Ariel Kaye – Founder & CEO of Parachute

Episode 220

Listen in to find out how the founder and CEO of Parachute turned her hunt for better bedding into a globally recognised one stop shop for high quality home goods without sacrificing comfort or raising costs. Hear her story on this week’s episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be, I want to just make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show, though, join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am super excited to have my next guest. Here we have Ariel Kaye, who was the founder and CEO of parachute. And for over a decade, Ariel work to New York and marketing and branding. And we were just chatting that she’s in Los Angeles now. She was a huge interior design and home decor and booziest. And over the years, she saw a huge gap in the market for high quality yet affordable bedding. And that’s when the inspiration for parachute was born. Parachute became a game changer when it launched in 2014. It’s one of the only direct to consumer sellers of super high quality bed linens, I absolutely love it. And today parachute has expanded into almost all rooms of of home decor. And all I have to say is that their textiles are truly out of this world. So everything you could want in bed linens, soft, comfy, affordable stuff, but really, really high quality. So I’m really excited to hear more about Ariel’s backstory, and just overall just her journey. So welcome.

Ariel Kaye 2:00
Thank you

Kara Goldin 2:01
very, very excited. So were you we talked about you living in New York for a while are you from LA?

Ariel Kaye 2:07
Yeah, I’m from LA. And then I went to New York for college. So I went to NYU and I then worked for a few years. And then I got a master’s in Media Studies at the new school. So I was in New York for quite a while. And then when I decided to start parachute, I made the move back to LA,

Kara Goldin 2:24
what did you think you were going to do? Getting out of school?

Ariel Kaye 2:27
Oh, I don’t know, I’ve had sort of an unconventional career, I hopped around to a lot of different jobs, I think the thing that I always knew about myself is that I have to keep learning, like I get very bored easily. I am very curious, I like to learn more, I like to be put into new environments. And so I just found myself in a number of different roles. You know, wanting to make a bigger impact or wanting to work with different types of people wanting to work with different types of companies and brands and just keep learning and so being an entrepreneur is checked a lot of boxes, because one thing you are always doing is learning and there’s definitely no days that feel the same. So I think, you know, I’m creative, I like telling stories. And I feel really connected to, to customers like I want to I really want to connect with customers and, and build relationships. And that’s both personally and professionally. But I don’t know what I would have done. I probably, you know, take it a lot of more circles and figured it out at some

Kara Goldin 3:39
point. So when you went to get your master’s, did you have an idea of what you thought you wanted to do?

Ariel Kaye 3:45
No, I mean, that was part of the reason why I got my master’s I had been working, I’d worked a bit in PR I’d worked a bit in advertising and worked in marketing, and I just wasn’t feeling like I was figuring I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And so I decided that school might be a good way to, you know, punt that decision. And, and just learn more and, and I became very excited about this program at the new school. It was founded by Marshall McLuhan who wrote the meeting his message, which was a book that really resonated with me, and I just, I don’t know, the more that I learned it was both a, it was a program that was really theoretical, but also practical. So I got to make movies and I got to create a lot of different store. I don’t know it was it really worked. And along the way, I ended up getting introduced to someone who would become my boss at the first job that I had after grad school. So it ended up

Kara Goldin 4:39
working out. I love that. So what was that first job then after grad school,

Ariel Kaye 4:43
I worked in advertising. So I worked at a big agency called digitus. In New York, I worked on big accounts, I was on the strategic side of creative so my job was really to think about the consumer to think about how to connect with the customer and how to build relationships with a number of Different brands that I worked with, I worked with American Express. And I did a bit with Burger King and Samsung. And it was a number of different businesses, I worked on a lot of new business pitches. It was really fun. And it was creative. And I got to use both sides of my brain, which I really enjoyed. But big agency world, you know, can get exhausting. And there was also a lot that over time that wasn’t working and didn’t feel like the right role for me long term. So I started to think about what was next and parachute became it.

Kara Goldin 5:33
So that was your first real, like, outside of an agency company was actually started? Yeah, I

Ariel Kaye 5:39
was starting my own. Yeah, initially, I thought, you know, I had a bunch of friends that were joining early stage startups and were or were starting their own companies. So I got a little bit of a taste, definitely as an outsider of what it looked like to to be, you know, in a smaller team, or to start your own business. And I was really inspired by my friends along that journey, and saw just how hard they were working and how rewarding it was. And, you know, I wanted to throw myself into it as well. And, you know, I was like, feeling envious of my friends that were bailing on social plans to build cool companies. And, you know, felt like, if not now, when, and this was, you know, the time and so initially, I actually thought, you know, what if I could join a company and get that experience, but then this idea of a parachute came to be, and I became fully consumed with the idea, the opportunity, and there was really no stopping me.

