Factory45: Mommy's Little Helper – SproutFit

Factory45: Mommy's Little Helper

One of the first questions I’m asked is, “How did you have time to launch SproutFit in less than 9 months, all while balancing being a busy mom and working in corporate America?”

The truth is, I didn’t have time.

But, Factory45’s crystal-clear and fully-vetted structure empowered me to make time and start before I was ready.

Shannon curated the perfect package steeped in years of learnings and insights, but her endless patience, accessibility and thoughtfully detailed feedback is what truly separates Factory45 from any other program. More of a partnership than an accelerator, it’s been my very-own “mommy’s little helper” – and for that, I am forever grateful.

It takes me back to ‘98/’99 when I was getting started in the food business. At the tender age of almost 13, I wanted to make organic and all-natural food more accessible to my family and friends, so I started a business and sold my first product to a local co-op in Boise. By 15, I started to truly understand the lingo, the bottlenecks, the stigmas, the what-to-dos and not-to-dos. By 16, I felt like I had a handle on negotiating, and by 17, I was confident in the financials and supply chain.

I was only JUST reaching the “novice” level, even after 4 years.

Between years 4 and 6, the real learning began. The bigger mistakes. The strategy pivots. The influx of DUN DUN DUN….. competition.

All that being said, without my own entrepreneurship struggle, I might not have fully-appreciated the opportunity Factory45 offered me. Which is why I had zero hesitation applying in May 2016.

I had this great idea for sustainable, adjustable childrenswear, but knew nothing about garment production, or the fashion industry in general. After a few failed attempts getting samples started, I felt dejected. I was exhausted just thinking about spending 4-6 years and tens of thousands earning my stripes.

As entrepreneurs, we try to “hack” norms and do things differently – more efficiently, better, greener, with more joy, etc. So, as a new mom, working in corporate America (yes, still in food!), I knew I would need a support system above and beyond my family and friends if I wanted to be successful in the fashion world.

Just a couple weeks before my 30th birthday, I stumbled across Factory45 and read: “Fast forward six years and I’ve created the program I would have wanted when I was first starting out.” Talk about a divine appointment.  And awesome b-day gift.

I already felt a comfort knowing the process had been personally vetted though trial-and-error. Shannon wasn’t just another consultant trying to pull one over on me. And believe me, I get really twitchy when people try to “sell me”.  

Now, just 11 raw days removed from Factory45’s 6 month program, I’ve had a moment to reflect on all the additional perks and benefits I’ve gleaned from simply being associated with it.

Maybe you’re like me and interested in the exclusive report, the secret menus, the passwords to the Speakeasies... so, here are the details!

“Daily office hours with Shannon” is really having Shannon as a sounding board for questions that should be popping up through the program.  There were times I would shoot her a quick question, or a very detailed email with multiple levels of questions. No matter what, she always responded QUICKLY, and thoughtfully. And, by thoughtfully, I mean that she treated my questions as if they were being considered for thesis. I never got brushed off, or felt like I had a stupid question (even though, I’m sure she had to repeat herself to me at least twice!).   

I’m going to park here for a minute because it’s important to know that while Factory45 is a self-paced program, the best value comes from milking every calorie out of this feast and keeping pace with the lessons. Even if you aren’t completing each and every activity, it’s important to understand where the class is at, so you can collectively learn in the sequence Shannon outlines. It’s built the way it is for a reason.

As I mentioned before, her accessibility throughout the program is what sets it apart.

“Accountability Partnership” was so great to build rapport and build confidence along the way. ¾ of the way through the program though, Shannon suggested a Mastermind group. That Mastermind group is a safe-zone resource. A no-judgement zone. A source of idea sharing, thought-provoking discussion, and critical feedback – in an ultra-concentrated 5 person group. So, from our clothing lines, to our Kickstarters, to our social media approaches… we are expanding upon all the advice and discussion being had throughout the last months. Highly recommended.

Simply engaging with Shannon/Factory45 on social media and reading what she’s posting is a treasure trove of solid information.  I’ll just say that I’m a total Twitter novice, but every time I re-tweet her content, people perk up. It’s been a great way to put training wheels on my Twitter bicycle, and give me confidence to create my OWN content.

As a side note, I’m a big proponent of being vocal when things are great, and just as vocal when things aren’t. My husband would vehemently agree lol :) 

Shannon didn't ask me to write this blog post, or incent me in any way. (She wouldn't need to because she has over a hundred past F45'ers singing her praise!) Either way, I have to give props when props are due.  While I'd love to keep my "mommy's little helper" secret, that wouldn't be cool.

In a nutshell, I never would have had the guts to take a leap of faith because of the insidious "barriers to entry" you read about when trying to launch a brand in the fashion industry.  

Factory45 thrashed my preconceived notions and fed my entrepreneurial, honey badger spirit instead. So, while it may read as a bit vanilla to “thank” Shannon and Factory45, please know I’m like, tearing up and snotty-nosed writing “thank you” here, because it’s been that much of a game-changer for me.

Alright, enough with the mushy stuff.

If you're interested in launching a sustainable apparel company, look no further than Factory45. And don't forget to check out my labor of love: SproutFit! We launch on Kickstarter Feb. 24, guys!

Much love,

Whitney

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