How to be an Entrepreneur with Multiple Personalities

I write often about the challenges of being an entrepreneur. What I don’t talk much about is all the different things that I do on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I think that I have multiple personalities due to all the different things that I have to do.

CLOWN : yes, I often times make a fool out of myself just learning new things. I’m learning from making lots of mistakes, but recovering quickly. Most recently on our first run of blankies there was a slight mistake in one of our patterns which in turn meant that we needed to recut them. Good thing we had extra fabric! I know I won’t be making that mistake again.

GENIUS : not!…but I’d like to tap into other’s that have blazed that path before me to learn from their smarts. I’ve realized that it’s not the smarts that will get us to where we want, but it’s perseverance and patience. Knowing when to push and when to wait has been some of the hardest learning experiences for us.

NETWORKER : genuine networking comes from genuine friendships. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve met people that I can tell are just talking to me just for their own purposes. On the other hand, everyone that is helping us are really dear friends of ours that believe in what we do. I  have been more than happy to return the favor on many accounts.

SUPPLY CHAIN SPECIALIST / PRODUCTION GRITTINESS : Global sourcing has been an adventure in itself. Finding organic cotton is equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack. Again, networks help in this instance and so does just good ole hard research. I’ve found that just looking for experts in the field have lead to many other resources. I remember actually speaking to a man that was the head of the organic farming institute in America. It was such a joy to just hear his own story and passion behind what he’s doing and he was more than happy to send me along to the right people.

PR / MARKETING / PUBLIC SPEAKER / INSPIRER : I don’t think that we set-out to intentionally be all “PR-like” in our communications. I just want to be honest in our vision and also inspire others to do something that matters. What I hope and aspire to tell is that ordinary people CAN do GREAT things, it’s all about just trying.

DREAMER/CREATIVE: as much as I am a creative, I honestly get to “design” about 10% of the time. Running a business does require a different type of creativity that I’m learning. For example, how do I use just the resources that I have to achieve the results needed. When resources are limited, that’s when people start getting creative. Dreaming helps me keep my passion alive. There are days where I have to remember what the dream is or else I start to lose myself in the details.

How have you survived in your business? What are some of your different personalities that you’ve had to take on?








How to go shopping…and be responsible.

image from Vaguely Artistic


Hello Ellie Fun Day Friends,

Thank you so much for the love on our new teasers and blankets. We are in the process of working on our production so please be patient with us. We are in the learning process and trying to bring the best possible blanket with our resources and time.

Throughout this whole process I’ve really learned ALOT! I just got back from New York City (my second home) and boy is it a tough tough market out there. I braved myself and did some cold calls to some high-end boutiques in Soho and the Meatpacking district. Surprisingly all of the owners were happy to give me feedback. General consensus from my learnings? To be myself. All of the owners gravitated towards the designs that I felt like were more me. I don’t know if NYC is just a microcosm of taste, I have yet to test the midwest and the other parts of the country.

Some other learnings:

1.) What sells isn’t necessarily good taste. I just came back from a kids trade show. Elton and I noticed that one booth in particular was totally buzzing. What I noticed first was the sad photography. It wasn’t sharp at all and the model was situated at this one place in front of the Brooklyn Bridge with trash all around her. Go figure…was that the look they were going for?

2.) Being a designer isn’t necessarily about just making pretty things. the goal is to produce a product for profit so that I can sustain and therefore help the community of women that I am trying to empower.

3.) You REALLY pay for what you get: the more I’m in this business the more I examine clothes and products closely. So to my final point and learnings…

HOW TO GO SHOPPING…and be responsible:

1.) Cost: this is a big one. I know that we all like deals and cheap things. (I do too!) But analyze the cost of the product that you’re buying, then divide that by 4 (if not 7 ideal). Then that is really the cost of goods plus labor. i.e. Forever 21 sells a blouse for $21, so divide that by 4 = $5.25. Now think about the labor and the material…how much did that person get paid to make that blouse? How did that fabric get to that price point?

