Beautiful on the Inside,Fashion,Making HerStory

Bringing an Idea to Life

Starting a business can be incredibly challenging, especially when you and your potential partners all have full time jobs and personal lives.  But when you have something you believe in you’ve just got to go for it! Molly Mogren, one of the co-founders of Namakan Fur, share’s how she and her friends took a great idea and turned it into a business.

I really struggled with how to categorize Molly’s guest post.  Molly and her friends have created a product that is so outwardly beautiful that I could have easily categorized this post as “Beautiful on the Outside”, but building a business takes so much strength and inner beauty that I settled on “Beautiful on the Inside.”  Thanks so much for sharing your story, Molly!!! 🙂

By Molly Mogren

“Namakan Fur got its start on a freezing cold January morning at the Number 6 bus stop. Our co-founder Maggie Davis was wearing her winter coat that had a hood, but no ruff (aka the fur trim around the edge of the hood). She realized she’d been much warmer the day before, when she’d worn a different coat with a faux fur ruff.

Turns out, Maggie was onto something: fur ruffs are scientifically proven to make the wearer warmer by creating a buffer between your face and the cold air. This prompted her to design a faux fur ruff that attaches to any hood (or collar) with super-strong magnets. Namakan’s universal ruff is the first of its kind, allowing you to add stylish and warm faux fur to any of your winter coats, sweaters or vests.  

Image via namakanfur.com

Additionally, we wanted to introduce a product aimed mainly at women that is stylish, functional, and not too cutesy. Most products designed with women in mind are covered with flowers and butterflies. If you like that, fantastic! If not, your options are limited. We’d love to grow Namakan into a brand that stylishly melds practicality, warmth and sophistication into a woman’s winter wardrobe.

Image via namakanfur.com

Two summers ago, we enrolled in WomenVenture’s Guided Business Plan course. The class was fine, but the other female entrepreneurs we met were worth every cent we paid for class. There were about 20 of us, all starting businesses ranging from postpartum healthcare to food trucks and coaching businesses. We were all so different, but each brought unique talents and experiences to the table. Everyone was incredibly generous with helping each other out. Through WomenVenture, we connected with many professionals who volunteer their time with entrepreneurs like us. Most of them were women. From legal help to accounting and marketing expertise, there were so many people who encouraged and guided us along the way.

As an example, we had one classmate assist us with sourcing textiles, and in return, I wrote copy for her amazing clothing line geared toward nursing moms (https://www.nourishcollection.com/). We still keep in touch with many of the amazing people we met through WomenVenture, and everyone is very supportive of one another.

Image via namakanfur.com

Trying to set up a business while still working your “day job” hasn’t been a breeze for me and my two business partners. It’s easy to lose steam after setbacks, especially when you keep thinking to yourself, “If I could just find a few more free hours every week, I would be getting so much accomplished!” It’s important to keep pressing on and not get too discouraged when things aren’t moving at the pace you imagined.

Last fall, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign. We set our sights on $30,000 from backers, and ended up raining nearly $32,000. It wasn’t an easy feat. As I mentioned, Namakan is a side hustle for all three of us, not to mention I had a baby in the midst of our Kickstarter planning and one of our other founders got married. It was quite challenging to find the time to shoot a video, create the campaign, spread the word, etc., but we made it happen. I literally breastfed a newborn while writing some of our Kickstarter updates. Our hard work paid off when we met our goal just a few hours before the end of our campaign.

Image via namakanfur.com

Also, the three of us have been friends for years. People tell you that you shouldn’t go into business with friends. It’s so important to feel like you’re able to speak honestly and openly with your partners, which can be challenging when you also see each other socially. We’ve had a few tough conversations, and each of us try to not take business decisions personally. Ultimately, the three of us have a diverse skill set and work well together. It’s also so fun to see two of my best friends on a regular basis.

Image via namakanfur.com

To help us stay organized and on track we have a standing meeting every Wednesday morning before work. This allows us to get on the same page, talk about tasks for the upcoming weeks and delegate. We use Trello to track our outstanding to-dos, and try to check in regularly throughout the week.

Building your own business takes time. We hoped to launch our business in the fall of 2015. In reality, our first run won’t be completed until early 2017! We’ve learned to be patient. When things haven’t gone as originally envisioned, we’ve taken time together to reevaluate. We’ve learned not to be afraid of moving in a new direction.   We went through many iterations of our business and product before pressing go.

Even though things move slowly, seeing our progress is incredibly motivating. For example, the day our first REAL prototype arrived gave us all a needed boost. It was so, so exciting to see our vision become a reality. Seeing people’s reaction to our product in-person has also been incredibly rewarding. We get so many “wow, this is stunning!” or “I can’t believe how soft this faux fur is!” Comments like this let us know we’re heading in the right direction.”

Check out Namakan Fur at namakanfur.com to stay warm and beautiful inside and out.

 

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  • Allison T.
    February 7, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Incredible and inspiring story! I love what you have done with faux fur!

    • Melessa
      February 7, 2017 at 9:54 am

      I think it’s clever too!

  • Bart
    February 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Making connections with mentors and people that could help them get things started – so important.

    • Melessa
      February 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      I agree. Connections are so important.

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