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Top 4 Things I Learned about Starting my Own Business 

Chad Kladstrup

Posted on May 16 2017

Top 4 Things I Learned about Starting my Own Business 

Building a product based company isn’t as easy as it looks. When I first started the idea of XES Revolution, I wanted to really address a niche market with a true need: bringing the right fit of denim to the skinny and slender woman. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: that’s not a high in demand market and too close to the already difficult demands of being thin.

But that’s not the case.

For many years, I’ve struggled to find jeans that fit my slender, skinny, gangly legs that didn’t require a fortune in hemming, taking in and other alterations. Women of my size usually had to shop the kids sections in stores to find anything that fit! And the more I talked about it, the more I met women who felt that the right denim wasn’t out there either, but they didn’t want to voice their opinions for fear of getting skinny-shamed. (Yes, that’s a thing!)

So I set out to start my trademark product and in March we launched! And in the last year, I’ve managed to produce, launch and market a denim line that I’m proud of and reflects my original vision. However, that didn’t come without a lot of lessons.

Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about running a business, from hiring our first consultants and team members, to building a product that people (not just me) love. Here are four of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last year:

  1. Staying true to your vision and real mission is HARD. I know it doesn’t seem like it would be if you are committed to your brand and your product- but as you start to become aware of competition and market trends, you begin to think you should deviate to reach more people or answer to a trend that's popular right now. While its important to evolve, if you do your best to stay true to you original mission, you will create a product that is evergreen. That’s why a lot of our denim cuts fit amazing, but most importantly, they are cut in classic styles and washes that will see you through many trends in the years to come. If people come to us for slim fit + style in small sizes that flatter the slimmer figure, we want to be consistent with that.

  1. The right balance of your team is going to be one of your key pillars of success. From your first hire to your latest, who you have on your side is going to be the foundation of amazing work and brand success. Finding the right team members is about chemistry, hard work and making sure everyone is versatile (especially in a start up!). 

  1. Don’t listen to what cynics think about your idea. There will always people who will tell you your idea is too common, or not good enough, or you’re too young, or you don’t have the right skills. Ignore them. Solve a problem that you care about. If you have the vision and drive to make it happen, then keep plugging away. No one cares about your idea unless you can show them why you do. And until you’ve reached some level of success they won’t be supportive. Stay away from them (or at least don't let their naysaying ways get you down!). Starting a company is a long journey and hard enough, negative reinforcements need not apply.
  1. Stay motivated by celebrating each milestone and each success. If I didn’t say it enough, I’ll say it again: Starting a business is a LONG JOURNEY. You have to recognize that each step in the right direction is worthy of your recognition- to both yourself and your team. If you don’t celebrate your successes, then you have a higher chance of burning out or being left with the question of “why am I doing all of this?” or "what is is this all for?" Commemorating website updates, social media milestones, and newly designed items are important in maintaining your creative momentum and passion. Don’t let a positive benchmark pass you by. This will help motivation and momentum for the long haul.