Kara Goldin 6:36
So did this stem, like, tell me a little bit about the backstory? So did the stem out of you looking for linens and sheets initially?

Ariel Kaye 6:46
Yeah, sort of. Yeah. So I mean, that’s certainly a part of it. So I mean, the years 2012, I had basically decided that by the end of the year, I wanted to figure out what was next. And so, you know, I started a home and design blog in 2006. So I was very early into the blogging days. And I was also helping friends decorate their apartments in New York. And I was also constantly redecorating minds. So in many ways, I became a super consumer in this space, I was shopping for friends, and I was shopping for myself, and I was just really immersed in this home world, as a passion, not as a profession. But I, you know, as I was sort of thinking about, you know, what was next, I just kept coming back to the home as a place that I felt really inspired and passionate about. And then as I was looking more critically, at the category realized that there was so much that was left to be desired that the purchase experience for these products, you know, going into a big box retailer was just the opposite of what I wanted, you know, Florida ceiling, stacked products, you know, there was no brand in this category, you know, none of my friends could tell me what products they liked, it just it everything, every time I got a little bit deeper, I realized that there was so much that could happen in this category. So it was kind of a stars aligning moment for me, where I was wanting to do something that was entrepreneurial I want I want to do something in the home. And I also wanted to keep building relationships and inspiring customers. And and you know, it all happened.

Kara Goldin 8:27
I love how you talk about even working in the agency world and working. I mentioned American Express and Burger King as actually, some of the best marketers American Express in particular have I was at my first job when I moved to New York was at Time Magazine. And I always talk about, you know, consumer marketing and American Express people who have worked there. And also people who have worked at time, I think, really, I learned a lot from those people over the years that have worked at either of those companies. And I’m sure some of that you probably saw just in kind of their thinking about the consumer in particular, do you think that gave you the courage, working with people who, you know, we’re kind of doing big things, ultimately, I mean, big campaigns were getting launched and while you were definitely a spokes in the wheel, I mean, did you feel like, okay, there’s a mystery out there before you’re actually a part of it. I guess this is the piece and I often Yes, from people like that’s where they get the courage. They don’t just sit there and say, I’m gonna go be an entrepreneur, maybe some people do, or maybe some people are born with that. But I think actually, you know, seeing the bigger picture some way shape or form whether you work for an entrepreneur or work for an agency where you get exposed to a lot of, you know, great marketers, great companies. Maybe that’s where you got it.

Ariel Kaye 9:59
Yeah. I definitely learned so much. You know, working with those big companies, there was a lot of, you know, really smart people that, you know, and I, I was, you know, getting to work alongside, like you said, you know, creative people in big campaigns. And I mean, there was so much learning, you know, I actually credit, the push that I got to, to really become an entrepreneur to a friend of mine, when I was initially talking about this idea for parachute. And he turned to me and said, You can do this, you’re, you’re an entrepreneur, I don’t say that lightly. Like, I can tell that you could do this. And you know, and this is a friend of mine, who has been a serial entrepreneur and has launched many companies and I, I, in that moment, I, I actually felt like really I can. And, and he’s been someone that’s been very helpful over the past many, many years as I built this company. So I always credit as being that person that really pushed me and made me feel comfortable. But I certainly think that my experiences to date and just the way that I think about the world, you know, there was so much that that played a part. And certainly my professional experiences before parachute were hugely impactful.

Kara Goldin 11:16
I love it. So one of the things that I also just heard you talk about was the way that linens were sold, right? In these large stores, it was less appealing to you. And do you think it’s because maybe you just grew up that way that you lost trust in some of these big stores, that it was less about quality, and things that you and uniqueness and things that you were looking for?

