#103. Primary builds basics for kids. We talk with co-founders Christina Carbonell and Galyn Bernard about how they applied their experience from Diapers.com to fuel a direct-to-consumer brand that makes simple and affordable children’s apparel. The Loose Threads Podcast features in-depth discussions with leaders across the rapidly changing consumer economy.

Check out the full transcript below.

Christina: [00:00:01] When we said things like, not all baby suits need to say “little slugger” and not all kids t-shirts need to say, “I’m so baller,” this was a game-changer. People reacted to that.

Richie: [00:00:15] That’s Christina Carbonell, co-founder of Primary, a direct-to-consumer children’s clothing brand focused on simple and affordable products. As moms, Christina and her co-founder, Galyn Bernard, couldn’t find the basics they were after for their own children. So they put their experience from Diapers.com to work.

Richie: [00:00:36] I’m Richie Siegel, the founder of Loose Threads, which analyzes and advises next-generation consumer companies and FaceLift by Loose Threads, which provides retail strategy and infrastructure for leading brands and retailers. For our latest analysis and insights, check out our free weekly newsletter at LooseThreads.com.

Richie: [00:00:53] I started the Loose Threads podcast to spark engaging discussions with leaders across the consumer economy. That’s why I was excited to talk with Galyn and Christina about how their experience achieving extreme scale was both a blessing and a curse, since founding Primary meant starting all over again. Here’s how it all began.

Galyn: [00:01:12] So, I think there were a few moments, and I think all the moments came down to personal experiences with our own kids, and also professional experiences working at Diapers.com. So on the personal moments, it was really about shopping for our kids’ clothes. I have twin girls who are in third grade now, but at the time they were toddlers. And I felt [that] to not spend a fortune on their clothing meant that I was buying onesies that said “pretty princess” or would fall apart in the wash after three weeks or something.

Galyn: [00:01:46] And so the options for them felt super gendered and not the quality that I was looking for at reasonable prices. And then on the professional side, I think just by nature of the fact that Christina spent so much time thinking so hard about, you know, how to elevate the customer experience on replenishment items like diapers and wipes and formula for kids, we kept feeling like there was such a massive gap between the experience we were building at Diapers and the other sites we launched there, and the general market for kids’ clothes, which just felt really complicated. And so it felt like for both reasons, there was a huge opportunity for a new brand.

Christina: [00:02:21] There was also a lot of wine involved. Many lunches while we were at Diapers.com. We had become very good friends, which happens when you’re going through such a rollercoaster-ride experience, and you get to know someone who you can work with so well. And so the combination of having an amazing partnership there, an idea we had tremendous conviction in, and a huge market, and a lot of support from the people around us at Quidsi as well, including the founders, Marc and Vinnie, propelled us to go do it.

Richie: [00:02:48] And when was this, exactly?

Galyn: [00:02:50] So, our departure anniversary from Quidsi is on Valentine’s Day. We just passed year number five, so it was 2014. And we had sort of been tossing ideas around and thinking about it a little bit a couple of months before that. But [we] really hit the ground running mid-February, where—our first office, leaving Quidsi, was at the Reebok Sports Club on the Upper West Side. We really thought we were going to take a minute to write the business plan, do our pitch deck, get ready to raise a seed round of funding. And also, we were going to get in incredible shape, which lasted for four minutes. But we definitely wore workout clothes every day for six months. So, that was great.

Richie: [00:03:28] You mentioned before that you had a lot of conviction about this. Did it come from other places besides your own personal experience?

Christina: [00:03:35] I think it came from a combination of feeling like we could build an amazing brand that people would really care about. The kind of brand we wanted for ourselves. But also, we saw a huge opportunity in the business model, in a $32 billion market, U.S. kids’ clothing. There was just an opportunity for a different kind of model, one that wasn’t focused on chasing trends and fashion, but one that was instead focused on the core essentials that kids wear day in and day out, and the kind of experience that we really thought parents wanted for that, that was missing.

Christina: [00:04:07] And it lent itself to a big business and a really compelling business model. So, the combination of feeling like we, as marketers—that’s our background—could build an amazing brand and could really see this becoming a compelling business that people would want to invest in, made us want to go do it.

Richie: [00:04:24] Was there any thought of, could you do this inside Diapers.com and Amazon? Or did this have to be a whole new thing?

Galyn: [00:04:29] I think that by that point it, felt like given what we knew this would take, in terms of brand development and passion and focus, that it would have been hard to do there. And so I think from pretty early on, it felt like a separate thing where, I think, for Christina and I, we had the brand and the ecommerce experience, for sure. But we had to really quickly go figure out how to make clothing. And that was just another thing that’s a skillset. And then something that didn’t exist within Amazon, either. And so, felt like it was right to sort of do it on our own.

Christina: [00:05:02] What was most new for us about this experience is that this is a vertically-integrated brand. And though we had launched websites and many verticals at Quidsi, and that was an amazing experience to bring to this, what we didn’t have was the experience manufacturing anything. And so that was the part that was new. And it was important, though, to the success of this business.

Richie: [00:05:19] Okay, so, you leave Quidsi, you’re sitting at Reebok—I guess now Equinox.

Galyn: [00:05:23] Yes. It has since been acquired.

Richie: [00:05:25] Yeah, the Upper West Side. How do you start, I guess, dividing and conquering where to focus, and what is, I guess, the initial goal that you set for yourselves out of the gate?

Galyn: [00:05:35] The dividing and conquering is funny. I think we didn’t divide and conquer at all, which is a testament to how much we like hanging out and how much we respect each other. I do think that there’s definitely a “one plus one equals three” here, but we did everything together. So we sat together and once in a while we’d be like, “Oh, you do this slide and I’ll do that slide.” Because the goal, really, during that stretch was trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of a timeline to actually get product made, but also telling the business story in a succinct enough way that we could go raise capital. So those were the two, sort of, main things. And we really just held each other’s hand and kind of did it all together for a long time.

Christina: [00:06:11] We wrote emails together. All of them.

Galyn: [00:06:13] That still happens, though.

Christina: [00:06:16] But since then, we have learned to divide and conquer more than we did in the beginning, which has mainly been in terms of one of us focused on marketing and one of us focused on merchandising. Both, sort of, the front end of the business, which is where our strengths lie, but each of us with more of a focus.

Richie: [00:06:32] So it sounds like the goals were: Figure out how to make clothing and then figure out how to raise capital to fund this.

Christina: [00:06:37] Totally.

Richie: [00:06:37] How did each of those go, I guess, in the first year?

Christina: [00:06:40] One better than the other. The fundraising went well.

Richie: [00:06:43] Was that surprising that it went well?

