Anti-Racist Fashion Brand

“Allyship is a verb…”

Said diversity consultant Ericka Hines during Rachel Rodgers’ Town Hall to Reimagine Small Business event. 

And her words have stuck with me.

As I’ve been learning, listening and absorbing how to be a better ally to BIPOC, I’ve also been struggling with the feeling of not doing enough.

With every realization of where I’ve fallen short as a result of my own blind spots, comes the urgency of wanting to fix it overnight.

But I know that’s not how this works.

True allyship is about steady, consistent and deliberate action. It’s not performative, it’s not temporary and it’s certainly not a marketing strategy.

So, the real question I’ve had to ask myself is:

What is one small action that I can take today to make sure I’m still doing this work a year from now?

In a webinar hosted by The Garment last week, DEI consultant Erica Courdae spoke about values.

“What do you stand for?” she asked, “What do you stand against?”

And as I listened to Erica speak, I discovered one of the first tangible changes I could make to my own business for lasting impact.

I realized there was a hole in the Factory45 program.

While I’m constantly encouraging my entrepreneurs to hone in on their business model, clarify their mission, write down their vision and identify their ideal target customer, I left out an important piece of that puzzle. 

I’ve never encouraged my entrepreneurs to think about their business values from the standpoint of diversity, equity and inclusion.

When really, those three things should be foundational to every business model.

So, thanks to Erica’s teachings, I’ve created a DEI exercise for Factory45 that will now be a requirement for all future Factory45 entrepreneurs.

I’m also offering it to any of my subscribers or readers so that you can use it to build an anti-racist fashion brand, even if you’re not one of my students.

You can download it here

I give all credit to Erica Courdae for the content.

It should go without saying that this exercise is only the beginning. Beyond identifying your values as a brand, taking action on those values is most important.

But I hope this exercise helps you to start answering some of the questions that you may not have thought of before.

I’m hopeful and excited about the prospect of future fashion brands being built around DEI principles from the ground up — 

I know that we can do this together.

 

 

 

 

Free Download: Creating a Foundation of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Your Fashion Brand

photo montage of factory45 alumni mentors

Every year that I launch Factory45, I spend a good portion of my energy thinking about this:

How can I make this year more impactful, more helpful, more supportive for the entrepreneurs that come through the program?

Because the truth is, if you’re not always striving to improve your business then you’ll start to lag behind.

So whether it’s filming new videos, updating the content, redesigning the Factory45 portal or providing more personal support, I’m constantly working throughout the year to make sure Factory45 maintains its uncompromising quality.

So, that begs the question,

What am I doing to enhance the Factory45 program this year?

…drumroll please… 

I’m so excited to announce that we’re adding:

Factory45 Alumni Mentors!

For the first time ever, participants of the 2020 program will be matched up with a Factory45 graduate who is currently running her own sustainable fashion brand.

These nine hand-picked women will provide text messaging support, virtual coworking sessions and additional guidance for small groups of Factory45’ers who will work together throughout the six-month program.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the nine Alumni Mentors for the 2020 program! Click the play button below.

If you want to start creating your own sustainable fashion brand, and you’re looking for the behind-the-scenes guidance of someone actually doing it, then applications to Factory45 open in one week!

In the meantime, I’ll be on Instagram Live today at 1pm ET / 10am PT to share more details about the Alumni Mentorship program. 

Simply go to @factory45co today, anytime after 1pm ET / 10am PT, and you can watch me live (or watch a recording) to hear more about what’s in store for you and our Mentors.

I can’t wait for you to meet them!

 

 

 

P.S. Thank you to EditMate for putting together this fun video for us — I told the Mentors, I can’t stop smiling when I watch it : )


fabric sourcing

 

woman entrepreneur planning and strategizing on laptop

The weirdest thing happened to me the other day.

I realized something that I never could have guessed would be my current reality.

I know, not shocking considering the state of the world.

But first, let me backup.

If you’ve been following along over the past couple of weeks you know that I launched The Mask Project to match hospitals in need of PPE with factories in America that could make them.

First, I connected with a fabric supplier that could provide the fabric.

Second, I connected with factories that could make the masks.

Next, we created a landing page to collect email addresses from the hospitals.

