Note: This blog post has been updated since its original publishing date.
If you’ve been pondering the idea of applying to Factory45 but haven’t dove in yet, you’ve probably seen the testimonials, the social media posts, and have been reading the emails.
I can share the words of “praise” that past Factory45’ers have about the program, and I can tell you to reach out to them personally and ask for their honest feedback.
But I think what says the most is the actual, tangible progress that last year’s entrepreneurs have made. The “Before and After” shots, if you will.
With that said, I want to walk you through the “Where she started / Where she is now” scenarios of five of the entrepreneurs from the 2014 program.
MIKAELA, FOUNDER OF RUTH & RAGNAR
Where she started: Mikaela joined Factory45 in June with no fashion background, very little tech experience, and zero knowledge of manufacturing. She came to me with an idea for organic cotton children’s clothing and wanted to print her own photographs onto each piece in a “non-toxic” way. I was hesitantly optimistic, knowing how difficult it would be to find the printing option she wanted at the minimums she was looking for, but I encouraged her to keep after it.
Where she is now: After being told “no” by supplier after supplier, printer after printer and factory after factory, Mikaela has set up a supply chain within the U.S. that has never before existed. She also found a textile printer to work with on a special process that doesn’t require PVC plastic or plastisol. Mikaela also set up her own Shopify website, has production-ready patterns and samples, sourced 100% U.S.-grown organic cotton and has already been contacted by bloggers wanting to write about her. Ruth & Ragnar, her online e-commerce store, launched on February 18, 2015 and she sold out of multiple styles in five hours.
ANGELA, FOUNDER OF MAMACHIC
Where she started: Angela and her husband, Mike, started working on their product, the Mamachic, three years ago. They trademarked and registered their company name and logo, patented their design, created a projected production budget, and worked with consultants to source materials and design a prototype. And then, as can often happen, they hit a standstill.
Where she is now: Angela has four samples of a newly designed prototype that is more functional, sustainable and durable than the original. She can’t leave the house wearing one of the samples without someone stopping her and asking about it. She sourced all of her materials, launched a brand new website, is working with a production partner in North Carolina, photographed her lookbook and filmed her crowdfunding video. She then launched a Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of 2015 that raised over $29,000 and was featured on The Today Show and Forbes.com. By the end of 2015, she was nominated for a Cribsie Award for best nursing cover.
JESSE, FOUNDER OF EENVOUD
Where she started: Jesse had been working on her women’s apparel company, Eenvoud, since she graduated from Parsons School of Design two years ago. She had created sketches of her first collection, experimented with draping, and had started looking for sustainable fabrics but was unable to make much traction.
Where she is now: All of the patterns and samples for Eenvoud’s first collection have been completed and are production ready. Jesse has sourced the perfect fabric that fits her sustainability guidelines. She has created a defined and targeted brand vision and launched a beautiful new website. She ended up launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund her first production run that reached its goal amount in 27 hours. She went on to double it, raising over $20,000.
LARA, FOUNDER OF FOREST & FIN
Where she started: Lara was the only person in Factory45 who already had an established business. She came into the program wanting to grow her existing sales and also launch a new piece that better fit the long-term vision of her company.
Where she is now: Lara has redesigned and relaunched two beautiful websites (one for her company Forest and Fin and one for her artwork). She completed the design and prototype of her “bicycle wrap skirt” and launched it with a Kickstarter campaign in spring 2015 that raised over $20,000. The sales for her Forest and Fin tees have increased on her website and on Etsy. She has also grown her community of entrepreneurs in Savannah and was chosen as one of the entrepreneurs to compete in a live Fast Pitch competition.
HEIDI, FOUNDER OF ALTER UR EGO
Where she started: When Heidi was crowned “Miss Wheelchair Kentucky” in 2012 she had the opportunity to speak to physically disabled youth all over the country. Time after time, she empathized with her peers about the lack of fashionable clothing that was also functional and comfortable for people in wheelchairs. She knew she wanted to create what she and her friends couldn’t find on the market, but she had no idea where to start.
Where she is now: With the help of a talented designer within my network, Heidi has created two prototypes of blue jeans for both men and women in wheelchairs. She has sourced American-made denim and her entire supply chain will be set up within a 100-mile radius in North Carolina, reducing the carbon footprint of her company to a fraction of most companies. She launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $20,000 and went viral on Mashable, Hello Giggles, Yahoo! and other international press.
These are only five examples from last year, but the other entrepreneurs in the program also made leaps and bounds in their own businesses.
Based on the results that I’ve seen from Factory45 and from past clients I’ve worked with when I was consulting, I will confidently guarantee you I can help you start your business.
I can help you get further than you could on your own.
And I can help you move faster than you would on your own.
I can also guarantee you this:
If you put in the time, the work and persistence, you will be in a significantly different place in your life once Factory45 is over.
I guarantee you will meet other entrepreneurs in the program who will turn into incredible friends, confidants and mentors.
I guarantee you will feel supported, emotionally and entrepreneurially. That support will come from me, from your peers, from my contacts in the industry who I’ll connect you with, from clear action steps in the program and from the knowledge you’ll gain from the course.
And I guarantee that you will feel a major shift in your life. If you feel stuck right now, at a standstill or as if all the dots aren’t connecting, Factory45 will help you make that shift.