Sali Christeson: Founder & CEO of Argent

Episode 314

Thrilled to have Sali Christeson here with us today. She is the Founder & CEO of an incredible clothing brand called Argent that you especially may have noticed recently as they had a number of incredible influential women wearing bright pink suits. We talk about that campaign, but also her story of how she started Argent, her journey from 10-years at CISCO to becoming a fashion entrepreneur, how she created this extremely aspirational positioning for her brand, why she launched at a conference and I am certain we will hear plenty of great branding lessons sprinkled throughout. I am excited for you to hear how the company has evolved, her hopes for fashion overall and if entrepreneurs can ever feel like "they've made it. Get ready for a great discussion on this incredible episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

Resources from
this episode:


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 am so so excited to have my next guest on at this is Sali Christeson, who is the founder and CEO of Arjun and Argent, you may have seen recently on social, this incredible campaign that I’m sure we will talk a little bit more about with a bunch of bright pink suits. I’ll leave it there, and we’ll get the scoop from Sali on it. But it was such an amazing campaign that everyone was talking about. I’m thrilled that she is here. As I mentioned, she’s the founder and CEO. It’s a clothing brand. I actually tried and purchased items from the clothing brand at a conference that I went to called chips. And it was where I found these incredible suits. I’m like, What in the world is this brand. So that was a few years ago, Sali and I met very, very briefly at one of those conferences that I was at where she was building out her brand and her name, which is a whole other topic that I can’t wait to get into how they really got the brand name out there by being involved in a lot of conferences. And more than anything, her founder story on how she switched industries and decided to start Argent, we’re gonna get all into that. So welcome, Sali.

Sali Christeson 2:09
Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m

Kara Goldin 2:10
excited to be here. Very excited to have you. So let’s start at the beginning. I’d love for you to share with our listeners kind of how would you describe argent? Like what is the brand?

Sali Christeson 2:21
Yeah, so Argent is work wear that you actually want to wear to work. So my background is as the consumer, I worked in finance and supply chain and in tech most recently, and have always been confused as to why finding something to wear to work has been such a struggle. And it’s been a shared pain point across every peer group that I’ve had in every city that I’ve worked in. And I was working at Cisco Systems in San Jose, I read a study that showed that women are judged based on appearance for the first time they quantify the impact of what you wear on your bottom line over your lifetime, it ends up being really significant for women. And so that was my aha slash Fuckit moment, like, I’m just gonna go for it and start this brand that I think is very much missing. So if it’s going to matter this much, then let’s solve it from a product perspective and introduce functional, versatile, stylish quality work where and in parallel to me, the thing that really excited me was more on the mission side of how do we tell stories of women that are doing incredible work, and do them justice and like inspire the next generation of leaders and creators, because that really was not being done. So that was really our origin story. So we launched in 2016,

Kara Goldin 3:44
mazing. So so, so great, we I want to go back it stay on this for a minute. So did you dream of running a fashion brand? I know how I landed in tech many years ago, and I never in a million years knew how I got there. But did you ever think that Sali was going to be doing a fashion brand?

Sali Christeson 4:05
Absolutely not. I knew I knew that I wanted to start a company. I’m just an entrepreneur, it’s in my blood. And I think everyone’s path to that is different. And so for me, I chose like a very corporate path when I got my MBA. And so I wanted like the classroom and real world experience to go into starting a company because in my mind, like, that gives me context and sets me up for success. And for years, I feel like I just kept coming back to this pain point and avoiding it to be honest, because I didn’t want to be in fashion. I did not want to be in apparel. And then once I read this study, it was just the catalyst for me it was kind of the push that I needed. And now here we are, but now my background is very much in business and not at all in apparel.

Kara Goldin 4:53
So when you started thinking about doing this, it sounds like you had to get over your own sort of hurt hurdles of, you know, do I really want to be doing this? I mean, is this sort of my calling, but when you decided to actually make the move? What was kind of the first steps and actually figuring out how do I do it?

