June Recap 2022

Written by Kaylee Franklin 

We’re officially halfway through the year! It’s been a crazy beautiful couple of months and we still have a lot of content coming your way, but today we’re taking a look back at June and the four incredible guests we had on the show, and also taking a peek at July!

1. From Spinout to Standalone

Starting off the month, Maggie Winter joined the show to chat about her journey to becoming the Co-Founder and CEO of AYR. 

AYR, otherwise known as All Year Round, was originally born as a sister company to Bonobos in 2014. AYR spun out a year later into its own standalone company. AYR is a women's wear brand that designs seasonless and ageless apparel for everyday life.

Maggie talks about the separation process from Bonobos and what it was like to take the business into her own hands, the challenges she faced running out of cash, and how she had to adjust her mindset from employee to business owner.

She also shares why she chose to take AYR into retail, knowing that it would be a great place for customers to connect with the brand, how connecting the dots from things she's interested in, to things she has to do but lacks interest in has helped her in her CEO journey, and that you should talk yourself out of entrepreneurship until you no longer can.

Best piece of advice:

“There are so many different ways to be involved in the excitement, learning, growth, and the journey of a startup without being the founder or the CEO. So I would try to talk yourself out of it, talk to friends who you trust and respect, and get them to try to talk you out of it. And, if at the end of the day, you can’t be talked out of it, good luck, you gotta do it.”

If you haven’t listened to Maggie’s episode yet, you can tune in HERE!

2. Bellies and Billboards

In the second week of June, we got to hear from Katie Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO of BelliWelli.

BelliWelli is the first lifestyle food brand that creates bars specifically designed for people who suffer from IBS and gut issues.

In this episode, Katie shares with us her journey from growing up in Portland, Oregon, to her time working at Three Day Rule and match.com, to struggling with gut issues and starting BelliWelli in 2020. She talks about the results she received from a survey, how she fundraised while pregnant during COVID, and what it feels like to have a billboard of her company up in Times Square.

Katie also talked about why she’s strangely obsessed with customer feedback and why she views it as building a company along with thousands of new friends.

Best piece of advice:

“I'm a huge believer in if you want to do it, you definitely can do it. It doesn't mean everyone should sign up to go be an entrepreneur or a founder, because I think the struggle is real, but you can get started if you want to get started.”

To hear more of Katie’s great advice tune in to Episode 110, and be sure to check out our product review on BelliWelli!

3. Stocks, Startups, and Seedlings

Continuing the month of June, we had the incredible Jacob Pechenik, Co-Founder and CEO of Lettuce Grow.

For those who don’t already know, Lettuce Grow is an innovative farm stand that enables consumers to grow lettuce, herbs, and vegetables at home in just a few weeks. 

Jacob shares his entrepreneurial journey with us, from growing up in San Antonio, Texas, to starting his first tech company launching a film financing company to building Lettuce Grow in 2017. He talks about the mistakes he made with his first startup, why his second company was way more successful than the first, how he started Lettuce Grow, and why he believes in team-led collaboration.

Jacob also talks about what prompted the idea for organic foods, the realization of the lack of fresh produce, what he’s learned about building a brand, the advice he has for others, and what he's learned in being a leader.

Best piece of advice:

“Never think things are over, there's always a way.”

To listen to more of Jacob’s story, check out Episode 111!

4. Fear, Family, and Focus

Ending out the month strong, we had Laura Xiao, Founder, and CEO of Henné Organics.

Henné Organics is a luxury beauty brand that combines highly effective, clean, organic formulas with nordic design so you can experience healthy radiant skin without sacrificing aesthetics or high-quality standards.

Laura shares her story from growing up in Kansas City, with dreams of becoming a reporter, to teaching herself web design and branding, and eventually launching Henné in 2015. She talks about what she does to overcome feelings of defeat and rejection, how she found success by launching in hundreds of independent retailers, and how to deal with family and friends who might have good intentions but sometimes let their own fears get in the way.

She also talks about the thought process behind independent retailers, how she launched in hundreds of different retailers, why planning is great but executing and making progress is the most important, and the key things she does for herself when she feels defeated. 

Best piece of advice: 

“Sometimes it's good to start just taking action because maybe you have an idea in your head and you don't know which one to start with. Start testing them out. Take it day by day, try out a few ideas, do some research, make some phone calls, send some emails, and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll figure out which ones to cancel out.”

Be sure to tune into Laura’s episode, number 112!

Take it Day by Day

Throughout the month of June, we heard from four different Founders and CEOs on four very different journeys. One of the most recurring themes was the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship. Each Founder expressed that not everyone should be an entrepreneur, but if the idea keeps gnawing at you, take it day by day, and research your ideas, because even if the struggle is real, there’s always a way. 

This Month: July  

Stay tuned throughout July to hear from amazing CEOs such as:

  • Sofia Laurell, Co-Founder and Co-Ceo of Tiny Organics
  • Joe Ens, CEO of HighKey
  • Kailey Donewald, Founder and CEO of Sacred Serve
  • Jennifer Zeszut, Co-Founder and CEO of GOODLES

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, follow us on Spotify, or tune in wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Have any guest suggestions, comments, or questions about Stairway to CEO? Drop us a line here!

Kaylee Franklin


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