Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chantelle Lott, CEO of Bounceless, located in Tulsa, OK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Bounceless is an activewear brand for fuller bust women (C cup and larger) who want to work out without the distraction of the bounce. We understand that this underserved population needs support in order to engage in the physical activities of their choice, and we want to be able to meet their bounce reduction needs.
Tell us about yourself
As a former track athlete, I've always been above average in the bust. During my senior year as a collegiate athlete, I decided I was going to design a sports bra-yes, with no fashion experience! I knew that I wanted to continue to be physically active and needed a sports bra to do so. It took years (more than I could ever estimate) to get to where we are now. Product development took more than three years. I am motivated each day to continue to make Bounceless a leader in the activewear industry because of the feedback and comments I receive from women. Hearing their stories of how they have struggled to find a supportive sports bra and then hearing how confident they feel in ours reminds me that this is bigger than myself.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was receiving a patent on our sports bra design. To know that I invented something is part of the legacy I am creating. Honestly, I would not have walked through some of the doors I have been able to enter if it were not for the patent.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is feeling like you are doing it alone. There are times when the next step seems so far away, and it does not seem like anyone else can relate. Once I started networking and joining different memberships, I realized that I was not alone. No matter what industry I've met people in, I am able to learn from them and share my experience, which helps others as well. In talking with other business owners, we share some of the same struggles, which we wouldn't have known had we not connected.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a support system that is not your "yes" system. As a business owner, you have to get used to hearing when things are not going well or when something just is not working. Having people who will provide you with constructive criticism is key to growing.
- Go out and get those no's! My mama always said, "All they can do is tell you no." In order for someone to tell you no, you have to make the ask. Making the ask is putting yourself and your business out there. I make a list of the people I intend to ask of, knowing that I will hear "no" most of the time. Making the asks allows me to always talk about my business!
- Ask for help. Don't do it alone. As the founder and owner of your company, you will soon realize there are some things you do not know. There are a lot of (free) resources that are available to those starting or growing their business. Check with your local Score chapter or see if there is a small business development council in your area.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Being a business owner takes a lot of effort. Remind yourself of your why in order to keep your passion going.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.