Then, we started gathering “orders” and shipping out the masks.

But here’s where things got interesting… 

We quickly realized that we couldn’t sustain The Mask Project on donations alone, while also keeping sewers paid.

So with the partnership of a factory in Massachusetts, we launched a direct-to-consumer Shopify site where we could sell personal face masks to the public.

By selling personal masks, we’re able to help offset the cost of producing the donated masks to hospitals across the country.

Similar to if I had launched a crowdfunding campaign to pre-sell…

If you’ve already graduated from Factory45, then this all might sound familiar to you.

Because here’s what I realized:

After all of these years (six to be exact) I followed the exact steps to launch The Mask Project that I teach through the Factory45 accelerator program.

Already having the framework for the process, the manufacturing and supplier connections and past experience starting companies this way, I was able to adopt an accelerated version of Factory45.

Instead of launching a product in six months, like I teach in Factory45, we launched in two weeks.

(Of course, two weeks is an extreme timeline, but we’re living in extreme times.)

Anyway, my point is: 

It’s been really cool to observe how well this model for building a business still works.

(I just wish it didn't take a pandemic.)

Of course, there’s so much more that goes into it than the simplified version I just outlined, but it’s been interesting to go through the process again — a decade after doing it the first time.

And to prove, once again, that Factory45 really does work.

I know that some of you reading have been waiting a year for applications to open for the 2020 program.

I’ve been getting emails from people asking if Factory45 is still happening this year given the current state of the world.

And thankfully, because Factory45 is entirely online, I can tell you:

Yes, we are absolutely opening applications as scheduled.

I’ll be sharing some exciting changes to the program over the next few weeks.

And I can’t wait to fill you in on the details.

More soon,

 

 

 

P.S. Did you catch last week’s post? Read Why It’s Never Been a Better Time to Start a Sustainable Fashion Brand


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woman in blue and white skirt with shopping bags

Yesterday, on the American Fashion Podcast, I joined a panel of fashion industry experts to talk about the repercussions of COVID-19.

Everyone shared their perspective from their own little corner of the fashion industry, from luxury to brick-and-mortar retail to supply chain.

Some of the panelists were optimistic while others were not.

But out of everything that was said, this was my biggest takeaway:

It has never been a better time to be a small, independent fashion brand.

And here’s why:

The big, bloated fast fashion brands of the world are STRUGGLING. They have inventory sitting in stores, they have inventory sitting in warehouses and what they’re selling online is immediately being cut to 70 percent off.

They have so much product to move, so many orders that have already been placed with manufacturers and suppliers — AND they are accountable to shareholders.

So, what does that mean for us?

This is sustainable fashion’s moment to shine.

We’re already doing small batches, localizing our supply chains, manufacturing on-demand and not producing thousands more garments than we can sell.

And if you asked anyone on that panel yesterday, all of them would say that this model is the future of fashion.

It is also a moment of reckoning for the monstrously wasteful and environmentally-ravaging fast fashion industry.

If there’s any sort of silver lining, it’s that the 3 trillion dollar fashion industry is being forced to hit the reset button.

What it also tells me is that there has never been a better time to start your own brand.

Why?

Because the “rat race” to success has slowed. 

This is an incredibly freeing thing because it means that you can take your time to diligently and thoughtfully put time into your research and development.

Second, suppliers and manufacturers have had millions of dollars in canceled orders overnight. They are going to be less busy and more willing to work with you because they, too, will be building their businesses back up.

Third, there are new market needs now that open up endless opportunities for innovation. There are a whole slew of products that will exist at the end of this crisis that didn’t exist before. 

And finally, it takes 6-24 months to launch a new fashion brand. From sourcing to product development to building an audience, you need time and now you have time. 

The economy and the “new normal” will get to a better place, we will get through this and when we do you’ll be there, too, ready to launch your brand to the world.

It’s also worth noting that every expert on the panel (all of them who were far wiser and more experienced than me) said we should expect a huge holiday season in retail.

If your small brand can make it to December, or if your new brand can hold out to launch in December, then it will be worth it.

It’s easy to think of this time as if it will never end but not only do I know we’ll get through this, I know the industry will be better off for it in the end. 

