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    Tough truths about starting a business, from ban.do founder Jen Gotch - Business Insider

    Abstract:Jen Gotch, founder of accessories and stationery brand ban.do, said sometimes the best thing you can do is just say yes and figure it out later.

      Ban.do founder Jen Gotch built her multimillion-dollar brand by learning the most valuable business lessons along the way, like how to outsource production and sell your company. Gotch and her cofounder sold their company to Lifeguard Press in 2012, Gotch stayed on as chief creative officer, and the brand expanded to stationery and colorful, feel-good accessories. Her memoir, “The Upside of Being Down”, is a candid retelling of her entrepreneurial journey and mental health struggles.Click here for more BI Prime content.

      When Jen Gotch co-founded her headband business ban.do in 2008, she'd been hopping between jobs as an assistant, stylist, and photographer. But none of that prepared her for running a business quite like diving in head-first. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry donned ban.do's silk-flower and jeweled headbands before flower crowns became a mainstay of Coachella style. Then, women's clothing and home decor chain Anthropologie asked the brand to sell the headbands in its stores. It was time for Gotch and her partner Jamie Coulter to kick production into high-gear. Gotch told Business Insider that it was an adrenaline-filled moment learning how to outsource their handmade hair accessories. They found a manufacturer in China through a Google search and then read Anthropologie's giant handbook on seller protocol.“It was mostly just finding someone who was willing to be on our side and do it,” she said. “That always encouraged me to keep going. So many people were really going out of their way to help us and that felt indicative that we were on the right track.”

      The deal didn't make the founders any money, but it was a valuable lesson and put them on the map. “When you get those first-time opportunities, the best thing you could do is just say yes and then figure it out,” she said.After years of hustling, Gotch and Coulter parted ways and sold their six-figure company to Lifeguard Press in 2012. Gotch remained at the helm as chief creative officer and the brand expanded to stationery and feel-good accessories. She recently released her memoir, “The Upside of Being Down”, which is a candid retelling of her dealing with mental health challenges such as bipolar, anxiety, and ADD while creating a multimillion-dollar lifestyle brand.Gotch is not afraid to admit her mistakes and sees them as learning experiences. Along with tips from her book, she told Business Insider her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

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