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Episode 40: Be Your Own Cheerleader with Mallory Ottariano

You're the one who knows yourself best. On this episode of Outside by Design we are joined by entrepreneur and badass Mallory Ottariano, owner of Kind Apparel. Mallory shares how she got her start sewing in her parents' basement, constantly craving challenge, and to not be afraid of making shit up.

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Episode Transcript

Lisa: What's up, all you marketing managers and CEOs and brand managers and creatives. Welcome to episode 3, season 4 of Outside by Design. Today is a special day, Iris, because we finally did it. It happened.

Iris: We did. This episode was a long time coming.

Lisa: We had to reschedule it a lot.

Iris: We've been trying to talk to Mallory for a while and on both sides we've had to cancel a few times. So we're so excited to finally have Mallory Ottariano on the podcast.

Lisa: Mallory owns Kind Apparel that's based out of Missoula. They make clothing for ladies who get after it and they're all made from recycled water bottles, which is just brilliant.

Iris: So this episode is our final episode based around the word initiative. Next month will have a fresh new word.

Lisa: Word of the month!

Iris: So we got to hear Mallory's thoughts on initiative and finding that in her own life as well as she talks about some new products and the experience of starting a business really young, which you have a lot of experience with as well.

Lisa: Back when I was young.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: And I really enjoyed talking to Mallory. She's super smart and really analytical and just, you know, very energetic and a doer and I really admire a lot of the ways Mallory carries herself, so. Enjoy, I enjoyed talking to her.

Iris: Yeah, enjoy.

Lisa: Cool. Well, first of all, thank you so much for being here and being awesome.

Mallory: Absolutely. You're so welcome. Thanks for having me.

Lisa: And the first thing that we always ask everyone is to describe where they are and what they're looking at.

Mallory: Well off air Lisa and I were just talking about how my whole day has been like just being a tech support person. So right now I'm looking at three computer monitors and a whole bunch of cords and cables for this label printer that doesn't work and a whole bunch of papers. I'm at my desk in my office. Which is on the fourth floor of a lovely building in Downtown Missoula, we don't have a window in the entire office. So outside, I'm imagining what it's like, it's really cold and snowy, but yeah in here it's really bright and colorful and there's a yoga studio next door so I can hear them having class. And yeah, my desk is a mess. There are four bins of trail mix on it. A lot of books, a camera, some lip balm, few empty cans of LaCroix. Yeah, and tax stuff and then just all the junk from like today's IT mishaps.

Lisa: Wow. Yeah, and you're just coming off of Outdoor Retailer.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah.

Lisa: Oof. What a whirlwind.

Mallory: That was really cool. I had never been before and I went there just to walk around and I didn't have a booth which I'm really kind of glad about but it was really a overwhelming experience and so awesome in so many ways. Yeah, and then today's kind of a big day for me personally because I drove for the first time in two months. I ruptured my achilles tendon. And so I've really been just like sort of a half of a person and today I drove myself to work. So that was huge.

Lisa: Wow.

Mallory: Yeah.

Lisa: Wow, so I think maybe Hannah from Wheelie told me you were on a scooter at OR.

Mallory: Yeah, yes. I was good during I was on a nice scooter and it was really exhausting or is huge. I really didn't quite understand the scope of it, but surprisingly I met a lot of other people on these scooters there, but it was definitely a conversation starter. I had to boot and I was wearing one extra tough and one of my cute Fjord dresses. So it was pretty fun.

Lisa: Did you get scooch leg? We're like one quad is bigger than the other now?

Mallory: Not really. I mean, I think like one leg is definitely bigger, but I haven't been using the scooter too too much. But my calves are so small to begin with, it could really stand to get quite a bit bigger. My injured calf, at PT couple weeks ago I got it measured and it's like almost 4 inches smaller than my normal one.

Lisa: Wow!

Mallory: I know, it’s so sad.

Lisa: Wow. So this sounds… Achilles is a gnarly injury, right? How long is that going to take to get you back to where you were?

Mallory: Like one to two years.

Lisa: Holy shit.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah like two years until it's... I mean one year until I can really hit it hard again, but yeah. I won't be, I don't really know what I'm going to be doing this summer. I think I can do some gentle biking I can't do really jumping or significant hiking, no trail running. No big trail runs. I don't really know. I also thought I was going to be in this boot until May and I just found out today that I'm only in it for two more weeks. So that's good. But yeah, it's super super slow.

