As a management consultant and frequent business traveller, Kristi Soomer faced a problem that many modern women have dealt with when packing for trips: she simply couldn’t fit all of her necessities into just a carry-on. While mildly inconvenient for most of us, this presented a very frustrating issue for Kristi, who traveled over 100,000 miles for work annually!
But she had an “A-Ha!” moment when packing for a yoga retreat- perhaps finding more versatile pieces that had multiple wardrobe functions could help resolve the issue. She was disappointed in the quality of the mass-produced multi-way pieces she found, so after procuring a sewing machine from Craigslist, she got to work!
Over time and with a great deal of research, Kristi grew her idea into a seven-figure business, Encircled, of which she is the proud CEO. In this episode, Kristi shares the secrets of how her booming business was launched with surprisingly limited capital.
How can you find success in your business, even with very limited capital?
How to Find Success in Your Business Even with Limited Capital with Kristi Soomer
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio.
(02:39) Kristi racked up 100,000 annual miles as a management consultant
(03:17) The “A-ha” moment that led to a product idea
(05:40) Taking her idea to the drawing board
(06:43) The “process of discovery”: research and personal development
(08:15) Importance of having passion vs. skills
(10:14) Scaling up in your business
(11:57) Kristi’s journey to build Encircled
(14:20) Leap of faith! The ripple effect of Kristi committing to her business
(16:15) Initial failure and eventual success when seeking an investor
(19:53) Importance of shared values at every level
Kristi Soomer is the founder and CEO of Encircled, a Canadian-made line of versatile, sustainably made clothing that helps women streamline their wardrobes.
Inspired by her love of travel and dislike for checking a bag, Kristi started Encircled in 2012 while she was working as a management consultant. At the time, she was travelling over 100,000 miles a year and found there was a lack of travel clothes that blended style with function. Kristi’s first multi-way-design – The Chrysalis Cardi – was made on the kitchen floor of her condo using a sewing machine she found on Craigslist.
Over the next two years, Kristi immersed herself in fabric research and courses in illustration and sewing to create a capsule collection of sustainably made basics and multi-way clothing. In 2014, she left her corporate job to open Encircled’s first studio space in Toronto.
Since then, Kristi has grown Encircled into a seven-figure business that was named a Certified B Corp in 2018. Kristi is committed to meeting high ethical and sustainable standards in all aspects of her company, from using fabrics that honour the environment to providing good working conditions and fair wages for her sewers.
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