I have worked on developing Fitz for over three years. During that time, the concept of what it was or how it would work changed as I learned more about the market, technology and direct-to-consumer model. From time to time, friends would ask me "How's it going with the glasses?”...confused as to what was taking so long and unsure of whether I'd actually ever bring something to market. I’d see a familiar face at a cocktail party and get the sinking feeling of defeat because I was still researching - did I have anything to show that I was making progress?
Starting a business is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I think most entrepreneurs would agree that whether you’re a first timer or a veteran, the road is long and full of ups and downs. It’s even more challenging if you’ve switched careers or are pursuing a new industry. I have academic stamina; law school is no walk in the park, but building a company is 10x the effort.
When you are the founder of a company, you are the visionary. You are the heart and driving force behind it and providing strategic direction from product, to messaging to retail expansion, etc. Given that I had no experience in the optical space, I sometimes doubted whether I knew what I was doing. But, my gut has proven solid and my connection with parents and kids in this area remains constant. And I brought some very talented people on board to help where I needed it, including my tireless Co-CEO, Gabriel, who I couldn’t have started the company without (more on that relationship in a future post!)
One fellow entrepreneur who has been especially helpful is Cayli Reck. Cayli has her own company called Knockout Beauty. She’s an expert in skin health and treatment with natural, chemical-free products. I’ve struggled with skin issues on and off for years, so I appreciate what she does for women like me who are tired of dealing with this annoying and sometimes embarrassing issue.
I met with Cayli early on in the throes of starting Fitz. She could see that I was still developing my confidence as a founder. She commended me for having the guts to start a company to solve a problem I felt so strongly about. It felt meaningful to me to have a female founder recognize how hard it is to put yourself out there and to create something from just an idea. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the support I’ve received from the local entrepreneurial community and how much founders want to help each other succeed. No matter how successful, most I’ve met recall the crazy unpredictability and how the mission keeps you emotionally afloat, especially on the tough days.
Making Fitz happen has not been easy; it fluctuates between scary and exhilarating. Of course creating a profitable business is a main priority, but at the core I want to create a solution for parents who have experienced the same issues I have with my kids. I’m really grateful for the friends I’ve met in the entrepreneurial world who have helped me grow my vision and voice in this field. There will be more victories as well as mistakes ahead, but I’ve got great colleagues and friends to lean on at every turn.