I've been updating our Kickstarter backers on a somewhat regular basis, but I have yet to really update all of you on what it's been like since we wrapped up our amazing campaign. I owe an apology for the radio silence, but I think it's a really good time for me to start a regular rhythm of keeping you guys in the loop of life as an entrepreneur and founder of a company with some really lofty goals.
The last two months have been real blurry. You have to understand that when you do a Kickstarter campaign, you literally cannot think beyond those 30 days. Whether you close $100K on a $50K campaign goal, or exactly $50K, or you don't hit your goal period - it very much affects the destiny of what you do next.
During the 30 days of our campaign (Jan 25-Feb 25) your day to day operations ranges from email blasts to literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU KNOW; to coming up with creative ways to ask for money; to answering press requests when/if they come in (as well as pushing for press and sharing a compelling story they will be excited to share) and just plain moments of anxiety. I'm pretty sure I had at least 2-3 panic attacks during the whole process. When it's your dream, your passion, a fire that fuels you - you will do anything to make it happen.
The day we hit our goal was an incline of positive emotions....The morning of, I started getting texts/emails/Facebook messages/tweets at about 5am (per East Coast folks).
"OH MY GOD YOU'RE GOING TO HIT IT TODAY! I KNOW IT" is pretty much what every single one of those messages said.
My hands were sweaty - like, straight up clammy and wet - for a solid three hours from about 5-8am, frantically typing emails to press to cover us; responding to said texts, FB messages and tweets, encouraging folks to support and help us in this last push. I never felt SUCH a hunger. I felt a monster inside. Like... WE ARE GOING TO F-ING DO THIS. And if we hit it that day, we had six days to spare too. If we hit it. GAME ON. Life would truly begin for Society Nine. I was so focused on this push that I literally missed when our campaign goal was hit by like..a half hour haha. The rest of that day though, I finally gave myself just one rest - complete blackout period. No phone, no computer. A rest to give myself an opportunity to tell myself, for the first time in awhile, "Good job." You forget to do that sometimes as an entrepreneur because you are CONSTANTLY on the hunt and drive to be better. To make your customers happy, and happier. Then the emotional rush was just an onramp - pure joy and excitement. I felt like screaming on top of Runyon Canyon (I was in LA at the time.)
Fast forward to our campaign close, six days later - it was back to work, in a different way. It was really hard at first, transitioning the focus and mentality from begging for money to building this business. March was a time to draft the blueprint for what 2015 and 2016 looked like, and what needed to get done. We had an initial blueprint, sure, for the production/fulfillment process prior to Kickstarter, but given key learnings as the campaign was going on and advice I received from trusted, experienced individuals, we had to re-tool accordingly. You are CONSTANTLY improving as a startup founder. There is no rest for the weary. You have to constantly ask yourself, What can you do better? How can you be a better leader? How can you make the business better? Tack that, along with some production issues we ran into out of our control, like certain fabrics no longer available in stock (which means jeopardizing our lead times and delivery schedule), and March was plain crazy.
It's now the third week of April - and life continues to be a blur, all in great ways. We continue to get validated in ways I could never imagine. For example, Chrysler chose me and Society Nine for their new "Kings and Queens of America" commercial, featuring self made entrepreneurs and their brand new Chrysler 300. It was an incredible honor to be featured alongside such influential individuals like Becky Hammon, one of my personal heroes. If you haven't seen it yet - check it out here - I am shown at :21 and :46!
There's also another project in the works that I hope to be able to reveal to you all soon, one that I think will have a major impact on Society Nine - in the best way possible - but until then, stay tuned. :)
We've also been working hard on our brand ambassador program - click here to apply to be a part of our beta program! My team and I hope to launch this sometime mid-end of summer. We are focused initially on key markets such as LA and NYC, but we are also open to other markets - the biggest thing is, we have to start hyperfocused and small. We are starting the group small in order to test different marketing initiatives and ideas, as well as process feedback accordingly so that we can make the program continuously better as we expand and grow it. Trust me - there is NOTHING I would love more than to have Society Nine foot soldiers on every place on this earth. But I want to make sure we do it right.
Strong, empowered, physically diverse female fighters exist everywhere. Our foot soldiers - the badass women of this brand - make the heart of Society Nine. When I used to teach kickboxing, or when I train with my female peers, there was a level of unity that was unparalleled (Shout out to the Brute Squad in Portland!) It was simply understood - all of us know the kind of HEART it takes to be there. It didn't matter if you were there to blast a bag in a cardio class, or sparring and grappling and putting your body through some tests, or prepping for a competition. We had plain and simple RESPECT. That unity was felt deeply during the Kickstarter campaign, in the US and across international waters, from Australia to the UAE.
The female fight is greater than the sport - but sport is where we begin. It is through sport, and heart, that female fighters from all walks of life unite.
I say it all the time, but I will say it again. Rome wasn't built in a day. Societies were not built in a day. But I am humbled that all of you - women AND men - have been along this ride, and continue to be on this ride, to help us build this society. With you, we're going to make it better and better as we grow.
Until next time - and with sincerest gratitude,