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“Mistake Out”

Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a Dallas bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. Wasn’t there a better way to correct the errors she made on her electric typewriter'

Bette had some art experience and she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. Maybe that would work for her too. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called “MistakeOut.” She attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they turned her down. However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette Nesmith’s kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own.

When Bette Nesmith sold the enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer was Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million.

Crossroads, Issue No. 7, pp. 3-4