Here’s to the future of fashion,

 


UPDATE ON THE MASK PROJECT: In one week, we received requests from 900 hospitals and interest from 300 factory partners. Thank you so much to everyone who helped spread the word!

We are still actively matching hospitals and manufacturers while seeking out options for funding. If you can donate to the project, the proceeds will go towards paying the factories to keep their sewers employed. Thanks a million to everyone who has already contributed!


spec sheet cta

It took me seven hours to write this post.

It’s true, I didn’t complete any other work yesterday. 

Monday was even worse (I won’t tell you how many episodes of Peaky Blinders I re-watched...)

So before I attempt to pull us up by the bootstraps, I want you to know that I’ve been as distracted, unmotivated, scared, sad and freaked out as you may feel.

And yet, what I’ve come to realize is this: The show must go on.

Your business, your friend’s business, the business you may one day start — they all depend on it.

And while the show may look a lot different than it did a week ago, we need your small business to start, to grow, to survive.

So if you’re ready, this is my rallying cry for small brands across the globe.

We can get through this — and here’s how:

Now is the time to innovate like you’ve never innovated before. 

I have seen genius examples of this in just the past couple of days. 

Take knitwear brand Sh*t that I Knit. They knew that millions of people would be confined to their homes with a lot more time on their hands, so they created virtual knitting classes. 

In just 24 hours, 600 people signed up. And then they created The Quarantine Kit to accompany the classes — for $65 you get a skein of Merino Wool yarn, knitting needles, a pattern and video instructions.

My husband’s company, Project Repat, makes quilts from their customers’ memorable t-shirts. They were worried that people would no longer be able to go to the post office to mail their shirts, so they set up a system to print shipping labels at home and schedule an at-home pickup with the post office. This keeps the business moving without requiring people to leave their homes.

Be sensitive to the climate, but don’t be afraid to market.

I’ve been paying close attention to brands like Reformation and Factory45’er VETTA and how they’ve surveyed their customers in the past five days.

You may feel worried that launching new collections or talking about sustainability or sharing a funny meme will appear insensitive to everything that’s going on in the world.

But do you know what most of their customers told them?

Carry on as normal. The overwhelming majority said they scroll through Instagram to be inspired, see creativity and look at beautiful things — not to hear more news about COVID-19. 

Most people are craving normalcy right now. Take this opportunity to create content that will make them laugh, inspire them or create a feeling of peace.

Move in-person retail to e-commerce or virtual pop-ups.

Boston retailers For Now and Olives + Grace transitioned part of their brick and mortar inventory to e-commerce in 48 hours.

I’m sure it wasn’t an easy task — with a lot of lost sleep — but desperate times call for desperate measures. This is an example of putting in the hard leg-work now to set up your business for what’s to come.

The Garment has mastered the model of what virtual pop-ups can look like on Instagram. Scroll through Morgan’s Instagram Stories for inspiration. 

Use your time wisely.

This is probably the most challenging piece of advice because we’re all feeling so distracted — not to mention, a lot of us have kids at home.

If you can swing it, this is a great time to invest in educating yourself. One of the first things I did yesterday was sign up for an all-pass subscription to MasterClass (I can take business classes and Mexican cooking classes at the same time.)

Try to set aside some time each day to learn something new or learn more about something you already know. For immediate access to online fashion resources, check out Factory45 TV, StartUp Fashion, Jane Hamill’s Podcast and The Factory Floor.

Keep the dream alive.

If you were planning to start a brand this year and you feel like the wind has been taken out of your sails, hear this:

Don’t wait.

It takes 6-18 months to launch a new fashion brand and now is the perfect time to start researching, developing, planning and marketing for your future launch.

The state of the world will get better and when things take an upward turn, you’ll be ready to debut your brand to a wiser and stronger economy.

I have utmost faith in our ability to get through this and come out better for it on the other side.

And finally…  

If you’re not a small business owner, I have a rallying cry for you as the consumer. 

We need you now more than ever.

It has never been more important to think carefully and thoughtfully about how you spend your money.

There are small businesses that sell just about every consumer product you can think of and they want to serve your needs.

It’s up to all of us to keep our small businesses alive so that when we do get past this, they can continue to thrive.

This is our rallying cry.

Will you join me?