Christina: [00:06:45] I mean, I think we had no idea what to expect. And definitely, you know, had a lot of guidance and introductions from Marc and Vinnie at Diapers, which was so helpful. And so I think looking back, actually, it was relatively easy, especially given—basically all we had was a pitch deck with the idea. We didn’t have any product made yet. We didn’t have anything, actually, other than the domain, Primary.com, which isn’t nothing.

Richie: [00:07:07] That was a good domain.

Christina: [00:07:07] Yeah, so that was something, but we set out to raise a friends and family round, and ended up with introductions to a couple of venture capitalist investors [whom] we love so much. And so we ended up with a little bit more funding than we thought we needed, which was always a good thing to have. So that was great.

Christina: [00:07:25] And then on the making clothes front, I think we tried everything we could to get introductions to people who had done this before, and totally follow the breadcrumbs on, “Oh, this person knows that person, you should talk to them, and they can make your clothes.” And so we ended up working with an agency that made our clothes for the first two years that I think definitely got us off the ground, but probably wasn’t at the quality level that we needed or were looking for. So we learned a lot along the way.

Richie: [00:07:52] So where did you decide to start in terms of assortment and products, and I guess, what would get you up to the point where you’re like, “Okay, we can launch with this segment of stuff”?

Galyn: [00:08:02] It’s funny, ’cause I think we definitely aspired from the very beginning to basically offer the one best version of everything a kid wears, which—in some iterations of that, you know, we were launching with 300 different styles for—which at the time seemed like it’s so curated. Because the general market, at any given time, has 2,500 styles for sale. And so we were like, 300 is so curated and focused, no problem. For babies and kids, size zero to three months, up to size 12.

Galyn: [00:08:30] And so we started whittling that down. But still, always, the focus was the essentials that kids wear all day, every day, and want to live in, based on our personal experience. And then also sales and what we saw at Diapers.com. And so we ended up launching with 35, which—I think it was probably like three times too many, just given the complexity of managing inventory.

Galyn: [00:08:52] Not only did we have 35 styles, but each of them came in 15 colors, which was always part of the brand. And so we wanted to go hard on color, for sure, in an extreme way. And you know, sort of feel like brands are built at the extreme. But it made it really hard to stay in stock, which was important to us from a sort of brand promise perspective. We wanted to be a go-to destination for busy parents, and have 95% in-stock rates. I think we probably didn’t do the math on the safety stock levels needed to hit that. And so it was really hard. So the first year was in stock, out of stock. “Oh no, that’s not selling. Now we have none of these.” It was a lot.

Richie: [00:09:28] So I guess, as the assortment is starting to come together, this is all kind of before launch still. What are you thinking and proposing and building on the brand side, this is how we want to look and talk and feel and think? And how did that piece come together, I guess?

Christina: [00:09:41] The brand was such an important part of the vision from the beginning. And we also were sure to bring on talent on that front from very early on. So a chief creative officer was part of our core team from the beginning. And someone we had worked with before. So the vision for the brand and what Primary could be in the world, which was very much about being an inclusive and universal brand, a brand that was for everyone, without the same levels of gender prescriptiveness, or just reinforcing stereotypes, that we were seeing in the market. And so we spent a lot of time on both the visual brand and the messaging from the beginning. And also learned a lot about how to present that to the world once we started to market.

Richie: [00:10:21] So I guess, how long did it take until you were like, “Okay, we can launch this,” or “we should launch this.” And then, what was the process like leading up to the point of launch?

Galyn: [00:10:30] It took about a year, and that date really was just dependent on getting the clothing product received at the warehouse and ready for sale. So along the way, we had hired a CTO who basically built the whole site himself. But I think we launched with five people. It was Christina and I, our chief creative officer, our CTO, and then we hired a customer care rep kind of on a whim. She just cold emailed us out of nowhere and is still on the team today. Actually running the customer service team. So it was the five of us. But it was really about, “are the clothes at the warehouse yet? Okay, ready, go!” But yeah, we launched March 31st, 2015.

Richie: [00:11:07] Was there a plan for the launch? Was it just, we need to open this up to the public? How did that get conceptualized, if at all?

Galyn: [00:11:15] Fair question.

Christina: [00:11:15] We knew that the most important thing when we launched would be to leverage our friends and family. And so, tactically, what we did was arm them each with a personalized promotion that they could share with the world that was their name. And that was really effective. The personalization mattered. They really felt like a part of our team that was helping us fuel awareness. It became a little bit competitive. And it was just a good way to start.

Richie: [00:11:43] Did you have a number that you wanted to achieve—like, “when day one launch is over, we want to be at this”?

Galyn: [00:11:47] We definitely had guesses. I can picture the whiteboard where everyone was putting up their guess on what we were going to do on day one. Number of orders. And I can’t remember, actually. I think I guessed 50, and I think it ended up being a hundred.

Christina: [00:12:00] Sounds right. It’s hard when you’ve been a part of the business that’s scaled to $500 million-plus.

Richie: [00:12:07] And you’re back at zero.

Christina: [00:12:08] Yeah. Fun, but also, you want to be there fast. And we also knew, now having manufactured product, [that we] had a certain amount of inventory to work with. And so the balance of how to manage that early on was part of it.

Richie: [00:12:22] At this stage, is it hard to manage your own expectations, given you’ve been at the point of very significant scale, and you are at the beginning again?

Christina: [00:12:31] Yes, and also because we’re marketers by background, so we want to market the business and invest, but we needed to make sure the value proposition was landing where we wanted it to, that we had amazing product to sell, that we were in stock. And that first year was just a huge learning experience with some ups and downs where we had to lean in and then pull back, and lean in and pull back, a few times, until we knew we were in a good place to really step on the accelerator.

Richie: [00:12:54] Can you talk more specifically about some of those lean in, lean out [moments] in terms of—I guess kind of on the path to product-market fit, in terms of like, you thought we go this way, and then actually we had to go here. Are there any, I guess retrospectively, parts of that were like, “why did we even think we were going to go make this part of it work?” And it was so obvious now that this part did?

Christina: [00:13:11] The two biggest learnings in the first year that led us to not go full throttle on the marketing did have to do with what it took to be in stock on product. And then also honing our messaging. So on the in-stock side, we thought we would have enough inventory to be able to step on the accelerator, but because our supply chain wasn’t as solid as we wanted it to be, we found ourselves out of stock at—65% in stock instead of 95% in stock, and had to quickly pull back on marketing until we figured out how to game change that. The other piece of it was, we tried some messaging and it wasn’t working as well as we wanted it to.

Richie: [00:13:50] Why do you think that was?

