We talk to Jessica Mason, Founder of Piglet, about her inspirations in business, and find out what advice she would give to someone just starting out.
What do you currently do?
In January I founded Piglet, a direct to consumer e-commerce brand selling stonewashed natural linen bedding. Driving the brand’s exponential growth while getting to know our core customer base has made for an exciting six months.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
There are a handful of brands who have really paved the way in terms of building e-commerce companies with incredibly loyal followings. Not long before starting Piglet I attended SXSW Interactive (the annual media and technology festival in Austin) and was really inspired listening to Emily Weiss, the founder of US beauty brand Glossier talk about how they had developed their signature facial cleanser based entirely on feedback from their customers. It was then that I knew that I wanted to start a brand which used all of the digital tools at its disposal to interact with and understand its customers.
What defines your way of doing business?
At the heart of what we do is the belief that e-commerce should be a personal and friendly shopping experience. We love to get to know our customers, to see the pictures they share of our bedding on Instagram or to chat on Facebook Messenger about their orders. Maintaining this degree of personal human interaction as we scale the business wouldn’t be possible without technology.
Who do you admire?
I am a big admirer of Tyler Haney, the Founder and CEO of athletic apparel brand Outdoor Voices. She is 28 and has created a beautiful brand which speaks to our generation in a totally new way, developped an enormously successful social media strategy, has created an enviable company culture and raised over 21 million dollars.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
One thing I worked out pretty quickly was that unless you are going to get investment right out of the gate and will be able to afford the scale the business very aggressively you need to make sure the business makes financial sense even when it is very small. I had originally started developing a line of design oriented travel accessories but soon realised that I needed to focus on a higher value product. This has enabled us to start small and grow the business gradually, incorporating customer feedback along the way.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I am not sure that I have been doing this (or anything else) for long enough to hand out any significant advice so I will refer instead to the words of wisdom given by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the forward to Tim Ferris’s book Tools of Titans. He debunked the common misconception that he is a ‘self-made-man’ and explained how none of what he has accomplished would have been possible without the help of parents, teachers, mentors and idols. I get lots of help and am certain that I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing now without that help. So my advice would be not to try and go at it alone.