How do you start your day?
I turn on Good Morning America in the background, and then check email, Instagram, among other things, on my phone.
Who inspires you?
What would you tell yourself as a teenager?
Never stop dreaming.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Be yourself. Always.
What do you need to get you through each day?
A tall extra hot chai tea latte from Starbucks.
What are you reading?
This week’s WWD.
Briefly describe your business and inspiration for it.
The B. Suit is the first swimwear brand that uses technology to develop a better suit, and a better way to buy it. Launched in June, 2015, The B. Suits can be worn up to ten different ways, providing support for an active and versatile lifestyle, while bridging the gap between fashion and function.
How has your passion fueled your business?
My business wouldn’t be in existence if I didn’t have a passion for making a positive change in the swimwear industry, and women’s lives. I started The B. Side because I believed women deserved more from their swimwear.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I had nothing to lose. I wanted to follow my passion, and it just became more rewarding from there. I have been an athlete my entire life, growing up on a lake outside of Seattle, and running track for the University of Notre Dame. But my passion has always been fashion and I have found it a challenge to complement the two, until I began working as a merchandiser at Juicy Couture. There, I helped curate the Juicy Sport collection and was motivated to invent the B. Suit concept with athletic wear innovation and my bikini pain-points in mind.
What has been the key to your success?
Knowing that, no matter what, everything will be okay. The entrepreneurship path is a rollercoaster ride. There can be extreme highs and lows in just one day, and things are guaranteed to change dramatically back-and-forth over time. Learning to simply go with the flow and try your best, to keep your head and emotions in check will ultimately be the determining factor if you can persevere.
What challenges did you face in the early days of being the Founder of your own business?
One of my biggest challenges was getting to know and understand the startup community—the language, landscape, people, and my place within it all. You have to spend ample time going to events, networking, and immersing yourself into community that will ultimately help you get to the next level. I call it personal brand value. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t keep building my network. Whether it’s a warm introduction to an investor, or leaning on a fellow entrepreneur that I’ve met, or just being able to speak the language used by the startup community; understanding your territory is very important.
What is the biggest challenge you have had in your business to date and how did you pull through it?
Realizing that fundraising isn’t asking for money, it’s asking investors to be part of your success. It’s just self-realization and confidence. Everything is a human process at the end of the day. Your investors have to believe in you, and buy into what you’re saying and/or selling. They have to share (at least somewhat) the passion you have for your venture—that way you have confidence in the relationship as well. That was the hardest thing for me: to realize it was not just one-sided. Smart investments and investor relationships are the best for you and the future of your venture.
When self-doubt hits, what do you do?
Surround yourself with people who motivate you. Sometimes a simple distraction like exercise, a good movie, or drinks with friends can help bring you back to down-to-earth.
Which books, articles, blogs have helped to shape your business and/or leadership style?
GirlBoss by Sophia Amaruso
Basic Black by Cathie Black
Podcasts such as Shopify Masters (I was recently interviewed by them), Startup Grind, Product Hunt, The Pitch and Fashion is Your Business
What do you think the most important attribute a female entrepreneur/ business owner can possess?
Confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself and your venture, then who will? Women deal with doubt, insecurity, and, of course, lots of emotion. But there are ways to own it and use these characteristics to your advantage. It’s not something you can teach—you just have to have it.
What do you do outside the office to help you stay creative/productive?
This is very important. Not only do you need to have checkout breaks that relax you, but you also have to continuely learn. Whether it’s a coding class, travelling for inspiration, or just taking a walk; keep doing things for yourself.
What would you say to another woman who asked you if they should take the leap and start their own business?
How can I help?