Christina: [00:13:51] The insight for us was that we were playing it too safe with our marketing in the beginning. We were trying to figure out how to explain what Primary was meant to be to the world, but in a way that wouldn’t alienate anyone. And so we were saying things like, “Primary is brilliant basics.” And that was nice, but not so exciting.

Galyn: [00:14:07] The word “nice” just doesn’t really cut it in the world.

Christina: [00:14:11] No. And when we realized that putting our point of view out there in a more provocative way was more effective. That changed everything. And so when we said things like, not all baby suits need to say “little slugger” and not all kids’ t-shirts need to say, “I’m so baller,” this was a game changer. People reacted to that. Especially on Facebook, which became a big platform for growth for us.

Richie: [00:14:34] Do you think part of that was coming from a place like Quidsi, Diapers.com, Amazon, where the point of view is to not have a point of view, in a sense? I mean that in a nice, objective way, that you were now in a place where you had to have a really strong point of view that was different from before.

Galyn: [00:14:50] I think that’s right, actually. We haven’t talked about it in that way, but definitely. I think we wanted this brand to be as universal, if not more, than Diapers.com, where we were taking a very functional sometimes need, which is kids’ clothes, because they grow so fast, and elevating and just making the experience feel lovely and simplified. And that’s what we were focused on for the whole thing. I think we just felt like if we made, like, the best clothes for the best prices, that was going to be enough to make sure that this brand broke through.

Galyn: [00:15:21] And it just wasn’t. And so, I mean, it was amazing learnings—as Christina was talking about—in Facebook early on where, you know, we would say things like “brilliant basics” and customers would come back at us and say, “finally, no bullshit princesses.” And it was like, “Oh, they’re taking that away from this—[a] beautiful array of simple clothes. That’s how we feel inside. But we were too scared to say it.” But their feedback from the market was giving us more confidence and conviction that this is how we feel. We shouldn’t be afraid to say it. And so once we did, it really did just start to change the trajectory of the business.

Richie: [00:15:54] It sounds like there’s also an interesting balance, because you’re marketing to parents who are grown ups and can take that language, but also don’t want to do it in a way where they’re offended to put this in front of their kids.

Galyn: [00:16:03] We never said “bullshit,” even though we wanted to so badly.

Christina: [00:16:06] But we did try an ad with “bullshit” with some characters in it, and that got mixed reviews.

Galyn: [00:16:10] Yeah, totally mixed. Yeah. Gotcha. So then we say, “stuff.”

Richie: [00:16:17] Okay. So company launches, first year is really spent kind of fine-tuning the messaging, the merchandising, so forth. Were there any breakthroughs on the inventory supply chain side? Or was it just a thousand little fire fights that got you to a point where you’re more comfortable saying, “Okay, we actually”—”if our marketing is ahead of our supply chain right now, we can get this to a point where you can have both working in parallel”?

Christina: [00:16:37] It ended up being a little bit of both. I think we had all the fire fights and finally we were just like, we cannot solve this without a huge move. And so I had been lucky enough at that point to be introduced to Patrick Robinson, who was the creative director at Gap for a number of years. And [who] really for us was the person in our circle who was the only one, really, who knew about making clothes and had so much history and experience with it.

Christina: [00:17:01] And so we sort of pulled him in even though it wasn’t his role as an advisor to help us on the supply chain side. But really just in talking to him about what was happening with the business. We’re like, “we have no idea how to fix this, but we know this is not right. It’s going to hold us back, and we need like a big game change solution here. What should we do?”

Christina: [00:17:19] So we actually had him come to a few meetings with us where we were talking to different potential partners on the supply chain side. And he, I think so luckily, was like, “Whoa, that is not the right path for you. Let me introduce you to my good friend Marienne who ran sourcing and production at the Gap with me for a bunch of years. She’s awesome, and she’s just going to tell it like it is.” And so we had drinks with her a couple of times. She ended up coming on board as an advisor at that point. I think for her, she looked at this business and was like, “I can do this in my sleep. You guys need help, and I’m happy to do this for you.” And so she introduced us to an unbelievably amazing agency partner overseas that she had worked with for 30 years.

Christina: [00:18:01] And so we traveled overseas with her a few times, met her factory partners [whom] she had known forever. I think the biggest “aha” moment in traveling with her was just that all of this was about relationships, which was something that we just totally missed. I think we thought we could intellectualize this supply chain. And just through sheer, “we’re going to figure this out,” and it just doesn’t work that way. And so having someone like Marienne, and our agency partner now, just opened up relationships to us that we never would have otherwise had. And so she worked with us on a consulting basis for maybe six months, and then ended up joining us full-time.

Galyn: [00:18:36] And what was important and interesting to us about that decision is that Marienne is an incredibly seasoned veteran in the apparel space. And frankly, an expensive hire. And in the beginning we hesitated to make that hire because it just felt luxurious at our early stage. But it took us realizing that we weren’t paying for a hire, we were paying for quality clothing, and there was no price too high. And it was a complete game changer for the business.

Richie: [00:19:04] I was curious about that, as two people with a wealth of experience in this space, going to start a new company from scratch, raising money, but of course being resource-constrained as well. Sounds like you’re thinking evolved on what sort of people to invest in, as well, versus most start-ups would just go hire a lot of younger—the joke of course is, they go “young and hungry,” which just means, often, cheap people, and just trying to execute your way through it. Was that one of the key moments where you said, “actually, we should find more people [who] are like us, versus that have a lot to figure out as well”? “Because we don’t always want to train on the company dime, so to speak, but just get this right soon”?

Christina: [00:19:38] We like both profiles, but this was one where it became abundantly clear that the big gun was needed.

Galyn: [00:19:45] But it’s funny, too. I think even though we had been working with her on a consulting basis, I think still, given the price tag and how scrappy we were trying to be, just didn’t even see that as a solution until we had a board meeting and were talking about how Marienne had come on and made all these amazing introductions, and our supply chain was really coming together in a way that, honestly was about “you’re going to have quality amazing clothing or you’re not.”

Galyn: [00:20:09] And one of our investors who’s on the board was like, “Well, would you just hire her full time?” And we were like, “Oh, oh no, that would be crazy.” And he was like, “How crazy?” And we told him the number, and he was like, “Really? Go hire her. What are you guys doing?” So I think sometimes it’s helpful to have people outside, too, especially investors who are like, “Guys, I appreciate you being conservative with your cash, but you gotta look at this from way up here and just see how much of a no-brainer it is.” So you definitely have to pick your spots. And I think for us, this one was the most obvious place to invest a lot, because this was an area that we actually just couldn’t do at all.

