Startup Backstory is a new series asking some of our most diverse clients pressing questions about their startup’s journey. Each interview is unique and represents the various ways in which the entrepreneur’s path is their own. Read more on their story of how they made their idea come to life, feel free to follow, share, and connect with them!
1) How would you describe the uniqueness of your business in a couple of sentences?
Being unique happens to be the foundation of our business! In addition to the multiple products we’ve invented and patented, we’re also a family-owned-and-run company that gives 30% of our profits back to charity.
2) What made you decide to start this business?
My dad actually had a [real] dream where he was told to invent paintable kids’ shoes as a way to give back to charity! When I graduated from UM in 2012, we teamed up and turned that dream into reality! Here’s our full story ☺
3) What keeps you motivated?
In general, just imagine the amount of people that the direct impact of my work and company will be able to benefit. Knowing that my own success can have lasting effects on other people really encourages me to keep putting in the time and effort involved with being an entrepreneur. I’m a firm believer that making your goals bigger than yourself can be a great tool in helping to push you even further!
I’m also motivated by the all-around ongoing love and support I’m lucky enough to have – knowing that people believe in [and are counting on] me is certainly encouraging!
For day-to-day motivation, music and faith are key. Listening to upbeat music and having faith in fate helps keep me in the right mindset, which directly impacts my quality of work!
4) Who are your inspirations?
My family is definitely my biggest inspiration. Growing up and being able to see, first-hand, hard work turn into success has really opened my eyes to the possibilities in life. Hearing other people’s stories of overcoming obstacles also inspires me – I love seeing happiness; it’s truly contagious!
5) What type of impact are you trying to have with your business?
My goal in life is to spread positivity and fun in a way that you know is genuine, and I’m blessed to have this business as my outlet. With our products, we give people a canvas to express their creativity, which encourages uniqueness and leads to higher confidence and self-esteem. Through Bobbi-Toads, we’ve been able to give back to underprivileged communities, children’s hospitals, and families facing hardships from natural disasters. We are also dedicated to being a company with a conscience by offering eco-friendly and cruelty-free products that are safe for everyone!
Remember that you can make an impact in ways other than tangible or monetary – simply sharing your light with the world can help people more than we realize! This goes deeper than the constantly virtual lives we lead and bringing that positive attitude to our personal interactions.
6) What was the most valuable piece of advice you received while starting your business?
As cliché as it sounds, I think the most valuable advice I’ve been given [and still receive] is just to never give up. If you’ve got the personal passion along with a good idea, you can achieve whatever it is you set your mind to. Another helpful piece of advice is to always continue learning, no matter the stage you’re at in business or in life. While I may still be ‘young,’ hearing this advice from older, wiser, more successful people has been so refreshing, and I’m grateful to have heard that and be able to pass it along.
7) Has it been a smooth road?
Whew boy, definitely not – but I don’t think anything fulfilling ever is! The struggles in life are what build us. There’s also this weird confidence behind knowing something didn’t work out because you actually tried it yourself. Even your ‘failures’ can move you forward, because you’ve learned what the answer isn’t. Plus, after facing hardships, success is much more enjoyable!
8) What are some things you wish you knew before starting this business?
I wish I’d had a better, more realistic understanding of the start-up costs involved, especially how quickly they add up when you don’t want to skimp on the priorities. I also wish I had a better idea of the amount of inventory to start with/invest in until finding out which sell best. Live and learn, though!
9) Anything else you want to share?
You [really] can do it – truly anything you dream can be achieved with faith and hard work! Don’t be paralyzed by the fear of failure; just keep going until it works. There are so many people out there willing to offer help and support [like The Launch Pad] – please don’t be afraid to ask for help!!
Something else that I think is definitely worth noting: treat every relationship as teamwork – it’s A LOT more effective when everyone is working together toward the same goal.