how this founder is creating a completely new market for high-end reusable bags

by:Yucai     2019-12-28
Janean Mann is the founder of El Paso, Texasbased, fashion-forward eco-
Conscious bag company, Junes, whose mission is to make a mark on 100 billion plastic bags made in the United StatesS.
Use only within one year.
The original mission was to fill the aesthetic gap.
The eye-catching reusable bag has completely become a new category.
Junes is reusable bag, Warby Parker is glasses, s well is water bottle, Everlane is clothing.
Born and raised in El Paso, Janean, who worked in New York City for a while, returned home with the dream of starting to influence --
It also boosted the economy in her hometown.
Visiting a textile shop in Jalez, Mexico, inspired the idea of bags and business, and juannis now employs women\'s cooperatives in Jalez, Mexico to produce products for the company.
Mann has been hatching the business alone for the past three years.
This year, 2018 marks a turning point in business growth.
Junes is now in 28 wholesale retailers, including Whole Foods, and the company has begun to directlyto-
In the past 12 months, consumer sales revenue has grown by 106% and seven new products have been launched.
At the same time, it employs 18 women in women\'s cooperatives.
All these growth did not come without their own growth troubles.
From thinking about changing jobs to questioning your intuition to really navigating
Speaking of investor feedback, Mann introduced me to her roller coaster of venture adventures.
Here is the condensed version of our conversation.
When I asked you to do this interview, you replied with great excitement, \"OMG yes!
This is a huge problem for me.
I am honored to talk about the dirt and dirt of starting a business outside of \"It\'s hard.
\"What is behind your reaction?
I am very tired of hearing that all these successful companies and entrepreneurs are described as instant feelings.
You know the stories of companies or ideas that took two to five years to become these multi-million dollar astronomical companies, and I think, what the hell did I do wrong?
Is my product rotten?
I don\'t think they are posting enough stories to portray the real reality of the life that entrepreneurs are going through.
There is not enough attention to how difficult it is to become an entrepreneur.
I totally underestimated that.
I am not attracted by the illusion of being an entrepreneur and having my own company.
I know what I do is what I should do.
I feel good about it.
I think it\'s right to do so.
However, I just didn\'t realize it would be so difficult.
What is particularly difficult for you?
I have to face all the other demons in my heart and really walk inward.
Trying to figure out if I did the right thing and if I could do that, ask myself \"Am I strong enough to do that?
Do I have intuition?
Can I finish this?
Earlier this year, I began to question my intuition.
Trust in yourself begins to disappear.
When I first started my business, no matter what kind of \"flow\" I was in, I began to feel like it was gone.
I \'ve been making mistakes all the time. I don\'t think I\'m doing anything right.
What happened to the business that caused this flow to disappear?
It\'s a slow evolutionary process, but I think what really stands out for me is that this is the first time I actually put myself out there.
I was scared.
I have been doing this part for the last few years
Time and freedom
I have been delaying in order to expose myself.
I know deep inside that\'s what I do.
I\'m making excuses and doing other things.
So last year I thought, \"Well, I do this full time, I put my heart and soul into this, and that\'s what I \'ve been missing, that\'s why it didn\'t take off.
\"I did it, but it still didn\'t really take off as much as I thought.
I got some small wins, but whatever those wins are, I feel like I lost because I didn\'t do the right thing.
I have a lot of expectations for myself and it doesn\'t help to hear all these successful companies.
What do you think is the example of a victory you lost?
I had local Whole Foods which was easy but it was really hard to expand to other Whole Foods stores.
I was approved a few months ago and it felt like a big win.
I entered another reputable Los Angeles grocery store earlier this year, which made me feel like I could expand to more stores more easily.
Four months later, I received an email from a buyer at the Los Angeles store saying \"the packaging doesn\'t work.
The bags are not sold.
This is an email with two sentences. Very cryptic.
I emailed her right away.
I called her a few times.
No response, no response.
And before she answered the phone
It\'s really hard.
I don\'t think I can even make it up to her.
I didn\'t even get a second chance.
This is very frustrating.
The most painful part is the testing of this new package.
I spent quite a bit of money designing and making this package specifically designed for this store.
