Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in outdoor apparel but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anna Drabik, Founder of Lato, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I recently launched Lato, a line of sustainable hiking essentials for womxn that love nature just as much as they love design, art, and travel. I designed a set of three items, all made with recycled materials: a rethought fly-fish shirt called the San Ysidro shirt, the Buena Vista top, a medium support sports bra with side pockets (amazing for short hikes or walks), and the Romero shorts, the cutest pair of hiking shorts.
Tell us about yourself
My background is in strategic brand development, design strategy, and family office. I worked for and consulted with many different brands for years, and I always had a dream of building something on my own. I've always loved creating - personally, that's manifested in photography and cooking and professionally by helping build brands, strategies, and systems.
During the pandemic, I had the idea for Lato while hiking, and I finally took the leap to build my brand and develop my own products. It took a lot of courage to put something out into the world that was my own, as I was used to "hiding" in the background as I supported other companies and entrepreneurs. Since launching, I've learned that the entrepreneurial journey is very much an experience of self-exploration and growth, and belief in myself is one of the most important elements.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Since I just launched Lato in July, my biggest accomplishment has been launching and putting it out into the world. I could have fallen into the trap of having this idea in my head for years and never doing anything about it. Taking something from concept to execution and seeing it manifest physically is really special. And seeing womxn wear Lato brings me a lot of joy. If there's something you've been thinking about that you really want to bring into this world, it's so important to try and make it a reality.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I've learned that I need to be very secure with who I am and not take the bumps in the road or the success of the business personally. In other words, if things aren't selling as quickly as I want them to sell, that's not an indication of my personal worth. Instead, it's business information that will allow me to pivot and evolve how I'm selling a product, which I'm engaging with, and what I'm working on behind the scenes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Try to build an audience first if your business/idea permits that. That's been something that's a bit more challenging for me, as I don't have experience in community-building. See if there's a product/market fit for whatever you're trying to create. Start small, test, learn, and iterate. And keep at it. I have a friend who reminds me each day that it's "brick by brick, baby." There really is no overnight success. Building a business will test you in so many ways, but they're also the most profound, expansive learnings I've had about myself to date.
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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