Lisa: Wow that is crazy. How did you do this?

Mallory: Playing soccer.

Lisa: Totally worth it.

Mallory: Yeah, not really. No. I mean it is. I just feel like I have had three big injuries now from soccer and two surgeries and I think this is the end of soccer.

Lisa: Oh, wow.

Mallory: Yeah. No more soccer.

Lisa: That's wild.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah, it's just it's really slow. So slow, but my first time and I was really angry and now I’m beyond that. I found I've learned a lot of new stuff about myself. So that's been really eye-opening and expansive.

Lisa: Well, that's good. Yeah, and, you know, as if you didn't have enough like problem-solving to do just running a business now you get to like navigate how do I fit a scooter into scooter safe areas.

Mallory: Totally, figure out where all the elevators are. It's actually really surprising how many businesses like are not ADA Compliant. It makes you think a lot about if, if I had a disability for life. There are a lot of things that are just... The average person or business does not really think about what life is like for those people and we could do a better job as a society. Qven just shoveling the sidewalks, people don't really do a great job of that and it's hard to get around.

Lisa: Yeah. That's something that I don't take a lot of time to think about.

Mallory: No, I didn't either.

Lisa: Wow. So for our listeners that don't know what you do, you founded and run Kind Apparel.

Mallory: I sure do. Yeah, Kind Apparel is a women's outdoor clothing brand and we make clothes for gals who get after it. Getting after it can be like, summiting a mountain or it can just be like shuffling your kids off to school in the morning. We just make clothing for life and not specific activities, but our clothing is inherent very technical and it's all made from recycled plastic bottles. So. Sustainability is a huge piece of our business. And what's really unique about our stuff is the color and the pattern, everything is really bold and really wild and I design all of the prints for them. Also they are these very unique graphics that you're not going to see in any other brand and that's what sets us apart for sure.

Lisa: This question might be like picking a child. But do you have a favorite item in your shop?

Mallory: I totally do. Yes. It's the Fjord dress and that is everybody else's favorite item too, it makes up about 40 percent of our company sales. But it's this awesome fleece dress. It's kind of a hoodie tunic. And the sides are... the fleece is a solid color and then the sides are crazy pattern lycra. So you don't overheat and it kind of keeps your body temperature perfectly stable, and we've got a fun pocket and a hood that snaps up and it's just like a very cozy piece. It feels like you're wearing your pajamas, but it looks really cute. It's like something you can wear all year round too.

Lisa: And I also love, love, love the product photography on your website. I think you do an amazing job encompassing like, different looking people and different boots with the leggings and I just, I love it.

Mallory: Thank you. I appreciate that. A lot of it... Well, I'm starting to have some people do photography for me. But a lot of that is just me with a camera.

Lisa: Nice. So how did you, how did you start this? Like our topic for the month here at Wheelie is initiative. So that's why we thought of you for that topic and like, how did you... you started this business when you're pretty young, right? So how did that go down for you? And why did you like take it from idea to reality?

Mallory: Yeah, I think... so I was 22 when I started the concept and I'll talk about that in a minute, but I think the reason…. Like, what propelled me to really jump into this full time and like grab my own income and employment and life by the horns was the realization that when you're working for somebody else, if you put in ten percent or you put in a hundred percent or you put in a thousand percent what do you get out of it? It's really similar, you get a really similar paycheck. And you might get some greater fulfillment, but the monetary compensation is pretty similar yet the person you're working for is getting a vastly different experience if you put in ten percent or a hundred percent or a thousand percent. And that frustrated me, because I wanted to be able to personally benefit from my own efforts and my own energy. And I wanted to benefit in correlation to the amount of energy that I was putting in. So that is really what... that's the catalyst that like drove me to quit my day job and do this full-time.