Galyn: [00:20:47] And so I think lots of other areas where we still haven’t made senior hires on ops, and you know, sort of, finance more recently, were things that we could reasonably figure out on our own. But this was just a whole area where it was like, “We’re just never going to get this done.”

Richie: [00:21:01] So you mentioned Facebook was kind of the first go-to tool in terms of marketing this. Did you have experience working robustly, I’d say, on that platform previously? And depending on that, how did you approach where to start on the platform? I’m also curious, going back, what it was like to do that and how cheap it must have been four or five years ago.

Christina: [00:21:20] We had almost no experience marketing on Facebook. In spite of the fact that we had grown Quidsi to over $500 million and done that across many marketing channels. But social was just not as developed at that time. The way that we approached it, and tend to approach marketing generally, is to keep it in-house, both in terms of running the marketing and also the creative involved with it. And actually did it ourselves. Galyn and I did the marketing for the first year and a half, which meant that we had to learn the Facebook platform inside and out.

Christina: [00:21:48] And it was worth it because it was driving 50-75% of our customer acquisition. And it was working. But it needed a ton of attention. What’s great about Facebook, and the reason it does work for a lot of people—it’s such a well-developed platform. The ability to target in very effective ways. The ad formats. There’s so much there to work with. But it takes a huge investment of time. So we did it ourselves, and then once we felt like we knew what we were doing and we understood the ingredients to make it work, then we hired a head of performance marketing who is amazing. And he has run with it ever since.

Richie: [00:22:25] So as you’re kind of out of the gate, what sort of customers and what type of customers did you expect would start gravitating towards this? And then, a year after launch, was that hypothesis confirmed? Did it start to change or shift? Who was coming, I guess, and who was buying, in terms of persona, profile?

Christina: [00:22:42] In the beginning, I think we expected to get customers like ourselves: Busy parents who wanted the best for our kids and aspired to a brand that we actually connected with, in a space where we kind of shop everywhere but don’t feel loyal to anyone. And we did see that, not surprisingly. And partly because we started with our own friends and family to fuel awareness.

Christina: [00:23:03] But quickly, we started to see pockets of folks attracted to what Primary was about that we hadn’t really thought about. And that included the homeschooling mom in—somewhere in the Midwest. It included a ton of parents with kids with sensory sensitivities who really valued how super soft our clothing is, and sort of, the thoughtfulness and the design. Those are just a couple of examples.

Christina: [00:23:26] Another huge example of something that we didn’t anticipate at all, in terms of why customers were attracted to us, was that parents discovered that they wanted to use our clothing for costumes for Halloween. DIY costumes was never on our minds, but the idea that our essential styles, in this huge of colors, could be the elemental pieces to create a costume, just turned out to be an amazing insight. And so we also learned that in the first year, totally organically, and now it’s become our biggest marketing campaign of the year.

Richie: [00:23:59] It’s so funny how much stuff just comes from customers, not from the mothership, so to speak.

Galyn: [00:24:04] Yes. Ah, mothership, that’s funny.

Richie: [00:24:05] Maybe that’ll be the title.

Galyn: [00:24:08] Well, actually, a funny example of that, too. We got customer emails all the time. And there was a period where we were literally reading every single one. And a customer emailed and just said, “Please, please, please, on your socks, can you do something so that they end up being color-coded by size, because I have four kids. I do laundry 400 times a day, and I can never tell who socks belong to whom.”

Galyn: [00:24:29] And so we took our socks and we made—there’s one color for the smallest size, and a different color for the bigger size, just on the toe and the heel. We never would have thought about that. And so getting this customer feedback, and like, sometimes there’s like, the most random ideas. But like, there’s just unbelievable feedback, and customers are so excited to share ideas and be part of building this. That’s been really fun.

Richie: [00:24:50] Part of that also is, you have a very forward demo. There are other bases you could find that are so quiet, and [they’ll] never talk to you. It’s really hard to build a product in there. From a product perspective, were there any products that you were incredibly excited about in the first year or two that just absolutely did not work or go how you wanted? And also I guess the opposite, of, where there things that you were like, “yeah we can do this, but we don’t expect much,” that started to blow up?

Galyn: [00:25:13] Yes, definitely both of those. The two that stand out in my mind are—on the things that didn’t work, we had a couple of knit dresses in the assortment, just sort of easy, 100% percent cotton dresses. And sort of felt we needed a dressier dress, and we’re going to do this really cute woven dress with a bow, and it’s going to be amazing. And it was terrible. I think the style wasn’t right. We just didn’t pay enough attention to making sure that it was super cute. And the price was a little bit high. And the fabric wasn’t magical. It just did not come together. So that was a bomb.

Galyn: [00:25:48] And then on the other side, sort of similar to Halloween, we have an under-short style that’s—people call it a cartwheel short. It’s a little bit shorter than a bike short. That felt like something that we needed to have in the assortment, but was just going to be a nice functional thing for people to buy. And it’s our number-one style by a factor of four relative to everything else. I think the price point’s right. It’s perfect for everyone. It comes in 18 colors. Most people sell it in black. And so that has just been an incredible surprise, and really keeps the lights on, that little under-short.

Richie: [00:26:24] So we’re in 2016-ish. How were your roles starting to change, I guess, as we approach two years of working, versus where you guys started?

Galyn: [00:26:32] I think that was maybe the point [when] we started actually dividing and conquering. Because up until that point, we really were doing inventory buys together. On the phone, both with Excel open, at three o’clock in the morning, trying to get these things in. We were both thinking about the merchandising. We were both thinking about the brand and the visuals and the photography. And so I think that is a point where we just realized we can’t both be involved in everything.

Galyn: [00:26:56] And I think also a huge part of that was just trusting each other so much that, one, the other person can handle it better than we could ourselves. And two, if there was an instance where we weren’t sure or felt like the other person definitely would want to be looped in, we just knew when was appropriate to do that. And so it ended up being pretty natural, I think. There wasn’t a moment where we were like, let’s have a sit down and decide to focus more on these things. It just sort of happened pretty naturally.

Christina: [00:27:19] Yeah. At that point, as founders still with an extremely small team—we were still less than ten people—the decisions that felt scary and where there was risk were inventory buys and marketing investment. That’s where we were spending our money. And those were the places where things could go wrong. And so that’s where we needed focus, and we each sort of took one.

Richie: [00:27:38] So I guess at this point, you’re two years in now, one year-ish, kind of, out in the public. Where to, from there, I guess, in terms of strategically—what is going through both of your heads in terms of, “we’re at this amount of revenue, this number of styles,” so forth. What does the next year or two look like in terms of where you want to go?

