On Sunday evening, while the LA sky was pouring rain, sixty women (and three men!) gathered in the Tom Dixon space at Platform in Culver City to listen to Jen Gotch, founder and CCO of ban.do, talk about building a business, the compromises it takes to succeed, and some tricks she's learned along the way about managing a team.
Jen shared the story about how, when she and her friend were stylists for Nordstrom, they had some ribbon and flowers leftover from a shoot. They decided to make hair accessories from the pieces. When they realized they'd come up with something rather beautiful, both Jen and her friend decided to sell them online. It wasn't long before they teamed up and ban.do was born.
When the company first began, it was a one-of-a-kind hair accessory company. The duo designed and fabricated super high-end pieces and shipped each one with an original, handwritten haiku. (!!) Over the years the company has pivoted and grown quite a bit. Now, as many of you know, ban.do has a wide-ranging product line including apparel, paper goods, bags, our favorite coolers, and more.
Jen talked a bit about inspiration. While she said she isn't quite sure she can pinpoint where she finds it, she does know that she has a constant flood of ideas. She said she often gets an idea while she's driving, and she'll make herself a voice memo, so she doesn't forget it. (She mentioned finding cool color palettes in old films or being inspired by a line in a song.) She talked about how hard it is to maintain strong relationships when your brain is always spinning with ideas for your business. (Something I think many of us can relate to.) And she talked a bit about the things she feels as though she's had to give up (including children) in order to build a successful company. Jen kept it real, shared openly from her heart, and really inspired us all.
I think this photo sums up my general feelings about the evening...
My friend and photographer, Marisa Vitale, was the one who had the vision for this Fireside Chat series, and I'm so happy that we were able to partner up and make it come to life.
Next month we'll be welcoming Paige and Kelly of Bash Please and Midland Shop to the stage as they talk about their partnership, having multiple businesses, the wedding industry, and what it's like to own a brick-and-mortar store. Their partners recently opened a liquor store together called Hi-Lo, and they'll be whipping up cocktails at the event. It should be a mighty good time. Keep your eyes peeled for those tickets to go on sale later this week.