Ariel Kaye 11:42
Yeah, I mean, so the category, you know, when I think about, like, 10 years ago, I mean, these were products that were largely licensed, many of the bigger box retailers and furniture stores, you know, they were using these products as upsell opportunities, but they certainly weren’t core products. You know, I think they just, they didn’t have the same flashy appeal as some of the other products in the home space. And they were very commodity products, you know, there was a lot of marketing gimmicks, like thread count. And, yeah, there was just, there was nothing, it was like, these are products you need, these were never the products that you wanted. And I think over the past eight years, we’ve helped to shift that consumer perspective and remind people just how important sleep and how important these products are, these are the products that you use every day, and they really can impact your comfort at home. But yeah, there was a lot that was left to be desired. And I think I’m part of this consumer base that you know, wants to buy beautiful products, that beautiful places, and that’s been changing, you know, over the past many years. And, and there’s, yeah, this new appetite and desire to buy quality products, you know, to shop with your values and to find brands that you connect with. And, you know, when I started parachute, it was pretty early days of the direct to consumer world, and direct to consumer as a shopping behavior. But when I saw brands that, you know, really started this, this movement, you know, they were really appealing to me, I wanted quality products, I wanted more affordable products, you know, the idea of cutting out the middleman and, you know, being able to provide this premium quality at an accessible price was really, really just it made sense if it resonated with myself as a consumer. And so certainly, you know, as I was getting started, and really understanding the inner workings of this business, you know, I saw just how applicable it was to this category and felt like if I started in the bedroom in this part of the home that so intimate to build that relationship, I could build trust and then expand to many more products. And so that was really the vision from the beginning was how do I build that trust with the customer and actually provide a valuable experience? Not just from a shopping experience, but also from the product experience.

Kara Goldin 14:02
I love it. So you, you quit your job. I read and and went, took money out of your savings and bought a one way ticket to Europe. So I mean, did you know people in the industry, how did you I guess you went to Europe to find manufacturing plants or visit? Yeah,

Ariel Kaye 14:21
yeah, exactly. Yeah, I just decided that I had to figure out how these products were made. That was first First things first, I needed to understand the product, how they were made. I needed to understand the cost I needed to understand I needed to see it for myself. And so I went and visited 15 factories throughout Portugal and Italy. I you know, these a lot of Google searches I reached out to anyone and everyone that I knew that had any sort of connection into textiles or into manufacturing. You know, I I just I just went for it. And you know, I am met with some of the factories that we still work with today. And, you know, many of them were like, Oh, that’s sweet, you know, a nice American girl wants to start a new business and sell sheets, we’ll see how that goes, you know, but they took a beating. And, you know, I remember walking through the floors of these, you know, manufacturing centers and factories and just being totally blown away, like beyond blown away. I mean, I think, for many people, seeing how things are made is just such an exciting opportunity. And so inspiring. And you go to these, like, huge you see these machines, and the way everything’s working together, and the people behind the products and the details, and the quality and, you know, seeing something move from a fiber to a finished product, and all that goes into it was just mesmerizing, and I came back from that trip. So much more inspired so much more excited and ready to do this, and build this business and truly felt like nothing could stop me. I mean, I just saw it so clearly. And yeah, what really occurred?

Kara Goldin 16:03
What, how long from your first factory visit to actual launch of the product? About a

Ariel Kaye 16:11
year? About a year? Yeah, it was a little less than a year, I went on that trip in March, and I launched the following January. So it was about 10 months. And yeah, we just it just

Kara Goldin 16:26
happened. And what was the the first person you felt like you needed to hire into the company.

Ariel Kaye 16:34
So I made my first hire about three weeks after I launched, you know, I hired someone that had a background in finance, I knew that I needed someone to help me there to build models to think about projections to really support me, because that’s not my background and my area of expertise. And, but at that stage, you know, I this person was, you know, willing to just get their hands dirty and help out. And, you know, we joke that, you know, we it was, we all took out the trash, you know, so, you know, having someone that was just ready to work hard to figure things out. And so the title was director of operations, but really, it was, you know, the two of us for quite some time trying to get everything done jack

Kara Goldin 17:25
of all trades. So, yeah,

Ariel Kaye 17:27
I mean, that’s, that’s, you know, you really have to, I needed someone with some insight and expertise and everything financial related and, and operations was helpful too, so that I could focus on more of the creative side of the business, the physical product, I was handling, customer service, and all of those things marketing. So that’s how we divided and conquered it was kind of the front of the house on the back of the house.

