Tag Archive for: startup advice

outsource

The oven was preheating…   

The ingredients were on the counter…

The recipe was in front of me…

As I stood face-to-face with the mini muffin tin.

It was January 10th – the eve of my son’s birthday – and that could only mean one thing:

The 4th annual Great Muffin Fiasco.

That’s right, since 2019, I have attempted to bake muffins to bring into school for my kid’s birthday.

A simple task, right?

But somehow, every year, January 10th ends with me scraping crumbly remnants out of the tin in an attempt to salvage just enough for each classmate to get one.

This year, I knew to make 24 muffins in an effort to get 12. 

This year, I knew to use eggs instead of chia seeds and water.

This year, I forgot the muffin tins.

(Oh, and the baking powder.)

You would think that a seasoned entrepreneur, a CEO, and an all-around capable human could learn from and handle this task year after year, but as my husband so lovingly put it:

“You’re great at a lot of things, Shan… baking doesn’t have to be one of them.”

And this is what I may have finally accepted after four years… I’m just never going to be that mom.

There are the moms that create train-shaped pancakes on the morning of their four year old’s birthday.

And there are the moms that stick a candle in a piece of peanut butter toast and call it a day.

I am, quite certainly, the latter.

My mistake was not realizing this sooner.

And it’s the same mistake I see new entrepreneurs making every day:

Stop trying to be all the things, do all the things, and force all the things to be perfect.

Can you outsource a few social media tasks to an intern?

Can you stop making Tiktok videos if you really hate being on video?

Can you hire a patternmaker instead of trying to learn a new software?

What can you outsource or stop doing so that you can focus on the things you’re great at?

Because here’s the thing:

You can’t be great at everything – and that’s okay.

It’s also okay to not be great at something and still do it anyway.

You just have to be willing to accept the imperfect version. 

So that when you drop off a container of bottomless minimuffins that resemble a pile of, well… you know… 

You can simply smile at the teacher and say,

“I hope it’s enough.”

 

 


ON THE PODCAST:

  • Ep. 04: Coming Out as a Fashion Entrepreneur & How to Deal with Critics 

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify

  • GIVEAWAY! I'm giving away a free 1:1 Strategy Session with me to help launch or grow your brand this year!

Here's how to enter: 

      1. Listen to Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand: The Podcast
      2. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts
      3. Screenshot your review and reply back to this email!

*The winner will be chosen on Monday, Jan. 24!*


THIS WEEK’S LIVE SHOW: Fashion Startup Q+A | Ask Shannon 

  • Stream on YouTube here.
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.
  • Have a question to submit for the Q+A? Leave a comment on YouTube or on FB!

Book Call

Virtual Pop-Up

If you’ve ever felt like “Kickstarter isn’t right for my brand” or “I don’t get enough traffic to my website…” 

Then you are in for a treat this week.

Candice Munro, the founder of Buttercream Clothing, is going to share how she launches new products on Instagram and other “virtual pop-up” platforms.

If you’ve heard of the “Virtual Pop-Up Method” before and you want to know how it works as a launch strategy in action, then don’t miss this week’s Live Show!

Here are just a few of the questions I’m going to ask Candice:

  • How is this launch method different from others you've tried and why do you like it as a selling strategy?
  • Can you walk us through your A-Z process in creating a Virtual Pop-Up? 
  • What have you learned over the years of launching in this way?

As always, there are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.

Bring your questions and I’ll see you tomorrow (Thursday) at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT!

 

 


P.S. Did you know two new podcast episodes dropped this week? Listen to the latest from Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand: The Podcast on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here.


Required Trait

If you truly want to be an entrepreneur, then it virtually guarantees you will run into problems — in the beginning, it will probably be on a daily basis. But to reach any level of success, problems require problem solvers. There’s no way around it. In this episode, I’m talking about the main trait required of an entrepreneur.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Book a call to learn more about launching your fashion brand with Factory45.


TRANSCRIPT 

The other day I was watching my three-year-old play with his train set. 

One piece of track… connected to another piece of track… connected to another… 

And then, uh oh.

The last piece wouldn’t fit.

I watched as he struggled to fit the piece, as it kept hitting up against the wall of the table, as he got more and more frustrated.

“I CAN’T DO IT!” he yelled out, red in the face. “IT DOESN’T WORK!”

And I started to think… How many times as an entrepreneur have I felt this?

