Franne Golde: Founder & CEO of Franne Golde

Episode 518

In this episode, Franne Golde, renowned singer/songwriter, musician, and Founder and CEO of Franne Golde shares her journey from being a successful songwriter and singer to founding her own fashion brand. The inspiration for her brand came from her desire to create the perfect black pant, but how that has expanded from her setting up a boutique in her son's school gym. Franne discusses the challenges of building a brand and the similarities and differences between what she has experienced in the music and apparel industries. She also shares her involvement in Music of Minds, an organization that uses music to help individuals with dementia, and why that is so important to her. Franne's story is not just about music and fashion, but about finding one's calling and pursuing it with heart, perseverance, determination, and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it. So much to be excited about and I can’t wait for you to listen. Now on this 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 be, you just want to 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. 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’m so excited to have my next guest. Here we have Franne Golde here, who is the founder and CEO of Franne Golde, but she is also an incredible I loved doing the research on her, I was just talking because it’s like, not only does she have an amazing apparel company, but also she is a renowned singer, songwriter, musician, plus a co founder and CEO of Franne Golde, but her songs have appeared on more than 100 million records worldwide. We’re going to talk to her a lot about that, I’m sure. But in 2016, she decided to start her clothing line, known for the perfect black pant. And that’s expanded a bit since then. But her journey is one of creativity and resilience and entrepreneurship and transforming personal challenges into opportunities, all of that, with all successes, we all have challenges, right? And maybe some of those challenges we never really expect when they hit and they don’t hit at the right time ever, especially when we’re challenged by a situation of somebody that we love. And that was definitely the case when she discovered that her husband was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. And as many people know of listen to this podcast, it’s it’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart, for sure. So I would love to hear more about that from Franne, too. But more than anything, welcome to the show. Franne we are so honored to have you here. You’re so awesome. Total

Franne Golde 2:28
pleasure to be here. I’m so excited to the club. Super

Kara Goldin 2:35
excited to have you here. So as, as everybody knows, I mean, we really focus across industries on this podcast on entrepreneurs and founders, and sometimes the CEOs of the company, sometimes not, but I love kind of the common thread amongst so many. And that I definitely saw that, and the passion and the purpose in your story. But what inspired you to transition from being this incredible, successful songwriter and singer to founding your own fashion brand? I mean, that is just that’s like, Whoa, I mean, I love I love it, love it, love it, love it, but I bet you didn’t think that that was gonna be in in your chapters. No.

Franne Golde 3:28
I mean, I don’t know if it was that I was inspired. But, um, I mean, it was very organic. I never imagined that it would turn into anything. It was basically started out where I was doing fundraising for my son’s school. And all the parents were encouraged to be part of the fundraising to raise money for the school. And at first, I was able to get some really cool stuff like a autographed guitar from Sheryl Crow. And my husband was able to get like drumsticks signed by Ringo. You know, I mean, like really cool stuff. And then after a while your favors run out. And I noticed a lot of the time moms would say, Oh, where’d you get that? Where’d you get that? And I used to shop. A lot of the sample sales downtown. I was always a shopper. Love to shop. I don’t think that’s unusual. Being a woman loving new shop, but I did love it. Anyway. I asked the school I said you know what? Can I just do like a boutique in the school gym? Maybe. And that’s really how it all began. I set up a couple you know, goals. Thinking tables, and laid out some stuff, I had a couple racks that I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond, hung some things that I’d found at the sample sales. And away I went. And that was really how it all started. From there. People were calling me saying, my sister saw this my cousin that my mother in law, you know, we’ve Can we come over? Do you have more stuff, they saw this, they want that. And I’m like, okay, you know, let me refill. So I go shop some more, and you slowly and eventually, it became a thing. And then I got obsessed about creating my own stuff. Because there was like, I always looked for a uniform, I just wanted to have some chic, something great. I could throw on every day know that I looked good no matter what. And so I started working on that. Never knowing again, where that would lead to. And it gives you a little, you know, taste of how, yeah,

Kara Goldin 6:21
so you touched on this a little bit, but the brand, the mission and the ethos was it started with the perfect black pant. Spot. I I’m just curious, like, how did you think about that? Was it? Was everything black? Initially? How many skews? Did you launch with? You know, how did you think about this brand overall, outside of, you know, being sort of a uniform or something easy? I’d love to hear you describe it.

