Lindsay Peoples Wagner got her first taste of the fashion industry interning at Teen Vouge, where she cleaned massive closets filled with the season's latest trends. She eventually went on to serve as the publication's editor-in-chief for nearly three years. During this pandemic, she left her job at Teen Vouge and took on two new roles: the editor-in-chief of The Cut, a digital publication, and the co-founder of the Black in Fashion Council. Lindsay shares how the Black in Fashion Council is addressing inequalities within the fashion industry, and offers advice for young journalists trying to break into publishing. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
Before Robinhood became one of the most loved and most hated stock trading platforms in the U.S., it was just another tech startup, launched by two mathematicians with an audacious idea: make stock trading mobile, make it fun, and make it free—with no commissions, and no minimum balances. In 2013, Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt decided to pursue this idea full-time. They sidelined their first business—selling software that shaved milliseconds off high-speed trades—and began building an app aimed at anyone with a smartphone and a few extra dollars to invest. After launching in 2015, Robinhood steadily attracted users and rave reviews, but soon drew criticism for its business model, which came under even more scrutiny after the GameStop trading frenzy in January. Despite these challenges, Robinhood has grown to 13 million users and is now poised for a lucrative IPO.
In the early 2000s, the online music community was defined by MySpace, illegally downloaded music, and poorly made band websites. Then came Bandcamp – a music marketplace where fans can directly and easily support their favorite musicians. The company has steadily grown since its launch in 2007, but last year traffic and sales surged. CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond talks with Guy about launching a virtual concert space in the pandemic and why the company started Bandcamp Friday, a monthly event where all processing fees are waived and all funds go directly to the artists. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
In the early 1990s, as Amanda Hesser's college friends were interviewing for their first cubicle jobs, she chose a different path: one that led straight into the kitchens of Europe, where she cooked traditional recipes and learned the rhythm of the seasons from a crusty French gardener. By 24, she had landed a book deal and one of the most coveted jobs in journalism: writing about food for the New York Times. But over time she grew restless, and in 2008, gave up that dream job—and the stability that went with it—to become an entrepreneur. When her first business fizzled out, Amanda took a financial risk by pivoting again to launch a new company: Food52. Part food blog, part e-commerce site for all things kitchen and home, Food52 is now valued at roughly $100 million and achieved profitability for the first time in 2020—during the pandemic.
After giving up diet soda, Kara Goldin started adding fresh fruit to her drinking water to make it more fun. This inspired her to create Hint water, a line of unsweetened flavored water beverages that are now available in over 30,000 stores nationwide. Kara shares how sales have almost doubled as Hint invested in e-commerce during the pandemic, and offers her advice for entrepreneurs trying to break into saturated market spaces like the beverage industry. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
As a product developer, Bob Monahan worked with some iconic brands: the Pump at Reebok, the Taurus and Mustang at Ford. When he moved on to work at a baby products company, he happened to discover another set of wheels that caught his eye: a sleek-looking stroller that could accommodate a car-seat or a bassinet. Bob was itching to start his own venture, so in 2006, with the help of his wife Lauren, he launched UPPAbaby and started selling a European-style stroller at an "entry-level luxury" price. As a dad himself, Bob guessed that other dads would be intrigued by UPPAbaby's design; meanwhile, big-name celebrities started to use the stroller, and photos of them pushing it helped accelerate sales. The brand grew quickly, and 15 years after its launch, UPPAbaby employs over 100 people and sells strollers in more than 50 countries.
Vivian Ku is a Taiwanese-American restaurateur who owns three different Taiwanese restaurants in Los Angeles. After the pandemic halted her plans for expansion, Vivian decided to close her two restaurants until May and pivoted her expansion plans into a breakfast pop-up. Vivian talks to Guy about why she decided to serve Taiwanese food and the pros and cons of opening a restaurant during a pandemic. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
In 2010, Justin McLeod was in business school, still trying to get over a bad breakup that had happened years before. Determined to solve his own problem and convinced that the best way to meet people was through friends of friends, he built an app to replicate that experience. Gradually, Hinge grew into a streamlined swiping platform that yielded mixed results: good dates, bad hookups, mismatched swipes, and missed opportunities. Disappointed with this outcome and inspired by a sudden twist in his own love life, Justin redesigned Hinge as an app for finding meaningful relationships, with the tag line "designed to be deleted." Today, Hinge is owned by Match Group and is one of the most popular dating apps in the U.S.
Lisa Baird stepped in as commissioner of the National Women's Soccer League in March 2020 and just two days into her job the entire multi-billion dollar sports industry went dark. Lisa talks with Guy about the difficulties the league overcame to launch their Challenge Cup tournament last summer, and the need for equal coverage of women's sports. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
Miguel and Veronica Garza grew up in Laredo, Texas, in the kind of family that did almost everything together. So when Veronica realized that a grain-free diet was helping her cope with debilitating health issues, the rest of the family—all six of them—adopted the same paleo-friendly diet. Soon Veronica was making her own almond flour tortillas at home and selling them at a CrossFit gym that the Garza family had launched in Laredo. The grain-free tortillas were a hit, and by 2016, Siete Family Foods products were being sold in Whole Foods Markets across the country. Today, Veronica and Miguel head the company with the help of the whole family, and Siete has become one of the fastest-growing Mexican-American food brands in the U.S.
