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Create Fashion Brand

In order to build something successful, you have to offer something that people want. 

Pretty straightforward, right?

In my experience, over the last decade of starting my own fashion brand and then helping other people start their own, I’ve noticed two key factors that set apart successful brands from unsuccessful brands. 

And that’s what I’m sharing in today’s video.

I’m also going to be talking about this a lot more during Session 1 of my free 4-day workshop on May 3rd.

To build something truly long-lasting and successful, you have to start with positioning. 

What gap are you fitting into in the market?

What is the hole that you’re filling?

When it comes to fashion, and a massively competitive market, where does your brand fit in?

Spoiler: you can almost always find your place in the market with the right positioning.

If you’re interested in exploring this more on May 3rd you can sign up to the workshop here.

Ready? Click the video below : ) 

Talk soon,

 

 

 

P.S. I’m going live tomorrow in our private group to talk about building relationships with suppliers and factories. Click here to request access so you can join us!


Instagram Growth

Oh, Instagram… we love it. We love to hate it. And sometimes, we just flat out hate it.

Whether it’s changing algorithms, or limited reach, or the feeling of being on a hamster wheel, Instagram strategy and growth can be overwhelming for new fashion brands.

Every new follower can feel like a struggggggle. 

And just when we feel like we’re in a good place with Instagram Stories, they introduce Instagram Reels.

If you’re someone who has struggled with Instagram growth for your brand, I feel you.

And while I wish I could give you a quick fix to all of your IG woes, I do have three strategies that will make a significant difference in the quality of your following and your ability to grow.

Click the play button below for Instagram growth tips for your fashion brand.

And make sure to tell me in a comment below the video, which of these strategies have you tried and which one are you going to try next?

 

 

 


Fashion Entrepreneurs

“Okay, so! We’re going to publish three episodes a week… I mean, they’re less than 10 minutes long… so we need to keep up the frequency… otherwise people won’t be engaged… it won’t be that bad… we can probably keep this up for months…” 

This is what my inner dialogue sounded like as I was getting ready to launch The Clean Living Podcast back in October.

At the beginning of February, when I released the finale of season one, my best friend texted me:

“Only an INFJ would commit to 35 episodes in a single season.”

(She was referencing my personality type on the Meyers-Briggs.) 

But do you want to know a secret?

I never planned to have seasons of the podcast, or a season one finale, or a break in episodes at all…

So, why the change?

I burnt out.

I ignored my own advice, I overcommitted and it came back to bite me.

If I had planned out the podcast like a normal person, I would have 35 weeks of episodes lined up.

And truthfully, my listeners would have probably appreciated the time lapse in between episodes instead of being bombarded with three every week.

I’m constantly telling my entrepreneurs in Factory45 to SIMPLIFY.

Instead of developing a collection of 12 pieces, simplify to five pieces.

Instead of trying to be on every social media platform, start with Instagram and do it really well.

Instead of trying to source fabric for five different colorways, start with two.

Because this is what simplifying does:

  1. It lowers the barrier to entry. That means the likelihood of you actually getting the project off the ground is significantly higher. It also means you’ll do it quicker and more efficiently.
  2. It reduces the chance of decision paralysis — for you and for your customers.
  3. It saves you MONEY and time.

In fact, it’s very rare that simplifying isn’t the right answer.

So, the next time you set out to design a 12-piece collection, or dominate TikTok, Clubhouse, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or try to meet the MOQs of five different fabric colors…

Think of me.

Think of me sitting on the floor of my dark closet, chugging water and recording my fifth episode of the day…

It’s true that diamonds are made out of pressure but when it comes to entrepreneurship, you really only need a very solid rock.

 

 



 

Sustainable Fashion Brand

I have something a little different for you this week…

Over the past few months I’ve been doing more interviews on other people’s podcasts. 

Pro tip: this is a great way to spread the word about your own brand or business — podcasts are always looking for new entrepreneurs to feature.

So this week, I’m sharing three different episodes where I talk specifically about the steps to launching a sustainable and ethical fashion brand.

Each one is a little different, highlighting sustainability or crowdfunding or marketing, and I’ve included brief descriptions below to help you choose.

If you’re new to me and Factory45, then listening to one (or all three) of these interviews will help you get to know me a little better — as well as my philosophies and what I teach.