Franne Golde 6:50
Um, well, at first, I wanted a pair of pants that fit me that I could put on that I felt great in. And I had found a couple things that were close, but no cigar, so to speak. And I kind of wanted to put them together. You know, like, Ooh, what if this had this, and this had this and this kind of fabric. And I set out to find a fabric. I had no idea about developing fabric and what it took and how you did it. But I learned along the way. And I had a I remember that a friend of mine had a housekeeper that was an incredible sower because she had sewed a dress for a friend of ours for her little girl that was just one of these elaborate party dresses. She was like a master Sower. So I approached her. And she helped me put all this together. I had basically taken scissors and safety pins and I don’t know, did a mash up. And and eventually, after many months of honing and tweaking came up with a template for what would be the magic pan. I mean, I can give you a little I mean I wear them every day. I’m my customer. You know, they come up to your waist, which to me is critical. They you know, hold you in the fabrics. Fantastic. I’m wearing this offseason right now. I wear them every day. They’re reliable, dependable, they don’t have side seams, they are a little higher in the back. So when you sit down, I hate that feeling of like, you know, your pants coming in. And to be honest, and my body, you know, everybody has their issues. I have booty, hips, I wanted something that you know, made me feel held in a little bit but comfortable so I could eat a meal. And that’s it. And now I mean younger than for myself and I’m so happy that every you know, I feel like I’m my customer. You know if I like it, if it works for me, they’re gonna love it. And that’s kind of what happened. So

Kara Goldin 9:34
you didn’t come from the apparel industry. You came from the music industry as I talked about in the in the intro, but what were some of some of the songs that you’re probably most known for it. Can you talk to me about that industry and you kind of grew up in that industry first and then before deciding to start Franne Golde

Franne Golde 9:57
that was my dream. I mean You know, I wanted to be in the mute I loved music, music was everything to me. And, you know, I grew up I was one of those kids that always had the transistor radio under the pillow fell asleep to all those songs related, felt understood that was sort of my therapy, I guess, you know, all those lyrics and melodies. Anyway, I have to backtrack that I guess songs people would recognize would be well, my first hip was ever was getting ready for love with Diana Ross, dreaming of you by the late Selena night shift, which is now having a second life because Bruce Springsteen recorded it for his newest album, and sings it every night and the show on tour, which is amazing,

Kara Goldin 11:00
amazing. And I’m so blown

Franne Golde 11:02
away with that it was originally done by the Commodores stick with you by the Pussycat Dolls, that was my last hit in 2005. Before I went into another realm, and I’ve been on some huge albums, like the bodyguard, Top Gun, Miami Vice soundtrack, speaking of Dakota Johnson, and I’m, and I’m trying to think I can never think when I’m like, on the

Kara Goldin 11:40
spot, that’s okay. The bottom line is you’ve done a lot, and you are so talented. And I love the visual of thinking about you how I think most many people would see how you’re very modest. First of all, you made it to the top, and you purposely chose to go back down to the bottom, roll up your sleeves, and try in this new industry write about something that you were super passionate about. So what is it about you? Right? And what is it about you that makes you want to do that I did a very similar thing. I was not at at your, in my mind at your level, but I was, you know, pretty senior inside of some tech companies very early and decided to start this company hint. And in 2005, and so on. I

Franne Golde 12:46
had your drink. Go ahead.

