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EP39 How to Focus on the Things You Can Control and Don’t Let the Rest Stress You Out with the Founder of Argent

 

Mistakes are inevitable when starting your own business, but what really counts is how you learn from them. When you are convinced that your business has more than enough potential for success, it's easy to push through these hardships and come out better.

 

Sali Christeson, founder and CEO of Argent, has done just this to take her company from an emerging to an established brand! Argent is a women's workwear brand that designs a variety of pieces appropriate for the workplace. Not only are they designing trendy work wear, but they focus on functional details like hidden pockets, bands to hold rolled-up sleeves, and more.

 

In her excitement to make Argent successful, Sali made some missteps during the interviewing and hiring process. Still, she shares how she implemented changes to create a better system for the future. She also talks about how Argent is highlighting the women who wear their clothes and building a community around their goals of gender equality and women empowerment. 

 

If you're a dreamer, give this episode a listen to get inspired to take that leap of faith and go after your dreams!



Topics discussed in this episode:

 

  • Patty introduces Sali and Argent, including why she loves her brand
  • How Sali and her husband, Dave, started Argent
  • Staying on trend with design and functionality
  • Taking the leap into the fashion industry
  • Dave’s role in the business and experience in marketing
  • Argent’s Work Friend series and building a community
  • Sali explains what a Scout Fund is and how they funded Argent
  • Business missteps and what she’s learned from them
  • Patty’s experience with hiring the wrong people
  • Understanding the importance of equity
  • What’s next for Argent after slowing down during the pandemic
  • Patty on her favorite Argent pieces

 

Check out Argent here and get 10% off your order!

 

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Connect with us at perseverepodcast.com and our LinkedIn group! Then, head to testforstrep.com and checkablehealth.com.

 

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Transcript: 

0:00:03.1 S1: Welcome to the Persevere Podcast powered by Checkable Medical and hosted by Patty Post, a female founder, entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three doing all of the things. The strength to persevere in business is powered by passion, grit, and hard work. The Persevere Podcast is for entrepreneurs and business leaders who set out to innovate and change the world with their ideas. Whether it's fundraising your startup, product development, marketing, branding or scaling your existing business, this podcast is for you. We'll discuss everything it takes to persevere and build the business you've always dreamed of. Let's make it happen. This is the Persevere Podcast where we help founders to create awesome business products and not run out of money. Hi, everyone. I'm Patty Post, founder and CEO of Checkable Health. I started this podcast because I was experiencing loneliness and solitude as a solo founder. I literally had no one to turn to and I couldn't find relevant content for founders of high-tech startups. And so like the true entrepreneur I am, I decided to do it myself. Hence the Persevere Podcast. I interview founders and entrepreneurs that are persevering through business. We talk about their founder stories.

 

0:01:30.2 S1: We talk about their vision and their mission, their strategy. And we talk about how they've persevered through the mistakes that they've made. Because if you are a founder, you know that you've made plenty of them. But most of the time, that's how our best lessons are learned. The founder that I'm interviewing today is Sali Christeson. Sali is the founder of Argent. Argent is a workwear brand for women, and she's based in New York. She is running the business with her husband, Dave, and they have compiled a wonderful team of creative, high-fashion creatives, marketers, and they've just done a beautiful job with their brand. I'm wearing their suit right now. I actually have four of their suits. I love them. I love their pants. And I love what she is all about in terms of her brand and women empowerment. She literally created the brand because she found a gap in the marketplace. Like most of us, you're probably listening like, Oh, yeah, I either have this idea and no one else is doing it in the world, or yep, that's what I'm living out. And that's what we're talking with Sali about today is how she founded Argent, what she's doing as an emerging brand to really create a customer-first brand and how when she thinks of the brand, how she wants her customers to feel, which I appreciate as a customer, because I just love going to her website.

 

0:02:59.5 S1: I love her newsletters. Most I love her products. These suits actually function and how they are just comfortable, very well made, and they just look really high fashion and stylish. So with that said, let's get into it with Sali. She has some great advice on hiring, which I think is a key element to the success of a founder. Whether you've gone through this, you can relate, or if you haven't yet gone through it, she gives some sound advice there. As well as if you are a dreamer like I am to hear of where she started and then where she is today, and where she is ending up in the end of 2022, I think you're going to be really inspired too. So with that said, let's get into it with the interview with Sali, founder of Argent. Sali Christeson I am so excited to talk with you. Audience, Sali is the founder and CEO of Argent Work. Sali, thank you so much for joining me.

 

0:04:02.1 S2: Thanks for having me. I'm excited. So I'm wearing an Argent suit and I have to say, give credit to your husband, David, because you and David are a team in this.

 

0:04:13.7 S1: As most founders are, we have our partner that we definitely lean on for support and a lot of the brains behind the business is our partner. So I had such a fun time meeting the both of you in June and learned a lot about the both of you. I was actually only a customer because I was targeted on a digital ad on Instagram. So on my last podcast, I actually said, gosh, the digital marketing is so hard because you throw money at these ads and you just don't even know if they end up working. Well, here is a testament that it works and David knows what he's doing and you know what you're doing when it comes to a beautiful product style. It’s fantastic. So I'd love to talk about your story and then where are you going with the brand, and then of course, we love to talk about some missteps that we've had as founders. Lots of them. Yes, right. No one says I only had one. They're like, okay, how many, which one should I actually pick out? So we're not alone in that. So with that, let's hear the story of how you came up with Argent Work, Sali.

 

0:05:26.9 S2: So let's start with the fact that Dave's going to love where we kick things off.

 

0:05:31.6 S1: I don't think I do give them enough credit. So Argent was born from honestly a personal pain point of mine and it felt then like a shared pain point. It's still something that it feels like we're very much solving, which is as simple as product that is made for working women. Like we're just the afterthought it feels like, at least in my experience when I was shopping for various forms of work, I didn't feel like I was really actually considered in the design process and just couldn't quite find something that felt like me. And so it wasn't quality, it wasn't stylish. It was really frustrating. And for a time-constrained woman that's work focused, it was something I was always acutely aware of. And then I was working at Cisco and read a study that showed that women are judged based on appearance and that was really all I needed to see to make the decision to quit and go after this. Because I saw an opportunity to really cater to like my favorite audience, which are working women and build a brand around it and build a product that offers functional details that help you streamline your day-to-day and offer comfort and versatility.

 

0:06:43.7 S2: And in the process, getting the opportunity to do storytelling around these powerhouse women has been just a dream, to be honest. And it was something that I really wanted to do because I did not grow up with role models in that way. I mean, my parents are amazing, don't get me wrong. But I just, I felt like I could be a housewife or maybe a doctor or like a lawyer, a banker, but my career choices were somewhat limited, it felt like. And so my goal was really to celebrate all forms of career and give the next generation of women something to model off of.

 

0:07:22.9 S1: And you have two daughters, right?

 

0:07:24.8 S1: A boy and a girl. Boy and a girl. So that's something that they can look up to too for that next generation. That's what mom's vision is and she's going after it. Totally. And you didn't mention fashion, but I think of it as very high fashion too. I mean, your color palette, the style, you're based in New York, so you're on trend and I mean, future of trend because I'm in the Midwest. So I look to you, I'm like, okay, I'm definitely going to be trendy if I wear this, which I very much appreciate. I like it that your fabric, like the use of textiles that you have, are very intentional too. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

 

0:08:08.1 S1: Yeah. So I want to be very clear that I am the business side of Argent. And so something that I felt like I'd seen in the past is that there have been companies that have gone after this category, but tried to solve the problem themselves. And I'll be the first to tell you that I do not have any sort of experience or degree in fashion. And so I recognize the fact that building muscle in that sphere was very integral to our success. And so we have a creative team that's unbelievably talented and they have very robust backgrounds. We have a creative director that's incredibly impressive with over two decades of experience. And so, yeah, so we are accessible, I would say, is the goal, but we are certainly offering a range of options for all types of personalities. Some women love and embrace bright colors and you truly could not find it before we started. And so how do we offer colors that allow you to get on stage or to go into the office and just feel like your best self and that you're able to create an extension of your personal brand through this visual component?

 

0:09:24.3 S1: We have run this super-majority campaign, which is like the centerpiece of that is this bright pink suit. And again, that's representative of our collective power as women, et cetera. So yes, we absolutely offer a range of colors, but we also have your basics. So our core offering includes olive, navy, black, ivories, white, so we have your basics as well. So our goal is really to cater to working women and everyone has a different appetite for color. And we do have some more fashionable pieces as well, but it really, again, it's a range and I think it's all accessible. Like that's really the goal is for it to just be easy and as formulaic as possible, but to just make you feel great and make you feel thought of. So when you're in your meeting or you can pull out your pen from your stylist pocket or you go to the back and you pull out your tampon or you're traveling and you've got your ID in your interior pocket of your blazer, you push up your sleeve, there's a band there to hold them in place. So it's really just about options, I would say.

 

0:10:29.5 S2: Super functional.

 

0:10:31.3 S1: Functionally, totally. They're my favorite to wear to conferences too, because I don't like to have a purse on me, but then I'm able to have everything, breath mints and cards and pens within the jacket. And I don't feel like it's weighing me down because they're strategically placed. Totally. Super functional.

 

0:10:50.3 S2: Yeah, that's cool. Yeah. And versatility too, because I think work has changed a lot. So what work looks like has changed a lot. I came at this through the tech lens. So where I was working, we were already, I think that we were at the forefront of this casualization of work and we were wearing denim, styling it with blazers, and there was no real formula for women yet. I think we were all looking to Mark Zuckerberg’s style or Steve Jobs style. But when we try and emulate that as women, I oftentimes saw that not be us at our best. I saw a lot of women that would just copycat that and then would carry themselves differently for the worse. And I think our goal is to create the formula that makes you feel at your best, but it's still appropriate for whatever industry you're in. So yeah, versatility is a huge component of what we're building. Mix and match, everything goes back to everything else. That's the goal.

 

0:11:44.8 S1: So tech background at Cisco and then, okay, I'm going to create this fashion brand because I want a suit that I can wear myself and I think that other people want it too. It takes so much courage. And how did you make that launch from being gainfully employed to starting Argent Work? I mean, it's ironic that you asked this question because I was just talking to another entrepreneur and we were discussing how you have to be somewhat naive to start your own company. Yes. But also in my DNA. So I was destined to start a company. I am the squeakiest wheel in a corporate environment. I need things to move quickly. I want to be able to make my own decisions. I want the logical choice to just be the choice I want to move. So it was an obvious thing that I landed an entrepreneurship. That said, it is not for the faint of heart. I know we all know that, but it truly is something I think you have to go into a bit blindly. 100%. You wouldn't do it otherwise, right? You’d be like, I am not going to put myself through that.

 

0:12:51.2 S1: It doesn't make any sense.

 

0:12:52.5 S2: But you also have to, I always talk about this, you have to have conviction in whatever your end game is. What's your goal and are you truly committed to it? Because we've been on this journey that's unprecedented. We went through two years of a pandemic when people were not going to work and no scenario planning was I thinking women won't be in offices, period. There are just so many things that are thrown your way. But at the end of the day, I just believe in women. I believe in gender equity. We're super mission driven, values driven. And I just in my soul feel like this brand deserves to exist for women. So that's really what keeps me going and why I even got it off the ground to begin with.

 

0:13:35.6 S1: And with that, that fuels then the perseverance, right? You just keep going. And of course, there's bumps in the road with everything that we do in our education or in relationships that you can't look at it as I'm going to be derailed and then I'm never going to get back to it. You get derailed and then you get back to it. Yeah.

 

0:13:57.3 S2: And I came into it thinking this will be a great experience. There will be a ton of growth that comes from it. So like, what's the worst that could happen? I have to reenter corporate America. Like cool.

 

0:14:06.6 S1: Yeah. So yeah. Did you do that? Like have a worst case? Me and Dave and the kids are going to move back to... Well, you did. Did you move your family to New York or were you already there?

 

0:14:19.5 S2: We've moved a lot with Argent. We did not... I think we loosely had a plan, super loose, again, so naive. But I think that we just agreed that I'd get a shot at this. We were aligned on that. And kids weren't in the picture when I started Argent. So that wasn't part of the equation. But yeah, for me, it was what's the worst that could happen? It's failure, cool, good experience. So let's go for it.

 

0:14:50.7 S2: Yeah. Put that on your resume and you'll apply it to your corporate life then, right? Or start something else or whatever it is. It just felt like, fine, it feels like there's only upside from this. It also just doesn't feel that risky. I've read something that founders are not actually as risk tolerant as people think that we are. We just have such belief in what we're building and we see something that other people don't see. So that's true for me, I would say.

 

0:15:21.5 S1: I agree with that. I 100% agree with that. If you think of a big corporation that looks at all of their different business opportunities that they're going to pursue and fund, they have 15 or more that they're going after and then they whittle it down to three. We have one, right? This is my one thing. I'm going to put everything into it. So when you have one that you are pursuing, you think of the worst case scenario, but all of your energy is going to that one thing, unlike the big corporate giants. And that's why they acquire us, right? Yes. I want to talk about your Dave, that he had the background that he left his job as well and you two have such a great business mind together. And then as you were saying, your creative team. But from that business strategy, tell me about Dave and what his role is with the business.

 

0:16:18.9 S1: Our goal from day one hasn't really deviated much. It's to be the workwear authority for women. And so we just want to be like the one-stop shop, make it easy, you can come here all walks of life. And so we launched in 2016. I quit my job in 2015, launched in 2016. Dave was only loosely involved in what we were building. I mean, he was like spouse that I didn't actually share everything with because that was my escape. And then fast forward to 2019, it felt like we continued to look for this marketing role. And it felt like starting in 2017, talked to various folks. Admittedly, I probably paid attention to marketing later than I should have, but I was really focused on figuring out product and product market fit and operations and probably, candidly, things I was more comfortable in, operations, finance, etc. So I would say like marketing was the one area that I had less experience in business wise, but I also felt like it's a hard decision to make, to like pour money into something when you don't feel like it's completely there. So it took a while for us to get to a point where I feel confident in pouring money into whatever Facebook, Instagram ads for you to see this photo, for you to see this product, for me to think it's compelling enough for you to then click on it.

 

0:17:49.2 S2: So I think that there was a level of de-risking as well that I spent the first couple of years figuring out let's get a few like super-loyal fans and see what's working with those fans versus trying to really get eyeballs. But then we looked for this marketing role and I feel like it's the hardest role to find. It's so hard. And I was living with the person who had the skillset that we needed. So I think I was pretty resistant initially. And then the way that we got there is that Dave started doing stuff just on the side. And so he started taking things and his background just for context, so he started agency world working at McDonald's and Happy Meal toys. He then worked at Electronic Arts, you know, worked on video games. He then worked at Adidas retail marketing, and then he worked at Apple. He has incredible experience and we are opposites, like we should work together. So in 2019, we finally just made the decision for him to come on full time as well and to really own marketing. And it's been the best decision that we've made, honestly.

 

0:19:00.6 S1: That's so cool. I just love that.

 

0:19:03.9 S2: I mean, he's just so talented. And there's like a level of divide and conquer that really works for us where I trust him, he can take stuff and run with it, we balance one another, and he's committed to what we're building. So it's just sort of this perfect marriage. Man, that's so cool.

 

0:19:22.9 S1: He's had huge, those are all household brand names that he's had experience with. So it's no wonder that we see, I mean, your brand stands up. I mean, it can stand up next to a brand that's been like a Levi's, right? Like it's been around for decades and there's Argent that's just as comparable. And I really believe that recognizable, like through corporate America, that Argent will be a household name for women. I mean, I think that every woman that's an executive should, and not an executive, you're a sales person that's going in to sign a contract, you should be wearing a suit. Like bottom line, I think that we don't appreciate it enough, the power of wearing a blazer. And like that you said wearing with jeans too, but yeah, it really does make you feel differently.

 

0:20:21.3 S1: Thank you. That's true too. Like that's proven, right? There's a ton of data, there's a ton of research. Oh, it's called something and I should know what it's called, but essentially when you wear something, you feel great and you carry yourself differently. We all know that feeling. And so it doesn't necessarily have to be a suit, but like that's the point, right? We just launched this collaboration with AGOLDE and we now have denim in our assortment. And so if you tend toward blazer and jean or sweater and jean, like we have that. We just want to give you something you feel good in and where you were thought of as part of, like the start of the process. When we go into design, we're thinking about customers. But thank you for saying that. I think the other piece for us is it's about connection and like community. And so oftentimes, and this is the case for me, I was the most senior woman on a team and I was very young in tech. There were like two women at the table most times, like on a good day. And so it's sort of your armor and it's this thing that sort of links us.

 

0:21:27.5 S2: And so knowing that there's an army of women that are going through similar struggles to you, even if they're not there, like that's really the goal of the brand.

 

0:21:36.4 S1: I love how you were mentioning earlier of the women that you are featuring and their careers and that is very well documented on the website. And it's fun to see those features come out too and read those stories. That's very well done. And that's part of your mission and you consider that community?

 

0:22:00.7 S1: 100%. Yeah, so I think the thing that excites me more about anything that we do is who we dress. It's what I live for. And so from day one, I have wanted to dress and showcase these women that are part of our community and that are doing incredible work in completely different industries and bringing together their stories and connecting them too. That's one of the most exciting parts is bringing women from different cities, different backgrounds together. And it's our Work Friends series is what it's called. It's our marquee editorial franchise, excuse me, where we showcase five to six women a season and they become our models that season. But there's a lot of storytelling built into that. I actually recently caught up with a former professor of mine from grad school. His daughter was here. He was here with his wife and his daughter who's looking at colleges and they were talking about how their favorite thing to do is to read the profiles of women that come out and they'll sit the second they launch, they'll sit and read through them. And the daughter was talking about how much it has inspired her. It makes me emotional to even think about it because I'm like, that's the point, that's the goal.

 

0:23:17.3 S2: Yes. Yeah. That's so cool. I love those touching stories when you get to meet your customers and how... Sometimes it does feel like, maybe it doesn't to you, but sometimes it feels like when you're trying to do those things that are for lack of a better word, soft skills, like building those soft skills, it's like, gosh, what's the return on the investment here? And then when you just get one testimonial like that, you're like, there it is. It's worth it. It's all worth it. Totally. Yes. And those are the things like on bad days, just the best thing you can do is turn into your customer and your community. That's what always keeps me going. We've all had terrible days. I've actually had days where I'm like, I'm just not going to work today. It's best if I'm not present. Yeah. You know? Yeah. So on those days when I need to get my head back into the game, I always start with customer. Customer first. I call those personal days where I'm like, I just got to take a personal day, put my phone down, do what I got to do, binge something on Netflix, go get a yoga class and a green juice and take a walk.

 

0:24:23.7 S1: Just get away. Yes. Yes, totally. So how about your fundraising? Are you all privately funded or have you gone out and raised capital?

 

0:24:36.8 S2: I would almost call what we've done fairly private for the most part, but we did a friends and family pre-seed. We did a bridge. We did a seed that was led by a VC, but out of their scout fund. And now we're hopefully… In the black? We're hopefully through that.

 

0:24:56.3 S1: We'll see.. I don't know what a scalp fund is. Scout fund. A lot of venture-Oh, scout.

 

0:25:01.6 S2: Yeah. A lot of VCs want to participate in industries that they wouldn't normally be investing in typically. And this is old news now, I would say. So this was years ago and I don't know who's doing what because the landscape shifted so much in the past couple of years. But for the marquee VCs that are predominantly investing in tech, because that's where you see your payoff that they want to see within the window, they want to see it. But they'll carve out money to put into other industries that they maybe don't have expertise in or aren't really known for investing in. Got it. You know, smaller check sizes. But for us, that could be significant money because I don't need the same levels of funding that Facebook does or Amazon does, you know, et cetera. So yeah, so some VCs have created scout funds for that.

 

0:25:48.3 S1: Got it. I think of it as an impact fund just in healthcare as impact. So scout fund, that's a good definition. We'll have to put that in our notes because part of this podcast is for those aspiring entrepreneurs who are already in it, that's something that you can even search and do some Google alerts of scout fund announcements and things like that.

 

0:26:11.4 S1: Totally. Because I know for another VC, their scout fund is dedicated to scouts and so they actually have designated successful entrepreneurs that can write checks out of the fund. So essentially, like they've tapped a handful of really successful, standalone success stories that they've then tapped to find the next success story. So they all have an allocation from the fund. Very cool. I'm going to look this up. I didn't know about that. So let's talk about some of these myths or a misstep just that comes to mind and you think in the misstep and I always learn the best from those problems or those missteps and like, okay, this is what I would have done differently, hopefully I don't make the same twice, same mistake twice. I am guilty of doing that. But what comes to mind and how would you have prepared differently? I mean, this list is so long, I feel like I've made every mistake. One of the big ones that I think I have actually corrected is hiring. I used to interview and project my own enthusiasm onto candidates. Yes. And then I'd be like, they get it. And I'd just talk too much and I'd get excited off of probably my own energy.

 

0:27:45.4 S1: And I think we also hired from a place of desperation too, because it's like you just so urgently want roles filled. So I think early on it was just that my hiring strategy was quite flawed. Which then just opens up a world of problems because once you hire someone, then it's like you onboard them, you try and integrate them under the team. We've hired the wrong agencies, we've hired the wrong individuals, full-time, part-time, you name it. And I just had to learn this lesson the hard way, unfortunately. And I think you might have to. People warned me of doing this, but the team is one of the most important parts of your success story and of your journey. And we all know hiring one wrong person can just be such a distraction for you and an emotional drain because you feel so many emotions, whether you feel guilt for bringing on the wrong person, you feel guilt if you have to let them go, all of this, there's so much to it. There's a lot that you cannot even say in that process, both to the person and externally, you just have to absorb so much of it.

 

0:28:59.4 S2: So the learning is to create an infrastructure that doesn't allow me to just rush hires. And so now we've got... I'm the worst person probably now to hire people and I know that. I've gotten better at it and I've gotten better at finding talent, but I check myself. So I make sure that there are multiple people on the team that are being part of the interview process and we take our time with it because it's worth it to take your time with it. To get the right person.

 

0:29:32.0 S1: The interviewing, I'm setting up the system right now. I'm just so glad that you're honest about this because that has been something I'm self-conscious of because I tell my investors, hey, I hired this great hire. And then six months later I'm like, well, actually they weren't so good. And I have one investor that I'm really close with, his family and he's like, well, why didn't you figure that out in the interview process? I'm like, well, I was a little bit quick to hire and I just had to learn that.

 

0:30:01.1 S2: In your defense too, in our new process, we've put people through the ringer. I mean, to the point where they've done projects and then they join and you're like, we've had consultants turn full-time. I've been blindsided before. I did everything I possibly could. I think as a founder, the lesson is, yes, set up as much infrastructure as you can to vet, bring in your investors if you're smaller and it's earlier to interview as well. Because I think that is one trait of business leaders is that they can really read people in a very short period of time. But also pull the plug as quickly as you possibly can. The second you realize that it's the wrong person, and I know that this is cliche advice, but it's so true, and I have said on things like this before, but the second you know that it's not working, you've got to make that call.

 

0:30:55.2 S1: That is very consistent. I waited for a couple of times and I'm like, oh, well, I bet it will work it out. We can make it right. We can have an intervention and it just doesn't. Then did you feel empowered after the couple of times that you're like, you know what? This just isn't working out. I'm going to give you an opportunity to find something better and I'm giving my company the opportunity to find a better fit as well. Once I got through that first couple of times, I'm like, you know what? It's best for both parties.

 

0:31:27.9 S1: Always. It's always best for both parties. It's just like relationships. It's very similar. There are personality types and work ethics that work within our culture and there are ones that don't and it's two-sided generally. I think the hardest part, and this is just like a founder challenge and a business challenge, but you just are so limited in terms of what you can say. Oh, yeah. 100%. Did you ever have the mistake of giving equity upfront or, that was a challenge for me. I guess I didn't understand the value of equity going in. I'm like, oh, well, what's 1%? What's 5%? Then all of a sudden you're like, oh, actually 1% is a lot of the business when it comes down to it.

 

0:32:22.1 S2: Yes. Generally speaking, actually, no. I was pretty guarded about that. I did bring on one individual and compensated with way too much equity, I would say, in hindsight, but I think it's all worked out the way that it's supposed to with us. In general, no, I think I've been okay on that, but I know that that is only because I know this lesson from other founders. I think this is one that was easier for me to buffer against.

 

0:32:48.6 S1: Well, whoever is listening, then be very protective and guarded with your equity because it goes away, especially if you're raising capital, it goes away really fast.

 

0:32:59.4 S2: I think what I'm most sensitive to is advisors. I feel like I get introduced to a lot of new founders who are just trying to get their company off the ground and they bring on advisors year one, month one, month six, whatever it is that's so early in your journey. You want people that are willing to show up for you without any expectation.

 

0:33:23.2 S1: Advisors do ask for a lot too. It's like 3%, 5% and you just met them. I'm like, how are you asking for that much equity? I just met you.

 

0:33:32.5 S2: One of the biggest turnoffs for me as people that ask for equity, meeting one or a board seat. I had someone, I actually had to walk away and this was early days from $100,000 angel investment because she wanted a board seat and it just felt so premature, misaligned, everything and it was, and it was the right decision for me to walk away. I think that, well, the other thing is you don't really know what you need that early on. You want people to write checks and to be in your corner and to be available to you as you need them. But the ones that really step up and are adding an inordinate amount of value, like bring them on as formal advisors, but wait to make that decision until you really are clear on the value that they're bringing. In general, I have involved people who are involved because they genuinely believe in what we're building.

 

0:34:28.7 S1: I am just putting my formal advisory board together and one of the gentlemen has been with me, he started Welly and years ago I saw an ad in the, actually I think it was a TV feature. I'm like, oh, I need to talk to him. He's from Target, he lives in Minneapolis. He had coffee with me and he has given me so much advice and got on random calls, never asked for anything and now I'm finally putting this together. I'm like, do you want to make this formal? Can we go steady? And is this amount of equity a good amount for you and how much we meet? And he's like, absolutely. So believe in what you're doing and I want to be a part of this. And that feels like a much better relationship than the one that gave me time, but then right up front was like, I want 20% of the company. I'm like, what? How does that happen? I mean, I guess you have to give credit to those people that are willing to ask for it. Then if you don't ask for it, you'll never get it. But to me as a founder, I look at that person like you clearly have never founded your own company because you're asking for that.

 

0:35:40.4 S2: Yeah. I actually know of people who have founded their own companies that fight pretty hard for equity. So it's just, yeah. Just depends. Yeah. The founder you described, that's the dream, right? It's the dream profile of person. It's the reason you want people involved in what you're building. So that's what I really tried to look for and a very similar path. But now we're looking at formalizing our board of directors and bringing on someone hopefully that is just additive to the business in every way and values aligned to the business and just in it for the right reasons.

 

0:36:18.6 S1: I love that. All right. So you have some exciting stuff happening. Let's talk about that.

 

0:36:24.4 S1: We have a lot happening. So we had time to think about what we wanted to do in this moment. So basically COVID happened and we had to really pump the brakes and wind things down and intentionally we chose to survive because that was honestly a choice because we went to zero-dollar revenue overnight from the best months in our existence. So it was pretty rough. And at the end of the day, I just knew that despite the articles that came out saying workwear is dead forever, et cetera, et cetera, that this moment was coming. And so we are now in this period of time where we have so much momentum and I feel like we're really set up to capitalize on it. And this is our time. And let's see, we launched our fall assortment that I just have a ton of confidence in. We introduced denim, as I mentioned earlier, in partnership with AGOLDE, which is something I've wanted to do for years, offer work-appropriate denim. We are running our super-majority campaign. So we brought back this hot pink suit around the midterms, which has been really exciting and energizing. One of the bigger pieces of news we launched in Nordstrom.

 

0:37:40.0 S2: So that happened in September. That's a relationship I'm really excited about. We've been talking to them for years and we could not have lucked out more that this is when we're launching with them because workwear is dominant right now in apparel. So it's a focus area for them. And there's just a lot of synergy. And then we're opening a store in New York. This is our first post-COVID retail. It's in SoHo in Manhattan and it's amazing. So it's on track to open mid-November, but honestly it's pretty ready to go. So yeah, there's a lot happening.

 

0:38:17.4 S1: I can't wait to come visit.

 

0:38:19.3 S2: When are you coming back? Please come.

 

0:38:21.6 S1: You know, I think we're going to come in January, February to visit a manufacturer in New Jersey. And I want to take my dad to the Music Man; it's his favorite musical. I don't know when I'm coming, but I'm going to come and I'm going to document. We actually are putting some videos together, Sali, of when Julie and I visited. And then, I mean, I just love that white dress that I have of yours that I was like, I am not trying that on, Sali, because I saw it online and I was like, that is not that model so tall and thin, that is not me. I put it on and it's like, I get more compliments when I wear that dress. And then the blue dress that is, and if you remember, I spilled something on it. It was so embarrassing because I had a meatball and someone said something to me and it rolled onto the front. And then I tried to wash it off. So then it washed up, I mean, it dry cleaned beautifully. It's perfect. Yeah.

 

0:39:26.6 S2: We have this gold suit made for you right now. That's all I'm going to think about.

 

0:39:30.4 S2: I'm going to order that for the HLTH. The HLTH Conference is coming up in Las Vegas, so I'm actually going to order that this weekend. Because every time you've been talking, I'm like, you need cobalt. You need cobalt or purple could be fun on you too.

 

0:39:45.3 S1: Or I really like the kelly green that you just came out with as well. Yes.

 

0:39:50.5 S1: With like the forest would be nice underneath it too. Yes. And then with the jeans. Oh yeah. Right? Oh yeah. So I've got some spending to do on Argent. So the website is Argentwork.com. The social channels that we should all first buy, and everyone gets 10% off when you first log in, put in your email address, you get 10% off. And then what are the social channels?

 

0:40:20.0 S2: Argent. @Argent on Instagram. I think it's Argent on Facebook, Argent on Twitter. Okay. Argent Work on TikTok. Okay. We don't really use TikTok. We're working on it.

 

0:40:32.1 S1: My gosh. I didn't know you had a TikTok too. I'll have to tag you on the TikToks that we do. I don't think we do anything on TikTok. We're figuring it out. Well, I'll give you some content then. You know, this is my Achilles heel, social media.

 

0:40:46.6 S1: Well I love you and Dave and everything that you're building and your team. You have just a fantastic team. We talk about team is so incredibly important and you're just a really fun emerging brand to know and to be a part of. I feel like I'm part of your community, which really feels special as a customer. And you're just so intentional in what you're doing, Sali. So thank you for really making me feel really confident in what I do every day.

 

0:41:14.3 S2: Thank you, Patty. Oh, this means so much. Thank you for all of your support. I'm very grateful to just be here to know you. I mean, you're in Argent right now, which is the cherry on top, but thank you for everything.

 

0:41:25.7 S1: Yes, you're so welcome. Best of luck and we'll have to follow up and maybe do a live when I'm out there and showcase the showroom. I've got the store waiting for you. I love it. Well, you take care and keep persevering in business, everyone, just like Sali has.

 

0:41:42.2 S2: Bye you guys. Thank you.

 

0:41:43.8 S1: That was such an easy episode for me to do. Sali is so approachable and just really real. I was so appreciative of her sharing her experience and her missteps that she made in her hiring but how she puts structure together after that. Also really like her community building. I really encourage you to go to her website and see how she really does profiles of these women and how she uses what their mission is, personal mission, and then ties it to Argent. It was funny because we actually had five different takes of that podcast. We had to put this all together and Sali was as cool as a cucumber. I don't know whose Wi-Fi it was but we kept cutting out on this recording and she's just like, okay, let's start over again, which I was very appreciative of. But again, like with any founder's journey, hey, we're going to have bumps in the road. You just gotta pick yourself up. So if you're in a position right now that you feel like you just need the personal day as we talked about, or maybe things aren’t going the right way, you've had a few missteps, we're here to tell you that you are the only one that can get this company through to fruition.

 

0:43:01.6 S1: So keep on persevering in business. If you would like to head on over to our LinkedIn group, it is the Persevere Podcast where we can continue this conversation and get suited up in Argent. Like I said, she offers a 10% for every customer and it is the most well-made suit and investment that you will make and you'll feel confident and it will be an investment that actually lasts a lifetime because they're very timeless. And with that, all of you keep on persevering with business. Send me a message if you have a founder that you'd like me to interview. We're looking for guests in 2023. I’d love to hear their story and just participate in all of our social media channels and follow me, Patty Post, CEO. I am on TikTok. I am on Instagram and Twitter, as well as LinkedIn at Patty Gaslin Post. Thank you and until next time, keep on persevering in business. Thank you for listening to the Persevere Podcast powered by Checkable Medical. Head over to perseverepodcast.com for notes, links, and additional resources from today's show. To continue hearing insights and gaining knowledge from those persevering, succeeding, and making their dream a reality, be sure to subscribe through your favorite podcast app.


0:44:31.3 S1: Now go make it happen.