Kara Goldin 17:56
hear that sound? That’s music to my ears. That sound means there’s been another sale on Shopify, this episode sponsor, if 1.7 million businesses use Shopify than it has to be good, right? If you aren’t already using Shopify, let me tell you why you should be using it to start, run and grow your business. This all in one commerce platform is more than just a store platform. It’s a way to connect with customers drive sales and manage the day to day. Shopify is the number one choice when it comes to e commerce. Anyone I know who owns an online store is using Shopify. Everything you need to help your online store succeed, including detailed business reports the ability to reach customers online across every major platform network too, and so much more. It’s time to discover what’s possible with Shopify now, go to for a free 14 day trial and get full access to Shopify, his entire suite of features that grow your business with Shopify today. Go to right now, boy, am I ready for 2022 Who’s ready to hire some new people to join the team. Don’t spend hours and hours sifting through applications to find the right candidates use this episode sponsor LinkedIn jobs to help you find those perfect candidates quickly and easily. When you use LinkedIn jobs, you can create a free job posts in minutes your entire network sees the post you create. It’s so does LinkedIn entire professional network of over 770 million people. And as applicants respond, you can use the simple tools on LinkedIn jobs to organize the process and find the right match. That’s why small businesses rate LinkedIn jobs number one and delivering quality hires. You can focus on the right candidates with the right skills and experience and get your Roll in front of the most qualified people. LinkedIn jobs helps you find the candidates you want to talk to faster. Did you know every week nearly 40 million job seekers visit LinkedIn, post your job for free at Goldin, that’s KRAGOLDI n, that’s Goldin to post your job for free Terms and Conditions apply. So different from my company hint. You know, we we handed out bottles of hint, in order to get people to try it. When we first started, I can’t imagine that you were handing out sheets at the beach like we were right. How did you get those people to first understand because, again, like, I think part of what is really difficult about the category overall, when you go, especially to Well, I guess on direct to consumer as well. But in the big box stores is that, you know, a lot of times the sheets aren’t out right there. In the end, you want to feel them, you want to really see them on the bed and kind of create a story around it. So I’m curious, like, how did you get your message across? What were how was? What was the first campaign that you really started pushing in order to get people to know that you were alive?

Ariel Kaye 21:24
Yeah, sure. So you’re right, you know, touching the product is such a big part of this category, historically, about 90% of purchases were made offline. So I knew that we had to get the products into our customers or potential customers hands. I did not stand and pass out sheets. But I did go to as many trunk shows as possible and little events and parties and tried to set up tables and do this and that. But really, you know, I had very little capital to spend, I was spending all of my money on buying our products, because they were quite expensive. And so I hired a PR agency to help with that launch. And that was really it for the first year. I mean, I, we depended on, on PR and marketing, through press and media, and, you know, telling stories and getting interviews, and then otherwise it was a lot of word of mouth. You know, once people got the product in their hands, they were very excited and felt very connected to the brand. And you know, we got a lot of feedback. Like I’ve been looking for a brand like this, I’ve been waiting for a product, you know, this is exactly what I wanted. And you know, people immediately understood what we were trying to do. But yeah, we It took about two years. And then we opened our first physical store, which now we’ve we have quite a few of, you know, partially because we know that people do want to touch and feel these products. But we didn’t spend any money on marketing, apart from our PR agency and the PR efforts for about the first year and a half. So that was really, that was how we got the word out.

Kara Goldin 23:06
I love it. Well, that’s something I talk about a lot that we not only spend our marketing budgets and handing out bottles of hand to sample but we had a PR person almost immediately an external agency, we didn’t have anybody else I was the in house person, but really telling the backstory of why I started the company. And you know, people would, I mean, this is even before podcasts, but people would pick up magazines, and there’d be short clips of it. And people would want to try it. And then we actually, like told people to tell people to go into stores and ask for the products and and yeah, so very relatable. So you went into physical stores? What was the decision making process for that, because you primarily started out direct to consumer when you first got going,