With the wedding industry dramatically impacted by the pandemic, co-founder and CEO of Zola, Shan-Lyn Ma decided to pivot. Instead of just wedding planning, Zola would expand to include livestreaming virtual weddings as well as an e-commerce marketplace for home goods. Shan-Lyn talks with Guy about her forecast for the wedding industry this year and how to get more girls interested in entrepreneurship. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
Rick Steves spent the summer after high school backpacking through Europe on two dollars a day—sleeping on the floor, sneaking into museums, and subsisting on a diet of bread and jam. When he came home, he found people were hungry for tips on how to visit Europe on the cheap, so he began teaching classes, and was soon hawking a self-published guidebook out of his car. Eventually, he started leading minibus tours and hosting a travel show on Public TV, steadily growing his business even though he was giving away most of his content. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, his no-frills approach to travel has persisted as a powerful brand, with 70 guidebooks, an ever-popular travel show, and—in 2019—an annual revenue of $100 million.
Six years ago, Morning Brew started out as a fun business newsletter Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief wrote for their classmates out of their University of Michigan dorm room. The company now has over 2.5 million subscribers with multiple newsletters and a podcast, and last year Business Insider paid about 75 million dollars for a majority stake in Morning Brew. Alex and Austin talk to Guy about the organic unpaid marketing they relied on in college to build up their readership, and they predict shifts in how we will consume news in the next five years. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
When she was just 19 years old, Melanie Perkins dreamt of transforming the graphic design and publishing industries. But she started small, launching a site to make yearbook design simpler and more collaborative. Her success with that first venture—and an unexpected meeting with a VC investor—eventually landed her the backing to pursue her original idea, and the chance to take on software industry titans like Adobe and Microsoft. Today, Melanie's online design platform Canva is valued at $6 billion, joining the list of Australia's "unicorn" companies.
Music manager and entrepreneur Troy Carter spoke to Guy last June, as the pandemic was worsening and the country was shaken by racial unrest. Troy spoke about the profound impact of these events on him personally, as well as on the music industry. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
Over the course of ten years as a founder, Chieh Huang bet twice on the ubiquity of the smartphone. The first time was in 2010 with Astro Ape, a mobile gaming company that he founded with a few friends out of an attic. The second time was with Boxed, a mobile bulk-retailer that he co-launched in 2013 out of his New Jersey garage. Chieh and his tiny team scrambled to send out their first boxes of toilet paper and laundry detergent, gambling that they could compete with monster retailers by offering fewer items, competitive prices, and a hand-written note in every box. Since its launch 8 years ago, Boxed has sent out tens of millions of boxes of groceries, and has been valued at over $600M.
After retiring from professional soccer, Beverly Leon shifted her focus in a big way. In 2018 she founded Local Civics, an ed-tech start-up that uses game-based learning to encourage kids to strengthen their civic leadership skills. Her mission is to get students civically involved long before they're eligible to vote. She talked with Guy about the business model of an education start-up, how her business has responded to today's challenges, and why she thinks we need a more inclusive democracy. These conversations are excerpts from our online How I Built Resilience series, where Guy interviews founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
In 2012, 22-year-old Katlin Smith was growing restless at her consulting job, so she started experimenting with grain-free, paleo-friendly muffin recipes in her Atlanta kitchen. A buyer at a nearby Whole Foods agreed to sell Katlin's muffin mixes and placed an order for twelve bags. She then hustled to expand the business: hand-mixing almond flour and coconut sugar in food-grade barrels, slinging wardrobe boxes of muffin mix into a rental car, and standing by helplessly while shoppers scarfed down more samples than anticipated. 8 years after launch, Simple Mills has expanded to include cookies and crackers and other treats; it's available in 28,000 stores and does roughly $100M in annual revenue.
Strava is a social fitness platform with more than 76 million users in nearly every country worldwide. Co-founders Michael Horvath and Mark Gainey spoke with Guy about the recent surge in users joining their virtual fitness community. They share how they've focused on creating new content and features to meet peoples' increased need for connection in a socially distanced world. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
In 2001, Mike Cannon-Brookes sent an email to his college classmates in Sydney, asking if anyone was interested in helping him launch a tech startup after graduation. Back then, entrepreneurship wasn't a popular career path in Australia; and Mike's only taker was Scott Farquhar, a fellow student who shared Mike's passion for computers and his frustration for the corporate grind. Together they launched Atlassian, a two-man tech support service that they managed from their bedrooms at all hours of the night. Unable to make money, Scott and Mike decided to pivot and sell some of the software they'd developed for themselves. Out of that grew Jira, a project-management tool that's used in all sorts of endeavors, from pizza delivery to the exploration of Mars. Today, Atlassian is valued at over $50 billion and Scott and Mike are Australia's first startup-to-IPO tech billionaires.