Sali Christeson 5:13
Yeah, so I knew that in order to really fully commit, I had to just quit my job and go all in. So I was in a job that was full time. And then some I was truly not sleeping, I was working in cloud at Cisco, which was a new initiative that had $2 billion in funding and was just growing so quickly, but with it was somewhat directionless, and there were a lot of demands from everyone on the team. And so there wasn’t really extra time to be had during my work day. And so I just quit, I put in my notice, and my outlook was the worst thing that could happen is I reenter the corporate world and a couple of years. And that path is always there, like it’s not going anywhere. And it’ll be a really good experience. And so having told myself that I just quit. And when in the first thing that I did, was just look at a business plan template and kind of like, flash through it, I didn’t write a business plan, I just looked through it all and was like, okay, I can like mentally prioritize what needs to happen when, and started having conversations with folks for like three to six months, I would say that I was just networking, and trying to put the pieces together, a huge piece of it was finding someone on the creative side that had a skill set that I did not have, which was actually designing the product. So yeah, so the first six months or so it was really just preparation more than anything?

Kara Goldin 6:38
And did you feel like you needed to start like with a certain number of items, in order to have sort of like a collection that people could purchase? What was sort of the thinking?

Sali Christeson 6:49
Yeah, so from day one, I wanted to look legitimate, I don’t know if that was the right call or not in hindsight, because to build a successful business and apparel focus mat and like not buying into product that you can’t sell or not going, you know, like, you have to be really smart about your cash. I think that’s true of any company. But yeah, from day one, I think I just wanted to have a full collection full offering styling options, not just launched with one piece or a couple of pieces. So we and our lunch collection had 35 unique pieces. I can tell you about all of them, too.

Kara Goldin 7:29
Yeah. So it’s interesting, because obviously, Cisco you know, you’re dealing in bits and bytes and cloud and, you know, versus physical goods. I mean, how hard was it to sort of jump into the physical goods space? And like, were you? Did you fear it? Did you just not even know what you were up against? I mean, how did you think about it?

Sali Christeson 7:54
Oh, I was so naive. I think that ignorance is bliss, I don’t know that I would have gotten into this head unknown, all of the watch out. But that’s not actually true. Like I have such conviction in what we’re building that I will muscle my way through all hurdles. Like I’m just I believe that women deserve what we’re building. And so like, end goal is really what drives me that said, I mean, I’ve driven so many you halls, I have cleaned bathrooms, I have literally done it all. And it’s such a high touch industry. Tech is very easy, comparatively speaking, apparel is impossible. I mean, you’ve got a whole host of challenges that you’re dealing with every step all the way to end customer. And the expectations are very high on the customer side. And they’re only getting higher as a result of this like immediacy, you know, everyone expects just sort of like Amazon level service. And so it’s a challenging industry. Yeah, I did not come in eyes wide open.

Kara Goldin 9:00
So interesting. I felt like coming from the tech industry every day you were trying to add on to the puzzle that wasn’t built. Obviously, you’re working in cloud. That’s all really knew future stuff. But then you jumped into an industry. That is apparel, right? It might not be done exactly the way that you’re doing it. But I’m sure you had many doubters out there who are like, Sali, I mean, you’re fashionable. You’re like, super smart, but you have no idea what you’re doing. I mean, how did you sort of tackle that?

Sali Christeson 9:36
I think that the first even when I was leaving Cisco, I remember telling people and there was an epiphany that happened. I’m not sure when it happened. But the majority of people that I talked to, I realized I couldn’t envision what I was actually saying, and I don’t know if you’ve experienced this but like pitching the company, even I would show like physical drawings and sketches of what we were building. And most people that I talked to were like, I don’t understand what you’re talking about until I see it. So I almost felt like I had to do it in order for people to understand what you’re doing. And yeah, there was a lot of Yeah, I don’t know how to explain what happened. But most people just kind of looked at me blankly, and were like, oh, okay, so it takes a very, like a naive confidence. And a little bit of vision. Yeah. Those are some funny conversations, though. Yeah, in order for people to like, come on board. I don’t know. I love

Kara Goldin 10:26
looking back at those. And even remembering the conversations, I was talking to somebody about this the other day that, you know, looking back on the doubters, and then hearing, or remembering, they often remember the conversation very differently. Like, I always knew you could build it. And I’m thinking No, you didn’t you were like, What in the world are you doing building a beverage company? And you’re right, and I’m sure you’ll have those people as well along the way. Well, and I

