Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Brubaker, Founder of Chin Up Chest Out Apparel Co., located in Cumberland Center, ME, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Chin Up Chest Out Apparel Co. is a clothing brand that supports and advocates for mental health. Our customers believe in the power of mindset and are mindful of protecting their physical and mental well-being.
Tell us about yourself
After a 12-year career as a best-selling author and speaker, in 2019, I got hit with a string of physical injuries, which took a toll on my mental health. I spent much of 2019 in physical therapy and psychotherapy. My therapist encouraged me to journal and document the strategies I created to climb out of depression. After regaining my physical and mental health, a pandemic hit the globe, and many people's mental health began to suffer due to isolation. As a result, I felt called to share that journal with the world, so I decided to publish it as a daily reader titled Move Forward.
That set the stage for the creation of my own clothing brand, Chin Up Chest Out apparel. "Chin Up, Chest Out, Move Forward" is my mindset and mantra in dealing with adversity. No matter what you're going through, keep your chin up, your chest out, and move forward. It's a seamless extension of my overall brand message- leadership and the power of mindset. The CUCO brand message and cause have resonated deeply with the public. In its first year, Chin Up Chest Out built a customer base in 27 states and 3 countries, and 10% of all sales are donated to mental health charities.
What motivates me to do what I do each day is how telling my story has opened up the communication channels for others to no longer suffer in silence and begin to talk about mental health. We need to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and have it start being discussed in the same light as physical health.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In 2021 we founded our own radio station. CUCOradio.com "Music For Your Mindset." It was a natural brand extension for our apparel company, and creating our own media outlet allows us to deepen our relationship with customers and play a bigger role in their lives on a daily basis. We are the only mental health radio station in the United States. We feel it's important to practice what we preach, so we air only positive music from (5 am-11 pm) and acoustic sleep music overnight, no commercials, no negative news, and air mental health tips each hour.
It was a huge undertaking and investment, but it's paying dividends. Our station's free app is available for iOS and Android at: https://www.CUCOradio.com.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Maintaining your mental health is the hardest thing for entrepreneurs. According to a study at UC Berkeley, 72% of entrepreneurs self-reported mental health concerns. Entrepreneurs were significantly more likely to report a lifetime history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%), and bipolar diagnosis (11%).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- YOU are your most important client.
- Think Big-Start Small-Act Now.
- Invest in a good coach.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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