When Jesse Genet was about 16, she launched a t-shirt business from the basement of her parent’s house in suburban Detroit. She started researching ways to print photographs on textiles and traveled across the country to track a guy down who owned the rights to a product that flopped on the market before her time. Initially, the man blew her off, but she didn’t give up.
Determined and business savvy, Jesse kept in touch with the man who couldn’t understand why she wanted to buy the formula for an unsuccessful product. But she had a plan to improve the formula and eventually she got her chance. On this episode of the podcast, Jesse tells the story of how she graduated from high school early, moved to California and dropped out of college to focus on the business she grew from a teenage t-shirt experiment into a successful company with Stephan Ango, a guy she met in a product design class at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
After a couple Kickstarter campaigns, Jesse and her team that is now 10-strong, brought Inkodye inks and kits to market. This process took about a decade, but that’s okay because Jesse started early and is still only 27. And Lumi continues to expand its product line. In addition to continuing to produce Inkodye products, the company now offers custom stampers and screens for home crafters and artists looking to do small screen printing runs without investing in expensive equipment and tons of time. (I’ll be writing about some of the products I sampled in an upcoming post.)
The most inspiring part of this story is that none of it would have happened if Jesse would have given up at any of the points when most other people would. But she stuck with it and ended up pitching her business plan on “Shark Tank.” Although the sharks failed to offer her an enticing deal, she walked away with international exposure for her business. That episode got my attention, too. After her pitch, I told my daughters: “I want to interview that woman.”
And this podcast details what happened next. Grab a project and tune in for a fun show.
ICYMI: Here’s the video of her “Shark Tank” appearance.
I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels to use for my printmaking and embroidery projects. I’m happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and ACS is graciously sponsoring the CraftSanity Podcast.
Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.
If you enjoy the podcast and want to help keep it afloat, consider making a $1 per month donation via my Patreon page. Doing so gets you access to sneak peeks to CraftSanity happenings and projects and automatic entry to all CraftSanity giveaways.
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