I think this is the missing part I need to bring my bag to the world and have people buy it.
But it doesn\'t work.
All the time and money is useless.
It feels like a complete waste. I feel completely defeated.
It was a very difficult time for me.
She still hasn\'t contacted me until today and they haven\'t placed any new orders either.
Do you regret the investment in that package?
I think the packaging still works for different types of stores, just maybe not a grocery store.
I was frustrated and hard on myself.
Then when you go to the darkest place and try to find that self
Love yourself and say to yourself, \"You see, you will make mistakes.
This is the meaning of it, it is not easy, it will be difficult, it will become better.
These are the courses I have to learn.
This is a process.
It\'s just a process.
\"What\'s interesting is that you said it was the first year you really put in because Junes hasn\'t been around for nearly three years?
What does that mean to you when you say you put yourself outside this year?
I think it\'s getting more active on social media, pushing my product to the world and saying \"Hey, I\'m Junes and I created this cool bag, do you like it?
Do you want to buy it?
\"I am a fairly private person, and I am definitely not a person who boasts of himself.
That\'s not how I grew up, nor did I.
I\'m not a fan of social media and it keeps me vanity forever.
But earlier this year I realized that I was hiding all the time and it hurt me and my business.
At the critical moment, I also realized that I was afraid of being rejected, so I was afraid of being rejected.
I really have to accept that.
By not solving social media and marketing issues outside, I am not the one I need to be and the brand is not the one I need to be.
Have you thought about Plan B during this journey? Yeah.
I mean, I \'ve been thinking, \"Oh my God, when do I jump off the boat?
When do I move to Mexico to do some bartending at a beach resort?
\"Still, I can\'t do it because I feel my 30 s are my best decade to date.
I finally know who I am.
During that time, I realized that I wanted to do my own thing.
I need to create.
I always think about new ideas.
That\'s who I am.
I can\'t do anything. I really can\'t.
I would be frustrated because whenever I go somewhere to find a job and work for someone else in the office, slowly my soul drops off me like a leaking tap, I ended up becoming a soulless zombie in a predictable and monotonous daily life.
I really want to accept that this is me.
In order to be who I really think I am and who I should be, I need to work hard to overcome these difficulties.
You are currently raising money. how is the process?
In fact, this is very interesting, because this year has been very hard.
Combining the concepts of my products and business and what I do for the investor conversation makes me excited again about what I\'m doing.
I think \"it\'s cool. I got this.
Look how cool this is.
\"It\'s also a good feeling to connect with other people who really believe in me and the concept.
So far, are there any gains and discoveries in fundraising?
I did talk to an investor who is more consistent in the retail side of venture capital and has some wise words.
They are not necessarily easy to hear.
\"You\'re not ready yet, don\'t try to raise money now,\" she said.
You need to increase your sales.
You need more verification of the product.
She asked me, \"Is there any shift in your spending money on Facebook ads ? \"? ” I said “No.
\"You see, you have to spend a lot of money to grow directly to the consumer,\" she said . \".
Focus on wholesale, first build attraction there and then develop directly to the consumer.
\"So you\'re not going to raise money?
After that, I talked to another consultant.
I will continue to raise money because I need help and focus.
There is a lot of pressure. I have a lot of pressure.
But due to the conversation with her, I will focus on raising the minimum amount to enhance the product, investing in fabric made from recycled bottles and paying someone part of the cost
It\'s time to do social media.
I will focus on wholesale to build attraction.
So, it\'s more like $70 than $250 in financing. $100k.
Since the beginning of 2014, how do you think you have grown up?
I am more patient with myself.
I have learned to be more selfloving.
I really understood myself in a way that I never really understood.
I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I know my demons completely.
I just think I\'m smarter.
In fact, I am proud of myself doing so.
Even though part of me sometimes feels like I\'m completely failing, I know what I do is important.
\"Hey, I should be proud of myself.
This is huge because it took me a while to be proud of myself.
What are you most excited about when you enter the next growth phase?
I am ready to sink my teeth into this monster and release its wild beauty.
Even though I was frustrated most of the time, exhausted and refused to make a strong impact on my soul, I knew that I was a warrior and would move on.
I only hope to win this game.
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