Why won’t the web domain connect to the host?!

I changed the file size and the image still won’t upload!

Why won’t the email form populate correctly?!

The difference is, I can’t throw my computer across the room like I could a wooden train track.

One of the main messages you hear as a parent is the importance of building resilience in your kids.

It’s why you should resist doing things for them that they can do themselves or providing the easy way out. 

And honestly, entrepreneurship is very much the same.

The very best entrepreneurs, the ones who are successful, are quite simply: resilient.

When something isn’t working the way they want it to, they muster up all of their resourcefulness to find a solution.

They don’t take no for an answer. 

They don’t give up.

But they also know when to ask for help.

Because honestly, that’s what it takes.

If you truly want to be an entrepreneur, then it virtually guarantees you will run into problems — in the beginning, it will probably be on a daily basis.

But to reach any level of success, problems require problem solvers.

There’s no way around it.

And here’s where we went wrong: for most of us, the first 18 years of our lives were spent developing an aversion to failing. We were taught that failure is bad, to avoid any form of failure at all costs — get the grades, excel at the sport, earn the lead role in the play. 

How many of us were told we weren’t “musically gifted” because we didn’t immediately pick up the recorder at the age of eight?

How many of us were told, “Oh, your sister is the sporty one. You’re more of the artistic type.”

When in reality it would have benefited us to really struggle with learning how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the recorder or trying out for the soccer team anyway and experience the disappointment of getting cut.

How would those failures along the way prepare us for success down the road?

Because what we all eventually realize is, to reach the levels of success that we strive for as adults — starting the business, launching the brand, scaling the company — it virtually requires us to be comfortable with failure.

To achieve anything great, you must be willing to fail.

So my question for you is, How can you build more resilience into the day to day creation of your business?

That’s all to say, how can you be the toddler who picks up the train track even after he throws it… 

And tries again.

If you want to make this the year of entrepreneurship, resilience and so much more, this is your invitation to talk more about how we can work together to help you achieve your goal of launching your own sustainable fashion brand. Book a call with us to learn more about launching your brand through Factory45 – go to factory45.co and click “book a call” and we’ll get something on the calendar. We’re really excited to talk to you.

Push Past Fear

To kick off the year, I’m dedicating this week’s Live Show to pushing past fear.

More specifically, how do you push past fear to launch your fashion brand this year?

Fear is an emotion that every. single. entrepreneur on the planet deals with. 

But when we’re first starting out, it’s so much more complicated because we feel like we haven’t proven anything yet.

We have to put ourselves out there, experience the vulnerability of being seen and then, essentially jump without a parachute.

And that is scary.

What you need to figure out, then, is how to push past that scary feeling and do it anyway.

And this is what we’ll be talking about tomorrow, Jan. 6th at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT during Factory45 LIVE, the Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs.

As always, there are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.

If you’re looking for a boost of encouragement and some inspiration to take action on your business dreams this year, then make sure to join me. I promise to make it worth your time.

See you tomorrow!

 


sustainable fashion

You want to start a sustainable fashion brand that’s ethically manufactured and eco-friendly, that’s why you’re here. The question is: Where do you start? What does it mean to be “sustainable” and what are some of the most important things you should keep in mind as you build your brand? That’s what I’m going to share with you in today’s episode.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Fabric Sourcing Kit

Book a call to learn more about launching your fashion brand with Factory45.

how to start


TRANSCRIPT 

So, you want to start a sustainable fashion brand that’s ethically manufactured and eco-friendly, that’s why you’re here. The question is: Where do you start? What does it mean to be “sustainable” and what are some of the most important things you should keep in mind as you build your brand? That’s what I’m going to share with you in today’s episode.

Okay, so you know you don’t want to start a traditional fashion brand — you want to create a business that is socially conscious and helps to provide a solution to the “fast fashion problem.” But how do you do that? In today’s episode I’m going to go over the four main factors to consider when building your sustainable fashion brand from the ground up. These are the foundational pillars, so to speak, to incorporate into your business model.

First, we have your Fabrics & Materials. From a supply chain perspective, this is the first thing you want to consider when conceptualizing your brand. You want to look for natural fibers, recycled or upcycled materials and stay away from petroleum-based synthetics like polyester, spandex and nylon. These synthetic fabrics can take up to 200 years to decompose in a landfill and the fast fashion industry is churning out polyester clothing faster than you can say “climate change contributor” so it’s really important to stay away from further contribution to this problem.

