Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Candice Collison, Co-Founder and CEO of Of an Origin, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Of an Origin is a convertible, versatile clothing line for all stages of motherhood. Intentionally designed with style, comfort, and functionality for pregnancy, nursing, postpartum, and beyond.
Tell us about yourself
I've always loved fashion. When I was about nine years old, I would sketch dress designs. I found myself in eCommerce, working for The North Face and then for Google and Facebook. I launched my first hustle, the ethical fashion boutique Mod + Ethico, while I was in business school. After pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding journeys, I looked around and saw that no brands in the maternity space shared the ethical values and cool, casual aesthetic of the stylish minimalist and convertible capsule brands that I had grown to love. I was overwhelmed with postpartum anxiety, and the fit and cheap fabrics of my maternity and breastfeeding wardrobe amplified my feelings of stress and overwhelm. I set out to create something different: women's convertible casual, designed for motherhood first, made for all women.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Receiving notes and reviews from customers saying that our clothing gave them the confidence to breastfeed in public or that our clothing is comfortable and flattering at a time when nothing seems to fit.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Setting boundaries between family and business is blurry. When you're a mother working from home with limited childcare, and your business also demands your attention, you are stretched to the max. I find myself multi-tasking at all hours of the day and weaving between my role as default parent and CEO endlessly.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start as lean and minimal as possible. If it's a product or a brand, think one MVP - one SKU, one very minimal product. Get feedback, gather data, and give sample product/or your prototype away for free - launch a great version of this MVP.
- Create a group of early adopters and enthusiasts, and understand the problem you are solving deeply and emotionally. Get obsessed with the problem, not your solution.
- Take care of yourself. When you start a business, it lights you up, and you can easily fall into the habit of working around the clock. Find ways to outsource administrative aspects of the business to free yourself up and prevent burnout.
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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