Ariel Kaye 23:59
Yeah, we were direct to consumer for the first two years and opened our first retail store in 2016. Partially because I knew that people were so used to buying these products in store. And so in an effort to be where our customers were and meet them, you know, in their ideal shopping environment. I also I felt like retail had to be part of the story. I also knew that people were not used to buying these products in beautiful spaces. And I felt like if I could create this beautiful parachute world that people could come into and touch and feel the products and learn about the brand that they would leave as real brand advocates. And so we opened our first retail store in Venice. It was actually attached to our first I guess our second office but and we worked behind this pony wall and in the front of the store was our small 400 square foot retail store. And we could hear customers come in and say what do you sell your sheets and you know, we got to really understand what the customer was looking for. And, yeah, we’ve since expanded, we have 12 retail stores or 13th opens this week. And we’ll have about 30 By the end of this year, with a plan to open many, many more after that. So, but retail you know, as we’ve expanded our assortment, we really can support these larger spaces, and set them up in a really beautiful way so that it feels like you’re moving kind of from room to room, whether it’s like our tabletop kitchen area, or a bath area or bedroom area, you really get to see the products be brought to life in a way that feels very authentic to how they would live in the home. And you have people do love to touch and feel and and some people just want to touch and feel and then buy online. But we just know that there is a customer that really does appreciate that tactile experience and is inspired when they come in. So it’s working for us,

Kara Goldin 25:48
I love it, your store in Venice is so cute. So I’ve definitely been into that one. And it’s, I’m excited to go into some of your others. And then you also went into Crate and Barrel.

Ariel Kaye 26:00
Yeah, last year we launched and Crate and Barrel. It was a limited time offering. But we were able to build a parachute destination within the Crate and Barrel stores. And we also sold some products online. And it was a capsule collection that we created with the Crate and Barrel team with some exclusive colorways and some of our favorite fabrics. And that was a really fun partnership and very successful for both brands. And a great way for us to get in front of a new audience as well as you know, introduce the customer to our products. And yeah, we we haven’t done that was our first really big wholesale relationship. And it was, you know, designed to be short run. But it was really fun. And yeah, an exciting way to see our brand in a different environment.

Kara Goldin 26:54
That’s awesome. Well, it’s it’s super exciting to hear that you’re you’re testing all these different avenues. We’ve certainly had a situation where we went into Starbucks, and many years ago, and we were working with them for a year and a half. And then they change strategy. And they went in a different direction. But the one thing that I realized about, you know, partnering with maybe somebody who’s who’s more established, bigger, you know, more stores, whatever, however you want to look at it is that you are kind of borrowing customers from them. And then ultimately, even if you’re not working with them anymore, as long as you’ve done a great job, right to grab that customer and they understand what your brand is. And I guess it really speaks to the power of brands as well. Bill keep coming back because the number of people still to this day. And this was nine years ago that we were in Starbucks, who will say I tried your product for the first time in Starbucks. Yeah, is and I’m sure that’s happening with you, as well.

Ariel Kaye 27:57
Yeah, it’s a great, it’s, you know, I think we’re always looking for opportunities to tell our stories. So for us being being able to build a small parachute experience within the Crate and Barrel store allowed us to really introduce the products in a way that was, you know, engaging versus going into a department store and just being on the shelf next to other competitive products. And, you know, not being able to share more about why we’re different or what we stand for who we are. And so this allowed us to do that. And so it was really appealing, and, you know, a strategy that, you know, we could potentially, you know, replicate and other kind of stores in the future, we actually launched in Canada last September and launched in partnership with Hudson Bay. And so we’re in a number of the Hudson Bay locations and kind of a similar experience, we’ve got a parachute destination and 20 of their stores. And we knew that it would be important for us to get the physical product on the ground for that new customer base. And so it’s been fun to see those, you know, be successful, be a successful strategy for us. And as we think about new markets, potentially, you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s good to see what works and to test and to try new things and align with other brands that have similar values. And yeah, learn along the way and see how you can improve in the future and what makes most sense.

Kara Goldin 29:25
What do you think is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the consumer? Like, I always say that the consumer might say one thing, but they actually do something totally different in your category. What would you say? That is?

Ariel Kaye 29:38
Well, there’s a number of things. You know, I think at a highest level, I think consumers just really appreciate transparency. And so you know, there’s a customer that you know, wants to get in and out doesn’t want doesn’t need to know all the information but there is like there’s truly a customer and it’s a good amount of people that really want a lot of information about products and they want to understand and being transparent about everything that you do and how you make your products. And, you know, likewise, if for some reason a product is delayed or you know, a customer has a negative experience, you know, really being clear and communicating effectively with the customer goes a long way. You know, not everyone is going to love what you’re doing. But I think there’s a way to still create a positive experience for the customer. And a lot of that has to do with the way that you communicate and being transparent. And just being thoughtful. I think also, you know, we do surveys a lot, and we’re always trying to learn information from the customer and from potential customers. And so just seeing, you know, what people really care about at any given time, whether, you know, people are really motivated by sustainable products, or whether they’re motivated by, you know, just color or longevity of products, or, you know, how things, you know, feel against their skin. You know, it’s always interesting to me kind of what pops in various surveys and how people are thinking, and we see some of these, you know, these things evolve, you know, depending on what’s happening in the world. And but, yeah, I think, you know, the more that you can connect with the customer, the more that you can learn and create a product that really appeals to the customer. I mean, I I’ve always said that, you know, our goal should be to grow with our customer, we don’t want to be a brand that people grow out of. And so, you know, the more that we can evolve and learn and continue to give our customers what they want, while staying true to who we are, you know, the longer we’ll be around, and the more that people will appreciate us and and feel like they can trust and stay connected.

