Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dustin Paisley, founder of Local Laundry, located in Calgary, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Local Laundry is in the business of building community. We just happen to use clothes as a vehicle to do so. With a strong emphasis on social good and giving back, Local Laundry creates casual clothing geared towards socially conscious shoppers who are looking to support brands that give back. The company possesses an ambitious goal of raising $1M for charity by 2030 and has already raised over $100,000.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Dustin Paisley and I'm the co-founder of Local Laundry. The idea for Local Laundry was simple when we started, to start a clothing company that was rooted in the local community of our hometown of Calgary. Shortly after launching, we realized we were unique in our approach of using clothes as a way to give back and decided to shift the company from simply offering local designs to a larger clothing base for customers who want to make a difference with their dollar. The simple fact that we get to grow a business that does good for our community, and our environment is motivation enough.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
What started as a simple idea and $3000 on our credit cards for the first order of shirts has now turned into a multi-million dollar business that produced ethically made products while raising money for charity. It's a pretty sweet gig.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Business can be tough. When you're starting out, you're wearing all of the hats. In most cases, there's not really a perfect blueprint, so you're figuring it out as you go. I've heard the analogy of jumping off a cliff while building a plane on the way down. This feels suitable, because you're risking it all everyday while not knowing what you're doing. It's easy to be hard on yourself for mistakes because there's no-one else to blame. This is probably the most challenging part, but the experience can be so rewarding that it makes it worth it - most days!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
1. Product Market Fit - In my opinion this is where most new businesses will fail. A new business starts with an idea that someone has. In so many cases, the idea is built up, then released to the masses, only to find out that no-one wanted it, or was looking for it. Test, test, test, quickly and cheaply. Get feedback and build using the feedback. Be open to pivoting and adapting based on what your customers actually need.
2. Marketing & Sales - Unless you've solved a HUGE problem that people are actively talking about, you need to work hard to market and sell your product. You could have the greatest product of ALL time, but if you don't effectively market or sell the product, you're going nowhere. VERY rarely do products sell themselves. Narrow in on your niche and target market, and find ways to communicate with them.
3. Cashflow and finance - pay close attention to this. Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cashflow is key. If you're not great with numbers, partner with someone who is. Every successful business owner should understand their financials. I've seen companies land huge deals and grow 500% year over year, only to close doors 12 months later for cashflow reasons. Stay on top of your numbers and cashflow. 4. The best time to start was yesterday. The second best time to start is today. Get started with something. If you're thinking of starting a business, start that business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Building a business that makes a positive impact is an incredibly rewarding experience. I encourage anyone to think about how their business can make a difference!
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.