Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicole Snow, founder, and CEO of Darn Good Yarn, located in Halfmoon, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are the premier creative lifestyle company for anyone who cares about the earth and the people that live on it. We sell crafting supplies and apparel made from reclaimed materials. Since we started in 2008, we have saved more than 2,000,000 pounds of material waste.
Our yarn gives customers the chance to experience something new and fun. Our customers are talented and creative people that care about what they're buying and where it comes from. There's a human touch to everything we offer. We're a very small company that cares deeply about the people in our community, and our customers are a huge part of our community.
Tell us about yourself
I am motivated to be a part of a company that connects and inspires people to be their authentic selves. If it is expressed through crafting or through the clothing that people wear, I'm inspired to provide the resources to make that happen.
I'm also inspired to create a meaningful company environment where individuals can rise to their potential and create their own paths of expansion.
I started my company in a little side bedroom, and once I started sourcing from our co-ops in India, it hit me that this yarn actually allows women to stay at home," and then it just blossomed from there. I recognized the importance of building a sustainable human-focused supply chain. I really do believe that a small business is an amazing way to serve and leave an impact on the world you live in, and Darn Good Yarn lives and is motivated by that motto. Everything we do is done to create the best impact possible on the world around us.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is building our current team and making it through the struggles presented to us by COVID. It was really hard at the beginning, with staffing, cleaning, sourcing, deliveries, and even keeping up with the changing health codes. But the team that stuck by me is dead serious about helping others and really bonded together during tough times. We really learned how much we could rely on each other and our community. Being able to look at the person next to you and know that they've got your back is really valuable while you're running around trying to keep your business alive during a pandemic!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being self-funded. There is very little room for error. The stress from cash flow constraints can be exceptionally difficult.
It's a blessing and a curse to be self-funded. Sure, we don't have to listen to any outside corporate people, but when times are hard, we really have to fight. I'm a hundred percent self-funded; my husband works for me. We're truly a family business. I think in a time when there's a lot of private equity money and stuff like that going around, it's nice to know that we can stand on our own two feet without taking the money from outside folks that might not align with our morals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Trust your gut with people. If it doesn't feel good, don't do it– no matter what the resume says. It isn't worth screwing with the culture of your trusted community of employees! Go for the people that show their resume in their work, not just when they talk.
- Think about your supply chain and look for ways to make it greener- offset carbon, and enhance workers' lives. It always will come back to leave the best impact on your world that you can. If you can help five more women in India- we will do it. If we can only afford to fund one more surgery, we do it. The littlest things can make a massive impact down the road.
- Listen to your customers' feedback and read the tea leaves. Your customers are a part of your community's culture. Listen to what they have to say and try it! Worst case scenario, you go back to the old tried-n’-true but never miss an opportunity that your customers are asking for! They're asking because they believe you can do it and do it well!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.