But if it back up a little bit, yeah, I was 22. I had just graduated from school. I grew up in a really creative family and art was a huge part of my lifestyle. As a kid, I went to Art School initially and then I ended up studying architecture and design and then when I graduated I did not have a very creative job. And then all of a sudden this whole lifetime of being creative, I didn't have an outlet for it. So I decided to open up an Etsy shop and I decided to make and sell clothes. So another piece of my younger existences was style, like ever since I was a small child I've really been into crazy fashion and I've never enjoyed wearing something that everybody else has. And my mom sewed a lot. She taught me how to sew and so I would just make a lot of my own stuff. So I opened up this Etsy shop when I was 22. I bought a sewing machine for a hundred bucks off eBay and I set up shop in the corner of my parents basement and this was like, part of the basement that wasn't cute. It was like where the Christmas decorations are stored and they had a whole stack of wood pellets down there. And I had a little cutting table and I would have these little clip lights and sit down there with my sewing machine after to work as just a way to be creative. And once I got enough product to put it up on Etsy and people started buying it. It was terrible, the first things, I mean, it was just really bad. And it gradually picked up steam. I really loved it. And I found myself really excited to get home from work and go down there and just do something that brought me joy.

And then I moved out to Montana. So I started this Etsy shop in 2012, and I moved to Montana in 2013 and that's when my two worlds kind of met, like the art world and the Outdoor World that I was becoming really deeply rooted in and there really wasn't much of a crossover. So the stuff that I was making before was really crazy and wild and I was using upcycled fabrics. So I was going to the thrift store and finding really bold patterns and colors and cutting up this clothing and making new things out of it. But it wasn't very technical. And then as I started spending like more and more time in technical clothing and in the mountains and playing outside, I realize that there's just more... well, it's changing a little bit, but there really was just a complete lack of fun and unique and colorful clothing that I felt like I could express myself in and still have it perform well. So I kind of did a big rebrand and shift and started making technical apparel that was really fun and not khaki and not navy blue and not black and no ugly zip off pants. Yeah, and then that really resonated with my local community here in Missoula. It's a fantastic community of really dedicated people and they really loved what I was doing and it really grew. And then it grew to the point where I was like making more money there than at my job as an architectural designer, and I didn't like my job at all. And yeah, I just decided to pull the plug on that and focus all my energy and doing something I really love. And that was in 2015 and yeah, things have changed a lot since then, it feels like a really long time ago, but it's wasn't really that long ago. Things have... things have really evolved very significantly.

Lisa: That's amazing.

Mallory: Yeah.

Lisa: and just kind of, you know, it's an interesting thing right? Because when you're 22, all your friends are like really focused on other things. And that's how old I was when I started Wheelie as well. And it's funny to like not necessarily have the same goals, because I mean, I loved snowboarding all day and you know grabbing food and beer afterwards like anybody else, but I would also like go home at night and work on my business. And I felt a little bit of disconnect between like…. society and my goals. Do you feel that too or did you feel that?

Mallory: Oh, absolutely. I feel that a lot even today. Yeah, I mean, even just from... as you get older, you know, like just life goals change. My priorities are a lot different than the priorities of my friends or other people my age. Like, I've been engaged to my partner for three years. We've been together for almost 13 years and like my priority is running my company. And yeah, just, I have put a lot of other things second to doing this because this is truly what I love and so yeah, sometimes there is a bit of a disconnect and I have definitely learned who my real friends are and like what I have in common with people and what I don't have in common. And it's okay to kind of let things dissolve.

Lisa: Yeah, that's that is always a really interesting thing. When you start a business young and like, do you ever feel like when you go into a board room full of people that they're underestimating you?

Mallory: Oh 100% yes. Yeah. I think here, where I am, is a little different. I mean we have like mountain casual is the style here all the time. So most people look very unassuming but are these incredibly powerful leaders. But if I sort of apply our Missoula business standards to other communities, yeah, absolutely. Hmm.

Lisa: That used to really bother me. But now I think it's kind of fun to surprise people.

Mallory: It is, it is super fun. Yeah, and then people are like oh what do you do, oh you have a little website. That's so cute.

Lisa: Or they minimize it and call it a project. They’re like, oh yeah, that project Mallory’s been working on.

Mallory: That's a funny one because I am really conscious about, like, not calling other people's work projects. And know it's a big issue with a lot of friends of mine, but it's something that has actually never happened to me and I feel really grateful that. No one has ever referred to what I'm doing as a project, which is awesome.

Lisa: Oh, really?

