Three clever tech geeks get together in one of their parents’ garages to create a startup company. They prototype a brand-new product that changes the world forever.
That’s the story of Apple… and it’s been told a million times over.
When you hear success stories about innovation and entrepreneurship, they all sound simultaneously inspiring and simple. The truth is that 99 out of 100 startup stories aren’t either. They take time, tons of effort and pounding the pavement.
We’re no Apple… yet. But we are in our startup phase. And while we aren’t introducing a new type of personal computer, we do hope to touch a great number of lives by changing the way they look at and feel about themselves.
Our startup isn’t located in a garage. It’s mostly done about 20 feet away in the living room. But the more important aspect of startup life has nothing to do with location.
It’s about people — building a team. Here, we have an advantage over Apple. Their team fell apart. Ours, however, is made up of exceptional people who work well together.
Everyone from our VP of Design, Patricia DeLaunay, who has a masterful eye for design and trends… to our COO, Edwin Shive — a better planner, organizer, structural visionary there never was.
Of course, the team’s glue is our founder, Diana Nelson. She’s the rare, one-in-a-million combination of creative and analytical. She fuses the team together.
Even this might sound like a simple recipe for a successful startup. But a strong team is only the first, albeit most important, piece.
Our company’s early days are defined by a tornado of inspiring ideas, such as new designs and how to improve on our fit, to putting in the hard work of implementing those ideas. It’s also about pounding the pavement.
“If you build it, they will come.”
The idea that a great product or service is all you need for success is clearly false. If you build it, they still won’t know to come.
We aren’t marketers. We aren’t sales people… not by nature. Our team is made up of experts in design and fit. We know how to make a great product. But it’ll only stay a secret great product unless we take it to you.
And that’s exactly what this stage of our beginnings is all about.
At the start of the month, we held a trunk show at the beautiful “A Hidden Vine On the Lake” wine shop. This is just the most recent of many such events we’ve been taking part in. It’s also the best way to introduce our line to customers. In person, they can touch and feel our fabric, as well as try our pieces on to see just how great of a fit they are.
We know that when you see for yourself how flattering, well-crafted and comfort-fitted our pieces are, you’ll want them. We know the product is great.
We, however, aren’t experts in spreading the word (but we try, hence this blog).
Trunk shows are just the start, however. What you don’t hear about often in Apple’s story is how many presentations at stores and tradeshows they attended before they could get any sales. We’re no different on that front. We’re out there pounding the pavement.
This week, we’re in downtown Los Angeles at the Contemporary Curves showcase at the LA Fashion Market. This is a newer event, but one that’s already becoming a must-attend tradeshow.
We’re sharing our line and ideas with hundreds of industry insiders and retailers. Again, this is about putting our great product into the hands of people. A photograph might be worth a thousand words, but the personal touch is worth far more to our business.
This is the true “boots on the ground” step in our young company’s life. It’s also the part you don’t hear about in those made-for-Hollywood stories about ground-breaking innovations. They usually blur past the “pounding the pavement,” knocking-on-doors part of the early days and skip to the big buyout offer.
Startup life is inspirational and exciting, complicated and confusing, satisfying and draining. But most of all, to us at least, it’s necessary… necessary to put our hard work and the clothes we are so proud of in your hands.
So, when you next read about Zuckerberg’s dorm room Facebook days or Starbucks’ first coffee shop, don’t buy into how easy it was. It wasn’t… but it is still completely worth it.