Bette Graham began her business career in 1951 as a secretary at Texas Bank & Trust, doing free-lance artwork on the side to earn extra money. It was through her knowledge of pigments, solvents and brushes that she came up with the idea of a fluid to paint out typing mistakes. Her friends began to use Mistake Out and in a relatively short time, she was supplying her product to all the secretaries in the building. Her kitchen was her manufacturing plant and remained so until 1964 when she moved the operation into a portable building in her back yard. Orders increased; Bette resigned her secretarial position and went into full-time marketing. She changed the name of her company to Liquid Paper in 1968 and moved into an 11,000 square foot building in Dallas.
Her success did not come easily. Diligent research went into improving her product. At the public library she located a formula for tempura paint, and a chemistry teacher at St. Mark's School helped her with her experimentation. An employee of a paint company showed her how to grind and mix paint. Michael Nesmith, her son, and his friends bottled and sold the product to office supply dealers picked out at random from the phone.
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