 

 


Are you a small business entrepreneur? Please share this post with your fellow small business owners.

 


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The other night I was out for Thai food with some friends and we started sharing our hopes for the new year.

My friend, Megan, was telling us about the morning she woke up on the first day of 2020.

She said she was lying in bed, mentally preparing to get out from under the covers, when she noticed birds chirping outside her window. 

So she laid there, listening to the birds for longer than she would have in 2019.

“I want to have more ‘bird moments’ this year,” she told us. “It’s more than just stopping to smell the roses — it’s taking the time to really be in that moment.”

For the week since then, I’ve tried to adopt Megan’s intention as my own — consciously stopping to appreciate little moments throughout the day.

The way a bright yellow tree contrasts against a clear blue sky.

The way my son’s chubby little hand rests on my knee.

The way it feels to wrap up in a blanket in front of a fireplace.

But throughout this week, I’ve noticed something else.

I haven’t had any bird moments while I’ve been working.

Maybe I’ve been focused on getting into a “flow state” instead (I’ve written about that before here.)

But really, I think the reason is this:

Even if you’re your own boss and you run your own business, we’re mostly programmed to focus on the negative associations of “work.”

The to-do list that doesn’t let up, the technology that isn’t working, the customer who isn’t happy, the ads that aren’t converting… 

“Doing the work” and “bird moments” don’t naturally go hand-in-hand… 

But I wonder, how much of our productivity and satisfaction would increase if they did?

If we looked up every once in a while and paused for longer than usual, what would it do for our mental state as entrepreneurs?

There’s a reason why the majority of big-time CEOs and successful business people take time to meditate every day.

There is science-backed evidence that meditation increases creativity, focus, memory, and emotional intelligence.

And taking the time for bird moments is an easy way to start implementing some of that mindfulness towards your own business.

A nice Instagram comment about your latest product launch → bird moment.

An enthusiastic email from one of your customers → bird moment.

The moment you finally connect your website to your email platform → bird moment.

Just the simple thought: “I’m running my own business…”

What an opportunity.

What an opportunity to truly appreciate how far you’ve come.

So, that’s my wish for all of us this year.

To stop and appreciate the moments that affirm why you’re here, what you’re doing and how truly monumental that is.

More moments of hearing the birds.

 

 


CTA-Factory45 SHOP

About this time of year, I traditionally write an annual review of how life and business went this year.

You may recall 2018 being a doozie with the health status of my mom, the arrival of Baby Lohr and the post-partum blues that came with it.

But this year I’m doing something a little differently, inspired by my own 2020 business planning.

At the beginning of December when I got out my notebook and wrote “2020 PLAN” at the top of the page, my immediate instinct was to write “Goals” just as I’ve done every year.

But I wrote this word instead:

FOCUS

In that moment, I realized it was never my past goals that were that important — it was the tangible steps that I focused on to achieve those goals.

And it’s this system of focused planning that I want to share with you as an exercise today.

First, I divided the year into two parts — Q1/Q2 and Q3/Q4 — but you can divide it into four parts (or more) if that works for you.

For Q1/Q2, I wrote down one singular focus: MARKETING
(i.e. spreading the word about the Factory45 2020 program)

Then for Q3/Q4, I wrote down one singular focus: FACTORY45 EXPERIENCE
(i.e. making sure the entrepreneurs in Factory45 2020 have the best possible experience)

Next, I made a list of all of the tangible action steps that would enhance each of these two focuses.

For MARKETING, I came up with a list of seven “buckets”. 

For FACTORY45 EXPERIENCE, I came up with a list of four “buckets.”

For example, one of my MARKETING buckets was “Email List & Blog,” so underneath that bucket I listed all of the things that go into my email list and blog as they relate to marketing. 

  • Repurposing “best of” blog posts 
  • Sending out a new YouTube video every month
  • Cross promoting other people in my industry 
  • Using paid ads to promote my best blog posts and videos
  • Driving new subscribers to my email list via lead magnets
  • Cultivating and fostering the existing relationship I have with my current readers

For each bucket, there was a list of actionable steps like the one above that would get me closer to my broader focus of Marketing.