Sali Christeson 10:56
also think, early days, I didn’t really know how to speak to what we were building, at least not in a very compelling way, because I was still figuring it out. Like I just knew that there was a gap in the market, I knew that there was a better option. And I don’t know that I’d fully formed what that was yet. And so I think I was prematurely having some conversations, too. When I left Cisco, because I hadn’t fully gotten started. The people who did not believe in what we’re building, that’s a whole different conversation. I mean, we were told, I’ll never forget, we were told by a very reputable VC, that utility doesn’t belong in women’s product, hmm. And okay. In a male, like a white male investor, which is unsurprising, and you’re like, cool, what experience do you have with that, but something that we’ve really become known for are our functional details. So like, we have interior pockets on all of our jackets that women have not gotten historically. And that has been such a huge differentiator for us, we have bans on the sleeves of our blazers. So you push them up and in our blouses, you push it the sleeves up, it holds them in place, we have a jumpsuit, that has a back tuck, so you don’t have to take the whole thing off to use the restroom, like just these day to day innovations that are intended to streamline the professional woman’s, you know, work life and life. And we were just getting feedback like that, that was just inspirational more than anything, to be honest, like, I loved those. And I still love those, I look back on those and get motivation from them.

Kara Goldin 12:18
I think it was absolutely brilliant to go out early on and find your audience. And you know, you weren’t just setting up a website and buying growth more than anything. You were actually going and setting up in conferences. You and I had met at one of the conferences. Do you want to share a little bit more about that story?

Sali Christeson 12:41
Yeah, so for better or worse, I think I really found the idea of like getting your first 100 customers and making them fall in love with how you build a successful company. And I think I’d heard that from Brian Chesky, from Airbnb. And so I with that in mind, looked at the women’s conferences that I went to when I was at Cisco and thought, wouldn’t that be cool if we created a pop up experience within these convention centers, in in like popped up alongside like the Pfizer booth and the Bank of America booth, you know, and it’s like, we ended up going to it was the Silicon Valley, it was like a Silicon Valley Valley Women’s Conference, it was in San Jose, day one of business. So we showed up with a U haul, in product. And we’re so excited. We’re literally receiving product from like our manufacturing partner at the convention center. And it was like 6000 or so women that are all roughly our target demographic that were busy. And so it was a little bit of like proof of concept, right? Let’s see how they interact with the product. It was the most exciting day. In our history. Still, for me, it was really just so incredible. Women had like physical reactions to the product, their jaw would drop. We sold so much product. It was very physical, but it was very informative. I we continue to that model. And now we’re starting conferences. Again, just because it is so energizing and motivating it’s great customer acquisition channel. It’s not scalable. It’s not always predictable. Some conferences are 10s of 1000s of dollars in revenue, and others are, you know, 1000s Maybe. And so, when we launched back in 2016, there was an arbitrage opportunity in the Facebook, like performance marketing world that we didn’t fully capitalize on. So that would be like a learning for me. But I don’t think we were totally ready at that point. So we spent more time and money probably on like physical activations and we did digitally but I just don’t think we’re quite ready. either so

Kara Goldin 15:00
well and I think you’re also getting your audience and and watching people try it on. And there’s, you know, lots of aspects to it that I think you’re not going to get from trying to build your funnel. And you know, it’s it’s a different type of, of experience and you’re building your brand to so. And that is definitely where I saw it first was at the chips conference and I think, Malin, who has also purchased quite a bit I think in the past and and you know, her she, I think said to me, first of all, you have to come and see this. And definitely, you have built up an amazing group of people who absolutely love what you’re doing. And I am one of them for sure. So recently, you partnered with the non profit women’s advocacy community called super majority to launch the pop up in New York City dubbed the voting suits you. And it was an incredible campaign with so many influential people that were a part of it, and really encouraging voter registration. And it’s running, I guess, the campaign’s running through the midterm elections. Do you want to share a little bit more about that? How did you get the idea? Why did you decide to do it?

