Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Connie Shih, founder, and CEO of Heralogie, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Heralogie is a woman-owned small business that makes sustainable period underwear ethically sourced and made primarily from beechwood trees. We are committed to sustainability, empowering menstruators, and alleviating period poverty. I created the company after looking everywhere (without success) for a period panty that was actually comfortable, did not itch at the seams, and did not feel like a swimsuit. Our customers are primarily eco-conscious menstruators who want a better solution to their period routine. They care about a mission-based business and want to give back to those experiencing period poverty. We also have customers who are experiencing incontinence, postpartum, and post-surgery bleeding.
Tell us about yourself
I had wanted to be a mission-based entrepreneur for over a decade. I loved the idea of growing something from nothing, and that entrepreneurial mindset always inspired me. What motivates me each day is the incredible people I get to work with: my team, mentors/advisors, our customers, and our ambassadors. I love collaborating with people and helping empower those who have not experienced the joy and freedom of saying goodbye to disposables and to period stigma forever.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I mean, I did it! I founded a company, as I've always wanted to do. I don't really celebrate much because I'm busy moving on to the next thing. But for years, I had wanted to build a skillset, find something I cared about and build a business around it. I was previously in wealth management at a top investment firm, building one of the fastest-growing practices in the nation. However, I felt a disconnect with the values of the firm, so I left. I am proud of being true to my values and ethics as an entrepreneur. There are always shortcuts and decisions I need to make that are reflective of integrity: for example, choosing an ethical manufacturer, compensating team members appropriately, donating to period equity organizations vs. higher margins costs. I'm proud to say that I've always made the decision that lined up with my values. And that's something that I hope to continue doing and instill in my team as we grow.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think it would have to do with the stress and responsibility of having everything on my shoulders. I've always been drawn to leadership, even when I was working at an investment firm. I love building teams and working with amazing, capable individuals. That being said, there is an enormous amount of stress that comes along with having people depend on me and the success of the company. I care deeply about my team and my customers. Finding the balance between self-care and passion for work is definitely something I've always struggled with.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your "why" and be honest about it. Why are you getting into something so high-risk and all-consuming? What drives you? Mission? Money? Success? People? Whatever it is, it's important to define that clearly at the outset and be really honest with yourself.
- Ask for help. I was fortunate enough to join an accelerator and fellowship program for early-stage companies, and those have been instrumental in helping me navigate through various business problems.
- Network strategically. In a time where everyone is working from home and meetings are done through screens, it is hard to build a personal
connection with advisors, mentors, and peers. Going to in-person events, speaking at events, and hosting events is not only great for building awareness for the business but also for mental health and feeling connected to a community. Reach out to speakers at events. Follow up. Build relationships without expecting anything in return.
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.