Galyn: [00:27:56] I mean, I think for us it came down to two things, really. One was just making sure that the customer passion we saw from the beginning was sustained, if not improving. And so, you know, as we continued to scale and do more things, just never losing sight of why we did this in the first place, which was, we want to build a brand that customers care a lot about. And so keeping a really close eye on—well actually, probably two years in is when we started keeping track of our NPS score. And so just monitoring comments and making sure that the things that we were continuing to say and build on were resonating with customers in a way that was as breakthrough as we wanted it to be.

Galyn: [00:28:33] And then growth. Our eye on the ball on growth always was important because we knew that this is a business where we believe in investment marketing. We’ve done it before. That’s how we grew Quidsi. The LTV opportunity here, given we have clothing from size zero to 12, soon to be 14, is hugely significant. And so it makes all the sense in the world for us to invest up front in acquiring customers. But that takes capital.

Galyn: [00:28:57] And so then you have to work backwards a little bit. Okay, to raise capital in this market, what kind of growth is required? And also, where do we need to be at scale to make these economics work? And so, you know, that required us basically doubling revenue every year. And so the most efficient way to do that via marketing was the thing that we were sort of the most focused on, and trying to sort of go get and make sure we were delivering.

Christina: [00:29:20] And just because—I don’t think you actually said the NPS number—

Galyn: [00:29:22] Oh, do it.

Christina: [00:29:23] Well, so, at this point, I think the important thing is we knew we had product market fit at this point. And that was because we were getting sales traction that was meaningful after that first difficult year. And we started measuring NPS, and it was over 80. And currently it’s over 85. So we knew not only that we could build this business to a meaningful size, but that the customers were really connecting with what we stood for in a way that mattered and was exactly what we had hoped for.

Richie: [00:29:51] Talk a bit about price, ’cause we haven’t discussed that yet, in terms of—in the beginning, did you know, again, as shoppers in the market, we need to hit at these points? Or was this like a test-and-learn process of figuring out where those sweet spots were? And I guess, talk about maybe a few examples of what they actually are, too.

Galyn: [00:30:06] I think it was more the former, where we really had a strong, sort of, hypothesis and point of view about what we thought clothes should cost relative to, you know, our own shopping experience. Feeling like the Gap was fine if it was 40% off, but who has time to chase a sale every minute? No one. And so we wanted great fair prices that were unbelievable for the quality that we were offering. And we wanted them to be low and fair every day.

Galyn: [00:30:32] And so we sort of ended up, given the assortment that we launched with, where relative to the market, we were sort of 40% less than Gap, a little bit more expensive than Old Navy, but again, with the quality taken into consideration, just a very different value proposition. What came together for us in terms of a marketing message early on was that everything on our site was under $25, which was never a goal out of the gate. It just sort of [how] the assortment came together, and the prices were what they were, and we looked at it and we’re like, “Oh, this is interesting.”

Galyn: [00:31:03] And so we started talking about that in the market. And it definitely resonated. I think giving people a quick, “Oh, got it. I understand where you sit in terms of pricing, and that I’m not going to be looking at stuff that’s $80 for my two-month old baby,” was comforting and sort of reassuring to getting people in the door. We have since gone up from there because we’ve launched additional assortment. We launched a lightweight puffer jacket for $39 earlier this fall that did incredibly well. We have a raincoat now that’s $34, and so we’ve broken through that $25 threshold just by nature of the offering that we have now.

Galyn: [00:31:35] But I would say that our value proposition and our pricing relative to competition has stayed consistent, if not gotten better. I think we’ve been excited to take some of the cost savings that we have realized through scale and put it back into price, versus sort of keeping things where they are and taking it for ourselves.

Richie: [00:31:52] It’s interesting talking to you both about it, cause it would seem—I don’t know, I think when you talk to a lot of other founders, the growth is just, “Why do you want to grow?” “Well, because what else are we going to do?” “Why do you want to raise more money?” “What else is there?” There’s just [a] pedal-to-the-floor mentality about it, and hearing you talk about it, there is a seeming intention behind it, in terms of driving product costs down and so forth, which I guess is just a little rare to hear.

Christina: [00:32:15] Yeah, totally. I know. It goes both ways for us. I think we have been accused in the past of sounding like a Harvard Business School case study, because we have a crazy model, and we have had one since before we launched the business, that had a lot of assumptions about growth and operating costs. And you know, what is the team going to look like? So that we had kind of a north star in terms of what we needed to get to in terms of scale to really make this work. You know, I think for us to—looking at the size of the market, and sort of thinking about what we stand for, in terms of a universal, democratic, “it’s for everyone” kids’ clothing brand, the opportunity was always just as big as a go-get. There’s no reason this shouldn’t be a $1 billion business.

Christina: [00:32:57] And so a big part of continuing to drive revenue growth is about just getting to a point where we don’t have to raise funding anymore, if we don’t want to. But also just about, you know, capturing the portion of the market that we think is there for the taking, based on our personal experience and what customers are telling us, and how they want to shop us. I think we’ve grown quickly relative to the opportunity and where we think we can get to. We’re still so small, but we have customers asking us all the time for more. They just want to be able to buy more things from us. And so it gives us more conviction and excitement about just continuing to scale.

Richie: [00:33:30] So I guess into 2017, from a marketing and strategy perspective, was it starting to change or evolve as you have more SKUs? You’re a bigger business. I assume Facebook is getting a little more expensive to be on.

Christina: [00:33:42] So, we still have not hit a wall with Facebook, but everyone knows it’s coming. So you do start to think about diversification, even though it still makes sense to spend a lot of your time focused there. And because our assortment was expanding, we had more and more to talk about. And so we have continued to make it a big focus. We do other digital marketing as well. Google Shopping is huge for us. But beyond that, we have experience with a broad range of channels, and channels that are traditional, like direct mail, that you sort of see people fluctuate in terms of using it, not using it. And we had used it a lot at Quidsi, and one of our colleagues there actually started a business called Direct Mail Is Back, and was doing co-op mail with these higher-tier brands, which a lot of folks see now.

Richie: [00:34:24] Those are those envelopes, right?

Christina: [00:34:25] Yeah. It’s like high-end Valpak, which is genius. And so we started to participate in things like that and started to do more around direct mail. What’s great about that channel is obviously just how targeted you can be. And when you’re a new brand trying to tell a story, just to have the real estate to be able to do it, versus spending money on display advertising. It can be really compelling. So we started to introduce some channels like that, that we knew well, but [were] still pretty focused. More recently, we’ve started to test channels that will matter for the future, like podcasts and TV, on the media side. And starting to focus more on partnerships.

Richie: [00:34:56] You’re entirely direct-to-consumer, selling on the website at this point, right? That’s the only point of distribution I can—or anyone—can find the clothes.

Galyn: [00:35:03] Yes, totally.