Kara Goldin 12:47
So it’s uh, but you know, I’m, I’m delivering cases inside of Whole Foods and going in the backroom at Target. People are like, What are you doing? And I’m like, I have no idea. But I love it. And I love building a brand. And I went from kind of bits and bytes, which in some ways you have as well to physical goods, different challenges, but it was a different learning for me. And I’ve loved every minute of it. For sure, I’m so blown away. Company. Yeah, well, I’m not the existing CEO right now. I stepped away a couple years ago. And so but I’m still involved. I’m still on the board and and company is still private. So. But anyway, getting back to you. So what, what is it you that? Like? What was the light switch that said, obviously, you wanted these pants, but also, I mean, why did you just want to go do this and kind of continue to work hard.

Franne Golde 13:57
I think it was a mishmash of stuff. I mean, like, um, first of all, I’m, I’m super driven. I’ve always been a overachiever, if you will. Um, I love being busy. You know, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. I’m one of those people that’s busy. Um, I love learning. And it was kind of just so organic. It was a happy accident. It was just, you know, you keep moving forward moving forward. But people ask me all the time like, I did you do this? How did you do this? And, you know, like, I always go back to the I love that. Tom Brokaw said, you get things done by getting things done. That’s it. That’s so true. You know, you get things. And so I mean, I feel like I was sort of who lag. You know, I also love the thing Barbra Streisand was she it’s originally goethite. But they, you know, when you commit, the universe conspires to help you. And, you know, so true. And it’s, I mean, I see it all the time. And, you know, my husband, as you mentioned, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I was, I don’t even know what they’re if there’s a word to describe beyond heartbroken. I mean, here was my life, the love of my life, this man that he was my phone call my partner, my, my, heard of me, I mean, I loved him with every ounce of my being. And I didn’t even know what I was in for, but having a diversion, and, you know, it was it gave me something to do, it was therapeutic. It was a crutch, it was a place to land. It was being around, you know, people that were, we were all busy trying to make this happen. So it kind of gave me a little bit of a break from what I was going through in my personal life. And I don’t know, I just, you know, and my husband still was able to see the beginnings of the business, and was so encouraging to me. Awesome, you know, and he would come to my little photo shoots, and he, you know, he was so helpful and just my usual cheerleader. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 17:04
that’s amazing. That’s, that’s so incredible. And, and from that experience, that super challenging experience, you launched music of mines, is that correct?

Franne Golde 17:16
Well, I didn’t launch it. I was I was looking for because my husband was a record producer, some kind of music, anything that I could get him involved with, while he was going through this journey. And I forget how I found it. So I think somebody told me about it was just starting out, there was barely any people involved. And I called the woman who is running it, who founded and her husband also had dementia. And anyway, she had put together this band, Paul, you’re ready for this? The fair Duran shot.

Kara Goldin 18:01
I love it.

Franne Golde 18:02
I love it dimension, the fifth dimension. Anyway, so um, I brought my husband there. And he was like, This is not for me. I mean, it was kind of the American Songbook. He was doing like rock and roll. And it was not very hip. But eventually, he, I said, just go a few times, if you hate it, you never have to go back. And he ended up loving it. Both of us got very involved in it. And it became one of our lifelines and love that, oh, you know, I support them. And I help whenever I can, if they’re doing a concert, I’ll go help see people at the venue or, you know, whatever way I can.

Kara Goldin 18:59
So you’ve gone beyond the magic pants with Franne Golde. But so can you talk to me about how you decided to expand and and overall, how different is this than the music industry and what you were doing? Or do you think you learned a lot of things being in the competitive world of music, and that allowed you to be the force that you are jumping into another competitive industry, the apparel industry?