Mallory: Yeah, I feel so lucky in that respect.

Lisa: I hear that one all the time.

Mallory: Yeah, project, company, they're so different.

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Iris: So, Lisa, I feel like you and Mallory have a lot in common.

Lisa: Just from when you start a business and young and you're constantly underestimated.

Iris: Yeah, walking into a room and you're like the youngest person in the room, but you're actually the boss.

Lisa: Exactly and I think that Mallory did a great job turning that into a superpower and kind of flipping the table and... you know, making things happen and not worrying about what you're supposed to look like when you own a business and you walk into a room.

Iris: Yeah, I think she's a really great role model for anyone who's starting a business. Really young. You don't have to be 50 to be a CEO. You don't have to be someone who looks older to be taken seriously, and I feel like especially women feel that way, that when they're younger they get underestimated a little bit in a boardroom or a meeting.

Lisa: And just from, like, all the unsolicited business advice that people sometimes try to give you where it's like. Well, that's the way we you know, blah blah blah this is the way it's done in the industry and it's like well, that's not the way we do it.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: And learning how to how to navigate that is always really empowering.

Iris: Yeah. All right, shall we get back to Mallory?

Lisa: back to Mallory.

Lisa: Are we allowed to talk about the really exciting product you're coming out with that I told you I'm really excited about?

Mallory: Yeah, definitely they are in transit. So yeah, I guess another piece to that puzzle of growing is that obviously I'm not sewing everything in the basement anymore. But I kind of recently within the past year-and-a-half fully Outsourced my production, so I was sewing a lot of my stuff until pretty recently. So now all my stuff comes out of Phoenix, Arizona and really fun new product is on its way to me from there. And they’re fleece leggings, but they're like the coolest fleece leggings that are out there. I'm pretty sure I can actually I think legitimately say that, because they are printed on one side and it's just one layer of fabric so one side is just sort of like brushed Jersey Technical Fabric and we're printing are crazy patterns on it. And then the inside is this sort of low pile brushed fleece and it is so stretchy and soft and plush, but also kind of wind resistant too, it's this awesome fabric from Polartec that we're so excited about.

Lisa: I can't wait.

Mallory: I'm so stoked. Yeah.

Lisa: Well, I think you'll sell like eight of them to my company alone. Like everybody's so excited.

Mallory: The other exciting thing about them too is that they're coming out in four prints and two of the prints are brand-new and no one has ever seen them yet. So that's really exciting.

Lisa: Oh good.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah, pretty stoked.

Lisa: Good. How did you get the idea to be like, oh, you know what I'm going to do? Turn recycled plastic bottles into awesome clothing. Like where did you get specific information or inspiration for the recycled plastic bottles? How did that come to be?

Mallory: Well, when I was upcycling and making things that way, the sustainability part of my business and where my materials came from was pretty huge. For me and also for my customers. Not having something be put into the system of supply and consumption and specifically for that purpose and it was a really big piece. And so when I transitioned out of upcycling I knew that I needed to make an effort to maintain a really huge sustainability piece into what I was doing. So, I knew that there was a lot of fabric out there that was pretty…. was manufactured in a ethical way. And a lot of larger companies at the time were starting to adopt some fabrics that were using recycled plastic. A lot of Polartec fleeces have been using them for years and there are a lot of cool lycras coming out in the market. So I just started researching them and put a lot of effort into testing some out and finding some ones that I enjoyed the feel of and the look of and started playing with them and printing on them. Yeah.

Lisa: That’s... you make it sound so casual but I imagine that's a lot of work.

Mallory: Yeah. It was like... I think I was positioned well because I do a lot of events where I'm exhibiting with other companies and vendors and so I end up meeting a lot of people who are at a similar stage or have been through the stages of business that I'm in and I get a lot of really fantastic advice. So I was able to kind of learn what other people were using in my field and hear a little bit more about that and it's also made simple by the fact that there are big companies out there manufacturing this fabric and I'm not having to like manage the manufacturing of the plastic fabric.

Lisa: Gotcha.

Mallory: Yeah.

Lisa: That's still so vastly different from architecture.

Mallory: Yeah. It really is.

Lisa: I love it.