Richie: [00:35:03] Were there any itches of limitation at that point of like, “I just wish we had a place where people could try these on or think about them,” or “we’re getting a little tired of paying these return fees”? Or by and large, were you happy with where the opportunities but also limitations of that channel were at this point?

Galyn: [00:35:20] I think at that point, we felt pretty good about continuing to sell direct, mostly because some of what Christina talked about earlier, in terms of the economics and the business model were working. So our return rate since launch has been under 5%, which makes it easier to continue to sell direct online. You know, I think for us, on the marketing side, the consideration is just more about, are there more efficient ways to get in front of more eyeballs and drive higher conversion?

Galyn: [00:35:44] Because the conversion rate on our site is incredibly high. It’s been 6-7%. And so just getting people to the site in any way we could, without paying a lot of money to do that, was just always interesting, and sort of led us to think about other ways to do that more efficiently, that maybe weren’t more traditional advertising. But I think we were still excited, and still are, just about our ability to scale this business just selling direct.

Richie: [00:36:08] So you mentioned the first fundraising round. I assume there were others. What were the other, I guess, raising milestones up to 2018?

Galyn: [00:36:14] Yes, yes. So we raised a Series A in June of 2016. We raised $8 million. Rick Lewis from USVP came on the board as part of that round. And then we raised a series B that closed maybe in January of 2018. we raised about $20 million in that round.

Richie: [00:36:33] So I guess coming into 2018, you have $20 million in the bank now. I assume you raised that with very specific intentions of what to do with it. Talk about what that plan was, and going into the year, what the focus would be and where you want to be at the end of the year, in 2018.

Christina: [00:36:47] Because we always had this vision for the business, which was not about bells and whistles as much as it was just trying to build this experience focused more on the foundation of the closet than all the trendy stuff, each year was less about some brand new shiny thing and more about just continuing to build on that vision. And so when we raised money, it was—at least at that time—a little less about, “here’s this new shiny thing that we’re going to go do”—like, “we’re going to go do wholesale and invest in that”—and more about, “please just come partner with us to continue building the next-generation Gap.” And so the money was going towards marketing to fuel awareness. It was going towards building our team, which was never going to be huge, but we were making important hires. And to some extent, toward inventory as well.

Richie: [00:37:32] You probably knew this from your past life, but it seems like always the best businesses are a little boring.

Galyn: [00:37:37] I know. It’s so true.

Richie: [00:37:38] They’re not terribly shiny.

Christina: [00:37:38] Listen guys, I know diapers were really sexy, but clothing—

Galyn: [00:37:44] We had a feeling, like, this was the sexiest. Coming out of diapers, we were like, but we got the clothing. It’s colorful!

Richie: [00:37:51] So you mentioned before a bit about some of the other marketing channels you started to look at, in terms of podcasts and TV and so forth. Talk about some of that strategy shift or experimentation of moving from, again, highly trackable and targetable things to a little more generic, potentially sometimes fluffier, expenditures.

Christina: [00:38:10] Well, you know that it’s going to be important to diversify your marketing to become a $250 million or $500 million business. And there will be game changers along the way that are hard to predict. But a combination of new media and traditional channels are probably going to be important. And so testing into those early to learn about them is imperative.

Christina: [00:38:29] And for us, it is this balance of art and science. We are super analytical, we are super metrics-focused, but certainly in a channel like TV, the measurement just is not perfect. And so you have to have some level of conviction and an ability to just pencil something out that you think seems like a reasonable projection, based on what you’re seeing, to both believe that, if not immediately, six months or 12 months from now, you can imagine how that investment would make sense.

Christina: [00:39:00] And also, that you are just continuing to put your brand out into the world in a way that you believe in. So there’s just an art and a science to it. We don’t like the distinction between performance and brand marketing. To us, everything has performance and brand in it. Almost everything. It’s rare. Performance marketing that’s straight performance with no consideration for the creative that’s involved with it rarely really works, and you end up wasting a lot of money testing everything under the sun.

Christina: [00:39:26] And brand marketing, where you definitely have to make bets, and sometimes there are fixed investments involved, you still have to make sure that you believe it’s going to pencil out in some way, over a slightly longer period of time, before you put a lot of money behind it. So there’s no perfect answer to that. But but the art and science is sort of what we try really hard to balance.

Richie: [00:39:47] What wasn’t working to the degree that you wanted it to in 2018 that you said, “Hey, this is something we really want to shore up over the next year or that we need to continue focusing on”?

Galyn: [00:39:57] I think one thing for us, in terms of learning, was, as a brand that was rooted in simplicity, we wanted to stand for color. And so in order to keep inventory minimal—which is funny now—but we really focused on solid colors. Classic patterns were always on the road map, but it was just a little bit scary after two years of solids to introduce stripes.

Galyn: [00:40:19] And so we asked our customers, we did a survey before we even developed them. Like, what do you think about it? They were excited. And so it felt brand right. And you know, we sort of got the validation. And so we launched stripes in—maybe just in PJs—the end of 2017. And they sold out really quickly. And so I remember we had a board meeting, and our board was a little hesitant, too, about the idea of new patterns being introduced.

Galyn: [00:40:45] And so I think our favorite board slide of all time—we had a picture of an empty movie theater, and the headline was like, “Here’s all the customers that don’t like stripes from us.” And so that was good. So that was—we had the validation and conviction in it.

Christina: [00:40:57] But there was also the funny comment from one of our investors that stripes were a gateway drug.

Galyn: 41:02 Yes, totally.

Richie: [00:41:03] To what?

Christina: [00:41:03] To polka dots. Yes. Which is true, because those are coming, too.

Galyn: [00:41:06] I think we saw what those—even just minimal collection of stripes—did for our overall assortment, in terms of the mix-and-match and the dimension that it brought, and just how passionate customers were about them. And so we did more of it in 2018. We introduced, like—it sounds funny because other companies do this all the time—but for us where, you know, we really want to stand for something simple. Like, introducing a rainbow-striped tee shirt was a thing.

Galyn: [00:41:29] We did them in two colorways and they were our number-one best-selling t-shirt for all of spring, until they sold out. And so I think we saw that as, “Okay, there’s definitely a way here that we can do classic patterns that are still very Primary and own-able to us, and they do a lot in terms of bringing excitement to the assortment, giving something people new to try.” And so we’re doing more of that and continuing to build on it. I think, you know, we recognize some of these things just do incredibly well in marketing, because the visual is a little bit different. And so I think learned a lot about what, in quotes, “novelty” could do for us in 2018, and are introducing polka dots this year. Rainbow swim is coming out in the next few weeks, which looks beautiful, and we’re so excited about it.