*Important note here that you may find interesting: Social media did not come up in any of my buckets. Sure, I’ll still post on Instagram, FB, etc. but it isn’t a task that I’m putting emphasis on for my Marketing Focus. So, if you’re one of those people who is putting all of their eggs into the Instagram Stories basket, I encourage you to think outside the box!

Alright, still with me?

The final step was to list out January through December 2020, and allocate the most important steps in each bucket to a month or multiple months. 

It looked like this:

JANUARY

  • Paid ads
  • YouTube
  • Pitch podcasts
  • Outline new workshop
  • Activate free TCF webinar
  • Research video companies

The first three bullets span across every month of the year. But the other three bullets only exist in that month because they have a deadline.

Make sense?

The idea here is to have actionable steps each month, rather than general goals, that amplify what you’re focusing on for the first half (or first quarter) of the year.

The final step was to move this calendar out of my notebook and into Asana (the to-do list of my choice) so that I know exactly what I’m taking action on and when I’m taking action on it.

So in review, here’s how you can effectively plan for 2020 for your own business instead of creating general goals:

  1. Create 2-4 Focuses for each quarter of the year.
  2. List all of the “supporting actors” for each focus and divide them into Buckets.
  3. Under each bucket, list the sub-steps that go into each one.
  4. Allocate each bucket to certain month(s) of the year.
  5. Add the to-do list for each month into your task management platform, to-do list or digital calendar.

That’s all to say, I think I’m over “goal setting” in the traditional sense. 

Yes, it’s incredibly important to have a vision for your business.

But you know what’s more important? 

Taking action to achieve that vision.

 

 

This will be my last blog post and email of 2019 — I’m wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and will be back on Wednesday, January 8th : )


CTA-Factory45 SHOP

Last week marked the end of the Factory45 2019 program. One of this year’s graduates asked if she could write a guest post to share her experience with all of you. If you’re considering applying to Factory45 in 2020, you’ll want to read Amber’s post until the end.

Here she is:


Have you been wanting to create your own fashion collection, but you’re worried you don’t have any fashion experience? 

That was me.

Are you wanting to take the plunge into fashion entrepreneurship but have no idea what a “muslin” is?

That was me too.

Are you seeing white space in the market and you know the exact solution to a problem? 

That was also me.

I had no idea what a “pattern” even was.

But I developed a concept (that would later be Feel Good Swim) in the summer in 2018 when I realized I wanted to take my career a whole new direction – instead of working for someone else, I wanted to try becoming my own boss.

I didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to pursue right away; just an inkling of the direction I needed to go.

And finally, the swimwear idea hit me – I was putting on my last swimsuit of the year and hating every minute of it.

I’ve always struggled finding swimsuits that fit my curvier top shape – there’s not much out there. 

So I decided that’s what I would build.

But I didn’t pursue the idea right away. I went back and forth with myself for a few months. I was plagued by my own limiting beliefs and negative self-talk.

“Who do you think you are?”

“You have ZERO experience in fashion, you can’t do this.”

“What would people think?”

“What if I fail?”

And finally, last December, I realized what I was doing to myself. I stopped thinking about the “what if,” ignored my lack of experience, and purchased a domain name. Mind you, I had never created a website before.

I researched like crazy. I googled every – little – thing.

And finally, I landed on the Factory45 website.

I read through all of the free content, saw that Shannon was focused on ethical and sustainable fashion, and knew it was the best thing for me.

It was a significant investment, but I had plenty of time to mull over the pros and cons (at that time, the program didn’t open up for a few more months). So I signed up for Shannon’s emails and continued my research.

In those months, I worked on my own — finishing my website, creating a social presence, blogging, trying to create a technical flat, more research…  

And I realized I needed help.

I didn’t find any other programs as thorough as Factory45 and knew I had to move forward. It didn’t make sense for me to spin my wheels on my own anymore.

In addition, there was a ton of social proof from the members of the StartUp Fashion community (another amazingly helpful membership, by the way). There are quite a few Factory45 alums in the group that highly recommend Shannon’s program.

Here’s a taste of what Factory45 included:

  • Demystification of the fashion industry
  • Exact steps to create an actual garment and go into production
  • Extensive databases of ethical suppliers, samplemakers, and manufacturers
  • Email templates and tactics for outreach to ensure you’re sounding like an industry pro
  • Guidance on how to establish yourself in the content and e-commerce spaces as well as how to launch to an audience ready to buy your product
  • Strategy to fund your first production run
  • And media outreach 

I didn’t have any of this prior to the program. 

And without it, I’m not sure if I’d have found my supplier or samplemaker by now. Finding the right manufacturer may have been even harder, especially when ethical practices and small minimums can be so rare.

There’s no “woo-woo” or fluff here. Every lesson is action-packed with how-tos, videos, interviews, and supplemental information. And if you need more help, Shannon is just an email away with a rapid response time.

As a business owner, it’s hard to do everything on your own. And I know that without Factory45, I’d be still trying to figure out what a “muslin” is.

So, what are the two foremost tips I can give you from one founder to the next?

First, don’t listen to your limiting beliefs – they aren’t real.

Second, of course, join Factory45 as soon as you can – you won’t regret it.


This is a guest post from Factory45’er Amber Rankin, founder of Feel Good Swim, and all thoughts are her own. To keep up with Amber’s journey of starting a swimwear company, you can subscribe here or follow her on Instagram here.

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I recently got an email from one of my current Factory45’ers asking if I had any tips and advice for life as an entrepreneur:

“You’ve done such an excellent job sharing all of your knowledge in building a fashion business which has been invaluable for me. Would it be possible for you to even share some tips & tricks in regards to more general topics…”

And then she went on to list some of her specific questions that I’m going to answer for you today — Q+A style.

Thanks to Franziska for asking the questions — I hope the answers are helpful to all of you!


BEST PRODUCTIVITY HACKS?

If there’s anything I’ve learned about productivity it’s that different systems work for different people. There is no “one size fits all,” so I can only tell you what works for me.

1.) Create triggers. Triggers are very small things you do to signify the start of a certain task. (Yes, this is what Pavlov did with his dogs and it works.) So for example, I light a candle before I sit down to write. Or I drink iced coffee instead of hot coffee to signify the start of a bigger task. Or I turn on classical piano when I need to outline a big-picture project.

2.) Choose a location where you can get “in flow.” I’ve written more about this here. I’m most productive when I’m working from the desk in my home office or at the library.

3.) Look for big chunks of time instead of small spurts of time. I know that I need at least 1.5 hours to really sit down and get something done. If I have less than 1.5 hours, then I designate that time for answering emails, writing Instagram captions or organizing my to-do list and calendar.


HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE YOUR WORK DAYS?

This is easier now that I’m a full-time entrepreneur and not working a side-job as I did when I was first starting out. 

To be honest, when I was bartending from 7pm to 2am and working on my business during the day, I don’t even remember how I organized my time… it was a blur. 

But this is what my week looks like now, once my son is off to daycare:

9:30-10:30AM | Go through my to-do list on Asana, answer any pressing emails, get organized, drink coffee, settle in.

10:30-12PM | Accomplish one medium-sized task before lunch. It could be something like writing an SEO brief for an upcoming YouTube episode, or creating an email for the Market45 newsletter, or outlining a new email automation series.

12-1PM | Break for lunch. And I mean, really break. I’ll usually read or watch a show or the news.

1PM-3PM | Accomplish one big task. This would be something like writing a blog post, writing a YouTube script, filming or recording a new project, or researching, brainstorming and outlining upcoming big projects.

3-3:30PM | Then I usually reserve the last half hour for any wrap-up admin that needs to be done before I leave to pick up my son.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve limited my daily to-do list to only trying to accomplish two significant tasks per day — no more than that. 

It keeps me from getting overwhelmed or disappointed when I’m not able to do “all the things.” And as far as productivity goes, it’s worked out so far.

work/life


DO YOU HAVE A SELF-CARE ROUTINE?

I wouldn’t call it a routine, but I definitely prioritize my self-care. I’m very lucky to be married to another entrepreneur who equally co-parents. It makes all the difference in being able to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, intellectually, etc… 

  • I don’t check social media during the day (for the most part). This helps me avoid distraction, the comparison game and all of the other negatives that come from being sucked into an Instagram hole.
  • I’m an introvert so I need alone time to recharge. I’ll curl up with a book, go for a walk, listen to a podcast or lay down and close my eyes — even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
  • I have a hard “no work on weekends” rule. Even before I had a baby, I was pretty strict about not opening my computer on the weekends. This allowed me to truly reboot for Mondays. I know this isn’t always possible when you’re first starting out because weekends are your free time to actually work on your business. In that case, I would pick one or two other times during the week to designate as your “no work” zone — even if it’s just every Tuesday night or some other random time.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE BEING A FULL-TIME ENTREPRENEUR WITH HAVING A FAMILY?

Probably the same way as people who work full-time jobs! It’s not easy. I know I’m lucky to have the means to hire childcare and I wouldn’t be able to run my business without that help. 

One thing I like about having a business and having a kid is that there’s a finite beginning and end to my workday. I’ve been forced to consolidate my work schedule, and I’ve found that I’m more productive during that time because I know I have a deadline.

But I definitely look back on my time before parenthood and wonder what I did with all of that freedom! To those of you out there who are working a “real” job, while starting a business and raising kids, I truly applaud you. 

work/life


DID YOU WORK ANOTHER JOB WHILE BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS?

Yes, and I do not subscribe to the common advice that you should just “Quit your job and follow your dreams!” 

One of the best decisions I made was to work a side job until I truly knew I had a business that could sustain my lifestyle, as well as some money saved for back-up.

As I mentioned, I was a bartender for a really long time before I took the leap to full-time entrepreneurship. I didn’t want to be stressed about money and by working for as long as I did, I didn’t have to strain my business to pay my rent.


HOW DID YOU FINANCE BEING AN EARLY-STAGE ENTREPRENEUR?

I saved up $5,000 working after college and I invested all of it into starting my first business, {r}evolution apparel. My then co-founder also invested $5,000 and that lasted until we opened sales a year later. 

When we launched with a Kickstarter campaign, we were able to pre-sell our product so our customers essentially paid for the cost of production. Our first production run was over $40K and we didn’t have to spend a dime of our own money.

I also used this pre-selling model when I launched Factory45. I opened applications in March 2014, participants paid for their first month of tuition in May and the program didn’t start until June. 

This gave me an influx of cash to create the first module and a little time to get things up and running. I invested all of the money from the 2014 cohort back into the business for 2015.


HOW DID YOU STAY MOTIVATED WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING OUT?

The main thing that kept me motivated and held me accountable when I was first starting out was blogging. It was so helpful to have a process to document the journey of creating a business and a clothing company and it was the audience that the blog attracted that pushed us to keep going.

On a more general scale, I’ve noticed something over the past nine years of entrepreneurship that’s been hugely impactful. And it’s the simple act of declaring something to the world.

Tell the world you’re going to do something and you’re that much closer to actually accomplishing it.

 

 


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Twice a year my pal Nicole and I offer a free online class for fashion entrepreneurs.

We each have our separate companies — she’s the founder of StartUp Fashion and I run Factory45 — but we like to combine efforts every once in a while to help as many new designers as we can.

So for the last time this year, we’re going to host one more free class for all of you. 

And this one will focus on how to make a lasting impact on your brand that you can implement immediately.

On Tuesday, 9/17 join us for:

4 Steps for Making Massive Progress in Your Fashion Business

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Mindset – confidence, fear, perfectionism and how to manage the mental game of running your own business
  • Business Operations – how to avoid over-planning & over-analyzing, how to create systems, how to implement scheduling tools and how to cut down on procrastination
  • Goal Setting – we’re talking actionable tasks vs. big picture ideas
  •  Finding Community – accountability, emotional support, collaboration, referrals & feedback

Again, this conversation is happening on Tuesday, September 17th at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.

Spots are limited to just 100 attendees so claim your spot here.

We’ll also open the conversation to Q+A at the end so bring your questions!

Nicole and I are all about “walking the walk” instead of just “talking the talk.”

So if you truly want to improve your business (no matter what stage you’re in), then you have to take action to do it.

Free classes like this are one of the best ways to spend your time, so don’t miss this opportunity. 

(Anyone who has joined us before knows we make it worth your while.) 

Click here to RSVP to join us.

Hope to see you on Tuesday!

 

 

P.S. Know someone who would love to join us? Share this link with them!