About a year and a half ago, I quit my Silicon Valley engineering job with a vague intention to “start my own thing” and no real plans. I eventually joined forces with Aaron about 6 months later in Ponto’s infancy and since then, I’ve had pretty much everyone I know ask me questions in some form or another about launching a business. They have varied widely in their topics from “Wait, YOU are starting a fashion brand…?”
To “Hmm how did you pay for everything? How much are you working on it? What do you do?”
These are all super valid questions, because they’re topics that I had no idea about until I actually started doing this for the past year.
We all have a pretty good idea of what it's like to be a software engineer, or PHD student, a nurse, etc. We know exactly how these jobs can be grueling, difficult, and time consuming. But running a business? What does that mean (outside of the Elon Musk-esque entrepreneurial hero stories)?
The long and the short of it is that my job isn’t technically difficult. I mostly email people, ensure communication & workflows between everyone throughout the different aspects of the business (Manufacturing, Product Design, Shipping & Fulfillment, Legal, Website, Accounting, etc.), manage financial models/ fulfillment spreadsheets, general logistics like paying invoices and managing the company's tons of accounts/software, and make decisions to keep things moving forward. None of it is super conceptually challenging and sometimes (a lot of the time) the work isn’t super fun- just like any other job. The real hard part is figuring out what needs to be getting done, where to focus your time, and staying emotionally resilient.
I worked on this company for a full year, full time with no salary before I even got to try on a pair- let alone think about generating any revenue. Looking back, it sounds pretty crazy I dedicated most of my life savings and a prime year in my 20s to something I couldn’t even try out. Throughout all that, when the company (founder’s bank accounts) is only bleeding money, it can be hard to convince yourself that you’re working on the right things, that your business is going anywhere, and that you haven’t just been wasting your time trying to randomly sell shoes.
This thing is mine. I helped bring this into existence, which I find to be truly amazing.
So we launched last week... People have started getting their shoes. We are taking new orders and actually starting to generate some cash. It's pretty surreal to roll over all these thoughts & projections in my head and worry about everything for over a year, then flip a switch one day to having everything be real.
People like our shoes. They're super comfortable and as sustainable as realistically possible. And for the first time, I get to breathe a huge sigh of relief. I had forgotten that this is what it’s all about. I set out to make a sustainability company with a physical product. And here we are, creating something that people enjoy to make their lives and the planet better. And while we all love to envision launch as some big majestic single moment in time like the windows 95 launch, it’s more of a slow rollout.
Turns out, there aren’t thousands of people eagerly waiting outside your virtual door to buy shoe’s they’ve never heard of. But every email from a stranger telling you how great your product is, each conversation with a non-profit that's stoked about your business, and every time you see an excited friend post about it on social media carries a much larger weight than I could have ever imagined. And I think that's what really keeps us going.
This is just the beginning. Our doors are open, our work continues, and we get to find out how we can continue to improve and change ourselves, our business, and the world. And that’s super exciting.
If you would like to help out in any way, feel free to check out the website and see if you want a pair. You can share any of our instagram posts or stories on social media or reach out to me directly and we can chat more.