Sali Christeson 16:20
Absolutely. Yeah. So I’ll start by touching on just the community that we built, I think you’re exactly right, we have put the blood sweat and tears into building argent. And we’ve been cultivating relationships with this powerhouse group of women for such a long time. I think the reason we’ve had such success with that, though, is that it’s such an underserved market, when it comes to apparel like it really is, for women of all backgrounds. It’s been this shared pain point. And so I think that, you know, we’ve just been really fortunate to get to know all of these women through this, like common shared pain point, for lack of a better description. We’re obviously very mission oriented, we’re for women all day, every day, that is our number one, we’ll do anything to give women the tools they need to optimally navigate their career, obviously, like, it starts with the clothes, but we really want to leverage our platform in whatever way is beneficial to women. And so this super majority opportunity presented itself first and 2020, we ran a campaign around the election that ended up just really having major pickup, and it did have really meaningful impact. And so, given the urgency of the midterms, and how critical this election is to women, specifically, we thought it was a really good opportunity to partner with them again, and bring back the pink suit. And the physical component was new, because in 2020, obviously, we’re all in COVID lockdown. And so we decided to launch with a physical activation in New York. And we invited folks into this experiential pop up that was really intended to inspire women around action, and really, you know, point them toward an action plan of how we can focus our energy in this moment, I think a lot of us feel a bit directionless. And so super majority has a very robust action plan. And for us, it’s about plugging women specifically into that and ensure you know, we maximize the impact and hopefully a positive outcome come election day.

Kara Goldin 18:26
Definitely. Well, it definitely was all across my feed, and you did such an amazing job with it. So it’s really, really strategically, just important, and many, many ways to see your brand attached to this. How do you feel your brand has changed since 2016. So you’re, you know, obviously trying to get the right merchandise, the right quality fit all of those kinds of things I would imagine back in 2016, when you start it, now you launched this campaign that really is attaching your brand to a specific action that you feel is really, really important. But I’d love to hear how you think your company has changed over time.

Sali Christeson 19:10
Yeah, a lot and none at the same time. So I would say day one, I had a very clear vision in terms of what our end goal was, which was really to be the workwear authority and a destination for women to connect with one another, a community of like minded individuals, all ambitious in their own way and for us to be supportive in that in that journey. And so that hasn’t really deviated since since day one. The visuals to support that the product, the imagery, everything under the sun, even some of the verbiage and language has changed a lot. I think since day one. We had the luxury and I don’t know if that’s really what you can call it but of time these last couple of years during COVID To really Step back and get our arms around what we were building and reset COMM This is a new moment in time for us in, we’re seeing demand like we’ve never seen before, because women are going back into the office in a post COVID world. And we’ve just been biding our time and waiting for this moment. So I think for the first time, we’re fully delivering on product in a way that we haven’t since day one. So my original vision of what Argent looked like is finally for the first time being realized on a product level. It’s taken us six years to do that. But I think for the you know, we have the right creative director, we have the best team we’ve ever had. The timing, which I think is the most important thing in building something successful is now in our corner work where is dominant right now in apparel, we just launched in Nordstrom, we’re opening a store in New York City at the end of the month. So and we just relaunched the super majority campaign. So a lot has changed, I think, visually speaking. And we’ve also built out our editorial arm. So we’re doing more storytelling, which is always been a goal of mine, but I didn’t want to do it prematurely. We’re, you know, we’re highlighting incredible women such as yourself, like, we’re highlighting those career paths. And like, you know, just sharing women’s journeys in a way where hopefully, like, it is informative to the next generation. And it’s educational, and it’s in an effort to scale, really busy women’s time, you know, in a way that sort of is a gift to the next generation. And so I feel like our impact and footprint has grown. And we’re, we have our arms around like what we what our brand identity as in a way that we definitely did not in 2016 or 17, or 18 or 19.

Kara Goldin 21:53
Well, you You fooled us because you are it seems really smart, what you’re doing on many, many levels. What are the biggest Ward were wardrobe wardrobe. Wow, that’s a tongue twister this morning was as people return to the office.

Sali Christeson 22:12
So right now women are very, very, like, generally speaking, I would say our consumer wants to be told what to wear. That’s always been the case. For the first time, she really feels like she has no clue in terms of what’s in style anymore, what’s appropriate how to dress, it’s like we are all out of practice a little bit. And so we have had women come in and just do full wardrobe overhauls. And they want they want to really be told like full on styling from head to toe shoe, everything. Because I think it’s a little bit daunting getting back out into the working world. The other piece that COVID did was accelerate this move towards like casualisation of the workforce. And I think I’ve had an eye on that since day one, simply as a result of having worked in tech, where the dress code has always been a bit more informal. But we actually partnered with a brand called a Goldie and we are launching denim this fall. And so when I say we’ve like realized our Gen on a product level in a way that we haven’t historically delivered on it’s because we’re now offering sweaters and denim for the woman working from home all the way up to like full suiting for women working in consulting and league like law or the White House, etc. So it’s really about versatility and getting more mileage out of the pieces. But yeah, there are a lot of wardrobe was at the moment, I think it feels like we are a solution for the work specific challenges that women are facing.

