Growth – Build what others NEED

Char Genevier – Growth – Build what others need.

So my first big company was a Social Engine, when I say big, we only grew to about 11. But I started that company in 2007 with my co-founder Alex and when we started it we had nothing and I was in college and I was tinker lying around and Alex was the one that came up with the idea and had sort of this vision for it, so we both build the software and we launched the site and almost immediately we start getting people buying the product and we were selling it for something like 300 dollars a license but somehow we  had hit upon a really interesting piece of software that everyone needed in an interesting market. And so, you know, we didn’t have any cost, we had no office, we didn’t have to pay for our own computers, that’s was a huge piece of why we were able to bootstrap social engine, but in the end we got to profitability fairly quickly and it turns out it was really a great plan and we marketed well and it grew pretty rapidly and over the next 4 years we grew into about one and a half million dollars in revenue. The substantial profit margin was half of that, you know, that was in my opinion a fairly successful business considering it was totally bootstrap.

I left Social engine at the end of last year in part due to you know needing to sort of set out on my own I think and, you know, one of the thing I love about social engine is that we help people create, communities essentially. They were basically taking an idea that they had, wanted to connect you know all of the people that love this classic car or something like that and they would build a community out of it and people would contribute and post photos and it was incredible to see those communities grow organically.

What I’m doing now after a few months of contract work I got hooked up with a friend who said that he had this idea for basically a fashion type company and I have very little experience in the fashion industry but I love the idea and essential what the Cotery is it’s that it’s a platform for clothing designers, to design a garment, cut and silk garment, publish it for crowdfunding and then if they can get two hundred people to commit to buy the garment, we’ll handle all of the manufacturing and fulfillment. So essentially they don’t have any upfront cost, no traditional manufacturing communication issues, and no needs for high minimum or long leed times and they can end up with product, you know, in hands of all of the people that want it to and so it’s sort of democratizing fashion a little bit.

I love the idea of people taking something, you know, they just came up with, you know, an idea they had and producing it and making it real, and I love being the enabler of that.

So where we are at right now is it that we really just sort of came up with the idea a few months ago in probably June, four months ago and we’re still pre launch, very much pre launch and it’s just me full time right now, my co founder has an existing business who, you know, has a ton of connection into the fashion industry so he keep schooling me on all of the ins and outs of manufacturing, textiles and print design and things like that. In the mean time I’ve been building the website and managing all of the contractors that we have helping us and sort of figuring out what we need to do to launch the site. It’s been hugely challenging but thankfully his business can kind of fund us so he’s got a profitable business that’s funding us right now but I do anticipate getting a trade by-in in the future, which to be honest scares the daylight out of me. You know it’s a big deal taking investments; well it could be huge for our company so it could be a commitment, and it’s like a marriage at the end of the day so I’m very nervous about that. But first and foremost on my list of things to do is get the site launched and I’m hoping to do that in the next month, month and a half, so I’m excited about that.