question 3

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?

ALEXANDRA SENES - KILOMETRE.PARIS

Figuring out import and export. We had packages stuck in customs and got charged a huge fee.

AGATHA KULAGA - OVENLY

I lost sight of my personal needs. We were going nonstop and burn out is inevitable at the rate we were going for the first two years. The business takes over your life, and you forget what eating well, exercise, and sleep is. It's very hard to see the bigger picture and think strategically when you are running around doing the jobs of 12 people. As soon as we hired some staff, we were able to sleep (at least a little more) and focus more on business strategy and operations. 

AMAN ADVANI - MINISTRY OF SUPPLY

Hiring for culture. We want to build a culture where people enjoy coming to work. Ultimately that would create better products in the long run. How do we create a team that’s excited about our mission? It’s not about solving this mission. It’s more about finding the right team to solve this mission.

christina bryant - st frank

You have to a ton of perseverance and confidence and passion about the brand you are building. I am my customer. I believe in the products. That allows me to go through tough times. You can’t do it alone. You need a strong team around you. You need to feel comfortable letting go a huge chunk of the business and let them run with it. It has taken me and Steph a lot of time learning to build our team. They are essential to our success. You can hire someone who’s amazing in a corporate environment, but it might not be a right match for an early stage start up. Building a group of people who can thrive in an early stage company and also believe in the brand and bring in unique skill sets to the table is essential. 

KATIE DEMO - BRASS CLOTHING

Making the decision to go full time. It was a risk. I was leaving a very secure job. There was some fear.

LINDSEY MARTIN - BLOOM

When I first started, I was excited and wanted to move fast. I would compare Bloom to companies that had been around for years, so I would sometimes become frustrated when I continued to do the same thing but didn’t see the result that I wanted. It can be hard to get out of that mindset, but I learned to be patient and have faith in the process.

LISA ANN MARKUSON - THE HAIKU GUYS + GALS

Oh man - Having no idea how to be a professional! And we had no examples and no mentors because they’re is nobody out there who has done this type of work and made it a sustainable business (that I know of).

MAX POLLACK - MATTE PROJECTS

We were not taken seriously at first because we were two 24-year old kids. People were skeptical about what we could do. We had to convince people to be certain of us when we were facing a lot of uncertainties. We had to take a lot of assurance and confidence of ourselves.

MIA DAVIS - TABÚ

While we have guidelines about our brand voice, it’s harder for it to come through when we work with outside writers and brands. We just have to define what our voice is and communicate that better, so people can understand exactly what it is.

OLIVER MAK - BODEGA

We didn’t know how to run a retail store, so we wasted a lot of time.

RITA PINTO - VANITY PROJECTS

Finding the talent.

ROSE WANG - CHIRPS

We couldn’t find any manufacturers because no one wanted to work with cricket ingredients. They weren’t familiar with the potential nutrition facts and the contamination that it may have on other people.

RUTA LAUKIEN - LIQUID ART HOUSE

One of the biggest challenges is when my first chef left. I build the concept a lot around her, so it was pretty challenging to find a new one especially since I was under time constraints and have a short period to find a new person. The chef is the key member of the team. We changed the menu when the new chef came. The timing wasn’t ideal because it was right in the middle of the holiday season. Initially we didn’t change the menu because all the parties were pre-booked and the menus were picked, so we ran the existing menu until the end of the year and launched a new menu in January.

sophie zembra - antidote

At first it was the language and the culture. Then I had to create a new network in Miami. I didn’t know many people there. It’s actually easier to do that in Miami because people are more open and friendly. Everything was new and different for me, but it was also very exciting as well. I need to get out of my comfort zone. That’s how I become better.

ZACH MACKLOVITCH - SAINTWOODS

It was really hard as a struggling entrepreneur. We didn’t have the money, nobody wanted to work with us, and the brand didn’t mean anything. That was the reality.