How'd you start?
A few years before I became a parent, and subsequently started DISTIL with BOLD, I was unfulfilled in my career and had no idea what to do about it. My job, being in the financial industry, offered a measure of status and security that at least my parents could brag about. I had no other real skills that I could transfer to another field. Basically, I could leave my job but my only other options would really be to start at the bottom somewhere else. My then-boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to follow my interest, whatever that may be. I didn’t even know what I was interested in. So I started with Zen Shiatsu, studying with a Zen Buddhist teacher for a year. During that year, I found the courage to leave my job without being certain about what my next step was.
For the next couple of years, I struggled, trying different things, never really feeling a fit. Then I had my first child, Noah. While that was, of course, a huge event in my life, it was really the fact that my life was suddenly consumed with everything associated with having a child that gave life to the DISTIL line. I had repeatedly found myself in the same frustrating situation of holding a squirming, crying baby in one hand while digging through my deep, dark cavernous bag trying to find cards that gave me the epiphany that I was going to design a wallet.
Initially, we approached a leather maker in Montreal. He was very good but it would be far too expensive to work with them over the long term. It did allow us to do a small test run however that showed the products were viable. When we found BOLD online, they hooked us up with amazing dropship suppliers for our custom wallets and set the entire online storefront up. Next we worked with some local partners who helped us create specs for the designs and source quality fabrics with the help of BOLD. We continue to work with North American BOLD Suppliers who assist with factory negotiations and quality control - especially with our more complex products. However, we are starting to build direct relationships with factories overseas.
Advice for startups?
While having an integrated online store/brand is the ultimate endgame, unless you have a lot of resources at your disposal, launching a pure online play is extremely risky and challenging. BOLD takes care of ALL the resources you might ever need, For us, BOLD has proven to be a great launchpad that has allowed us to grow awareness of our brand and build our online presence. Marketing begins with sales funnels and BOLD has helped design amazing ones. It's also been a great place to make friends with like-minded entrepreneurs and learn from their experiences. One of the most valuable things we've done is build a network of relationships through BOLD groups and shows. We try to help out other business wherever possible and have benefited tremendously from our friends, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs.