Did you know I started two businesses prior to Bagnet? The first was an Interior Design company based here in Sacramento. I set up a website, made business cards, took photos of my work and . . . soon decided that Sacramento was not an ideal place to start my business due to some very talented competition and a limited number of designer-hiring residents. The second was an e-commerce store selling large dog supplies and accessories. Again, I created the website, added products and photos and even went to a few trade shows. Despite receiving some orders I realized that my heart wasn’t really into selling dog supplies and I closed up shop.
During that time I was pretty unhappy in my career and I was hell bent on figuring a way out and being my own boss. The day I created the first Bagnet I wasn’t necessarily looking to start a business – I made the first one out of sheer frustration that there wasn’t a product on the market that could solve my (regularly occurring) problem of no hooks in public restrooms. I didn’t make the prototype with a business in mind, but when I stitched together that first Bagnet and started using it everywhere, there was no option in my mind but to develop the product and start selling it.
Sometimes I wonder if I hit upon success because I stopped trying to “manufacture” a business and allowed one to develop naturally. One thing I’m sure of is that my first two “failed” businesses weren’t really failures at all. I look at those attempts as stepping stones that allowed me to finally achieve my goal, and without having those experiences Bagnet might not have ever taken off. Without those failures, I’d have no perspective on success and I wouldn’t have clarity on what truly fulfills me as a business owner. Most importantly, I didn’t let those failures define me and I didn’t let them inhibit me. I could have dwelled on the disappointment and the embarrassment of failure but instead, I reflected on the experiences, learned what I could from them, and allowed myself to move on without beating myself up (no easy feat for a Type-A perfectionist). Whenever the fear of failure creeps into my thoughts I remind myself that you have to fail before you can succeed, and I repeat this quote from Henry Ford: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely”.