Mallory: Yeah and architecture. I never loved it. I always wanted to be an artist when I grew up and then I got art school and like kind of blew through a big chunk of my college savings in the first year and I was kind of like... this 18 year old kid, 19 year old kid being like whoa, money. Like am I going to make enough money? I was a graphic design major sort of, I hadn't even really declared a major and I was just sort of thinking like... I feel like I'm going to either sit in front of a computer all day or not make any money, and I need to make some money. So what can I do that's creative and artistic that might make some money? And that's how I came up with architecture. And yeah, it was... I got through it, but I wasn't really my thing.

Lisa: That's cool.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah. It was like the applied arts that was a little more hands-on than graphic design or so I thought.

Lisa: Do you know what I think you and I have in common that I think is kind of rare, is that we... I majored in graphic design as well, and coming from like this creative side. A lot of creative personalities are weird about talking about money, but I find no shame in talking about money and like wanting to do well financially and like wanting to set my own ceiling and you know, the reward directly reflects how hard you work for it? And I think I have that in common with you.

Mallory: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, it's been yeah, it's definitely... I mean I guess as a child, you're 18 years old, to have the forethought to think about studying something that was going to pay well, it's kind of funny. But yeah, no, I don't think ultimately whether it sounds shallow or not. Like that was the biggest motivator in me doing my own thing, like being in control of my income. I like that feeling.

Lisa: I do too. I have a twin sister and we used to have lemonade stands and we would like be so strategic about where we were going to set up and how we were going to get cars to stop and what the product was going to taste like. And we made bank, as like nine year olds, like she'd go out and buy like a keyboard, you know.

Mallory: I used to love a lemonade stand game. I had a friend who... I grew up in Massachusetts outside of Boston, and I had a friend who lived in the city and we would like set up on busy sidewalks, but sort of in residential neighborhoods where people had to walk from like one T-stop to another or some some high traffic area. And we bought organic lemonade at the co-op and jacked the price way up. I think we were like seven or eight.

Lisa: [laughs] Yeah exactly.

Mallory: Smart Investments.

Lisa: Wow. I love it.

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Iris: Yeah, we're really excited about the new leggings that Kind Apparel is going to be launching real soon.

Lisa: Yeah, I bought a pair on presale. I don't know if you know this about me, Iris, but the best way to support people in business is to buy their shit, so I pre-ordered some pants. I cannot wait until they show up and I always try to buy stuff from all my friends who start businesses.

Iris: Yeah, I like doing that too.

Lisa: I'm about to be a colorful legging lady.

Iris: They're gonna be so soft. Yeah, you and Mallory talked about how a lot of creative types are weird about money, but both of you kind of pursue creativity while getting it done, being bosses and I like that.

Lisa: Thanks Iris. I have found that inherently it wasn't easy to talk about money. But the more you're in business the easier it is, right, to talk about money early on in the conversation is so much easier than being like, here's all these great ideas and we just spent five weeks, you know arranging it and now oh, by the way, here's an invoice, whoops. You know, like you don't do that, you talk about it within the first 10 minutes.

Iris: Yeah, and if even if you're not in the outdoor industry if you're maybe a fine artist or really anyone who's creative, you might feel a little bit awkward about those situations, but it's something that you have to do and just practice will make it better.

Lisa: Yeah.

Iris: sweet. Should we get back to the lemonade hustler conversation?

Lisa: Back to the hustling for lemonade.

Iris: We’ll go back to Mallory.

Lisa: I love just like... I think pursuit is really fun. Like, just chasing things that you want. I find that to be... except maybe dudes. But like, you know, I find that from a business standpoint I love the chase.

Mallory: I really do too. And like on days when I get kind of down and I feel like, I need to be making more money. I need to be selling more stuff. I’ll be down for a second and then I realize, like, shit, I can sell more stuff. I can be making more money. All I have to do is like go out there and do it and understanding that the pursuit is really directly related to you and the energy that you put into it is such a powerful realization. I love that.

Lisa: Yes, and and like not getting bogged down by failure or like, you know, days where your sales are down. I'm just kind of like, I always think it's an opportunity to be more creative.

Mallory: It totally is. Yes, it absolutely is, because you're really kind of competing against yourself in a way. Like yeah, you need to have certain thresholds of income to cover operating expenses. But like I find myself competing with myself a ton.

