September marked 1 year since I launched Goose & Gander Brand. I can't believe 1 year has gone by already! I often share that this has been one of the most rewarding & challenging years of my life! I didn't start Goose & Gander Brand with a huge business plan but have used what I call "crawling, walking, and learning" throughout the journey.
I keep a journal of all the ups and downs of the journey and was recently reflecting through it. As I was reflecting, there were a few things that stood out that have helped me build the brand along the way. Here are 6 things that have helped shape Goose & Gander Brand. I'm often asked, "How do I start a business?" Although I'm not a pro, I hope these help you on your own journey.
1. Embrace You
Going from being held back by fear for years > feeling unfulfilled in jobs > getting laid off > finally launching my passion, I've learned to embrace my unique voice. There are TONS of brands out there & I had to find a way to stand out, which was honing my unique story, perspective, & vision. Working a 9 to 5 is more reactive & being an entrepreneur is more proactive so I've had to learn a lot about myself in that. Entrepreneurship has involved a lot of "self-discovery"-I've had to learn what I'm great at, as well as what I'm not great at. When we hold back our gifts, its kind of robbing people of something they may need. We each have a unique voice that the world needs & someone will connect with.
2. Create an Awesome Circle
I don't know where I would be without the people that have helped me along the way. I repeat....I DON'T know where I would be without the people that have helped me along the way. The list is endless starting from my mom all the way down to my 13 year old cousin (who also considers herself my manager). I'm not a pro & I rely on various people for their expertise in different areas from graphic designers > suppliers > videographers > photographers > models > close friends that are great at marketing. Goose & Gander Brand is my business but I often use the word "we" throughout because without the support of family, friends, & YOU, I wouldn't be here. I also rely on my awesome circle when I need a positive talk during rough patches or a fresh perspective. As the saying goes "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Surround yourself with positive people that ALWAYS want the best for you.
3. Focus on Who Gets It
I once got an email that said, "Your tees are not fashionable enough." Someone also said, "Who cares about all of this positivity." Ouch! Not everyone will like Goose & Gander Brand and that's ok. I've also heard "I love the quality of my tee! I so can relate to this! Somebody stopped me & asked me about my tee! What you are doing with the youth is inspiring." THAT is what I focus on-those that will connect with me, the brand, & who I can serve. I want people to be inspired to pursue their passion, live a more fulfilled life, have fun doing it, & enjoy a cool tee along the way! Focus on who you can serve. If you try to serve everyone you will serve no one.
4. Continue the Art of Learning
This year has been 365 + days of constant learning. As Lead Goose I've had to figure out product designs > website design > photo shoots > marketing > accounting > overall company direction. The list is ENDLESS. With no fashion background or "how to run a business" handbook, I'm constantly learning. I rely on resources such as my mentor, other entrepreneurs, books, etc. There is TONS of free content, blogs, & videos that teach just about everything you need to know. I've made mistakes, but have learned the best way to deal with them is to pivot quickly. The first year of business has been filled with "getting my feet wet," learning, tweaking, & growing. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Embrace the art of learning to become a better version of you.
5. Start Where You Are
I started Goose & Gander Brand in my bedroom, with no true fashion experience, official business plan, big financial investment, & Google as my resource. I launched with 5 tees & 2 pin designs. I run the company from home, with the garage as my "warehouse," & on a shoestring budget. I don't have the resources like bigger brands, but have been able to create a personal & quality experience. I want to continue to grow the brand little by little, & set a solid foundation for the long run. With the amount of resources at our fingertips, right now is the easiest time to start that business or venture. If there is something you want to pursue, start right where you are, with the resources you have.
6. There is Still Power in Face to Face Connection
Through Goose & Gander Brand, I've been able to connect with the most amazing people in person. Through face to face connection I've experienced a successful launch party > products in 2 stores > developed partnerships at pop up events > interact with customers. I've also been able to truly dive into my passion of empowering others to pursue their passion by speaking to 4th graders > high school students > college students > millennials at a creative conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is a reason we still go to conferences, on dates, or physical events. Interaction with someone face to face builds trust, which can then be transferred online. We live in a digital world but there is STILL power in connecting face to face.
I've learned so much as Lead Goose and still have WAYS to grow. Everyday I want to feel-Creative (be able to express my ideas positively), Abundant (thankful & motivated), & Of Value (serve & empower others). This 1st year as Lead Goose has allowed me to be able to do that, & I hope to continue. Entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, but waking up everyday to do what you love is a WORTHY journey!