What is your product(s)?
We are a sustainable leotard company celebrating the beauty, wisdom and value of women who dance. Our leotards are designed and produced in the USA with ECONYL® regenerated nylon fiber and a portion of every sale goes towards art and earth initiatives.
Where were you with your idea or business before joining Factory45?
Before joining Factory45, I tucked my idea for Jai-Dee Dancewear on a high shelf in my mind and resisted its tugging presence. My desire to bring dance, the arts and sustainability together in meaningful ways felt persistent and salient… but also just beyond my reach. Standing in the way of this pursuit were overwhelming barriers both real and imagined. I had the tenacity to work hard but lacked the resources, skills, support and confidence to work well. I joined Factory45 to dissolve these barriers, bridge various gaps and to ultimately get my idea off the shelf and into the world.
How did joining Factory45 help you?
I consider Factory45 the backbone of our business. This highly organized yet malleable program has been central to the creation, launch and continued growth of Jai-Dee. Shannon’s videos, interviews and exercises taught me how to carry forward my own strengths and experiences in adaptable ways while also learning and integrating new skills and navigating new environments. The learnings, resources and connections have been invaluable for finding everything from the right fabric to the right perspective.
In your opinion, what is the most valuable thing about Factory45?
Factory45 is constructed with two things I value most – beautiful structure and uncompromising quality. I thrive with these elements! Such thoughtful infrastructure enabled me to work with clarity and direction while preventing feelings of overwhelm. There’s a distinct sense of purpose with each module offered and this resulted in a process that felt both grounded and inspiring! Every module of the program was exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.
The overall structure and quality of the program also has a personal touch to it that humanizes the whole thing. Since humanity in business feels so rare, this was truly refreshing! The program stands up as an example that we can indeed do success business differently. Shannon is highly skilled and full of insight, but also a genuinely thoughtful and supportive person. Her authentic warmth and presence sets an instructive tone throughout the program. The community she facilitates is intimate and personal, yet also wide-reaching and diverse. To this day, I continue to lean into the resources and connections that her well-structured and high-quality program offers.
What were some big or small milestones that you hit after going through Factory45?
Factory45 has been alongside us for every milestone so far! Because of Factory45 I was able to take a small, half-formed idea off my dream shelf and move with it, step by step, towards making it a reality. I learned the ins and outs of starting a business, sourced fabrics, created our signature designs and completed our first production run. Factory45 introduced me to remarkable artists who I collaborated with in order to better grasp social media, start a blog and design a website. September 2019, Jai-Dee Dancewear officially launched its Shopify site and Factory45 continues to support our past, current and future growth.
Please describe your business after Factory45.
Before Factory45, Jai-Dee Dancewear was a dreamy idea I believed in but wasn’t positioned to quite reach. Factory45 helped me grow things both within and outside myself and today, I hold our newly-launched business feeling both fully capable and fully supported. Seeing our leotards and mission embraced by dancers and movers gives me both joy and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It is an accomplishment shared by the many people who contributed to Factory45 and its many components. Currently, our business is celebrating exactly where we are (launched!) but also thinking about next steps and sustainable growth. Thanks to Factory45, I have learned how to pursue the next best steps, embrace the process of learning, overcome challenges, find support and celebrate all forms of success. Thank you Shannon for everything you do and all that you help create!