Kara Goldin 23:49
And I feel like you’ve also brought brought in brighter colors and not just the pink suits but other things that I think people you know, make people smile and are how it’s not just about gray and navy and black that will always be there but it seems like there’s a lot more color coming out as well.

Sali Christeson 24:09
Absolutely. It’s called dopamine dressing is what they’re calling it in the industry. We’ve been known for color since pretty early on. It’s been awesome to watch women really embrace color in a way that is an extension of like their personal brand within the workplace because it very much like the insight of why we found it origin is that people are paying attention to what you’re wearing. And so the positive side of that is people are paying attention to what you’re wearing. So use it to your advantage. And we’ve seen women really lean into that so yeah, we table stakes would be your blacks, your navies, your wardrobe, you know building blocks, but we have a lot of color and we’ve seen a huge appetite for color which I love.

Kara Goldin 24:48
You mentioned partnerships so a Goldie there’s a there are a number of amazing brands out there today that are doing partnerships kiff and Gucci. And and obviously you’re doing one with a gol de, do you think that that is a big change for and maybe sort of the future of of brands, especially apparel? I feel like there’s a lot going on right now, which is seems to be definitely what consumers are interested in.

Sali Christeson 25:21
Yeah, I think that everything’s gotten a bit more saturated, we all are aware of all the ios changes. So performance marketing has gotten more expensive for brands. And so figuring out a way to uniquely add value, but also acquire consumers. That that’s, I think, top of mind for every founder is how do I break through to new consumers and grow like that top of funnel pipeline. And so I would say most most successful without a doubt, our brand partnerships, so finding brands that are like minded, shared audience where, you know, there will be some overlap, but it’s, you know, you have a similar target demographic, it’s incredibly additive. And those those are, in our experience, the best way to lowest customer acquisition costs. Best way to get people into the brand.

Kara Goldin 26:18
I love it. And it’s definitely I’m excited for that collection for sure. What have you enjoyed most about being a creator?

Sali Christeson 26:27
Oh, it’s so fun. So I think that and you know, this better than anyone, I think that everyone thinks like, being a founder is so glamorous, and so sexy, and like, you control your own schedule, et cetera. I mean, 90% of the time, I’m stressed about who knows what, whether it’s people related or money related, or a whole host of things, fit issues, supply issues, etc. But when I really get to put my energy into what we’re building, like, that’s where I would say I thrive. And that’s why I do this work. So I just, I love watching our product in action, like in being the smallest part of women’s, like, huge career moments, you know, and milestones. So I think just figuring out how we can do storytelling around that, how we can highlight these women, how we can like, bring the professional woman to life in a way that just hasn’t been done before. That’s, I mean, that’s the most exciting. And then we’re also connecting fashion with working women. And I don’t think there’s historically been much of a connection there. Because work has historically been unsexy, in a really easy category, where it’s like, oh, you make a pencil skirt, and you make a suit and shrink and pink it and whatever. We’re really like, creating conversation between our creative director who’s been in fashion for two decades. And people like Leah Solomon, you know, who started TaskRabbit or whom Abingdon or yourself, like, bringing in these just powerhouse incredible women, and having them be part of the conversation in the design process. And then watch that clothing on action like that. I could talk about like, the fun side of the business all day long, because that’s what gives me my energy to do the 90% of the shit work. You know,

Kara Goldin 28:12
I love it. So we have a number of people on the show that share stories about challenges. I’m big on sort of like looking at lessons that have happened along the way for founders, because I think too often too, we focus on everything good that’s happened in companies and where you really see the the athletes here, the people that sort of get through those challenges. And as one great founder said to me, I guess at the beginning of the pandemic, it’s like everybody gets knocked down, but it’s the people that actually get back up again, and how they did it. That’s the gold stories where everybody really loves to hear. So I’d love to hear if you have any of those challenging times along the way. There’s lots of opportunities, I’m sure in the last six years to have those kinds of experiences. But I’d love to hear any that come to mind.