Kara Goldin 31:46
I love that statement growing with the customer, because it really is about product and brand extension along the way. And I think it’s so smart how you guys have thought about that, too. It’s not just about colors, it’s also about rooms and different items to add to it. So definitely, super, super important. So in 2020, you launched a book, How to make a house a home creating a purposeful, personal space, how did you decide to launch a book,

Ariel Kaye 32:18
you know, writing a book had been one of those things on my bucket list for a long time. I love to write, and it’s been a creative outlet for me. And I also, you know, love telling stories. So to kind of go hand in hand, I was introduced to my editor, and we had this idea. And yeah, I worked really, really hard to write a book. And unfortunately, it came out right the beginning of a pandemic. So the whole book launch experience looked a little bit different than I expected. But you know, things happen. And in many ways, it was a perfect time to write a book because all of a sudden, we were all or to come out with that book. Because we were all spending so much time at home. And really rethinking our spaces and trying to adapt within our homes and create versatile living spaces. And I just love this idea of intentional living at home. Really thinking about how your home can serve you and, and thinking about, you know, kind of eliminating all of the external kind of ideas about what a home should look like. And really thinking about how you live and your space and what makes you happy and how you can design a home with that intention. I’m not an interior designer by trade, and there’s so much that I’ve learned along the way, but it’s something I’m very passionate about. So I shared really a lot of kind of anecdotal stories about my own experiences moving from apartment to home. Really thinking about design in a way that was maybe a little bit untraditional and, and just more livable. And it was really, it was a great experience. It was a really if Writing a book is hard. Yeah, no, definitely work. And I lost mine

Kara Goldin 34:16
in in the middle of the pandemic as well. So it was yeah, it was it was a crazy, crazy time. But I think it was definitely, you know, more than anything. What I’m seeing is that people are still you think that it launched, you know, a year over a year ago, but so many other people don’t really think about it that way. They’re just seeing it for the first time. So I think yeah,

Ariel Kaye 34:43
no, I just didn’t know I had a I you know, I was disappointed to not be able to see my book on a shelf or, you know, be able to, you know, kind of have those book launch moments. But that was the you know, there was there was still so much Good that came in so much that I learned and it was really exciting to see people get the book and share what, you know, they felt inspired by and, and you’re right, you know, books, books have longer shelf life and you know, they they continue to find their way into the right homes and for sure, see what happens. Maybe there’s another book out there for

Kara Goldin 35:18
Yeah, no, I love it. So you’re a solo founder of a company and never having taken on any partners. What? What advice do you have for other solo founders? Like, what did you learn? That you just, you just didn’t expect? Prior to starting? Yeah, I

Ariel Kaye 35:41
mean, I think, you know, I’m a sole founder. But I also, you know, really, from the beginning, and I mentioned my first hire, but I always really had a lot of self awareness about what I was good at, and where I needed support. And, you know, I think some people feel that, you know, maybe ego gets in the way or, you know, they don’t want to be vulnerable, or say, I don’t know how to do this, or, you know, if they don’t know how to do something, maybe it means that they’re not cut out for, you know, being a founder or being a CEO. I really, I knew very early on where I would be able to add the most value within the organization and within the company. And I think the best advice that I have for anyone is just surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and better at you are better than you at many things, you know, you don’t have to be excellent at everything. And it’s okay to be learning along the way. Everyone is learning along the way. There is certainly no playbook, you know, for being the right founder or CEO for your business. You know, every business has different nuances and different sensibilities. And it’s what you do differently, that really makes you the most successful. So for me being very thoughtful and deliberate in terms of the team that I built around me. So that I could, we could do all the things that we wanted to do was really important. And you know, being able to ask questions, being able to say I need help. It’s something that you know, we all do, and we encourage that parachute, no matter where you sit in the organization. So I don’t know, I just, I always encourage people to also find other founders that you can share experiences with, and create a community for yourself. So true, so that when things get hard, or when things are great, and you just, you know, you want to be able to celebrate with someone that can really understand what’s going on, and how hard it was to get to that moment where you should celebrate, you know, it’s just having a community is so critical to, to being successful. So