Lisa: That's cool. Do you have an example of that?

Mallory: Oh, just like... “oh well this time last year I had made this amount by this date” or like “third quarter of 2017 we did this” and just kind of trying to better those and come up with different ways to reach those. Like for me, my sort of challenge with myself this year is, a huge part of my business for the past few years has been selling in person. So when I was making everything I would be able to qualify for these like pretty high-end art and craft retail shows and I would travel around the country and sell product at them. And that's just not really something I want to do anymore. Nor does it really fit with my brand anymore. And so I'm replacing that money with other money and so I'm really like competing with myself on strategies to bring in that income without traveling all over the place. And I am really enjoying that actually, it's challenging but it's actually super fun. But that's kind of a broad example, but that's one that I'm working on now.

Lisa: Yeah, I like that. I like your mindset, too.

Mallory: Thanks. It's all just one big experiment. I mean, I don't know what I'm doing. Everyday is a totally new day. Like today I had a whole bunch of stuff on my calendar and I didn't do any of it because I was dealing with the broken internet and the broken email and the broken label printers and all that shit. And yeah, I don't like... you just... I just make shit up every single day and I think that's kind of like the stigma in business, like people outside of business, anyone in business like have this idea that the people who are killing it or... not killing it just like... have it all figured out and there's a system in place for everything. And once I realized that the people that I looked up to and respected and thought they had their shit together didn't necessarily, that was a really big leaf to have turned over. Because it kind of gave me the freedom and permission to just like try whole bunch of stuff and make everything up.

Lisa: Yeah and not be attached, like too attached at the results and kind of enjoy the process.

Mallory: Definitely. Yeah, and like not being afraid of failure. You can't be afraid of failure.

Lisa: No. I always tell my employees because I have this like secret fantasy about how I wish I was a city firefighter and would like, you know wear the firefighter apparel and go save people like do something super meaningful. And so I'm always like well, you know, like unfortunately we're not firefighters. As much as we take pride in our work like it's okay if the design were working on isn't perfect or you know, if we have to try something again or scrap that video or the footage gets lost like all these things which are horrible and suck. But like, you know, no one's going to die.

Mallory: Uh-huh. That is true. Yeah.

Lisa: Yeah. Like emergency room doctors, like I can't even imagine. We don’t have that, you know.

Mallory: I often think about what I would be doing if I wasn't doing this, and I think I would definitely want to be a surgeon. Like a, like maybe a neurosurgeon. I think about this a lot actually. Because like obviously, I really like being in control and I like making decisions, I'm not great at decision making but I like being in the position of making the decisions. And yeah, just sort of like... I think that would be really, it seems really glamorous. I'm sure it's not, but I think that would be like the one other profession that I've been able to come up with where you have as much control over everything and the outcome of everything as you do it running a business. Which is kind of a funny correlation, but I think about it a lot.

Lisa: It is. Yeah, that's funny. I think about being a firefighter a lot.

Mallory: Yeah!

Lisa: Like that's what I should have done. Yeah.

Mallory: But I don't want to go to school for seven years.

Lisa: Oh, yeah, that's a lot.

Mallory: Yeah.

Lisa: Every time I start talking about it my employees are like no, Lisa. No. No. Because they all need jobs.

Well, what other advice do you have for like human beings that have ideas and want to take them to the next level? Whatever that means.

Mallory: Ooh. Well, I don't know. I think like, first... and this sounds a little not supportive and kind of dark but like, really make sure it's a good idea. Sit with it. Make sure that you love it. Envision yourself or this... I mean, I took me a long time to like have the confidence quit my job and I think it's because I sat with the idea of this for a really long time. Like, can you really see yourself like doing this thing for a serious period of time? Are you committed enough to it to make it successful or bring it to where you want to bring it? Because I think a lot of people, or what I've seen at least, some people get really excited about this idea and jump in and then haven't really thought about the work that's involved to get it to the next level. But that's kind of a cynical piece of advice, but I think it's an important one. And the other really important lesson that I've learned in this is to be my own cheerleader. It’s something that I talk about quite often. People in your life are like, I mean, I'm sure you have experienced this. When you say I'm quitting my job to do this. Like I'm quitting my job to make clothes, people are like really? Like, are you sure you want to do that?

