Where do I begin? So much has happened since that Fall day in 2017 when Elizabeth and I met for coffee at As Quoted. I remember I'd met her once in her chic LA design studio once before, and I admit, I was rather nervous as her accolades are incredible and quite humbling. But then we began talking and it seemed to me, almost in an instant, that this would work. That we would be business partners and we would build something incredible.
To be honest, I've never once met a colleague or partner with whom I click so well. That's not to say we always get along, because we have our moments, but I'm amazed at how it just works. It feels as though we are always in lockstep with one another. We've had very difficult times and extremely joyous times, and through those it is clear that there is one tie that binds us more than anything else: we are entrepreneurs through and through.
Entrepreneur is a word that is thrown around a lot lately (so is CEO, ha!). Given neither Elizabeth nor I are a fan of titles, entrepreneurship works for us because we are both working in many different roles. But there are a few things that separate the real deal entrepreneurs from the phonies.
The first and most important is salary. Salary becomes an abstract concept when you are an entrepreneur: will you get paid every month? If you are paid will it be the same amount month to month? You are either ok with living a life like that or you aren't.
The second is grit: how bad are you ok with things getting? Because if you're an entrepreneur, things will get bad (refer back to the most important thing, pay). Can you dig down deep and keep going if you aren't being paid? Can you withstand the constant barrage of feedback and rejection for the glimmer of one yes?
The last (at least the last for this blog post) is the sense of ownership and creation. Are you the type of person who is ok to own something, all of it, and be accountable for the outcome? Are you ok with all of the fingers being pointed at you? Because there will be mistakes along the way, many of them. How you navigate them will define the business.
This is a long way of saying that I see all of these qualities as unique qualities that bind Elizabeth and I together, and that bind us to Careste. We've individually and collectively experienced all of the above and more, and we are still in it.
Entrepreneurship is not for the weak of heart or risk averse. The upside, the part that I live for, is the unbelievable high of a win and the feeling you have when you build an incredible product with an incredible team and then see delight on a customer's face after they experience your creation.