Kara Goldin 37:52
I totally agree. And I think that, for me, being my husband actually joined me as our Chief Operating Officer, I recruited him pretty early to help me drive cases to Whole Foods and and so it was nice to be able to have somebody who could understand a lot of what I was thinking about and going through. But I think also, I think it’s, it’s incredibly it can, it can be really, really tough for founders, and you know, after anyone who was human understands the more times you hear the word no, right. And in a day, I mean, you really start to have your own doubts about whether or not this is actually going to work, you might literally have a fake it till you make it sort of face on you. But you’re, you know, everybody’s human, and you start to think, God, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this, maybe I should be going back to advertising, maybe I should be doing other things, whatever it is. And I think that that’s, that’s something that, for some reason, a lot of new founders don’t really understand. They think it’s just happening to them. Right. And I think I

Ariel Kaye 39:05
mean, I think those first few years are some of the most isolating and lonely years. And, you know, especially before you you built a bigger team, and you know, have, you know, like more executives join you, I mean, I There were, there was a lot of highs and lows and to your point, you know, you you hear a lot of nose, you still get a lot of nose, no matter kind of where you are, but there’s a lot of nose and there’s a lot of Yeah, room for self doubt. And it can be very, very isolating. And so to be able to have a community so that, you know, when you’re having that moment of self doubt, you can call someone and say, I’m having a moment. Yeah. Oh, and they understand what that means. You know, you don’t have to say much, you know, likewise, I feel you know, I’ve been able to, you know, call a friend and say I’m having trouble hiring and they get it you know, they know exactly what that means. And or, you know, I need to figure out how to raise more capital. But all, you know, there’s just there are these, like universal through lines that no matter what type of business you’re building, other founders have had similar experiences and

Kara Goldin 40:12
can tell you how to push through, right? actly

Ariel Kaye 40:15
Yeah, yeah. And it’s important, you know, I think it’s important to have people that, you know, are 10 years ahead of you that you can call on and also people that are just, you know, a few months or a year ahead of you that, you know, and also people that are going through it, like, at the same time, you know, so I’ve also found that many people and many other founders are very generous with their time and are happy to help and are happy to, you know, carve out, you know, 30 minutes or an hour to get give you feedback, or to talk through a situation and, you know, I try to, I try to do that as well, you know, and be helpful as much as I can. So

Kara Goldin 40:52
I love it. So, so, so true. Well, thank you so much, Ariel, where do people find parachute? What’s the best place?

Ariel Kaye 41:01
Well, you could find a set parachute, you can find us in a number of retail stores. And we’ve got that list on our website. On social media. We’re also parachute home. And we’d love to hear from you and connect with you.

Kara Goldin 41:17
That’s terrific. And Instagram as well. Yep,

Ariel Kaye 41:21
Instagram, parachute home. Lots of beautiful inspiring pictures and our own products. You can shop there to learn more. And you can follow me at or yell, okay,

Kara Goldin 41:33
I was just gonna say that. So very inspiring stuff. I mean, I love founders and founder stories. And we definitely talk about those on the Kara Goldin show. But I’m also really inspired how social has allowed people to really see who are the people behind the brands and, and I absolutely think people buy from people. So you got to have a great product and a great offering and a great brand. And you know everything about the brand, but I also think that more and more people are also very, very much an integral part of why people are purchasing things and and attaching themselves to products. And yours definitely is one of those. So thank you so much. And thanks, everybody for listening. And this is the Kara Goldin show. We’re here every Monday and Wednesday. And please check us out on Apple, Spotify, your favorite platform. And you can also follow me on all social channels at Kara Goldin that’s with an eye and finally, don’t forget to purchase both of our books. So not just Ariel’s book, How to make a home or how to make a house a home, creating a purposeful personal space, but also mine undaunted. And of course, grab a case of hint, and some sheets as well and other home things from parachute. And hope everybody has a great rest of the week. Thanks all. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening