrams | Part I – Career Path, Blog 2

Branching out

Abrams choses to live her life with passion and persistence, no matter what the task may be. So when she met Moss Kadey, who brought Brita to North America, a little light bulb went on in her head.

“We had met through the industry and he’d said if I ever wanted to do something on my own to come see him,” she says. “So I did.”

Kadey’s strategy with Brita centered on creating an entire business around one product. Thanks to Kadey, the Brita water filtration system has become a ubiquitous name in North American households. When Abrams first met with him, he had launched a company called Trupco (The Really Unique Product Co.). He employed the same business model with Trupco as he had done so successfully with Brita. Needless to say, Abrams was intrigued.

Abrams joined forces with Kadey and Trupco in 1994. It was not easy to leave her family and Murray Sales behind. On a personal level, the three family members worked hard to make the split as amicable as possible.

“It was okay, that was their wish,” describing her father’s desire to hand over the reins to her brother when the time came. “I think my brother and my dad felt that here I was, late in the game, coming to the party.”

Abrams felt a sense of ownership, perhaps even entitlement in the family business. “When you feel like you’ve built something you don’t just give away some of that.”

“I know that the whole notion of equity gets bandied about in the business world, but it’s because people don’t have a view of businesses being somehow sacred, right? I think people who build from the ground up have more of a sense of that.”

She desperately sought a place for herself at the top of the ladder at Murray Sales, however deep down she knew, and later accepted, that she would not find it with them.

“My brother had been there before me,” she admits. “I think all these years later, I probably understand it a lot better now than I did then.”

Abrams worked in tandem with Kadey at Trupco over the next 18 months. Together they built the case for the company and developed a product that would cement Trupco as a major player in kitchenware.

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