So where do you start on this step? First, identify what type of fabric will be the best fit for your product(s) and then find out if there’s a more sustainable version of that fabric.

For example: If you know you want to use 100% cotton, then start researching organic cotton. If you know you need a soft drapey fabric like rayon, then start exploring tencel or lyocell plant-based options. Basically, you want to find out what the “sustainable match” is to your fabric needs.

Where do you find sustainable fabrics? Thankfully, there are fabric suppliers all around the world that are now specializing in natural and environmentally-friendly fabrics. Finding them can sometimes take a simple google search, but for a more comprehensive list consider some of the sustainable fabric databases available to you like Common Objective, CFDA and of course, my company Factory45.

If you need a little more direction on what types of sustainable fabrics exist and the pros and cons of each, check out The Fabric Sourcing Kit, one of our digital resources that helps you source your fabric in 30 days – it also has a list of my top 10 fabric suppliers that sell sustainable fabrics.

The second thing you need to consider in creating a sustainable fashion brand, and just as important as your fabric and materials, is the integrity of your Design.

One of the main ethos of sustainable fashion is working to not only eliminate waste but also, not make more waste that will just end up in landfills. So, you have to think of the end life of your product. Where will it end up when your customer is done with it? Can the fabric be composted? Can it be recycled? Do you have a buy back or repairs program?

You’ll also want to consider making your designs seasonless, trendless and timeless. Sustainable fashion is all about creating garments that can be worn for years and years to come. They won’t go “out of style,” they’re made to last and they don’t try to keep up with the fast fashion cycle of constant trends.

Because the truth is, the design of your product has to come first. It needs to fit well, be well-made and make your customer feel good wearing it. You can’t depend on sustainability as a marketing method or a way of getting someone to buy your product. The design and quality of the garment has to sell itself first.

The third component to creating a sustainable fashion brand is your Manufacturing

One of my favorite methods of approaching manufacturing is by pre-selling your product before you go into production. Instead of creating a bunch of inventory upfront and not knowing if you’ll sell anything or if it will just sit in a warehouse, you can pre-sell your products on sites like Shopify, Kickstarter or iFundWomen to test your product at market and see if it’s something people actually want to buy.

Not only does this help to eliminate possible waste, but it also gives you a chance to generate revenue upfront that you can then re-invest into your production run. Your first customers are essentially financing your production run for you.

This is the main launch strategy that we teach in Factory45 and since 2014 we’ve seen fashion brands across all niches and target markets successfully launch their brands by pre-selling. If you’re interested in learning more about launching your brand with us in this low-risk, cash-forward way, book a call with us to learn more at factory45.co.

When it comes to the actual factory you’re going to work with, start by looking for manufacturing partners within driving distance (or a short flight) of where you live. When researching production partners, pay special attention to pages outlining fair labor policies, minimum wage and any certifications they have available.

And the fourth thing to consider in creating a sustainable fashion brand is your packaging. 

Whenever possible you want to keep your packaging as minimal as you can, while still protecting the product from shipping and weather. That means avoiding plastic wrap, bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts and other artificial, synthetic and non-recyclable materials.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using recycled or compostable materials in the boxes and mailers you use. We provide an entire database of eco-friendly packaging options in the Factory45 program, so I know there are plenty out there.

Here’s the thing to remember when you’re first starting out in the sustainable fashion space: there are ways to test the market, raise money upfront and get customers before you even produce any inventory. That’s right, customers first, money second and production third. This is truly the most sustainable way to start a product-based business because you’re not creating anything before you know you have customers to sell to. This is the strategy we’ve been teaching since 2014 and it’s only becoming more and more popular from the startup brands all the way up to the big established brands.

So, as a summary and recap: you now have the four pillars of a sustainable fashion brand: sustainable fabric & materials, design integrity, ethical manufacturing and sustainable packaging. Of course there is so much more that goes into launching a successful brand, but these are the first four things I want you to start thinking about as you begin to build out your business model. In next week’s episode we’ll start getting things on paper by writing your business plan.

I hope this was a helpful baseline to start with and I’m excited to dive into it more in coming episodes. Make sure to hit subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and check out the resources I’ve linked in the description below. See you back here for episode 2!

podcast

This is my last post of 2021 and I have two quick things to share with you!