And even once you commit to it and are proving your success to yourself and other people. like no one is really going to understand what it's like to live your life, except you. And running a business there are so many highs and there are so many lows and you have to be able to keep yourself even keeled through those highs and pull yourself out of those lows and like believe in yourself more than anybody else believes in you around you. And that's a really... that's been a really important lesson for me. Because no one, yeah, no one understands your life in the way that you do. They might think that they know what's going on, but they don't really. So you have to just really dig deep from within and be that person for yourself. I mean, certainly people who are close to you are going to provide support. But ultimately you're going to provide the most support yourself. I think that's like yeah, that's my biggest takeaway from this and it's something that I have to call on daily like call myself be like, stop complaining, stop whining, you need to do this right now. And here's why you need to do it.

Lisa: Right.

Mallory: Yeah. Yeah.

Lisa: That's really cool advice, even, like, even your, you know, closest relationship partner or best friend, like they don't know your struggles and successes as much as even yourself. So.

Mallory: No, no because they're seeing what's on the outside. They're seeing what you project to them, which is often really different from how you're feeling. And only you are seeing what's actually going on. Yeah.

Lisa: Well, I love that. I haven't really heard that one spoken about so I really like that.

Mallory: Thanks. That's a really big one for me. Another big one for me too, and this is a little bit of an overused word these days but it's important in my brand to just be authentic. I think as... I mean, so there's billions of people on this planet who even knows how many billion there are this point. There's just too many. But there's no new idea. Every idea that you're having somebody else has already come up with or some iteration of it is already been enacted. Like, we’re really not coming up with any brand new ideas. So be authentic in the way that you deliver yours because it's something, hopefully it's something that has come from deep within you. And that you're not just like stealing somebody else's and re-appropriating it, but... Like show that passion and deliver it with passion. And for me, storytelling is a huge part of my brand. I'm pretty open about like how this started and like why I do what I do and it gives it helps me foster connections with my customers and I think it gives my customer something really tangible to grasp and support. And yeah, I think in a world full of a lack of authenticity, that's one of the strongest and most intentional things you could do.

Lisa: Yeah. That's a good one.

Mallory: Yeah. Thanks. Pretty big cornerstone of my brand.

Lisa: Yeah, I'm excited for many things going forward in relation to you. I'm excited to meet you in person. I'm excited for your fleece leggings to show up so I can buy a pair. And yeah, I’m excited to see where you take this, it's so exciting.

Mallory: Yeah. I'm super excited about it. There's some big stuff on the horizon. We just got picked up, they don't have our order yet, but it's in the works. We just got picked up by Title Nine. So that is really exciting. That will be happening this spring. Yeah, it feels good to get like national recognition that this small thing that I've been building is meaningful to people and has legs. So that's been really exciting. Yeah, and I'm just excited to be able to share it with more people and just kind of tell tell the stories of women besides me. Because I inevitably tell my story a lot because it's my company and it's very much a part of who I am and shares really similar values to me, but I really want to be able to expand and be able to tell all my customers’ stories.

Lisa: Yeah, totally.

Mallory: Yeah.

Lisa: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast and I know everyone got a lot of value from that and I'll just continue to stalk you.

Mallory: Yes, please do.

Lisa: I’ll stalk you on the internet and meet you.

Iris: Wow, Mallory is an amazing person. She's so cool.

Lisa: Mallory, you're the coolest. Come hang out with us in Whitefish.

You can follow Mallory on Instagram. It's @KindApparelCo.

Iris: and their website is and Mallory's personal Instagram is @MalloryOtto and all those links will be in the show notes as well.

And we want to remind everyone to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes.

Lisa: Do it.

Iris: We want to see those five stars. Helps us out a lot.

Lisa: So that concludes our month of initiative. Iris, who's on the podcast next week?

Iris: Next week on the podcast. We have Jenn Kriske from Machines for Freedom, and she has a really great story.

Lisa: Yeah. That was a cool convo. They're all cool convos. Everyone on this podcast is freaking rad.

Iris: They're all great conversations. So you should subscribe so you don't miss any of them!

Lisa: And you’re rad too, thanks for listening.

Iris: Have a great week.

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