Galyn: [00:42:12] And then we’re doing some stars for holiday. So we’re just starting to have more confidence and conviction in these classic patterns. And so that’s sort of what we’re building on.

Christina: [00:42:20] Yeah, it might sound like we have been overthinking the assortment vision.

Galyn: [00:42:24] Oh my god.

Christina: [00:42:25] But it was so important to us because it’s the thing we were doing differently than everyone else. And it was also fundamental to the kind of business model that we were trying to pursue, where we were taking out a lot of complexity. And so as soon as you start to introduce complexity, it can change the metrics. It can change the business model. But, though we were quite precious about it in the beginning, we realized there was also a lot of power in it that still really worked within our model.

Galyn: [00:42:49] We’re still relatively precious about it though. I remember—Mickey Drexler has been advising us a little bit and we were definitely fretting about what stripe layout we wanted to launch. And he was like, “Pick a stripe that you love, and make that one. And that’s gonna be the right one.” We were like, “Oh, okay, got it.”

Christina: [00:43:05] Or we were like, “Which styles do we do in stripes next time?” He’s like, “Just do them all, what are you waiting for?”

Richie: [00:43:12] So I guess kind of working the end of last year into this year, you did start to diversify channel a tiny bit, right? In terms of exploring a little bit of wholesale partnerships, so forth. Talk about it getting to that point where you said, “Okay, we’re comfortable to do this,” and what that would look like in its seemingly limited way.

Galyn: [00:43:28] I think there were two things about exploring wholesale for us that we were curious about. One was just like, “What is the physical manifestation of Primary in the world, and what could that look like?” And so we were excited to partner with Neighborhood Goods, which launched their first department store concept in Dallas in November. We have a 300-square-foot section in their store, which has been fun to experiment with different assortment and different experiences for kids, and stuff for kids to do while their parents are shopping, which is, I think, a role that we can definitely play in the world.

Galyn: [00:43:59] And then also we had some clothing sell in a store called Camp that’s in the city. Really, you know, kind of our own clothing. But also, they were excited to put their Camp logo on a bunch of our styles, which was—

Richie: [00:44:09] Did you do all the private label for them?

Galyn: [00:44:11] They did it. They customized them themselves. So they just bought the inventory from us.

Richie: [00:44:15] But there is a lot of Primary in Camp.

Galyn: [00:44:17] There is.

Richie: [00:44:17] Okay. Very cool.

Galyn: [00:44:18] So those were sort of the two physical tests that we did. And then the other goal was credibility and awareness. And so on those fronts, we partnered with Maisonette. We know those guys and have known them for a long time, and felt like that was a really good partnership, and frankly credibility for us as a brand, where—it’s hard sometimes to communicate quality in a two-dimensional photo online, where you have no other context other than a company telling you that they’re awesome.

Galyn: [00:44:47] And so to be sold as an anchor, essential offering on Maisonette—that was just a good partner for us to have from that perspective. And then similarly, when Stitch Fix launched kids’, you know, we sort of felt like we should be part of those boxes, both as a convenience for their customers, where we’re sort of filling in a lot of things that other brands in the market aren’t offering. But also just for us as a way to get more awareness, and have product in people’s hands. Because once people experience the product, it’s a testament to our low return rate. For the price point, they don’t send it back. And so this was a good, efficient way to just get more primary product in people’s hands.

Richie: [00:45:25] So you both have the experience building something to a very sizable scale. It would seem that a lot of digitally-native brands in the space aiming for $1 billion have fallen short from a number of reasons, whether they raise too much money, they couldn’t make the product, no one wanted the product. Whatever that litany of things is. It sounds like the goal is to get to a billion, if I hear correctly. How do you plan to approach that, as to not fall into some of the other traps of say, you know, raising more money than revenue, or, again, some of the things that have become challenges for these other brands.

Christina: [00:46:00] I think for us, the $1 billion number isn’t, “if we don’t hit that, we’re going to feel like failures.”

Richie: [00:46:08] Or like, economically, you are a failure.

Galyn: [00:46:10] Yes. I think it’s been more of a motivation and an opportunity. We could be that big if all the stars align and we get a lot of things right. And so we are careful with ourselves, I think, to acknowledge just how hard that is. And also just keep going back to the fact that focus has gotten us to where we are today. And it’s the only thing that’s gonna get us there in the future.

Galyn: [00:46:37] And so we will not get ahead of our skis in terms of hiring or chasing too many things we’re not going to execute well. If I would boil down anything about Christina and I that is different and really good about how we’re running the company, it is that we are executors, and so we get really excited about things and we sort of bring each other back to, “but this today, and this next month, and that’s over there, and that’s great.” It’s always good to start to have things that we’re thinking about relative to those.

Galyn: [00:47:06] But I think we’re just one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of people. But we also have customers who are so passionate about the brand continuing to tell us every day about things that they want. And I think we’re feeling more confident than ever, based on things they are telling us, like more retail stores. I want to be able to shop this beautiful array of simple, gorgeous color in a primary store. Please do that in my town.

Galyn: [00:47:30] But also, I love my kids’ clothes so much from you. I just want them for myself, in my size. And these aren’t little opportunities layered on top of what we’re doing today. This is—the kids’ market is $32 billion, the adult market is $250 billion. And we have a lot of customers at this point who are just asking us to tap into that market a little bit for them.

Galyn: [00:47:54] Same thing with retail. Over 70% of apparel bought in the U.S. last year was bought in a physical store. And so as much as we feel like an online experience is perfect for busy parents who are seeking simplicity and convenience, there are a lot of people who just want to be able to touch and feel the product, and we are in a perfect position to capitalize on that, because for the price, our product is unbelievable. And so retail, too, is just a huge game changing opportunity. So again, we’re very aware that we’re just not going to get to $1 billion doing what we’re doing today, but to take those new markets and opportunities and turn them into that $1 billion business, it’s going to take a lot of focus.

Christina: [00:48:30] In terms of the specific pitfalls, we’re trying to grow this business because we truly believe in it and it’s not about ego. When it comes to things like how much money we raised in valuation, we are just not sensitive about it. We have our eye on the prize. We think this business could be huge. The last thing we want to do is get in over our skis on that. And so it’s more about the size of the pie, and we don’t get overly worried about things like dilution. And we’ve gotten really good advice on that from some of our mentors, which has been helpful.

Christina: [00:49:00] In terms of growth, where obviously, that can go wrong in any number of ways. Number one is having the conviction that you are really onto something, and so obviously having more of that validation at this point, an NPS score, what we hear from customers. And importantly, seeing the kind of organic repeat behavior that you know will fuel the business in an efficient way, and mean that it really is working, and that you’re not just only spending money on marketing to drive the sales, is so important.