Sali Christeson 29:09
Yeah, I mean, I hate to go with the most obvious one. So I’ll I’ll touch on this one, and then I’ll share a different one. But the most obvious one for us would be COVID. I mean, I was eight and a half months pregnant. We are a workwear brand. We are dressing women to go into the office, and we all stopped, the world stopped. And I think some brands benefited from that. And we were on the very extreme end of the spectrum that we just got crushed. And so it was a very intentional decision to survive. And it came with like crushing decision making. And I mean, the consequences were just, we spent years getting to a point where we had line of sight to scale where we were where we were preparing to launch our first wholesale partnership and 2020. We had just opened four stores with you LRC raised and were like rocking and rolling. And instead, you know, as having very different conversations having to furlough our retail team having to lay off some team members having to close office it like having to just make every like brutal decision that you just didn’t like, literally and no scenario and no risk planning equation had I ever anticipated this. We had customers returning product because they had no, like, instead of having $0 days, we had like negative days to people were sending stuff back. It was just, I got a I vividly remember getting a text from an investor. That was a CNN article that said, like work is work as we once knew it is dead forever. And then followed by we should talk. And it’s like, huh, wow. Yeah, I mean, the last two years have been insane. I, it’s so intense and traumatic for all of us in varying degrees, but like I had a newborn, and then was also just like, just surviving, you know? And so, yeah, I mean, that’s really the that’s the most obvious one. But there are 1 million other. What do you think

Kara Goldin 31:17
is the biggest lesson that you learned from that time as a company as a new founder? Do you do everything in the US? as well? Yes, yeah. So I mean, I know, there’s a lot of founders who have talked about like, supply chain outside of the US. And that was really hard. So you didn’t have really that issue.

Sali Christeson 31:36
I’ll take that back. We do have a manufacturing partner, we have to we do t shirts out of Peru, and we have a manufacturing partner in Portugal, but that’s newer for us. And we really scaled with them, like starting in the last year. So we do have some supply chain chain challenges. And I think not everyone has supply chain challenges. The biggest learning it’s funny, I have always said have if you’re going to start a company, like believing what you’re building, and believe in the end goal, because without it like you won’t be able to survive. This was the ultimate test of that. For me, the thing that allowed me to survive was looking at what we’d built, looking at our supporters in recognizing that we had a cap table. So like a list of investors who were all in it for the right reasons, and I wanted to like do right by them. And we had customers who like stuck with us throughout that also wanted to see us survive. So I think it was that that collective community of individuals that I felt like deserved for like us to get our shot, coupled with my conviction, and the fact that I really do believe women deserve Argent and what we’re building because there just isn’t a company that’s catering to working women in this way. And we’re shat on in so many ways is working women, you know, it’s just really challenging and gender inequity is like, every which way you look. And so I think for me, the lessons are, involve people that you really want in your company in your company, like take checks from people that you want to take checks from, and yes, that’s a luxury. But I have said no to people in moments of desperation, even just because those are the people that like you’re going to be asking to show up in the hard times. And so for us last few years, were hard times, we did have to raise money from existing investors, and they all showed up for us at different points of time in the last two years. You know, and get a team that like you want in your corner, I think another learning for me for the past like six, seven years has been to really hire the right people. And yes, that’s easier said than done. But I’ve had to figure out a formula to like, where I’m not projecting my passion onto people and then hiring them because they’re, you know, sort of becoming this. Like, I think early days, I don’t know if you did this, but like I would essentially be so excited about what we’re building that I would hire people because I projected that onto them. And so figuring out how to get the right people involved and like, you know, filter the right way. Yeah. And then just to have belief in what you’re building. I think that’s my big one. Yeah, I

