Diary of a Founder #3

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Last week was a wild one! We have continued to fundraise to accelerate our growth in 2024 while attending several events to network for Anact here in Austin. A big takeaway that I have had lately is that there is so much opportunity for impact investing in the United States and especially in Austin. 

Unfortunately, the tech industry has taken over the the investing scene for so long that investors have lost their intuition for opportunities even if they are staring them straight in the face. This is such a miss to me because from my experience.... founders who are mission driven rarely give up.

We know what's on the line and will go climb every mountain to see it through.

Isn't that the horse you would bet on over the next one word tech brand that has not heart and soul behind it? Keep in mind, I don't think tech is a bad thing. I think we should infuse it and optimize everywhere we can... I just don't think we should only invest in tech solutions to stimulate our economy. 

As regulatory requirements continue to come down the pipeline, I pray that they will see the same opportunity that we have at Anact for so long. A question I keep asking myself is how do we make people be obsessed with COP28 the way that people feel about Hollywood and events like the Met Gala and the tech industry?

I want to see sustainability and policy work become sexy because for so long they have been filed under nice to have initiatives. 

In the meantime, we have to continue staying focused on executing and tackling the market in front of us by showing how hemp out performs every fiber on the market with numerical data instead of falling into the greenwashing that our industry is notorious for due to lack of enforcement of content claims. 

One interesting thing to note that we learned this year, the people who want made in America product are not willing to pay for it and the people willing to pay for it are not interested that it is made in America. 

This reinforces my belief that we have to invest and innovate on the infrastructure utilizing robotics and 3D printing in order to sell in the United States and Europe to serve our community. 

Can you imagine inviting me to a Christmas party and having me come out swinging with the above info? It's a real blast. Men are either wildly intrigued or go running for the door. I have tried to hide it in the past but now I just let it be. The ability to have a childlike innocence about me and how I treat people combined with a twist of going toe to toe to discuss some of the most pressing and difficult topics we face as a human race. It's just who I am and always have been. 

But if there is anything that I have learned about life, you have to do you 100% and trust the right people will find you when executing big visions and goals for yourself.

It means being lonely at times and having to go through moments where you outgrow groups of people that have helped you reach a certain place and being in the vortex while you wait for the next group of people to receive you and take you on your next chapter. And trust me, as you outgrow people, they won't let go easily.

One of my favorite mantras from Michelle Obama is, "when they go low, we go high", which is something I have been having to practice continuously these past several months. 

Because the truth is that most people (99%) can't handle how the sausage is being made. I err on the vegetarian side so for me to say this saying means a lot but it's true. Side note, one of my favorite authors is Upton Sinclair. I'll never forget reading his book "The Jungle" and how that book prompted the creation of the FDA after Sinclair went undercover to expose the way humans and animals were being treated in Chicago in the early 1900s. 

I often connect with Sinclair when I think about my experience of the apparel industry but now I connect with the business owners that he writes about because you are just doing your best to create jobs and stay alive in a competitive market. 

Sometimes I wonder how he released the stress of taking on an entire industry. For me, it's been lifting that has become a lifeline. As soon as I start lifting weights, I feel a release in my brain. I imagine moving around all the things that I feel out of my control by using my arms to push the sled outside, my legs to carry me as I run the 600m dash outside my gym and my brain to remember the routines. 

It's been a game changer. I haven't worked out like I am working out right now since I lived in Baltimore. I am realizing how much I have missed working out with other driven men and women. The one thing that is funny about Austin is that there is not much of a gym culture considering how in shape everyone is. 

One thing is for sure, no matter where you're at, find a way to move your body. My dad has always taught my brother and I that moving our bodies is a non-negotiable to living our best lives. Each time my brain tells me that I'd be better off not working out... I tell myself... how bad do you want to feel good and which wolf are you going to feed today, Brianna? These mantras push me to make it happen against the odds. Oh yeah, and these amazing hair bands that I have been wearing to work out created by a fellow female founder based here in Austin. 

On a less physical note, I have been listening to vintage Bing Crosby Christmas carols to get me in the spirit. Yesterday, I pulled out my High Sierra luggage under my bed (the same piece of luggage I have had since high school!) and started to pack my winter clothes for Christmas. This year, I am heading to South Bend, Indiana where I was born, where my parents met, and where my mom and her family are from for the holidays. 

I am so excited to see snow, walk around Notre Dame's campus, eat at the Italian restaurant (Parisi's) that my parents used to go to, sip matcha with my aunt in the morning, visit my godfather's farm, go to church at the basilica and visit the chapel my parents were married in, drive past my grandmother's old house that I grew up in (and have so many fond memories as a little girl), bring flowers to my grandparents grave, and so more. 

If there is anything I have learned since the pandemic, we have to bask in each moment and appreciate all of the the little things with the people we love and not take them for granted. Life is just too damn short.

Remember: we can do hard things, have big visions, and be uncomfortable but missing out on time with people we love and creating memories is a non-negotiable. Period. Shout-out to my Dad for teaching me this and for the work that we have been doing together to evolve and grow over the past few months. It means more than you know. 

Until next week!

1 comment

J Parry
J Parry

I’m glad to see you are still fighting the good fight. Let me know if I can help. Happy Holidays to you – enjoy your trip!

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