If you missed my announcement last week, we’re launching a new podcast in 2022!

Featuring easy-to-implement, 20-minute-or-less episodes, Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand is the podcast for entrepreneurs who want to take action, pursue their passion and make waves in the fashion industry.

You can now listen to the trailer on Apple Podcasts here and on Spotify here.

The first two episodes will be released on Wednesday, January 5th! Make sure to click Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

podcast

The second announcement is that there won’t be any Live Shows for the next two weeks while Factory45 is closed for the holidays.

Factory45 Live, the Live Show for Fashion Entrepreneurs, will resume on Thursday, January 6th at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT!

Have a wonderful, restful and happy holiday, everyone!

Here’s to 2022,

 


startup

On Thursday I want you to meet Factory45 alum Meghan Farmer, founder of The Bright Factory!

Back in October, Meghan successfully raised over $62,000 on Kickstarter to start an ethical t-shirt factory that employs formerly incarcerated women.

Not only is Meghan an amazing resource for pre-selling and crowdfunding advice, but she has an incredible mission and story.

So join us on Thursday, December 16th at 12pm ET / 9am PT – there are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here. (This is the direct link!)
  • Watch in our private Facebook group here.

Have questions for Meghan? We’ll take some q’s from the live audience, so bring them!

See you on Thursday!

 

 

P.S. ANNOUNCEMENT: You heard it here first… we’re starting a fashion podcast! Start Your Sustainable Fashion Brand: The Podcast is now on Apple & Spotify. Check out the trailer before the first episode releases on January 5th!

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify


questions answered

Happy December!

It’s the last month of 2021, so what does that mean for us? 

It’s time to start mapping out your business goals for 2022.

Is 2022 the year you will finally launch your fashion brand?

If that’s an emphatic “yes,” then I’m inviting you to ask me anything.

During tomorrow’s Live Show, let’s get your questions answered so that you can go into 2022 with a plan instead of uncertainty.

This is a free opportunity to ask me your lingering questions about how to get your fashion brand started, how to launch, how to scale or whatever else is on your mind.

There is so much about the fashion landscape, marketing methods and launch strategies that will change and continue to change next year.

How can you be prepared for what’s to come, so that you launch your brand successfully?

Let’s talk it out tomorrow, Dec. 2nd at noon ET during Factory45 Live. As always, there are two ways to tune in:

  1. Stream on YouTube here (ask your questions in the chat).
  2. Join me on Facebook here (ask your questions in the comments).

If you want to make sure your question gets answered (even if you can’t join live!) go ahead and reply to this email, ask your question and I’ll make sure to answer it tomorrow.

This is a free opportunity to get answers to some of your most pressing questions, so make sure to take advantage of it!

I’ll see you live tomorrow : )

 


Startup Conversation

I’m so excited about next week’s Live Show because I’m going to be interviewing Factory45 alumni, Catherine Huss, founder of siena & co.

Back in September, Catherine successfully pre-sold $31,830 on Kickstarter to fund her sustainable swimwear brand, and she’s going to share exactly how she did it.

One of the best ways to learn is by hearing from the fashion founders who have accomplished what you’re setting out to do.

So I hope you’ll join us on Friday, November 19th at 2pm ET / 11am PT – there are two ways to watch:

  • Stream on YouTube here. (This is the direct link!)
  • Join our private community here.

Startup Conversation

Have questions for Catherine? We’ll try to take some questions from the live audience, but feel free to ask questions in advance as a comment on YouTube or in our Facebook group!

See you next week!

 

 


blogging

What do you think of when I say the word, “blog?”

Is a blog something you’ve thought about starting for your fashion brand?

If not, do you know how you can strategically use blogging to create a customer-base and make sales?

It was with the help of a blog that I personally raised over $64K to fund my own sustainable fashion brand.

And it wasn’t through advertising or affiliate links or sponsorships.

Blogging is a tactical marketing strategy that any fashion brand can use to make sales and grow a brand online.

And in this week’s Live Show I’m going to share how to do that.

blogging

As always, there are two ways to tune in on Thursday at noon ET / 9am PT:

  1. Join our Facebook group here.
  2. Stream on YouTube here.

See you on Thursday!

 



Did you miss last week’s episode of Factory45 Live about using Instagram to grow your fashion brand? You can watch the replay by clicking below!