There are still days when I wake up and have to remind myself that I did it; I started my own company. It was a risk I never imagined I’d take, but am so thankful I did.
Now that my store is officially live, it is very exciting to see people interact with the site, make purchases and validate my designs and creations. Less than a month in, I already have nerves about long term success. Will more people like my designs, will I expand into retail, will there be naysayers? I even worry that one day PETA will be knocking at my door for my use of baby alpaca fur (although it is responsibly collected and beneficial to the animal).
When uncertainty starts to creep in, I turn to my friends and family, who are there for anything from vent sessions, idea bounces or sometimes even some tough love.
I believe that for any budding entrepreneur it is essential to have many types of advisors. Whether from friends, family or mentors, feedback and insight from different perspectives is key when developing your products, brand and goals.
Friends & Family: Okay, so these people are predisposed to love you no matter what right? Well that doesn’t mean they hold back when it comes to feedback and criticism, especially if they are anything like my family. I will admit that it is because of my sister (strongly) pushing me to pursue daph. that it actually happened. Now for those of you who know my sister you’ll know that we are complete opposites, so it takes a lot for me to actually listen to anything she says. This time I am glad I did. Sometimes blunt honesty regarding a design that needs work, my business cards that need refreshing, or how I “totally need to delete that Instagram post” may come off as harsh, but after I take the time to reflect on the suggestion and accept that it is coming from a good place (rather than just an attempt to annoy me), I question why I hadn’t thought of it myself. But that’s it! I CAN’T THINK OF EVERYTHING! And that is why it is essential to listen to others. Whether it’s showing them my product at a pop up, a family event or at a dinner with friends, hearing what people want, what they are missing and what they need is fundamental when developing my products. After all, people don’t know what they are missing until they experience it.
More recently I find myself saying “I can’t do everything!” Like I’ve mentioned before, I am a list person and nowadays the lists have just become never ending. Thanks to my family I have not only learned how to manage the lists and my time to ensure I let my brain cool off, but I have also learned how my family’s skills and talents can help me along the way.
As you all know, I come up with the designs and created the signature daph. pattern, but I did not study design and definitely could not tell you how long a handle has to be in order to hold all your life’s essentials. Thanks to my aunt, who in fact is an architect and studied design, my daph. products are made to perfection, ensuring their durability and high quality. If I hadn’t reached out to family for insight and support I would probably still be making paper life-size product models or creating lopsided bags.
Mentors: I was lucky enough to go to a great business school where professors were and still are accessible and more than willing to help me with any type of endeavor. Whether it’s talking through a marketing plan over coffee or responding to a quick Google Adwords issue, they are always happy and willing to help. Having learned most of my business skills from them, I consider them mentors and experts in their field and trust them to question and challenge my ideas and plans. Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be a professor to be a mentor. A mentor is someone you see as a positive example in your life, someone you learn from, you admire and of course, you trust. So, whether it be your 2nd grade English teacher, a long-time friend or even a co-worker, everyone should have at least one mentor to help with personal and professional growth. Without mine, I would never be where I am with daph. or in my personal life.
Entrepreneurship may seem like a lonely path, but I’ve learned the importance of a support system. My group of supporters is excited for my success and happy to spread the word around their circles. Whether it’s liking every single one of my Instagram posts, buying a product or sharing my content online, every touch means the world to me and truly motivates me to keep going with daph. THANK YOU!