B + C: How did you know Upbring was your business to start?
UpBring came to me because I literally was like 'I wish someone would just curate what I needed for my baby and then send me various types of things so I could try them.' I had my daughter Quinn in December and I thought I was the registry queen. I did so much research. I pulled in tons of information from friends, blogs, influencers, and books about what you need to raise a baby. I thought I had it all figured out. I registered for everything and got most of it, and then when I brought Quinn home from the hospital I realized my baby was unique and had different needs.
It was such a backwards process of buying all these things for someone who you've never met before. And as you go through parenthood you realize more and more how your child becomes their own person with their own preferences.
B + C: What do you think set you on your entrepreneurial path?
I'm still in the midst of my career. My day job is working with my family. We make adhesives, from consumer to industrial. My great-grandfather started the business and working in a small business really helps you navigate the entrepreneurial space because you have to be quick and nimble and savvy to navigate different issues. Quinn and my experience as a mom inspired me to start the brand, but working at a small business really helped me figure out what questions to ask and how to get on the path to starting my own business.
Everything was valuable! I loved Selfmade and I can't speak highly enough about it. I'm always looking to grow and learn, and I think Selfmade came at a perfect time for me. I had a ton of work at the time, and I needed to some growth businesswise. It really gave me the confidence to feel like if you have an idea you should just try it and see what happens. What is the worst that can happen? It taught me to have a lot of self-confidence, to not be afraid of failing. I met so many great connections. I even met a woman who lives a block away from me!
Lisa with her daughter Quinn
B + C: What's the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner?
Definitely money! Building a business is really expensive, even just to get your LLC started is $800. This is a high inventory product so I have to source all of the products, get everything shipped here, and it takes a lot of money. That being said, there is always a way to work it out. I learned about pitch competitions, fundraising, VC funding, and negotiating during Selfmade. My coach was so great at negotiating, it was her strong suit, and I think it is so important to know. My biggest obstacle has been funds and money but through Selfmade I have gotten such a better sense of how to fundraise.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Any time there is a 'no' there is going to be a 'yes'. One person will say yes. When I was emailing manufacturers in the beginning and I only had a story — no physical products or mockups — I got a lot of no's. Then I had my first yes, and I was reinvigorated and it kind of snowballed from there. Once you get one yes you can keep going, then you'll have two, then five. Keep track of your wins! I always hype myself and my team up with weekly recap emails. Keeping that positive mindset is really helpful.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Think global not local. I hear a lot of people say things like "Oh no, this brand already does what I want to do, or there is competition in this area, or my LLC name was taken." I always come back to this: Casper reinvented mattresses. If Casper made mattresses cool —a very saturated space — you can still give your idea a shot. So don't be intimidated if there are people in the same space and you think there is no opportunity. Look at what is out there and know that as long as you're better or different you can be successful.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
My baby! I'm always the type of person who needs to achieve more and get to the next level but I think having a daughter has made me want to show her that you can be more than just a mom. You can succeed in your career and be a good mom. Now that I'm going back to work and we have childcare for Quinn, it's interesting to hear people say, "Don't you feel bad and miss her?" But I tell her why I go to work, and how it enables me to be a better mother.
B + C: How do you stay organized? What tools or apps help you stay productive?
My coach in Selfmade told me about time blocking and I think that is really helpful when you're first starting a business, to say "I'm going to spend 3 hours doing X." When you're more up and running it's harder because everything is just flying at you.
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