On creativity, balance, and product launching with the Canary Co co-foundersFeatured
I spoke with @kateabdelmalek and @sarahgovea, the co-founders of Canary + Co, a luxury vegan handbag company focused on creating cross-functional products to empower women globally. Canary + Co was recently featured through Fempire with Ayesha Curry on ellentube by Ellen Degeneres. Kate and Sarah shared their advice on finding balance as founders, tapping into creativity, and launching products. Find a co-founder with a shared vision but complementary skills. Both Kate and Sarah wanted to design products that impact women but Kate brought a more idea focused, creativity driven approach while Sarah brought a more communications and execution centric set of skills. Take on other jobs to bootstrap your company. Both Kate and Sarah work at other 9 to 5 jobs to keep the early operations as lean as possible.Align on weekly tasks. To ensure smooth operations even while working remotely during COVID-19 and juggling their full time jobs, Kate and Sarah have meetings each Monday to agree on a specific, actionable list of prioritized goals broken out by category and core areas of focus. Encourage your co-founder to take breaks. Kate and Sarah know each other incredibly well as friends and team members, so they can always tell when the other is feeling more stressed or exhausted than usual. During these times, they remind each other to make time for personal wellness. Follow creatives and aspirational brands on social media. Both Kate and Sarah have found creative inspiration from following brands and people on Instagram and podcasts. We look up to brands like Everlane, who is all about sustainable and ethical fashion, Parker Clay, who encapsulates their mission and vision into everything they do, and Allbirds who have built cult followings around a unique idea. We also love women-specific brands like Glossier who takes into account their customers with every move, ThirdLove, who donates bras to underserved communities and women who need it, and Sara Blakeley of Spanx, who hustled every step of the way to get her product in front of women to help improve their confidence and life. Stay informed through the WGSN trends report. Kate and Sarah regularly check these trends reports to better understand evolving consumer preferences to be able to build more fitting products for their target audience. Use a drawing board. Whenever you feel inspired or even just for a set amount of time periodically, sketch your ideas in whatever format is most natural to you. Doing so regularly builds up overtime and continues to exercise your creative muscles. Grow your list of reachable supporters. Ahead of launching Canary + Co, Kate and Sarah posted in many female founders groups online to generate excitement around the brand. In these communications, they collected email addresses of all interested people that they later used for announcing their pre-order ahead of launch and for consumer surveys as well. Realize your first idea may not be your best one. Creative processes take time. Do not be so hard on yourself to get it right the first time. Most creative ideas are born from constant iteration. Try anything. Even absurd ideas can be fruitful, and you will never know unless you try. Even from failed attempts, you gain something by calibrating your approach.