Sustainable Fashion Brand INTO THE WILD // How to Launch a Sustainable & Ethical Fashion Brand with Shannon Lohr (41 mins) 

Listen to this episode if you want to learn the #1 mistake new fashion brands make when launching, how to build an audience, the role Instagram plays for fashion brands and much more. >> CLICK PLAY <<

 


Sustainable Fashion Brand FASHIONPRENEUR TALK // How to Launch an Ethically Made Fashion Brand with Shannon Lohr (23 mins)

Listen to this episode if you want to learn the story about how I got started, the tactical and practical action steps to launching a brand, the common misconceptions about crowdfunding and more. >> CLICK PLAY <<

 


Sustainable Fashion Brand THE PRODUCT-PRENEUR PODCAST // Launching a Sustainable Fashion Brand – Shannon Lohr (37 mins)

Listen to this episode if you want to learn why sustainable fashion is important to consumers, the steps to growing a sustainable fashion brand, pre-selling to fund your launch and more. >> CLICK PLAY <<

 


Enjoy!

 

 

 


THIS WEEK ON THE CLEAN LIVING PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

CANDLES It’s that time of the year when we’re getting all cozied up, maybe lighting the fireplace, pouring a cup of tea and lighting our favorite candle… the smell of petroleum sludge is just the perfect scent for the holidays. Wait what? Before you strike that match, listen to this episode.

LAUNDRY After visiting a friend and her newborn, I went down a rabbit hole of laundry detergent research — starting with a popular brand marketed for babies. In this episode, I’m recommending that you toss the Tide (and others) and switch to these clean detergents instead.

FOOD DYES There is a common ingredient in our food (often associated with sugar) that I think is worth tackling this holiday season — especially since it’s avoidable once you recognize it. So, in this episode we’re talking about food dyes.


clean living podcast

sustainable scrubs

Sisters Oriana Turley and Golden Rogers joke that they’re just “two hippie-kids taking on the internet.” 

Growing up in Southern Oregon, Oriana and Golden lived a subsistence-based lifestyle, fostered by their parents, as part of the back-to-the-land movement of the early 1970s. 

They grew up without many modern conveniences, and Golden was the first in the family to graduate from college — followed shortly by Oriana, who became a Neurology and Orthopedic Registered Nurse.

Now they are the co-founders of the recently-launched Medicine Mountain Scrub Company.

The duo joined Factory45 in 2019 and as of November 2020, they’ve raised over $36,000 in pre-orders to bring their sustainably-and-ethically-made scrubs to life.

Working with top outdoor apparel designers, a manufacturer in Los Angeles and a network of female artisans, they launched on Kickstarter to pre-sell their first product — The Alpine Scrub Set, the most functional, sustainable and ethical scrubs available on the market.

To celebrate their successful launch, I’m sponsoring a giveaway of The Alpine Scrub Set that I pre-ordered through their Kickstarter campaign. 

We’ll be choosing one medical professional to win a pair of scrubs, valued at $97. And all of the details are on Instagram here: @medicinemtnscrubs.

Given the times, there are so many frontline doctors and nurses who are *especially* deserving of a kind surprise. 

If there is a medical worker in your life who you’d like to be considered for a free scrub set, please tag them on Instagram to enter.

A huge congratulations to Oriana and Golden for exceeding their Kickstarter goal by over $16,000 and bringing sustainable scrubs to the medical community.

And an extra big thanks to all of our frontline workers who deserve more recognition than ever.

 

 

 


Crowdfunding

Fabric Sourcing

When it comes to starting a sustainable fashion brand, what’s the number one thing that takes the longest?

Fabric sourcing.

It can take as long as six months to find the perfect fabric and materials for your line.

That’s why, in the Factory45 program, it’s one of the first things we do.

But once you have an idea of the fabric you need, how do you reach out to suppliers so that you actually get a response?

If they’re receiving hundreds of emails per day from entrepreneurs like you, how do you make sure you stand out from the rest?

How do you make it easy for them to help you?

And what exactly do you say to set yourself up for a successful working relationship?

Because here’s the truth: 

95 percent of new designers are making the process harder on themselves and harder on the supplier.

And it doesn’t have to be that way.

So in this video, I’m laying out the 7 things you need to know to successfully contact fabric suppliers so you get a response.

Just click the play button below —

In the comments below the video, tell me: 

Which one of these seven tips are you going to try the next time you’re looking for fabric?

I’d love to hear from you,

 

 

 

P.S. If you’re looking to take your fabric sourcing one step further, I have The Fabric Sourcing Kit for you. It’s full of resources to help you source fabric in 30 days — including a list of my top 10 sustainable fabric suppliers. You can check it out here.


