I was recently interviewed for an article about second chapters. I’ve been a student my entire life, so starting St. Brown & Co. is definitely a mark of my second chapter. The article was a nice opportunity to reflect and acknowledge the things I’ve learned and the qualities I possess that have gotten me to this point.
A quote I live by in life and business
Lauren Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential always says “Launch fast and adjust.” This is a major theme in my life and my business.
Personally, if something isn’t working, I launch myself out of that situation and move on to the next thing. I’ve spent so much time wallowing in things that are obviously not right for me (based on a gut check). So I’ve recently adopted the “Launch fast and adjust” mindset to my personal life. Sometimes a hard right turn is the best decision in the quest of finding what aligns.
In business, I used this mindset quite literally. I had the idea for St. Brown & Co. on October 24, 2020. The idea for candles literally just exploded in my head, and I moved fast. First, I bought a small batch of materials to see if I even liked candle making. When I figured out that I enjoyed the process, I attached a brand to the craft. I set my launch date before even finding my first supplier. I knew if I gave myself too much time to think, I would talk myself out of launching the business. So, I set the December 31, 2020 launch date. Was it perfect? No. But I made it.
I continue to adopt this philosophy every time I feel myself slowing down. Whenever I’m stuck on something, I snap myself out of it and move as fast as possible. Because action is almost always better than stewing. Launch fast and adjust.
3 qualities I have that have helped me get this far
It takes guts to put yourself out there and start a business; and to continue to build a business. The risk and fear never stops. It was a risk to place my first order with my supplier to build out my inventory. I just took that risk again when I placed an order almost 20x that size in preparation for this holiday season. Am I nervous? Yes. Do I know it’s necessary to continue to grow my business? Also yes.
I had no clue how to make candles until I learned how to make candles. I Googled my way to this point. Even if I don’t exactly know what question to ask, I Google until I figure out what I’m trying to know.
Businesses are run by people. And people generally respond well to being treated with respectful kindness. By being personable and friendly at pop-up shops, I have gotten wholesale deals, press, discount codes, and invitations to other shopping events. People do business with people. And people remember how you treat them.
How I get out of my comfort zone
Honestly, I get out of my comfort zone by just throwing myself right into it. Jumping into the metaphorical deep end.
On a more practical note—another thing I’ve picked up from Lauren Evarts Bosstick is taking ice cold showers. Ice cold showers are incredibly uncomfortable, but every time I do it, I mentally decide to physically move my body into the cold and stay there. And then it’s done. I have beat my mind and the resistance to be uncomfortable.
5 things I wish someone told me before I started my business
1. Ask for help
Don’t waste time thinking people won’t want to help you, because generally, they want to help. I was getting a vitamin IV injection at Verve Holistic Health in Tustin, and there was another person also getting an IV. We struck up conversation, and it turned out he did SEO. I was in search for SEO support, but his prices were way out of my budget. So, I asked him if knew anyone in my budget, and he directed me to two specific resources that were affordable for my business. And I hired them!
2. People want to see you succeed
I know it’s scary to put yourself out there, and not everyone will be supportive, but most of the time, people like to see other people succeed, so put yourself out there!
3. People buy from people
I just recently made my personal Instagram public. I didn’t really want to be the face of my brand, but I’ve realized that opening myself up to the public is humanizing St. Brown & Co. We’re not just candles, there’s a person behind the brand.
4. Nothing is worth sacrificing your mental health
If I find myself overthinking about something negative, I’m learning to cut it out. And cut it out fast. So I can move on with my life and my business.
5. Making money is not a bad thing
I think a lot of people have associated making money with greed or taking advantage. But in reality, it’s an honor to make money as a small business owner. Making money means that there’s opportunity to invest back into the business to grow it. It means opportunity to hire employees and support their livelihoods. It means affording financial freedom to my own life, at whatever degree that happens to be. Making money is not an ugly thing; it’s a resource to provide opportunity.