Kara Goldin 34:17
think that’s really, really key. First of all, you touched on this getting the right people investing in your brand, that are not just going to write checks for the success, but also they’re going to write checks to be supportive. And I think that we’re all going to have challenging times. Some of these times we’re not going to be able to project for sure. So but I think you know more than anything, bringing in people that can actually be super, you know, supportive is absolutely key. And it’s interesting. I was just sharing along the lines of what you were talking about with an entrepreneur the other day that wanted to hire somebody in to kind of take some off of her plate and you know, she has a friend from business school, she had been in banking, so therefore she could be the CFO and the chief operating officer had never worked in the industry that this entrepreneurs in, didn’t have any experience. And I said, you’re going to be teaching, you’re not going to be take this. Right. And and I said, that’s going to be hard. And for you to do it. And I think that until you actually have been through it, and I think every founder, and every industry understands that you want to believe that people can do certain things that you can do, because they’re smart, and all those things. But more than anything, I think that ends up to be some people can and some people can’t more than anything. So you are going into stores like Nordstrom, and I’m so excited to see those partnerships as well. So very, very excited about that. One last question. So when do you know that you’ve made it? So as as a founder, that you’re like, I’ve made it? Oh, man,

Sali Christeson 36:06
what a tough question. Right? I want to hear you answer that too. I don’t I mean, I really don’t know. I. Yeah, I feel like we’re still figuring it out. You know, like the landscape has changed. Everything’s changed the last couple of years, I have learned so much even just listening to you talk about consulting, entrepreneur and hiring like I’ve learned how to hire, I’ve learned people, I’ve learned how to put all the pieces together in the right way with what we’re building. And now, two things have changed in the last couple of years. One is distribution and the end in direct marketing, and aquas customer acquisition. And the future of retail right now, I would say is omni channel, so figuring out how to diversify your revenue streams. And so for us, that means we’re onboarding Nordstrom, and we’re exploring other wholesale partnerships and other creative ways to capture customers grow our community. That was not the case, you know, a few years ago. The other thing is that the fundraising landscape has changed a lot. So venture capital is not really like well matched for what I’m building, in my opinion. And I think that we’ve seen a real Shakedown in the last couple of years of like, overfunded. It’s a bit of a bubble. And so you know, what fundraising looks like, now go forward for us is different in terms of whether we’ve made it God, that’s such a tough question to answer. And like squirming in my chair?

Kara Goldin 37:35
Well, and there’s, you know, I think more than anything, the consistent thread is that, you know, most founders have a hard time, even no matter where they’re at, in their journey, because they’re always thinking about the future and the bill. And it’s fascinating. I mean, they have milestones along the way that they’re meeting, for sure. But it’s, it’s supposed to be a stumper. So you pass Sali for sure. So, but it’s it’s one that I think we all think about, really, it’s industry agnostic, because it doesn’t matter. And it really doesn’t matter if you’ve raised money from private equity or individuals or never raised money. I think it’s always this idea that it’s ongoing.

Sali Christeson 38:21
It’s so true. That target is like constantly moving. And so I can look back and tell you, you know, when we started, our revenue was here, and then it jumped to they’re just milestones, like, they’re predictable milestones, and your challenges change at each hurdle. But you totally forget what the past was like, and you’re only focused on the future. So yeah, I don’t know if that’s a good answer. I will say we had a launch event with Nordstrom. It was one of the only times in this journey that real time I had like very, I had pride and like what we had accomplished in that moment. And that is that was like I really tried to embrace that because I I just don’t think that we’re good at that. Right. Like I think founders are constantly moving the goalpost. And so that was that was pretty special, because I really haven’t had many of those. And it’s been a long time. So yeah, million dollar question.

Kara Goldin 39:13
Well, super enjoyed speaking with you. And thanks so much for sharing your journey and all of the lessons along the way. We’ll have all of the information about Sali and Argent in the show notes too, so that you can definitely find it online. Or as she mentioned, she is going into Nordstrom, some has some other stores that are opening too. So definitely look out for it and look out for it at conferences too. And maybe you’ll get a chance to meet Sali as well. She’s so terrific. So thank you again, Sali.

Sali Christeson 39:47
Thanks for having me. This

Kara Goldin 39:47
was great. Thanks all for listening to this episode. We hope you enjoyed it. And I want to thank all of our guests and our sponsors. And finally our listeners. Keep the great comments coming in. And one final plug If you have not read or listened to my book undaunted, please do so you will hear all about my journey including founding, scaling and building the company that I founded. Hint we are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks everyone for listening and goodbye for now. 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 whereby 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 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