Franne Golde 19:32
I mean, it’s much harder. I don’t Well, I don’t know they’re both hard. But it’s like, you know, you write the song, you create the clothing, you know, and then you have to, you know, get somebody to like it, you know, like an artist and a customer. You know, there’s a lot of similarities, you know, and you have to have the record, pressed or Were the well nowadays it’s just digital and you upload it and it streams I mean, but back in the day, you’d make a record or a CD or cassette, whatever it is, you know. So it’s there’s a lot of similarities. I you know, it was sort of a natural, well, you have a pant, you need a top, but I wanted that I wanted to wear. So I always create stuff. You know, like, today I’m wearing my new favorite thing is kind of, I’m glad we’re not in person, because it probably been wearing it every day for five days. This is a cashmere sweater that I absolutely love. It’s like butter. And it’s our newest thing. But you know, the tops are all tops that you need, you know, a great t shirt, a great sort of sleeveless top V neck that you can wear under a blazer, you need a great blazer, you need a great pair of pants that you can go from day to night, if you work in an office. If you’re just running around doing errands and your mom or your student, you want to look great, you want to put something on that, ooh, you can just grab it’s the backbone of your wardrobe. You were not making statement pieces here. You know, it’s it’s your core, it’s what you need every day. Like I threw the this pair of pants and sweater on. And I feel real good. I feel like, you know, I look together and I’m comfortable. And I could eat and not be you know, like, I need to unzip my pants or something.

Kara Goldin 21:54
I love it. When you think back on those early days of launching, I’m sure there were some mistakes that you made along the way we all make mistakes, right? And hopefully we learn from those mistakes and don’t make them again, very probably made mistakes in the music industry. Right and again, you absolutely you move on and and and learn a lot. Any great stories to share with building Franne Golde that you felt like I was it’s funny. I was just interviewing the I don’t know if you’re familiar with Boleyn branch. It’s an incredible sheep company. And I was interviewing. Yeah, I was interviewing the I’m still laughing about it. The founder and CEO yesterday of of that, and the guy is Scott tan and and I asked him this question. And he said, bed skirts. He thought everybody wanted a bed skirt. And he said, he said he had a lot of bed skirts for a long time because it ends up that people pee out of bed. He figured he and his wife liked bed skirts, but most people don’t like bed skirts. And I was just laughing and I told my husband last night. I know I said, you know, it’s just the things like that. Were your he said, good. The good news is there’s no like shelf life. It doesn’t expire. They were white. So we always have bed skirts if anyone needs them. But he said we made way too many bed skirts.

Franne Golde 23:32
I have a very tailored kind of bed skirt. You know, it almost looks like furniture like the bottom of a couch or something. But that’s funny. It’s funny you say that because my girlfriend I asked her I said I need some new sheets, any recommendations? And she said, Oh, get the Boland branch starters that are whatever I’ve ordered from them, like, probably four or five times already. Anyway, I love um, funny story. I mean, I get the weirdest thing that happened is when I first started and I was in touch with this company working on the fabric developing and I wanted to have the right amount of you know, whatever you call that structure stretch, and they said 1000 yard minimum. And I’m like, Okay, I mean, I had no idea with the app None. None. And I said are right and I you know, had to put money down and it was a big investment. And I was like, you know, it didn’t even know like how you figure out how many pair of pants will 1000 yards make? I know nothing? Yeah, one day, a truck to guide come knock on my door truck comes easy. We have your fabric. I’m like, oh, you know, I go outside. I look in the truck and I’m like, Whoa. Okay, give me a minute here. And I’m trying to figure out where the hell am I going to put all this friggin fabric? Let alone how am I going to then get it made into the, it was crazy. So I laid down. I luckily had a room that I had recently cleared, because it was my son’s play room. And he didn’t need, you know, little play room anymore. So I put, I don’t know, towels, blankets all over the rug covered the floor. And these guys came in with all these roles, had this huge pyramid of fabric. Um, it was funny. I had people who come they’re like, what? So yeah, I had to found a yard sitting in my, in the play room. Anyway,