The other thing to consider is how much wear will you get out of this item. Think about cost per wear. If it’s just a trendy item, will you wear it next season? If it’s something like a well-made coat, you will more likely keep this for a longer duration of time and wear it more often through it’s lifespan. Think about those investments.

2.) Content: fiber content matters. Natural fibers (Cotton, wool, silk) will cost more. Synthetics less (polyester, nylon, modal, rayon) etc. I’m not saying one is better than the other. But do consider this, natural fibers biodegrade much faster than synthetics. Synthetics help in durability but both may use toxic chemicals during processing and production. In the end, it’s how the manufacturer handles the disposal of these chemicals. The more responsible ones will most likely cost more. See where cost comes in?

3.) Care: sometimes manufacturers will do something called low-labeling. This means that if they don’t have time to test their garment/product they will just put the lowest common denominator for care i.e. dry clean only. I’ve seen a dry clean label on a cotton shirt that I had. It was a woven and I was asking myself, “why is this dry clean only?” I proceeded to wash it with cold water and hung dried it. There was some significant shrinkage but the shirt was still ok after the washing. The manufacturer most likely didn’t want me to be upset with the shrinkage…hence the low-labeling. Watch out for care labels like that.

Via ffffound

4.) Fit: why do movie starts look so awesome in their clothes? yes, designers give them nice threads, but in the end they have all of their clothes tailored to their body. Most clothes that are off the rack are sized in a way where it fits a larger demographic. As you move towards the higher end designer lines, the fit will get better because they have worked on the pattern extensively to get it just right. (that is where their costs are built in..see? costs!)

Finding a good tailor is like finding a best friend…you want to keep him/her FOREVER. They make you look good and will tell you what is wrong and try to fix it. ;)

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty via Liz Chan

5.) Function: as you shop, ask yourself, “Where will I wear this? With what will I wear this with? Do I feel FABULOUS in it?” (this is key…I don’t by anything that I don’t love.) After my purchase I try on my new piece of clothing with other things in my wardrobe. If I can’t pair it with 3 or more items then it’s a return.


Your closet is an exclusive club.

The secret code to get in is CCCFF = Cost, Content, Care, Fit, Function.

How do you go shopping? Love to hear your tips!









What Makes Entrepreneurship Hard

The ups and downs…

As an entrepreneur there are days when the wins are big and the losses feel even more devastating. I know that this is just the beginning but to tell you the honest truth I’m scared sh*tless. I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of the losses that can happen. I’m scared I will make a mistake that might affect many lives. I’m scared I will be laughed at when I’m left penniless and bankrupt. Today was one of those days where I felt utterly discouraged. Mainly because we didn’t get into the accelerator program that I so wished we would have.

Yes there are so many factors at hand that bring success to a business. Some say it’s luck, some say it’s blood, sweat and tears. I would say it’s probably a combination of both. I don’t necessarily believe in luck, I believe in faith. Each day I wake up, I need to believe in faith that God will carry me through to the next step. I need to believe in faith that what I’m doing will bring about change. I need to believe in faith that there is a reason and a purpose for what I’m trying to do.

Then my lovely husband reminds me of the wins that I have had. It’s a win that I have a home and a bed that I sleep in every night (there are thousands out there without one). It’s a win that my husband comes home everyday (there are wives who’s husbands are on duty somewhere and don’t have that privilege). It’s a win that I have friends and family that love me. The list goes on. Every little thing I take for granted is a big win.

Then there are the little wins I DO need to document. For example we’ve been praying for mentors, people that have traveled this road before us to give us guidance. Just two days ago we got an invitation from Freeset to go and visit and learn from their social enterprise in Kolkatta. There’s also a boutique in the D.C. area that’s interested in our blanket designs. These small wins are reminding me that God is slowly opening some doors and closing others. I need to remind myself that I’m at his mercy. He’s in the driver’s seat. Not me.