Galyn: [00:49:27] And so we’ve had a model for that from day one. We’re constantly monitoring it to make sure that that is working. And the great news is that it is. And assuming you have all of that, then you can confidently invest in marketing. Around that, you also just have to have a model and metrics that you understand to feel good about those investments. Especially if you’re not making money in the first order, which some people do, lucky them. But if you’re not, you obviously really have to be confident in the return on those marketing investments in order to make bets. And so that’s what we have experience with. And how we’re approaching it here.

Richie: [00:50:02] What’s been the cheapest and most expensive lesson you each have learned, building a company so far?

Galyn: [00:50:07] Cheap lesson: Trying out marketing messaging in a channel like Facebook and getting a 100% crickets. So, really fast learning without having to actually spend that much.

Christina: [00:50:20] Nobody clicked on it.

Galyn: [00:50:20] It cost very little. Yeah. Expensive learning was in the supply chain, and everything we tried to do in the first year without having someone who really knew what they were doing running it.

Christina: [00:50:29] I do think that hiring and building the team are probably examples of both, where there have been a few instances where I think we probably knew early on that we didn’t make the right hire and we let it go too long, you know, because it wasn’t convenient to let them go, or they were really great and maybe they could do some things. So expensive. But then I think we got better about that and learned in some other instances where we just knew that it wasn’t a fit and we made a decision really quickly, pretty cheap overall, on both sides. Better for everyone to sort of cut it when it’s not working.

Richie: [00:51:07] Where’s the name from? And then, how much was the domain?

Galyn: [00:51:11] So, the name is funny. A lot of people ask us early on, “Okay, so if you couldn’t get the domain Primary.com what would the company have been called?” And it would have been over [after] a little bit. I think we wouldn’t have had a company, maybe. Because Primary just came a little bit out of nowhere, but thinking a lot, obviously, about what we wanted the brand to stand for, which was kids. The one best version of everything. And color. Primary just sort of appeared as a word, and like, that was just it. And so we did buy the domain, and it was $55,000.

Richie: [00:51:44] Solid. Not Bad.

Galyn: [00:51:45] Not bad, no, for a very generic word, seven letters, felt pretty good about it.

Christina: [00:51:50] And we bought the domain before we had a business plan.

Galyn: [00:51:52] Yes, totally.

Richie: [00:51:52] That sounds about right.

Galyn: [00:51:53] I know. We definitely knew we could probably sell it for at least that amount of money again, and so, low risk on the up front.

Richie: [00:52:00] It sounds like you both went through a very interesting acquisition process, to probably put it lightly, at your previous company. How has that, I guess, informed your thoughts on independence and, kind of, further growth, and how long do you want to do this, where you want to do it, under whose umbrella do you want to do it, and so forth? Just looking kind of into the next few years, as everything continues.

Christina: [00:52:22] It would be almost silly to not say that the most fun thing to do is to continue running it yourself independently. We love what we’re doing, we love what we’re building. We think it can be huge. So we just really want to keep doing it. The acquisition experience that we had at Quidsi and Amazon had positives and challenges. So, we saw both and we value both, and it makes us open.

Christina: [00:52:45] Being able to, you know, step change where the business is going with the right partner can be great. Ideally, you really see how that can happen and there’s a culture fit there. But the pressure to integrate, and sometimes not having the right culture fit, can be obviously super difficult. And so both things would obviously be really important to us if we were to consider that.

Galyn: [00:53:07] I think what makes us tick, really, is feeling like we’re showing up every day making a difference, and whether it’s looking at a photograph or thinking about who our partner is going to be six months from now, that we’re pretty involved, I think. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. And so just to know that—going forward, whether it’s independent or with a partner—that we matter, and that we’re able to contribute [to] ongoing [growth] in a way that’s important to us, is important.

Galyn: [00:53:37] But also, I think, sharing a passion for this brand and what we want it to stand for, and how we want customers to feel, because of our brand, is really important. And so I think even though we think about, “Oh, it could be a great compliment to someone in the market because we are really good at ecommerce,” is great. But I think this has become much more than an ecommerce play for us, where that helped us definitely get this off the ground. But it’s not what Primary is about. And so thinking about going and working with someone who likes us because of our ecommerce backgrounds is much less exciting than someone who likes us because we’re building a brand that is going to be the thing that matters most to busy parents for this next generation. And so I think that would probably be the most important thing.

Richie: [00:54:20] Was there anything you took away from the Diapers.com, Quidsi experience and brought into this company that was just the worst potential thing you could do, in terms of realizing that they were fundamentally different businesses, when potentially you thought you could bring parts of that experience over, and that kind of led you potentially astray?

Christina: [00:54:37] It relates to something we’ve talked about, but one of them is definitely that there was a philosophy there in terms of building the team that was much more about people with raw materials and not specific experience. And we definitely still very much believe in that. Getting people on the bus who just have that raw talent is by far the most important thing. But then, moving into this business where there was this whole aspect of manufacturing things that we knew nothing about and thinking we can apply the same thing, got us into some trouble. Thinking we could do it ourselves.

Galyn: [00:55:05] One decision we made that was different was not to be located in New Jersey, which I’m happy about every day.

Richie: [00:55:14] Looking forward to the next one, two, three years, I guess, what are you most excited about that’s on the horizon for the brand?

Christina: [00:55:18] I think what feels exciting is that we’re at a point where everything is working. And we’ve been so focused to date, but we can actually become a little unfocused now, and pursue some upside opportunities because we have more confidence than ever that we can not only continue to grow this core business, but go after some opportunities. Because customers want more from us.

Galyn: [00:55:44] It’s always fun to do the new shiny, but also that the new shiny for us is—probably a big one of those is adult clothing, where it isn’t just, “we have to grow,” and “what can we do,” and “maybe this could work.” This is—80% of our customers are telling us that they want to buy adult clothes from us. And so […] thinking about the risk/reward there feels really good. And balanced. And so it’s chasing the shiny that’s huge, but also in a way that we kind of know how to do it. This isn’t solving a whole new aesthetic or you know—we can leverage fabrics, and we can leverage the team that we have to get these clothes made. And so those are the most fun opportunities to go after.

Richie: [00:56:26] Awesome. Thank you both for talking.

Galyn: [00:56:27] Thank you so much.

Richie: [00:56:32] Thanks for listening to the Loose Threads podcast. You can read full transcripts of the podcast and join the newsletter at LooseThreads.com. Feel free to leave a review on iTunes. We always appreciate it. And thanks to George Drake, Jr. for editing this episode. We have a great roster of upcoming guests and we hope you tune in next week.