If you’re going to survive the startup world, you must be open to new people, new places, new feelings, new everything. There’s no formula to follow. There’s no stopping point either. Instead of looking at a situation and seeing the issues, you have to train yourself to see the possibilities. Staying positive is hard, but losing sight of positivity is certain failure.
The first prototype we made of the Yogzi just didn’t work. It wasn’t flattering and it was a full-on fight to take off. When I first put on that initial prototype my heart sank. I didn’t like anything about it. It wasn’t anywhere close to what I had imagined. The fabric was heavy and hot and it shined like one of my dance costumes from the 90s. There was no way to take it off without popping several stitches. The material jutted out around my tummy, instead of falling in a nice drape, and the waistband was about three inches too wide. It was a failure. It took a few days, but once I got over the initial shock and disappointment of this failed milestone, I went to work.
The back of the design had to open more, but it had to provide support too… what tops have I seen like that? Of course! A criss-crossed back is flattering and opens a ton! It even opens enough for someone to step into it feet-first. Piece-by-piece I examined my utterly flawed prototype and began solving problems.
Instead of making an entire onesie for the next round of prototypes, we made the top first. We tested it. Can we step through and pull it over our hips while keeping a tight enough band that goes around and supports the chest? After a few tries, it worked. Then the pants. The key: to make them fit just like any pair of comfy yoga pants would fit. Easy-(ish). After a few months we had a pair of pants that fit like a pair of pants and a bra-top that fit like a bra-top. Time to combine. Take a little length out of the shirt, shrink the waistband a tad aannnd… Bingo. The second full onesie prototype actually worked. It fit, it didn’t give you a wedgie, and, alleluia, you could take it off without going into a slight panic that you’d be trapped forever. It wasn’t perfect, but it was loads closer to the goal.
The startup world has taught me a lot about perspective. If you’re looking at a situation negatively, or like it’s impossible, you’ll never get anywhere. I’ve noticed that when I have conversations with fellow entrepreneurs the “what if” line of the thinking is always present. Instead of deciding an idea is bad, it becomes the base for a new idea which builds off of the original one. You don’t really chuck anything in startups. You constantly create puzzle pieces that you must figure out how to piece together to make the most effective and marketable product or service.
I had many people within the fashion industry tell me that the Yogzi was not a product that could be made. Either the design was too difficult or it was too costly. I got several concerned and confused looks— you want to make what?? But anytime I came across people with that perspective, I simply kept going. It wasn’t worth my time to convince someone. I worked with and interviewed close to a dozen design teams and manufacturers before I found the teams that expressed an entrepreneurial mindset that I knew I could collaborate with to make something great.
Whether you are starting your own company or you work for a someone else, you are creating your own life everyday. The skills and mindsets you approach your job with reach beyond the workplace into every facet of life. There’s no formula and there’s no stopping point. There’s only your mindset and your willingness to explore the “what if” line of thinking. Stay positive and you’ll make something great with your life.