Kara Goldin 26:13
that’s a ride. I remember when our first run of hint came. And we lived in San Francisco at the time, and we had a two car garage, and I was pregnant with our fourth and the the trucks came to our house and they delivered these pallets and they were taking up, they my husband said, Okay, we’ll put them in the garage. And I was like, okay, but we have no room for our cars, and I’m going into the hospital to deliver a baby. And, you know, and so that was when I said, Okay, before I go to the hospital, I need to try and get it into Whole Foods. And the whole idea in my head. And I’ve told the story was, I needed to get it out of my garage. And like, and that was for me, that motivation that I had. It was, you know, yes, I wanted to sell water and sell Hinton to Whole Foods. But more than anything, I wanted a place to park my car because in San Francisco, there were street parking every few hours. I’m like, we’re going to it’s going to end up in the towing. You know, flea market? Right, it’s gonna get towed for sure. So anyway, it that story reminds her that

Franne Golde 27:28
I’m saying about invention and necessity. That’s like the perfect example.

Kara Goldin 27:34
Yeah, it’s so it’s so so true. So what do you think is the most challenging thing of building a brand? And as you’ve been, you know, getting out, you’ve got a great product, but how do you make people aware? I would imagine a lot of it’s been word of mouth for you. But how do you make more people aware?

Franne Golde 27:57
I mean, that’s the hard that is the $66 million question. Um, you know, marketing, advertising. Um, I mean, if I’m pretty crazy, like, if I see somebody and I’m in the supermarket, for instance, like, I’ll be like, a walk up to them and hand them a card and say, You look like my customer. I said, You got my brand out, and I’ll give them a coat like a discount code and give them a card. You know, every day, we we do our best to try and get the word out. And the more people that you know, know about our brand, you know, and they tell a friend, and they tell a friend and they tell a friend, and that’s what you hope for. And it seems for us it’s been very organic. And we are privately owned. And we have an amazing team of women. We all work together on it every day. You never know. I mean, like, I was so lucky in the beginning. We through a friend got into Oh magazine. I didn’t even know this friend. It was a friend of a friend. And they dubbed us the magic pan. I mean, how lucky can you get? Yeah, we were in People Magazine. You know, those are the things that really how we run Good Morning America a couple weeks ago. Yeah. Two, three weeks, things like that. That’s how you get the word out. From what I understand, you know?

Kara Goldin 29:48
Yeah, and and also, they tell your story, right, which is so inspiring.

Franne Golde 29:53
That many people Yes, yeah, absolutely.

Kara Goldin 29:57
So beyond on telling your story last question, best advice for success? You have done it now and two industries. What what do you think it takes in order to just, you know, make it and I’m sure there’s been a lot of, you know, whoop along the way, maybe some, some stumbles some failures. I, but what do you think it really takes in order to kind of Will It

Franne Golde 30:31
takes determination, lots of energy, and not being afraid. I mean, I think this is one of my biggest, you know, things is if I don’t know, something I ask, some people are in this place of like, well, I’m the boss, sir. I’m that, you know, I can’t ask anybody. You know, I if I don’t know, something I ask. I love learning. And, and I’m not afraid to say I don’t know. I just don’t know. Yeah. Um, and, you know, but determination, not, you know, not giving up. And when you do get to that point, and you know, feeling like you want to give up, like just picking yourself up, brushing yourself off and moving forward, always moving forward. Like my husband he always used to, I took him to see the Clark Terry documentary and Clark Terry, who was a famous trumpeter, who was the mentor of Quincy Jones, for instance, is saying was keep on keepin on. keep on keepin on. And that’s what my husband always used to say. And so I keep on keepin on.

Kara Goldin 32:09
I love that. So we’ll Franne Golde founder and CEO of Franne Golde, thank you so much. We’re gonna have all the info in the show notes. And you also gave a special offer to as to which we’ll have all of that in the show notes too. So thank you so much for being with us. Such an honor and good luck with everything. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. I would love to hear from you too, so feel free to DM me. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my Wall Street Journal, best selling book undaunted, where I share more about my journey including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks for listening and good bye for now.