THIS WEEK ON THE CLEAN LIVING PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

LEMON I’ve become a little obsessed with natural ways of boosting my immune system. To be honest, it hadn’t really dawned on me before the pandemic hit how important it is to be preventive and not just reactive about getting sick. In this episode, I’m sharing one little food hack that is as simple as squeezing a lemon. 

HUMMUS In my mind, hummus is the perfect snack — it’s filling, can be spread or dipped onto any number of foods and it’s a great source of protein. So when I saw a study released by the Environmental Working Group about glyphosate levels in hummus and chickpeas, my throat dropped into my stomach.

WATER When I first found out that our Brita water filter wasn’t removing nearly as many contaminants as I thought it was, I went down a deep rabbit hole to find the best water filter at an affordable price. Turns out, the research wasn’t nearly as straightforward as I was hoping it would be… 


fabric sourcing

humiliating

So, last week’s post really hit a chord with people.

If you missed the blog post on procrastination, you can read it here.

It got me thinking more about the whole concept behind “low barrier to entry” opportunities.

If we could make things easier on ourselves, how much more would we do and get done?

Take for example the speaking engagement I did at Eco Fashion Week back in 2013.

I was flown out to Vancouver and asked to give a 10 minute presentation. I proceeded to walk up to the podium in front of 100ish people and absolutely choke.

Short of having a panic attack and passing out in front of the whole room, it was a complete disaster.

For 10 minutes, my voice was shaking, my face was red, and I could barely breathe or get my words out.

If you’re thinking it couldn’t have been that bad, the emcee asked the audience if they had any follow-up questions for me and not a single person raised their hand.

They wanted me off the stage as much as I wanted to run out the back door.

So, did I write-off speaking engagements for the rest of my life?

No… not exactly.

What I realized is that I’m pretty good at open Q+A-style panels or casual conversations with a moderator or interviewer.

What I’m not good at is solitary speeches or presentations.

So instead of passing up every opportunity for a speaking engagement, I committed to choosing the lower barrier to entry option.

I decided that I would still say ‘yes’ to public speaking, but I would limit my commitment to off-the-cuff Q+A style, multi-person panels or I would take on the role of moderator.

By making that deal with myself, I’ve gotten the chance to have some great speaking opportunities that have allowed me to market my business, meet like-minded people and further my message.

So, let’s say in your case, you hate being on video.

Instead of forcing yourself to do on-camera Instagram Stories, maybe you start a podcast to document your entrepreneurial journey instead.

Maybe you don’t feel confident about your writing skills so you’re hesitant to start a blog. If you love being on video, then you could start a YouTube channel instead.

Let’s say you clam up when being interviewed, maybe you ask the interviewer to send you the questions ahead of time so you can plan out your answers.

In 99 percent of cases, there is always an easier alternative that will better set you up for success.

That’s not to say you can avoid discomfort or vulnerability 100 percent of the time.

There will surely be some cringe-worthy or embarrassing moments.

I remember last year when I was hosting an Instagram Live for Maker’s Row. It was a 30-minute live session that required me to be alone on camera, sharing my tips about apparel manufacturing to their Instagram audience.

In the middle of my talk, something caught in my throat and I started to choke — for real.

I couldn’t get my words out because I was too busy coughing and drinking water in a fit of panic.

Again, this was a live session and no one else was on video with me, so it was quite literally an audience of people watching me gag for air.

So embarrassing.

But you know what?

I had five or six other Instagram Lives with Maker’s Row that went really great. 

And I had over 20 people join Factory45 this year because they found out about me from those Maker’s Row live sessions.

Imagine the opportunity lost if I had decided to completely write-off Instagram Live because of the fear of that embarrassing moment happening again.

There are so many instances in entrepreneurship when things don’t go as planned and the only thing we can do is learn, adapt and try again.

As in life, you will miss out on some pretty great experiences by not attempting them at all.

So, I’ll ask you again — what is one thing you can do today to take more action by choosing the easiest route to get there?

And if things don’t go exactly as planned… 

How can you learn and adapt, so it goes better when you try again?

 

 

 


THIS WEEK ON THE PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

NATURAL IMMUNE BOOSTERS It’s more important than ever to strengthen our immune systems and gut health. In this episode, I’m sharing three cheap and easy foods to add into your cooking that will naturally boost the immune system of you and your family.

FRAGRANCE When my son was an infant I worried like most new moms do. Was he getting enough calories? Was he sleeping enough? Would he ever eat solids? But as I’m sharing in this episode, I worried about one thing in particular…

PSA Back in September, I attended CleanCon — a virtual conference hosted by the Environmental Working Group — that was focused on clean beauty and personal care products. Throughout the event, there was one message that I kept hearing over and over…


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more action

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why it’s so hard for some people to take action.

This is, by far, the biggest obstacle I see stopping entrepreneurs from getting a business off the ground.

We fall victim to procrastination — which in essence, is fear.

When we’re afraid of doing something, or afraid of the potential result of doing something, then we stop ourselves from taking action.

The threat of what could happen paralyzes us from doing anything at all.

Personally, I have 99 problems but taking action isn’t one.

So I’ve been trying to analyze what it is about my strategies or methods that empowers me to move forward on an idea even if I’m scared or unsure of the outcome.

And I was able to boil it down to two things.

The first one is confidence. 

Because I’ve taken action on enough ideas over the span of my life, I’ve built up the confidence to take action on the next one.

I recognize that this stems from a position of privilege, but it’s true nonetheless. 

Even though some ideas haven’t worked out, I’ve still been able to maintain the confidence from the ideas that have.

The second method is more interesting and was less obvious until I listened to a podcast with a behavioral scientist who studies habits

When I think about most of the ideas I’ve taken action on, they all have one thing in common:

I’ve chosen the lowest barrier to entry.

Let me give you an example.

When I created the Factory45 program for the first time in 2014 I didn’t have the fancy portal and online content that I have now (six years later). 

I started with Google docs, a free Basecamp account and Apple Keynote (or PowerPoint). 

If I had tried to create the customized WordPress site or high production videos that I have now, it would have been too overwhelming and expensive as a jumping off point.

This sense of overwhelm applies to so many things you may be facing: getting your social media going, setting up a website or launching a first collection.

So, what’s the lowest barrier of entry you can take?

Focusing only on an Instagram account instead of managing Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest and SnapChat and TikTok.

A simple above-the-fold landing page instead of a full-on website.

One signature piece for your launch instead of seven pieces.

What I’ve discovered through personal experience is that it almost always works out better by paring down, simplifying and making things easier for yourself.

This has applied to my entrepreneurial journey back in 2010 when I was starting my sustainable fashion brand up all the way through last month when I launched The Clean Living Podcast.

Nearly every example I have is a testament to doing less — not more.

And not-so coincidentally, the podcast I mentioned about forming habits confirms that. 

After surveying 40,000 people, the research found that successful habits are formed by taking the smallest action possible.

Want to start flossing regularly?

Start by flossing one tooth every day.

Want to start exercising every day?

Start by doing one push-up every day.

Want to start meditating every day?

Start by taking five deep breaths every morning.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or someone who wants to improve their oral hygiene, the strategy is the same.

Do less so you can do more.

 

 

 


THIS WEEK ON THE PODCAST

Listen on Apple Podcasts here | Listen on Spotify here

SHAMPOO Personal care is one of the most toxic categories of household products. Shampoo is no exception. What are you actually lathering into your hair every time you shower and why should you be extra careful about the shampoo you use? In this episode, I’m sharing the top reasons to switch to a clean, paraben-free, formaldehyde-free hair care routine.

COOKING OIL Did you know that the oil you use to cook with can impact your long-term health? And it’s not so simple as just switching to olive oil. In this episode, I’m sharing the cooking oils to avoid, the oils to use on low heat and the oils that are safe to use on medium to high heat.

DOGS & GUT HEALTH This episode is uplifting and helpful, especially if you’re trying to convince your partner to get a dog. If you’re already a puppy owner, give that pooch a big kiss on the mouth because this episode is for you.


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Accomplish Big Goals

Do you know what’s nerve-wracking?

Announcing that you’re starting a podcast… 

And not having a single episode recorded.

It’s true, two weeks ago when I was teeing myself up to announce the launch of The Clean Living Podcast I only had a spreadsheet of ideas.

I talk all this game about starting before you’re ready, setting small goals and taking baby steps to do big things… 

But it’s scary.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, I’ve launched big projects before and I’ve pushed my comfort zone more than once — imposter syndrome is something you simply can’t escape.

So, what did the past two weeks look like?

A series of very small and deliberate steps.

There was one day dedicated to the podcast trailer and intro, another day to write the first three episodes, another day to write the podcast description and landing page… 

Then there was an entire morning and afternoon that I spent sitting on the floor of my closet to record the episodes I had written.

And repeat.

As of right now, I’ve finished the trailer and the first 10 episodes and sent them to my podcast manager for editing.

But do you know what my first thought was when I sat down to record for the very first time?

“Oh, shit.”

And then: “This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.”

I often say that if we knew how difficult it was to launch a business idea, new project or any unfamiliar venture, then we wouldn’t ever start.

And that’s exactly what I was thinking as I hit record for the 70th time: 

What did I get myself into?

Whether it’s something as daunting as starting a new fashion brand or something smaller like a podcast, it’s time and persistence that are the antidotes of the unfamiliar.

I spent all day sitting in that closet and by the time I emerged, with a sore back, hoarse voice and tired eyes, I had done something I was very worried I wouldn’t be able to do.

And that’s the name of the game.

Want to tackle a big goal?

Declare it to the world.

Want to actually accomplish that big goal?

Break it into baby steps, give yourself plenty of time, expect it to be difficult and persist anyway.

We’re about a month out from the launch of The Clean Living Podcast and next week I’m going to ask you to vote on what you think the podcast thumbnail should be. 

This is the image that you'll see on iTunes or Spotify next to the podcast name — and I’d love your opinion on it.

In the meantime, I want you to remember: We can do hard things

I’m right there with you.

 

 

 


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clean living

I could feel the heat rushing to my face and my voice beginning to shake.

I was on a Zoom call with a DEI consultant to discuss the blind spots and racial biases within the Factory45 program.

I had actively sought this out, but it didn’t diminish how uncomfortable I felt.

I started rambling off about how I wanted my company to be a part of the solution, instead of perpetuating the problem, with a list of all of the things I was personally doing to fight racial injustice.

The consultant stopped me and simply said, “Stay in your lane.”

She went on to explain that it’s not my place to try and single-handedly aid racial justice reform.

Instead, she asked, “How can you create impact within your industry or area of expertise?”

“Go deep,” she said. “Not wide.”

And that’s what I’ve been grappling with all summer.

So, I did what I always do when I don’t have the answers… 

I spent three months immersed in research: I took courses, I enrolled in programs, I read books, I watched webinars… 

And in mid-August, over a conversation with my sister, I figured out what I need to do next.

Will it solve racial inequality? No.

But it will be accessible and inclusive to all people, in a way that improves their lives and helps to create a more sustainable world.

In a follow-up email from the consultant I worked with, she wrote:

“We connected your DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) work to eco-living, which seems to be the area you are most confident.” 

Eco-Living. Not just eco-fashion?

It was at that moment I realized… 

This is my lane.

I can do so much more beyond fashion.

Ten years ago, sustainable fashion was the first step I took into the world of sustainable living.

But in that decade, there were other topics that I researched, learned and applied to my own life: whether it was food, or shampoo, cleaning supplies or deodorant.

While eco-fashion is niche and at times exclusive, eco-living is something that can benefit anyone and be inclusive to everyone.

It’s no secret that we are at a turning point in how we live. The pandemic has put a spotlight on the myriad issues within our healthcare system, education and yes, racial inequality.

It’s also no secret that COVID-19, as well as diseases like breast cancer and diabetes,  disproportionately affect the Black community and people of color.

While social distancing and mask-wearing are the repeated calls to action (and important to stop the spread of germs), we can protect our own health with greater access to clean living education.

I’m not talking about eating right or exercising daily. 

I’m talking about education when it comes to the ingredients in the products we use, wear and apply to our bodies daily.

There is so much that we don’t know about the products we use every day — we don’t know what brands to trust, which ingredients to avoid, what to switch to and which companies are greenwashing a lie.

For most people, it’s overwhelming to sift through research about toxins and parabens when we’re all just trying to make it through the day, put dinner on the table and get the kids to bed.

But here’s the thing: eco-living, clean living, sustainable living (whatever you want to call it) is more important than most of us know.

It’s not just about being kinder to our environment — it’s about being kinder to ourselves. 

And I want to share the easy changes I’ve made over the years that, in most cases, don’t cost more money or require that much more effort.

So, that’s what I’m working on this Fall — a passion project called The Clean Living Podcast.

I realized there wasn’t a podcast out there with easy-to-digest, no-shame tips about detoxing your home, food and beauty products. 

So the episodes will be less than 10 minutes with one quick tip that you can listen to while making dinner, folding laundry or waiting for someone to join a Zoom call ; ) 

In the coming weeks, I’ll share more about what’s gone into creating the show. 

I’ll also introduce you to the people I’ve been working with and probably ask for your input and opinions on some things.

To be honest, this has been one of the hardest projects I’ve worked on in a long time, but it’s something I know I need to do. So:

The Clean Living Podcast launches on October 21st, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

 

 


P.S. And no, I’m not abandoning sustainable fashion : ) Factory45 will open again in May 2021 and I’m still working hard with this year’s cohort of entrepreneurs. I think this new project is simply the next phase of my life’s work.